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Archive for Canada

Newsline: Canada Summons Chinese Ambassador Repeatedly

Recently, the “police stations” that China has established in Canada have been a source of concern in Ottawa. The Canadian government has confirmed that it has repeatedly summoned the Chinese ambassador to request an end to these activities. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized that the government will ensure that the nation’s citizens are not subject to foreign government interference or impacted in their daily lives. In October of this year, international human rights organization Safeguard Defenders released a report revealing that China has set up at least 54 “police stations” in 30 countries around the world, three of which are located in the Greater Toronto area of Canada. Since this information was made public, it has garnered significant attention. Weldon Epp, the director of the Northeast Asia department of Canada’s Global Affairs department, explained at a meeting of the Canada-China Relations Committee that Ottawa takes this matter very seriously. He stated, “We have had multiple contacts with the Chinese side, summoning the ambassador multiple times to express our deep concerns. The Canadian government has formally demanded that the Chinese government, including the ambassador and embassy, be held accountable for any activities within Canada that are not part of the Vienna Convention and ensure that these activities are stopped.” (https://swarajyamag.com/world/canada-summons-chinese-ambassador-repeatedly-telling-him-to-stop-the-operation-of-ccp-police-stations-on-canadian-soil) The Chinese embassy in Canada issued a statement saying that the purpose of the service stations is to provide free services such as vision and hearing exams, as well as physical examinations, to Chinese citizens living abroad. This is meant to make it easier for them to replace driver’s licenses and other documents. According to the Vienna Convention, consular and administrative services should be provided by embassies and consulates.

Newsline: China’s consulate in Toronto accused of election interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of attempting to interfere in the country’s elections. Mr Trudeau accused Beijing of playing “aggressive games” with democracies and of targeting Canadian institutions. It comes as local media report that Canadian intelligence identified a “clandestine network” of Beijing-backed candidates at recent elections. At least 11 candidates were supported by China in the 2019 federal elections, officials reportedly told Mr Trudeau. Citing unnamed intelligence officials, local broadcaster Global News reported that Beijing had directed funds to the candidates and that Chinese operatives had acted as campaign advisers to many candidates. The operation, which was reportedly directed from China’s consulate in Toronto, also sought to place operatives within the offices of serving MPs in an attempt to influence policy, the outlet alleged. (https://news.yahoo.com/trudeau-accuses-china-aggressive-election-045504416.html) In one case, funding of C$250,000 was directed through the office of an Ontario-based provincial MP. And efforts were also made to “co-opt and corrupt” former Canadian officials in a bid to gain influence within political circles. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denied these allegations. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China has no interest in meddling in Canadian elections.

Newsline: Canada mulls loosening French requirements for diplomats

A Senate committee studying the future of Canada’s foreign service is pondering whether French needs to be a lower priority for recruiting diplomats as Ottawa pivots its foreign policy toward the Indo-Pacific. The issue has emerged in ongoing hearings at the Senate foreign-affairs committee, which is looking into whether Global Affairs Canada is designed to successfully execute Canada’s foreign-policy goals. British Columbia Sen. Yuen Pao Woo told his colleagues that many from his province have an expertise in Asian languages and cultures, but seem to be held back due to their lack of French. “I wonder if it might be possible to rank the intrinsic savvy and skill that some Canadians have,” he suggested, in order to “counteract some of the lower scores that we get for deficiencies in French.” (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/senators-ponder-loosening-french-requirements-for-diplomats-as-canada-pivots-to-asia/) At the Nov. 3 meeting, Woo argued that diplomats should still be learning French, but that this could be treated as a lower priority for diplomats than for other public servants.

Newsline: Vatican diplomat wanted in Canada on child porn charges

An arrest warrant has been issued in Canada for Msgr. Carlo Capella, the Vatican diplomat recalled from service in Washington in late August, who already was the subject of a Vatican criminal investigation involving child pornography. Police in Windsor, Ontario, issued a statement Sept. 28 saying, “A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Carlo Capella, a 50-year-old male, for the charges of: access(ing) child pornography, possess(ing) child pornography and distribut(ing) child pornography.” “Investigators believe that the offenses occurred while the suspect was visiting a place of worship in Windsor,” the statement said. “Investigators have determined that the suspect has returned to his residence in Italy.” (https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican-diplomat-also-wanted-canada-child-porn-charges) Capella had worked since the summer of 2016 at the Vatican nunciature in Washington. Prior to that, he worked on the Italy desk at the Vatican Secretariat of State. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1993 for the Archdiocese of Milan. Although the Vatican has not publicly confirmed Capella’s identity, it did not object when many news outlets identified him as the Vatican diplomat recalled from Washington.

Newsline: Israeli embassy claims Canada not doing enough for security

The Embassy of Israel in Canada says that the host government is not providing a proper level of security, leaving the Ottawa diplomatic mission vulnerable to threats. Canadian public broadcaster CBC interviewed two senior officials with the embassy who said that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) downgraded security shortly after Israel’s former ambassador to Canada, Nimrod Barkan, retired in November 2019. That level of protection involved 24-hour security for the ambassador for movements between the embassy and official residence. (https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/americas/1665640651-israeli-embassy-says-canada-not-doing-enough-for-security) During the Covid-19 pandemic the ambassadorial position was left vacant, with a chargé d’affaires temporarily representing the Jewish state in Canada’s capital city. Embassy officials told CBC that after the current ambassador, Ronen Hoffman, started his term in December 2021, the embassy asked the RCMP to provide the same level of security his predecessor received. However, this request was rejected by Global Affairs Canada, the government department that manages the country’s diplomatic and consular relations, as well as by the RCMP.

Newsline: Canada names first female ambassador to China

Canada appointed Jennifer May its first female ambassador to China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, taking over a role that has been open since December of last year amid ongoing diplomatic tensions with the Asian economic powerhouse. “Ms. May will lead Canada’s important work in standing up for democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law,” Trudeau said. “Her work will be key to advancing Canadian priorities in the Canada-China relationship.” (https://news.yahoo.com/canada-names-jennifer-may-first-135214758.html) May is a veteran diplomat with 30 years’ experience, Trudeau said in a statement. She most recently served as Canada’s ambassador to Brazil, and during her career has worked in the Canadian missions in Beijing and Hong Kong. In 2019, Canada named Kirsten Hillman, another career diplomat, to be its first female ambassador to the United States.

Newsline: Moscow summons Canada envoy over Russian embassy attacks in Ottawa

Russia’s foreign ministry has summoned the Canadian ambassador and issued a protest over attacks on the Russian embassy in Ottawa, the ministry said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/moscow-summons-canada-envoy-over-145029900.html) It said an unknown person threw a Molotov cocktail onto the grounds of the Russian embassy in Ottawa. It also said “aggressive” demonstrators had blocked an entrance to the consular section of the embassy.

Newsline: Diplomat involved in Canada police altercation was in legal dispute with landlord

The Senegalese diplomat involved in an allegedly violent Gatineau Police Service intervention later deemed “totally unacceptable” by Global Affairs Canada was embroiled in a rental dispute in the leadup to last week’s incident. In a June 2022 decision by Quebec’s provincial rental tribunal, the diplomat was ordered to pay more than $45,000, plus interest, to a landlord who claimed his home in Gatineau’s Aylmer sector was damaged during the diplomat’s stay there. Tribunal database information obtained by Radio-Canada also indicates a “notice of execution” was filed in the case on July 29, followed by a notice to “enter a place” on Aug. 2 — the same day the altercation took place between Gatineau police officers and the Embassy of Senegal diplomat, who was working from home. (https://ici.radio-canada.ca/rci/en/news/1904204/diplomat-involved-in-gatineau-police-altercation-was-in-legal-dispute-with-landlord) Last week, Senegal’s government issued a statement alleging that “Canadian police exercised humiliating physical and moral violence on the diplomat in front of witnesses and in the presence of her minor children.” In its own version of events, the Gatineau Police Service said officers were accompanying a bailiff executing an order. Police arrested an aggressive person after one officer was punched, and a second officer was bitten while the person resisted arrest, according to that account. Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security announced the province’s police watchdog is investigating the actions of officers and that a police complaint against the arrested person has been dropped “due to the applicable diplomatic immunity.” The incident involved the First Counsellor of the Embassy of Senegal in Ottawa, the ministry added. When reached by CBC News at the embassy in Ottawa on Monday, Senegal’s ambassador in Ottawa, Viviane Laure Elisabeth Bampassy, declined to comment on the incident while an investigation is underway.

Newsline: Senegal accuses Canadian police of beating diplomat in Ottawa

The Republic of Senegal says one of its on-duty diplomats in Ottawa was beaten at her home by police earlier this week, while Quebec’s Gatineau Police Service says its members subdued and arrested a person who was violent toward officers. The Embassy of Senegal posted a French-language news release from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad about the Tuesday incident on the embassy’s Facebook page on Friday afternoon. The release did not cite the police agency involved. “During this operation, the Canadian police exercised humiliating physical and moral violence on the diplomat in front of witnesses and in the presence of her minor children,” according to the release. “Despite being reminded of the victim’s status as a diplomat and of the inviolability of her home, the Canadian police officers handcuffed her and savagely beat her to the point that she had difficulty breathing, which led to … evacuation by ambulance to the hospital.” (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/senegals-government-accuses-canadian-police-of-savagely-beating-ottawa-embassy-diplomat/ar-AA10mt42) The ministry’s release did not name the diplomat or specify the location of the home. CBC has reached out to the embassy and the ministry for comment.

Newsline: Canada’s ambassador to U.S. unconcerned about 2020 election disrupting Canada’s economy

Canada’s top diplomat in Washington says she has no concerns about disruptions to Canada’s economy should the results of the U.S. presidential election be delayed — or contested. “I can’t say that we do,” Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman told CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton. “The United States often does not have final results on election night. We even saw that in midterm elections just two years ago where … several seats took quite a while … for those votes to get counted.” “We are confident that these systems are going to work,” she said in an interview on Barton’s new show, Rosemary Barton Live. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/us-election-canadas-economy-1.5785647) More than 90 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record turnout driven, in part, by a surge in mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But every state has different rules about processing and counting mail-in ballots, and many will not have a final count by the end of election day on Tuesday.