Interference: diplomats who overstep the mark will be expelled, says Mélanie Joly

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Interference: diplomats who go overboard will be expelled, says Mélanie Joly

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, testifies before a parliamentary committee examining allegations of interference China in the last two elections.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly assured Thursday that any diplomat on Canadian soil who violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations will be expelled.

While testifying before a parliamentary committee who looks into allegations of Chinese interference in the last two elections, she was unequivocal about it.

If ever there is a violation of the Vienna Convention, we will deport. The question is clear, she said when she was questioned on this subject by several elected officials, such as Conservative Luc Berthold and New Democrat Rachel Blaney.

Ms. Joly pleaded that, in her view, it was easier to prevent than to cure.

I think the question, after the fact, when diplomats are in the country , is how we make sure we have the evidence to manage an eviction and also what are the impacts of an eviction, argued the minister.

She said she has several tools at her disposal to get her message across to China, mentioning in particular requests for diplomatic visas which can be declined. The Minister mentioned that such a refusal occurred last fall in the case of China.

We made sure to [deny] visas, repeatedly scolded the Chinese ambassador, we made representations directly to Beijing and we also made sure to protect Canadian personnel in China, listed the Minister while appearing alongside her colleague Dominic LeBlanc, in Intergovernmental Affairs.

The Vienna Convention requires diplomats to respect the laws of the country where they are, reads on a Global Affairs Canada webpage.

The Minister said that news reports in recent weeks about allegations of foreign interference are deeply troubling.

We have been clear with China, both here at home and in international forums: Canada will never tolerate [any] form of foreign interference either in our democracy or in our foreign affairs, she hammered before the elected members of the Procedure Committee and House Affairs.

Ms. Joly noted that she had questioned the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, on this subject last week during the ministerial meeting of the G20 countries in New Delhi.

The Liberal government has been under pressure for a few weeks to explain what it is doing about alleged foreign interference in the last two federal elections, in 2019 and 2021. x27; interference were revealed by the Global network and the daily newspaper The Globe and Mailand are based on leaks from security sources.

Since then calls for a public and independent commission of inquiry into the interference foreign multiply. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced his intention to appoint an independent special rapporteur who will indicate the next step to be taken to clarify the allegations.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, are preparing to testify before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on allegations of foreign interference in Canada's electoral process.

Ms. Joly and Mr. LeBlanc were repeatedly questioned by the Bloc and the New Democrats on Thursday as to why the Trudeau government had refused to directly launch a commission of inquiry.

Minister LeBlanc defended this decision. We believe the Special Rapporteur is one step closer to depoliticizing this [interference] conversation and setting a path forward that hopefully will take us all where you and I want to go. he launched to the deputies.

In his opinion, this is the right way to have an in-depth reflection with the aim of further strengthening our institutions.

All the parties of x27; opposition are calling for a public inquiry into the foreign interference file. Demands to this effect have also been heard from former advisers to the Prime Minister, such as Gerald Butts, quoted by the Globe and Mail. A former Chief Electoral Officer did the same.

Morris Rosenberg, the former senior civil servant who produced an assessment report on the protocol designed to notify Canadians in the event of threats in the 2021 federal election, also said on CTV that the x27;option of a commission of inquiry should, according to him, be on the table.

Earlier Thursday, the Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence (CPSNR) said in a statement that it had begun its review of the allegations of foreign interference.

On Monday, Mr. Trudeau also indicated that he had asked this committee to look into the question.

The CPSNR works behind closed doors. It is made up of Members of Parliament from all recognized political parties in the House of Commons and Senators, all of whom have Top Secret security clearances. This allows them to see sensitive information, but they are all bound to secrecy in perpetuity.

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