Minister Jolie says one Chinese diplomat refused visa under her watch

Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie told a committee on March 9 that the federal government had denied diplomatic visas to members of the Chinese government.

“When China wanted to send political operatives last fall, we decided to refuse visas, which is clearly the right thing to do.”

globe and mail report On March 8, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) refused to grant visas to Chinese diplomats in the fall of 2022 for a new position dubbed “the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party.”

A source reportedly told the newspaper that the new position was “clearly not a diplomatic position” and would likely involve foreign interference activities.

NDP MP Rachel Blaney asked Joly how a diplomat who boasted of successfully interfering in Canadian elections could remain in the country in connection with a visa denial.

Blaney was referring to information from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. clearly Former Chinese Consul General in Vancouver, Tong Xiaolin, said he boasted about beating two Conservative MPs in the 2021 election, according to The Globe and Mail on Feb. 17.

“I’m trying to get some clarity. Were there any specific changes in the process?” Blaney asked.

Jolie responded that there has been a “higher level of awareness” at the GAC in recent months regarding the distribution of visas to diplomats.

“I have instructed my department not to hesitate to deny a visa if it is a political operative and therefore associated with the Chinese Communist Party,” she said.

The minister also said it was easier to prevent diplomats from coming than to expel them after they came.

Regarding the issue of expulsions, Jolie said no expulsions have taken place since 2015.

She said fears of reprisal and lack of evidence were reasons why Canada did not expel Chinese diplomats over Beijing’s interference.

“If there are Chinese diplomats who ignore the Vienna Convention, we will take action,” Jolie said.

The minister said a consular incident in China was keeping her up at night and that losing a diplomatic representative in retaliation would affect those efforts.

The federal government is based on a vast body of information about foreign interference by the Chinese Communist Party, some of which has been published by the press in recent months.

This led to calls for a public inquiry, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused.

Prime Minister Trudeau instead appointed a special rapporteur to advise on next steps to address the issue of foreign interference and tasked intelligence agencies with investigating past elections.

Meanwhile, the House Procedures and House Affairs Committee, which is advancing its study of foreign interference, held a second hearing from Jolie on March 9. Appeared December 13th.

Opposition lawmakers are now trying to get Prime Minister Trudeau’s chief of staff to testify before the committee, while Liberal lawmakers are filibustering to avoid voting on motions they lose.