Global Affairs has confirmed that Canada’s ambassador to Myanmar was on a “private holiday” in the southeast Asian nation with her diplomat husband, after questions emerged over a New Year’s tweet he posted.

Peter MacArthur, Canada’s ambassador to Indonesia, was criticized on social media for praising Myanmar’s idyllic beach scenery in a Jan. 1 tweet that was later deleted. His wife Karen MacArthur is Ambassador to Myanmar.

“First day of 2018 unfolded on a Myanmar beach where the great surf is pleasingly turquoise coloured, warm, clean and clear — perfect for snorkelling to visit with nature and the fish,” read the tweet posted to Peter MacArthur’s account.

The idyllic description of life in Myanmar sharply contrasts with persecution of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State, which the United Nations has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

There are no rules that bar diplomats from vacationing in the troubled country.

In an email on Sunday to CTV News London correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian, a Global Affairs spokesperson acknowledged that the pair were vacationing together.

“This was a private holiday that did not take place in Rakhine State,” Global Affairs spokesperson Brianne Maxwell wrote.

Rakhine State has been the focus of numerous reports of arson, sexual violence and mass killing.


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