Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly has repeatedly stated that Canada and its allies are attempting to “diplomatically, economically and politically smother President Vladimir Putin’s regime” by imposing increasingly severe sanctions. The minister celebrated the 100the day of invasion, declared on June 3rd “Innocent Ukrainians have been suffering for 100 days and many have died needlessly. For 100 days, Vladimir Putin has been trying to destroy the Ukrainian economy, which has led to a food crisis that has been felt around the world. For 100 days, Russia has been lying and spreading misinformation. A hundred days too long. »
Despite the minister’s comments, senior Global Affairs Canada officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Marta Morgan, saw fit to send one of their own to a reception at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa in honor of the national day of the Russian Federation the following week. The participation of Canadian Diplomacy Deputy Chief of Protocol Yasemin Heinbecker in the celebration provided an unprecedented opportunity for propaganda for Russian Ambassador Oleg Stepanov, who has incessantly glorified Mr. Putin’s aggression since the invasion. The Russian embassy even released a tweet denouncing the presence of Mr.me Heinbecker upon reception, implying that Mme Joly was actually just a dream a few days earlier.
A spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada initially defended authorizing Mme Heinbecker at the Russian ceremony, saying the two countries have not severed diplomatic ties. However, the latter changed her mind a few hours later globe and mail published an article online last Sunday about the situation. Global Affairs Canada quickly apologized and on Sunday evening Ms.me pretty one wrote a tweet “Completely unacceptable. No Canadian representative should have attended the event organized by the Russian Embassy and no Canadian representative will attend such an event in the future. »
The next day, Mr.me Joly insisted she was not informed of her officials’ decision, a decision she discovered when the article was published in the World. But the damage was done. The case not only undermined the credibility of his earlier testimony, but also exposed the poor judgment of senior Canadian diplomats, even as Mr.me Joly is trying to expand her influence on the international scene. “We no longer live in a unipolar world. Old alliances are being strained and new alliances are taking shape, she said this month as she launched an in-depth review of her ministry. To maximize our impact in every respect, strong, strategic, diversified and agile diplomacy remains a sine qua non. »
Canadian diplomats have been lamenting increasing interference from policy advisers from the prime minister’s office for several years. Stephen Harper’s previous Conservative government distrusted Global Affairs Canada’s career diplomats and systematically ignored their recommendations. The arrival of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has raised many hopes within the ministry, hopes of a return to the era when the professionalism and expertise of Canadian diplomacy was appreciated by its political bosses. But the concentration of power in the prime minister’s office still ensures that Canadian foreign policy, if there is any, remains the prerogative of the prime minister.
The Yasemin-Heinbecker affair – a kind of Canadian-style party gate – doesn’t change that. always in World, citing anonymous sources in government, we learned this week that the prime minister’s office intervened last Sunday to order Global Affairs Canada to apologize following this diplomatic mess. In the House of Commons on Tuesday, incumbent Conservative leader Candice Bergen asked Trudeau how his government, which claims to support Ukraine, could send a representative “to his enemy to enjoy champagne and caviar”.
For his part M.me Morgan, Deputy Minister, allowed to participate by Mme Heinbecker at the party because she said she fears for the safety of Canadian diplomats serving in Moscow. Basically, his decision came from a certain notion that peace in Ukraine would inevitably come through dialogue with Russia. French President Emmanuel Macron became the standard-bearer of this idea when he recently called on the world “not to humiliate Russia”. His comments sparked an outcry in Ukraine and highlighted the differences between Washington and Paris. The Canadian government is firmly behind the United States on this issue. His own diplomats found out the hard way.
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