Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Canada

Newsline: Canada gifts former US embassy to tribes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday gifted a former American embassy directly across the street from parliament to Canada’s more than 600 tribes, in a symbolic rapprochement with indigenous peoples. He also ordered that a nearby building housing his offices be stripped of its name, Langevin Block, which is associated with the “cultural genocide” of Canadian aboriginals. The former embassy handover on a national day celebrating the country’s aboriginal population “symbolizes a turning point in Canada’s relationship with indigenous peoples,” a statement said. How indigenous groups will use the building is still undetermined. Suggestions include designating it as a public space for aboriginal art and cultural events, or as a base for lobbying the government. The 1930s Beaux-Arts building — designed by the same American architect who conceived of Washington’s neoclassical Supreme Court headquarters — has sat empty for 19 years, since diplomats moved to a new building a few blocks away. A former Liberal government planned in 2001 to turn it into a portrait gallery, but that idea was quashed by a subsequent Tory administration. Though the mahogany paneling, marble walls and an original 1930s elevator are intact, the building will still need a full renovation. There are holes in the walls and wires dangling from the ceiling, the result of demolition work done in preparation for its use as a portrait gallery.

https://www.nst.com.my/world/2017/06/251287/trudeau-gifts-former-us-embassy-canadas-tribes

Newsline: U.S. punishes American firm after its Canadian subsidiary leases cars to Cuban embassy in Ottawa

U.S. President Donald Trump rolled back some of the key measures of his predecessor’s rapprochement with Cuba, making it harder for American tourists to travel to the island, and harder for American corporations to do business there. That move was immediately met with a rebuke from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But as a recent case in Ottawa illustrates, American sanctions against Cuba don’t only affect Americans or American businesses. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control announced it had reached a settlement with the American Honda Finance Corporation — the institution that finances the sale and leases of Hondas and Acuras in North America. The civil liability settlement requires the company to hand over $87,255 US for violating the sanctions. The American Honda Finance Corporation is based in California, and the fine will likely be paid in the U.S., but the transaction that brought it on occurred in Canada. The cause of the dispute is a series of 13 lease agreements between Honda Canada Finance, Inc. — a majority-owned subsidiary of the American Honda Finance Corporation — and the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa. According to a notice published by the U.S. Treasury, the 13 leases were signed between Feb. 2011 and March 2014. Under U.S. law, the fact that a U.S. company was a majority shareholder of Honda Canada Finance makes the transaction subject to U.S. sanctions — even though both the lessor and the lessee were in Canada. In a statement, the Cuban government argued that the fine “not only hampers the work of Cuban diplomats in a third country, but also harms Canadian citizens and companies that maintain relations with Cuban entities.” Brittany Venhola-Fletcher of Global Affairs Canada told CBC News the sanction constitutes interference with a Canadian business transaction. “Canada has consistently opposed the extraterritorial application of United States sanctions, which interfere with the right of Canadian companies to conduct their business in a manner consistent with international trade practice and the laws of Canada.” The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa referred CBC to the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, which did not return calls about the sanction. It’s not clear whether the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa still leases vehicles from Honda.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/u-punishes-american-firm-canadian-090000381.html

Newsline: Canadian embassy suffered ‘significant’ damage in Afghanistan

Canada’s embassy in Kabul suffered “significant” damage after a powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker exploded in the diplomatic district of Afghanistan’s capital, killing at least 90 people and injuring over 350 more Wednesday. “All our Embassy employees have been accounted for and are safe,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement. “Our Canadian embassy sustained significant damage to its first floor and there was minimal impact on the rest of the building.”

http://globalnews.ca/news/3492578/canadian-embassy-kabul-damaged/

Newsline: Pakistan Embassy in Canada accused of negligence

Mismanagement and negligence displayed by the Pakistan Embassy in Canada have put the 500,000 strong Pakistani diaspora in the lurch as they do not know who to contact for passport-related issues. Many Pakistanis have lodged complaints and negligence by the Commission. Pakistani High Commission in Canada is responsible for dealing with matters relating to CNICs Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) and National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOPs). It is common knowledge that the early and timely provision of relevant identity cards to overseas Pakistanis is of utmost importance as it is mandatory for every overseas Pakistani to possess those to apply for new passports or for the renewal of old passports. Since the introduction of machine-readable passports, Pakistanis have to go to their embassies early in the morning to stand in queues and they are not dealt with as politely as they deserve. Reportedly, the Pakistani mission is sitting on prepared NICOPs or CNICs that were sent to NADRA for distribution to applicants. All these identity documents have been lying and gathering dust in the cupboards of the mission; while those who applied for the processing of these are constantly told that their NICOPs or CNICs are not ready or that they never came back from Pakistan, thus forcing them to apply and re-apply for newer NICOPs and CNICs time and again. The Pakistani diaspora has urged the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and the Foreign Office, as well as other departments concerned to take all possible measures to resolve their problems on priority. Pakistani High Commission in Canada Tariq Azim Khan could not be contacted for his version despite repeated attempts on his phone.

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/criminal-negligence-of-pak-embassy-in-canada-left-500000-pakistanis-in-the-lurch/

Newsline: Hungary summons Canadian ambassador in diplomatic spat

Relations between Canada and NATO ally Hungary got a bit testy this week, after the Hungarian foreign ministry summoned Canada’s ambassador to the country to chastise her over public statements expressing concern about the fate of a Budapest university and academic freedom in the country. The Hungarian government has recently introduced a new law on higher education that some observers believe targets the Central European University (CEU), founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros in 1991 and led by former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff, who is the rector and president of CEU, has waged a fierce public relations battle opposing the new rules and has called on the European Union and the Washington to intervene on behalf of the university.

http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2017/05/06/hungary-summons-canadian-ambassador-in-diplomatic-spat-over-soros-funded-university/

Newsline: Former US ambassadors blast Trump over Canada

A pair of former American ambassadors to Canada have criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for his string of remarks about the northern neighbour, calling it counter-productive to seriously resolving trade issues. Barack Obama’s last envoy to Ottawa said the occasional disagreement is inevitable in a trade relationship worth C$841-billion annually – and it’s unhelpful to wail about it through the media. “Words matter. Words matter diplomatically. Words matter with leaders. And I think the words that have been used have been unfortunate, and have not been constructive,” Bruce Heyman told a panel in Detroit, organized Tuesday by the Council of the Great Lakes Region. By way of comparison, on Tuesday alone, Trump raised his complaints about Canada, twice, without being asked, in public remarks and in a tweet where he threatened reprisals over ultra-filtered milk regulations. “We will not stand for this,” Trump wrote. “Watch!” Both Heyman and another Democratic ex-diplomat warned this could lead to a tit-for-tat dynamic, where Canada responds, the U.S. counter-responds, things escalate and the countries settle scores instead of solving problems.

https://ipolitics.ca/2017/04/26/former-u-s-ambassadors-blast-trump-over-canada/

Newsline: Cardboard Trudeau Cut-Outs Banned At Canada’s Diplomatic Missions In US

Justin Trudeau may still be a big draw on the international circuit, but his cardboard stand-ins have fallen flat. Global Affairs has instructed diplomatic missions in the United States to stop using life-size cardboard cut-outs of the prime minister to promote Canada. The order follows the revelation last week that prime ministerial replicas turned up at an event last June organized by the Canadian consulate in Atlanta and earlier this month at a Canadian music festival in Austin, Tex. It’s not clear if the missions ever had departmental permission to use the cardboard cut-outs. According to emails obtained by the Conservatives through the Access to Information Act, the Washington embassy’s interest in using a cardboard likeness was sparked by word that the Atlanta consulate had put one on display at a pre-Canada Day event last year. Asked if Ottawa had given permission, Louise Blais, the Atlanta consul general, advised the embassy that she did ask but “never got an answer.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/03/20/trudeau-cardboard-cutout-banned_n_15494944.html