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QS wants to summon the head of the Quebec office in Tel Aviv to the National Assembly

Photo: Charles-Frederick Ouellet Le Devoir Martine Biron acknowledged last week that the director of the Quebec office in Tel Aviv, Alik Hakobyan, went to Israel from February 26 to March 27.

Citing “an issue of trust, transparency and respect for institutions”, Québec solidaire (QS) wants to convene Minister Martine Biron and the director of the Quebec Office in Tel-Aviv in a parliamentary committee to make shed light on the activities carried out by this foreign representation in Israel while a conflict rages in Gaza.

“The minister, at the moment, we are still waiting for explanations regarding the fact that she lied. Or, in any case, if she didn't lie, she should explain, because she kept saying that there was nothing open in Tel Aviv, so that this was not the case,” said solidarity MP Ruba Ghazal in an interview.

QS contacted the Institutions Commission on Wednesday to request an initiative mandate on the opening of a Quebec office in Tel Aviv. The launching of this representation in the Middle East caused a great stir. After affirming that the head of post “works from Montreal,” the Minister of International Relations, Martine Biron, acknowledged last week that the director of the office, Alik Hakobyan, went to Israel from February 26 to March 27.

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The arrival of Mr. Hakobyan was highlighted on March 1 by The Canadian Jewish News. The weekly then wrote that the Quebec representative had “officially moved” (“ officially moved ”) to Israel to “continue his work with the office.” Minister Biron rather emphasized that Mr. Hakobyan “is still not settled [in Israel] with his family,” and that it was “agreed that he would travel back and forth” between Montreal and the Near Country. -Orient.

“It’s bogus,” Ms. Ghazal said of Ms. Biron’s explanations. “At some point, she would have to take responsibility. Let the minister take responsibility and say: we, despite the dramatic situation in Gaza, despite everything that is happening in the region, we want to continue to open this office because we want to do business. »

Ms. Ghazal asks the minister to abandon the opening of a Quebec office in Tel Aviv. “There are still crimes against humanity that have been committed by the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. So we cannot accept that. And the government, I think, does not accept that. You have to be consistent with what you think,” she argued.

QS supported by the PQ

In the letter sent to the Commission on Institutions, QS writes that the opening of the Quebec office in Tel Aviv raised “many questions” and that “several contradictory information has circulated on the subject, in particular on the date of the “establishment of the office in Tel Aviv, at the workplace of the director of the office and on the very nature of the mandate of this office”. The party argues that “there is an issue of trust, transparency and respect for institutions” and asks the commission to study the possibility of acquiring a mandate of initiative, a decision which allows a commission to take up a particular question.

The request for an initiative mandate from QS was supported by the Parti Québécois. “We agree [with the fact] that an initiative mandate would make it possible to explore these questions,” declared MP Pascal Paradis. He cited “problems with international relations, candor and transparency.”

“Minister Biron affirmed, including in a written declaration tabled in the National Assembly, that the office was managed in Montreal while the director was in Tel Aviv; the government says that proceeding with the opening in the middle of an armed conflict changes nothing while in diplomatic terms, it is on the contrary a signal; Minister Biron affirms that the office in Tel Aviv will be a bridgehead for a strategy with the Arab and Muslim countries of the region, while the ministry's documents do not mention such a strategy, which moreover appears ill-advised, particularly in the context of the Gaza offensive,” he also argued.

For Ruba Ghazal, “it would really be the least we could do, for transparency for Quebecers,” for the minister and Mr. Hakobyan to answer questions from elected officials about the opening of this office. “Or at the very least, let them explain themselves in another way, publicly,” she qualified. For its part, the Liberal Party of Quebec said it was in favor of opening an office in Tel Aviv, “in order to improve our diplomatic and economic relations in this region.” The party still said it was interested in hearing CAQ elected officials explain themselves in a parliamentary committee.

In response to QS's request, Ms. Biron's press secretary, Catherine Boucher, wrote that “the Institutions Commission is sovereign and [that] the minister lets the members do their work” . “We will take note of the decision,” she added. The majority of the members of the commission are members of the Coalition Avenir Québec.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116