A knighthood given to Welsh-Canadian telecomms entrepreneur Terry Matthews in the Queen's birthday honours list has sparked a row between the Prime Ministers (PM) of the UK and Canada.
Ottowa-based Matthews, a dual-national and the only Welshman to score in last year's telephone poll on Britain's best known entrepreneur, qualifies for the award through his UK passport.
But Canadian PM Jean Chretien has complained, as he did in 1999 over an award given to one of his fiercest critics, citing protocol which forbids its citizens from accepting foreign honours.
The Canadian PM has telephoned and written to UK PM Tony Blair to express his displeasure at not being consulted over the awards given to Matthews and fellow dual-national George Bain, head of Queen's University in Belfast.
Chretien objected to a similar award given to a peerage offered to newspaper magnate Conrad Black in 1999, and commentators say his latest outburst may simply be an attempt to appear consistent.
However, opposition leaders in Canada have labelled Chretien's objections bizarre.
They say his objections are not founded on any law, but a Commons motion called the Nickle Resolution that was passed in 1919. They add that Canada should grow up and accept the awards for its citizens in the spirit they are intended.
Stockwell Day, leader of the Canadian Alliance, said at a news conference in Canada yesterday [Monday]: "Who would have thought, 24 hours ago, that we would have a Prime Minister picking a fight with the Prime Minister of England... because a couple of our citizens have been honoured."
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