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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: Canada’s embassy in Beijing says its posts were censored on Chinese social media

Canadian Embassy says censors have removed its posts about a United Nations report on human rights in Xinjiang from two Chinese social media platforms. The embassy tweeted that it shared Canada’s response to this week’s report on Weibo and WeChat, but the posts were taken down. The report published Wednesday says China’s treatment of Muslim minorities in western Xinjiang province may constitute crimes against humanity. The Canadian Embassy shared screenshots of what appeared to be postings in Chinese on its Weibo and WeChat accounts. They are word-for-word translations of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly’s English-language response to the report, saying its findings reflect “credible accounts of grave human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang.” (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/canadian-embassy-says-its-xinjiang-posts-were-censored-on-chinese-social-media/) The UN report says “urgent attention” is needed from the international community to address the human rights situation in the province.

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.

Newsline: Canadian Ambassador to U.S. says there is no justification to change border restrictions

Canada’s Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman said there is no justification to ease the Canada-U.S. land border restrictions any time soon. Speaking to CTV’s Power Play, Hillman stressed that either country is not prepared to loosen border restrictions before 2021. “The way we’re seeing the virus progress — at this time there’s no justification for changing in any significant way the measures that are in place,” Hillman said. (https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canadian-ambassador-to-u-s-says-there-is-no-justification-to-change-border-restrictions-1.5169099) The Canada-U.S. border closure agreement was set to expire on Oct. 21, but the Canadian government announced an extension until at least Nov. 21. When asked if the Canadian embassy is getting any pushback from the U.S. regarding restrictions, she said both Canada and the U.S. are satisfied because the measures are doing what they are intended to do — limit the spread of COVID-19. “I have conversations with the U.S. administrations probably every couple of weeks on the issue of the border, and the issue of the measures we have in place,” said Hillman. “The measures were designed to limit non-essential travel, while still allowing the free flow of commercial travel and trade and essential travel and essential workers,” she said. The current agreement on the U.S.-Canada border closure to non-essential travel was first imposed in March and has been renewed every month since. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited, although trade and commerce are exempt, as are certain family members and loved ones who can make a case on compassionate grounds to be allowed into Canada.

Newsline: China complains to Canada after media skewers ambassador’s comments on Hong Kong

China said Monday that it has complained to Canada for allegedly condoning anti-China comments that appeared in Canadian media following controversial remarks made by the Chinese ambassador. Ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years amid China’s outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Last week, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs. “If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said last week in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa. On Saturday, the Toronto Sun published an editorial calling on Cong to either apologize or leave Canada. “It’s not enough for the Trudeau government to publicly scold Cong,” the paper said. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not identify specific comments that he said resulted from a deliberate misinterpretation of Cong’s remarks, but said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.” (https://www.cp24.com/world/china-complains-to-canada-after-media-skewers-ambassador-s-comments-on-hong-kong-1.5150627) “We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and have lodged solemn complaints with the Canadian side,” Zhao told reporters Monday at a daily briefing.

Newsline: China complains to Canada after media skewers ambassador’s comments on Hong Kong

China said Monday that it has complained to Canada for allegedly condoning anti-China comments that appeared in Canadian media following controversial remarks made by the Chinese ambassador. Ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years amid China’s outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Last week, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs. “If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said last week in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa. On Saturday, the Toronto Sun published an editorial calling on Cong to either apologize or leave Canada. “It’s not enough for the Trudeau government to publicly scold Cong,” the paper said. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not identify specific comments that he said resulted from a deliberate misinterpretation of Cong’s remarks, but said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.” (https://www.cp24.com/world/china-complains-to-canada-after-media-skewers-ambassador-s-comments-on-hong-kong-1.5150627) “We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and have lodged solemn complaints with the Canadian side,” Zhao told reporters Monday at a daily briefing.

Newsline: China ambassador makes veiled threat to Hong Kong-based Canadians

China’s ambassador to Canada has appeared to threaten Hong Kong-based Canadians if Ottawa offers asylum to protesters from the territory. Cong Peiwu made the comments at a news conference on Thursday where he also accused Canada of being an “accomplice” to the US in detaining Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou. Canada is among several countries that suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong in response to Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law in June. Dozens of MPs recently called for Canada to offer “safe harbour” to pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong, prompting the warning from Cong. “We strongly urge the Canadian side not to grant so-called political asylum to those violent criminals in Hong Kong, because it is interference in China’s domestic affairs, and certainly it will embolden those violent criminals,” Cong said. “If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong, and a large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes.” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/16/china-ambassador-makes-veiled-threat-to-hong-kong-based-canadians) When asked if his words were a threat, Cong reportedly replied: “That is your interpretation.” Canadian foreign affairs minister, François-Philippe Champagne, said Cong’s comments were inappropriate and he had instructed the ministry to call in the ambassador for a meeting. “The reported comments by the Chinese ambassador are totally unacceptable and disturbing,” Champagne told the Globe and Mail.