Decision on Chinese diplomat being made ‘very, very carefully:’ Trudeau（特鲁多：关于中国外交官的决定“非常、非常谨慎”）
How to kick a diplomat out of Canada（如何将外交官驱逐出加拿大）
Minister blames ‘hostile actors’ for Chong controversy but won’t say who in government failed to warn MP（公安部长将庄文浩的争议归咎于“敌对行为者”）
Decision on Chinese diplomat being made ‘very, very carefully:’ Trudeau
Foreign affairs minister says Canada must weigh potential consequences
The Canadian Press · Posted: May 07, 2023 10:44 AM EDT | Last Updated: May 8
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in London Sunday that his government continued to weigh the consequences of expelling a Chinese diplomat. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says any decision to expel a Chinese diplomat over alleged attempts to threaten a Conservative MP is being made “very, very carefully.”
Trudeau says his government needs to consider potential Chinese backlash and what that would mean for the safety of Canadians and the prosperity of the country.
“This is a serious and significant question,” Trudeau said, speaking with reporters in London.
“This is a decision not to be taken lightly and the foreign minister is leaning into this very, very carefully.”
Trudeau’s words Sunday echoed Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly’s response to questions about foreign interference in an interviewing airing on Rosemary Barton Live. Joly told CBC chief political correspondent that she was weighing the consequences of action.
“It’s about [Chong], but it’s also about the interests of the country, and as foreign minister I have to make sure that it is the right decision. And it will be the right decision.” She added that “all options are on the table.”
Joly said that Canada had learned from the detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor that China could react in a way that negatively affected Canada on a broad range of levels, from economic to consular.
There’s increasing pressure on the Canadian government to expel a Chinese diplomat who is suspected of intimidating MP Michael Chong and his family. The foreign minister says the government is weighing its options and the potential consequences.
Conservative MP Michael Chong discovered only last week after a report in the Globe and Mail that CSIS had information in 2021 that the Chinese government was looking at ways to intimidate him and his extended family in Hong Kong.
Chong had sponsored a motion in the House of Commons labelling Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China a genocide.
Trudeau has said CSIS did not tell anyone outside the spy agency about the threats, but Chong has said he was told the national security adviser knew about the information.
Trudeau says CSIS now has a directive that any such information be elevated to the highest levels, even if it seems minor.
“Does that mean every potential threat will land on my desk? Not necessarily, but it will mean that ministers and top public servants need to be assessed on it and anything that is deemed to be credible, we will take the necessary action on,” Trudeau said.
“There wasn’t a directive on this before.”
The revelation about Chong is the latest in a string of foreign interference attempts allegedly made by the Chinese government in Canada in recent years, including efforts to influence the results of the 2019 and 2021 federal elections.
All political parties have agreed any attempted interference did not affect the final outcome of those elections, but Trudeau has appointed a special rapporteur to dig into what has happened and how Canada has and should respond.
Former governor general David Johnston, who was appointed to that role, is to decide in about three weeks if a public inquiry is necessary and report back on all his findings by the fall.
The Conservatives and NDP want to go right to a public inquiry.
China denies all of it, including the allegations that one of its Toronto-based diplomats tried to start an intimidation campaign against Chong and his family.
With files from CBC News
How to kick a diplomat out of Canada
Diplomats have special protections under the law – but they have to leave when they’re no longer welcome
Richard Raycraft · CBC News · Posted: May 06, 2023 4:00 AM EDT | Last Updated: May 6
The federal government is under heavy political pressure to expel a foreign diplomat from Canada. Such expulsions are rare — but they do happen.
Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail reported that Zhao Wei, a diplomat at the Chinese consulate in Toronto, was allegedly working on efforts to threaten the family members of Conservative MP Michael Chong.
Chong, whose father was from Hong Kong, has relatives in China. The Chinese Embassy in Canada and Beijing’s foreign affairs spokesperson have denied the allegations.
The Conservatives have demanded repeatedly that the Trudeau government explain why it has not yet sent Zhao packing. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Thursday that the government hasn’t made a decision yet.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say whether his government plans to expel Zhao.
“This is a big step, not a small step, to expel diplomats. It’s one that has to be taken with due consideration on all the potential impacts and all the very clear messages that it will send,” Trudeau said.
“This is something that [Joly] is looking at very carefully, looking at all the information around it, and she will make a decision in due course.”
The government can expel Zhao at any time — legally, it doesn’t even have to offer a reason for the move. It would do so simply by declaring Zhao persona non grata, a Latin phrase meaning “person not welcome.”
Canada is a signatory to the 1961 Vienna Convention, a United Nations treaty. Article nine of the convention says that a country “may, at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata.”
Canada can also declare a foreign diplomat persona non grata prior to their arrival in this country.
Expulsion is often a country’s only option for sanctioning a foreign diplomat. Article 31 of the Vienna Convention grants diplomats immunity from criminal prosecution and in most civil matters while posted to foreign countries.
Canada has expelled diplomats from a number of countries over the years.
In 2018, Canada expelled four Russian diplomats and denied three Russian applications for additional diplomatic staff. Then-foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland cited a nerve gas attack on a Russian dissident in the United Kingdom as the reason for the decision. The move was made in concert with several allies.
In 2013, under then-foreign affairs minister John Baird, Canada expelled an Eritrean diplomat, Semere Ghebremariam O. Micael. He was the head of Eritrea’s consulate general in Toronto. Media outlets had reported O. Micael was allegedly soliciting a “diaspora tax” on Eritreans in Canada.
“The Eritrean government is welcome to propose another candidate to represent it in Canada, but that person must be prepared to play by the rules. Our resolve on this matter should not be further tested,” Baird said in a news release on the expulsion.
A year earlier, Canada expelled all Syrian diplomats in response to the Houla massacre in the Syrian Civil War.
Syria wasn’t the only country Canada severed diplomatic relations with in 2012. In September of that year, the government declared all Iranian diplomats persona non grata, closed the Iranian embassy in Ottawa and shuttered the Canadian embassy in Tehran.
“Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” Baird said in a news release.
“The Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel.”
Andrei Knyazev, a Russian diplomat based in Ottawa, drove his car into a sidewalk in 2001, killing one pedestrian and severely injuring another. Knyazev refused a breathalyzer test, citing diplomatic immunity. Canada subsequently expelled him and the Russian foreign ministry fired him.
A Moscow court found Knyazev guilty of involuntary mansalughter and sentenced him to four years in a penal colony.
Knyazev’s case preceded two similar incidents involving diplomats and drunk driving, including a case which saw Japan recall a diplomat accused of DUI in 2002.
Canada expelled two Chinese diplomats in 1970s after Canada established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1970. A Globe and Mail report, citing confidential sources, said one Chinese diplomat was ordered to leave in 1977 over attempts to influence and infiltrate Chinese-Canadian organizations.
Minister blames ‘hostile actors’ for Chong controversy but won’t say who in government failed to warn MP
Marco Mendicino points finger at ‘hostile actors’
Richard Raycraft · CBC News · Posted: May 08, 2023 1:53 PM EDT |
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino would not say Monday who within the government was responsible for failing to warn Conservative MP Michael Chong that a Chinese diplomat allegedly was targeting his family for reprisals.
Instead, Mendicino blamed “hostile actors” for the controversy.
“The person or persons who are most responsible for any threats that may have been made against Mr. Chong and his family, are the hostile actors who are engineering them, and that is absolutely unacceptable,” Mendicino said.
“We’re going to continue to put in place … the additional powers and tools that are necessary to hold those hostile actors accountable.”
The Globe and Mail, citing top secret document from 2021, reported last week that the Chinese government was targeting a Canadian MP. An unnamed security source reportedly told The Globe that Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei was allegedly working on efforts to target Chong’s family in China.
Chong has been a vocal critic of the Chinese government and had voted in favour of a House of Commons motion calling Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur minority in China a genocide. Several senior government ministers, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said they first learned about the intelligence regarding Chong through the Globe story.
Last week, Mendicino said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was responsible for failing to brief the prime minister and himself on the situation.
The government briefed Chong last week and has maintained that the intelligence never went beyond CSIS prior to last week. But Trudeau’s national security adviser Jody Thomas said the information was shared with the Privy Council Office (PCO). Trudeau said last week that he’ll compel CSIS to share intelligence about threats to MPs in light of the Chong case.
On Monday, Mendicino did not suggest that his government could have better handled the intelligence on Chong. He said the government is taking the right approach to protecting parliamentarians.
“That isn’t just true of Mr. Chong, that’s true of all 338 MPs who work in the chamber, who’ve got a right to be able to do their job … free of foreign interference,” Mendicino said.
The Conservatives repeatedly have called on the government to expel Zhao, but the government has not committed to doing so.
“The prime minister and [Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie] Joly have made it very clear that all options are on the table when it comes to sanctioning any foreign actor who may have engaged in foreign interference,” Mendicino said.
Mendicino repeatedly said national security law limits what he can say publicly on foreign interference.
“I also think it’s important to highlight that we also have to respect the law,” he said.
“Me and the other members of the government, the prime minister, anyone who works in the national security space has a legal obligation, under the Security of Information Act, to ensure that classified information stays classified, because lives are at stake.”
In an annual report last week, CSIS disclosed that it provided 49 security briefings to federal parliamentarians in 2022.
Minister should ‘get off his butt’: Tory critic
The government has been under opposition pressure to establish a foreign agents’ registry and to call a public inquiry on foreign interference.
The government has launched a public consultation on a registry and the has left the decision on whether to call a public inquiry up to former governor general David Johnston. The government appointed Johnston as special rapporteur on foreign interference earlier this year.
Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho on Monday called for Mendicino to “get off his butt” and take more aggressive action to combat foreign interference, saying keeping Canadians safe from foreign government’s should be Ottawa’s top priority.
“I would give the minister of public safety a giant fail on this, and you saw last week that he wasn’t being transparent at all with what he knew and when he knew,” Dancho said.
“And what exactly has he done about it? What one thing could he point to since he found out that he’s done about it, to keep Canadians safe from foreign inference and abuse, for our members of Parliament and Canadians? Nothing. He’s done nothing about it.”