Canada: International relations and foreign policy June 2022-

Written by  //  August 5, 2022  //  Canada, Foreign Policy  //  No comments

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

2-5 August
Sabrina Maddeaux: The incredibly incompetent Mélanie Joly
Foreign affairs is too important a cabinet position to be handled so carelessly
(National Post) … She says she didn’t know about Five Eyes intelligence reports that warned Ukrainian embassy staff were likely on Russian hit lists.
This boggles the mind on many levels. Let’s presume for a minute Joly is telling the truth — a presumption that admittedly requires quite the suspension of disbelief.
This would mean senior Global Affairs staff are routinely failing to inform the minister about critical information.
It would also mean Joly somehow managed to miss headline reports in the world’s largest media outlets that Russia was preparing kill lists.
Then she would have to be so naive, so terribly uninformed about world history and global affairs that she didn’t perceive a risk to Ukrainian staffers that a first-year poli sci student could’ve predicted.
And this is only the Ukraine file. Where’s the China policy that was promised back in 2019? Sources tell the Globe and Mail it’s in the works, but as an Indo-Pacific strategy that looks like it won’t mention … wait for it … China. Meanwhile, the ambassador to China role has been empty for six months.
Despite deciding in 2017 a “focused effort” was needed to deal with what the U.N. calls ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and their further suffering in Bangladesh refugee camps, Canada still isn’t doing much beyond naming special envoys.
Joly says Global Affairs is undertaking an internal process to sort out the Ukraine fiasco among other problems. But the time for vague and never-ending processes, reviews and committee groupthink is over. It’s time for decisive action.
There really should be no scenario in which Joly can in good conscience keep her job.

Mélanie Joly invites committee to study whether Ottawa knew of Russian threat to Ukrainian embassy staff
(Globe & Mail) She said she was aware of intelligence reports that the U.S. made public before the Russian invasion of Ukraine that Moscow had lists of people they intended to detain or kill – but that she did not know of any Ukrainians who worked for the Canadian embassy being named on these lists.
“There were some lists specifically targeting Ukrainian people in Ukraine and of course we were preoccupied with these targetings,” she said.
As to whether local staff at the Canadian embassy were under threat, Ms. Joly told the committee: “I didn’t have that information. My team didn’t have that information. You heard the deputy. The department didn’t have that information.”
Several Ukrainian staff members have high public profiles, one source said, and would be likely Russian targets. Diplomats interviewed by The Globe say if Ms. Joly spoke to Ukrainian staff in January, she should have been aware of their terror and their request to flee.
This comment on the Globe & Mail story succinctly sums up the issue although too kind to the Minister, in our opinion
The Minister is putting the wrong questions to the wrong people. The issue isn’t whether there were “lists”, etc. of our Ukrainian employees under threat. That seems too specific and exact. The more likely scenario is that there were indications that Ukrainians working for Western embassies would be targetted for something once the Russians had conquered Kiev. But even this general type of suggestion should have animated GAC and the Canadian embassy to do something to help Ukrainian staff. Instead, fools in Ottawa, based on suspect policies of the past, directed the mission to do nothing. It isn’t the NSICOP that should be looking at this. It’s an outside investigator, not bound to the government. As for Joly, she is being badly served by a department that can’t seem to get its act together, and by an embassy (and an ambassador) that should have fought back and refused whatever nonsensical instructions were received. And instead of a witch-hunt into finding the staff who spoke to the Globe, GAC should be looking at those directing the Ukrainian operation in Ottawa. Clearly there should be consequences.
Unbelievable – literally

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says she didn’t know Kyiv embassy staff faced threat from Russia
(Globe & Mail) “Morally, we have an obligation toward our locally engaged staff,” Ms. Joly said on Wednesday at a news conference in Montreal, after being asked about The Globe’s report. She added that Global Affairs Canada is in the midst of an internal process that is examining this and other issues.
“Never did I or the department have any information targeting locally engaged staff,” she said.
“We never got that information. [Not] me, nor my team, nor the department.”
Canada abandoned Ukrainian embassy employees despite their likelihood of being on Russian hit list
The decision to leave without informing local staff members or providing for their safety was based on a Canadian policy articulated in a Harper government memorandum in 2014. According to one of the diplomats who spoke to The Globe, the document said there should be no duty of care for locally engaged staff when an embassy is abandoned. Another of the diplomatic sources said the memo was drawn up as justification for Canada’s 2012 decision to close its embassy in Iran without evacuating local staff there. …
The duty of care diplomatic personnel have toward local staff members has been interpreted in different ways by Canada over time. Halvard Leira, a fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, wrote in a recent article in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy that, during the fall of Saigon in 1975, while the United States evacuated thousands of Vietnamese personnel and their families, including embassy staff, “the Canadian Embassy in Saigon evacuated with souvenirs and cars, but without the local staff.”
By contrast, when the Canadian embassy in Beirut was evacuated in 1985, local staff members were given the option of immigrating to Canada.

10-15 July
Canadian lawmakers will be called to explain return of Nord Stream turbines
House committee votes to probe the decision that one Conservative MP called ‘a slap in the face to the Ukrainian people.’
(Politico) Two federal ministers and three ambassadors will be asked to appear before the House of Commons foreign affairs committee to discuss the Canadian government’s controversial decision to return six Nord Stream 1 turbines to Germany.
During a meeting Friday, the committee agreed to call on Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to explain why the government decided to waive sanctions on Russia and return the pipeline parts to Germany, where they will be used to help deliver natural gas from Russia. The ministers will be asked to appear by July 22, subject to their availability.
Why is Canada’s turbine return to Russia’s Gazprom fuelling sparks? Here’s what we know
(Global) …the impacts of the butchery in Ukraine have spilled over beyond its borders, causing higher prices and shortages of everything from grain to electronic chips to fuel.
It is the latter that’s sparking the latest round of debate and criticism, after the Canadian government agreed to let Siemens Canada return six turbines under maintenance in Montreal to Germany — to be handed over to Russia‘s Gazprom to install back onto the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Canada to return repaired Nord Stream 1 turbine, expand sanctions on Russia
(Reuters) – Canada will return a repaired turbine to Germany that is needed for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline and could help to ensure continued flows of energy until Europe can end its dependency on Russian gas, Canada’s minister of natural resources said.
Ukraine expresses ‘deep disappointment’ as Canada sends back six Russian turbines to Germany
The Canadian government on Saturday announced it would return the turbines – using an exemption to get around Ottawa’s sanctions on Russia – citing requests from Germany and other European countries trying to replenish gas stocks for the winter months ahead.
The grounded turbines will be sent to Germany, whose government will then turn them over to Russia.
Mr. Trudeau was under intense pressure from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who raised the turbine issue with him at the G7 summit in late June. Mr. Scholz is planning a trade visit to Canada on Aug. 22 and 23 to push for the construction of liquefied natural gas export facilities on Canada’s East Coast.
Germany is also interested in investing in green hydrogen projects, and in the mining of critical minerals that are essential to the country’s automotive, chemicals and high-tech industries.

7 July
Canada has pressing interests in the Indo-Pacific region. It’s time we started acting like it:
Stephen Nagy
Outside of North America, the Indo-Pacific region presents the largest economic opportunity for Canadians
(the Hub) The Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, AUKUS, and the Indo-Pacific Framework have two things in common. First, they are meant to contribute to sustainable institution building in the Indo-Pacific, and second, Canada is not part of any of these mini-lateral arrangements.
Considering Canada is a G-7 country, is part of the Five Eyes Network, and is participating in maritime security operations in the Sea of Japan through the Neon Operations to ensure that North Korea does not evade sanctions, its absence is conspicuous.
Why is Canada being excluded from these emerging institutions in the Indo-Pacific region? Why is Canada not seen as a second or third choice for these emerging institutions that are providing the framework for institutional building within the Indo-Pacific?
There are possibly three explanations for Canada’s absence: 1) political leadership; 2) domestic literacy about the importance of the Indo-Pacific region and how that translates into Indo-Pacific policies; and 3) credibility.
… Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Defence Minister Anita Anand received mandate letters to develop a Canadian Indo-Pacific Strategy in December 2021. In June 2022, Canada’s Indo-Pacific Advisory Committee was formed to contribute to formulating a strategy. This comes more than a year after the May 2021 Shared Canada-Japan Priorities for contributing to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

6 July
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly won’t shake hands with Sergey Lavrov at G20
She told The Canadian Press she plans to instead take aim at the Russian foreign minister’s falsehoods about the invasion of Ukraine.
“I will confront him with facts and expose Russia’s narrative for what it is: lies and disinformation,” she said in a written reply to questions.

5 July
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Canada ratifying Finland and Sweden’s Accession Protocols to join NATO.
Today, Canada, became the first country to ratify the Accession Protocols of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. This brings the two countries a step closer to full membership.
“As a close friend and security partner, Canada strongly supports Finland and Sweden joining NATO. At the NATO Summit last week, I met with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Magdalena Andersson, to directly reiterate Canada’s strong support.

4 July
Canadian Delegation encourages global action in protecting the ocean at the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon
From June 27 to July 1, 2022, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, led Canada’s delegation to the UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) in Lisbon, Portugal. The conference was an opportunity for Canada to meet bilaterally with likeminded countries on ocean issues and advance priorities like sustainable fisheries, protecting 25 per cent of marine space by 2025 while advocating for 30 per cent by 2030 and developing a blue economy.
Canada fulfilled its objectives for the meeting by:
Jointly launching the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Action Alliance with the US and the UK while co-hosting a side event on transparency, technology, and combatting IUU fishing. This alliance adds to Canada’s partnerships with other governments and non-governmental organizations to advance research, development and data collection and sharing to combat IUU fishing;
Advocating for Canada’s approach to sustainable fisheries, which Canada did through co-chairing a discussion on the importance of sustainable fisheries and how small-scale artisanal harvesters can gain better access to marine resources and markets …
The Canadian delegation also took the opportunity to invite the ocean community to the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), a UN Ocean Decade endorsed event, that will take place in Vancouver February 3-9, 2023. Canada will host this global forum, alongside the Host First Nations (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh), bringing together ocean conservation experts and high-level officials to inform, inspire and act on marine protected areas.

3 July
Bob Rae reflects on Canada’s role in an increasingly unstable world (audio)
(CBC Sunday Magazine) Looking back on two years in his role as Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bob Rae shares his thoughts on the limitations and successes of the UN, Canada’s commitment to fighting the war in Ukraine, how we can help the record number of displaced people around the world, and what Canadians can do to stave off despair in troubled times.

Colin Robertson: In recent weeks the Canadian Government has announced it will expand our diplomatic presence abroad: our office in Kigali, Rwanda becomes a High Commission, with a permanent observer to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the conversion into embassies of our offices in Estonia, Lithuania, and Slovakia; and an embassy with a resident ambassador in Armenia. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has also announced a review of how Canada does diplomacy.
Meanwhile the [The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade] is holding hearings on Foreign Service and I recently appeared before them.
The full transcript, also including the remarks of fellow CGAI Fellows Patricia Fortier and Randolph Mank, as well as former deputy ministers Morris Rosenberg and Ian Shugart is here: The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
[This] piece I wrote that expands on my testimony.

14 June
Canada and Denmark End Their Arctic Whisky War
Ian Austen
The two countries agreed to divide an island that sits between Canada and Greenland and defined the area’s international border.
Denmark and Canada signed an agreement Tuesday splitting up the land rights to Hans Island, a small piece of land in the Arctic that sits on the sea border between the two nations.
Ms. Joly said that the newly settled marine boundary between Canada and Denmark, which she characterized as the longest in the world, will provide an important example to other nations as they deal with questions surrounding the Arctic seabed and the resources it contains.
The ministers said that reaching an agreement involved talks by both countries with Inuit who live on both sides of the border and who know the island as Tartupaluk. Mr. Kofod said that the agreement protects their cross-border hunting and fishing rights and also ensures that the new boundary will not hinder travel across Hans Island.

As Others ‘Decouple,’ Canada Moves to Mend China Relations
(VoA) At a time when the United States and some of its allies are seeking to reduce their dependence on China for strategic and other goods, Canada is looking to move past an ugly spat that drove relations with Beijing to a historic low.
Less than a year after the resolution of a dispute that saw a senior Huawai executive detained in Vancouver and two Canadians jailed for three years in China, trade between the two countries is setting new records and officials say they are eager to mend the relationship.

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