Canada appoints new ambassadors to Palestinian Authority, UN

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Canada appointed new representatives to the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced that Graham Dattels has become Canada’s representative to the Palestinian Authority, replacing the previous ambassador, David Da Silva.

Dattels comes to the role after being Global Affairs Canada’s director for Southeast Asia handling Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. He had responsibility for political and commercial relations, development assistance and co-ordination of Canada’s response to the Rohingya crisis.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau says ICC warrant requests make false ‘equivalency’ between Israel, Hamas leaders'
Trudeau says ICC warrant requests make false ‘equivalency’ between Israel, Hamas leaders

Joly also announced that Michael Gort has become Canada’s ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, replacing Richard Arbeiter. His most recent diplomatic appointment was as Canada’s ambassador to Chile.

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Peter MacDougall was announced as Canada’s new ambassador and permanent representative to the Office of the United Nations and to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, in Geneva, replacing Leslie E. Norton. Most recently, MacDougall was assistant deputy minister for global issues and development at Global Affairs Canada and served as Canada’s G7 foreign affairs sous-sherpa.

Global Affairs Canada also announced the appointment of Annabelle Larouche St-Sauveur as consul general in Monterrey, Mexico, replacing Sandra Shaddick.

The new appointments come at a time when members of the international community are weighing in on arrest warrants being sought in the International Criminal Court against the leaders of Israel and Hamas.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced questions on a push from the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Israeli prime minister and Hamas leaders over the conflict in Gaza Tuesday.

The court’s chief prosecutor requested arrest warrants Monday for Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence minister and senior Hamas leaders.

“The International Criminal Court is independent in its work, and I’ve said from the very beginning how important it is that everyone respect and abide by international law,” Trudeau said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Philadelphia.

“What I will say is troubling, though, is the sense of an equivalency between the democratically elected leaders of Israel and the bloodthirsty terrorists that lead up Hamas. I don’t think that’s helpful.”

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Click to play video: 'Canada calls for ceasefire in Gaza, condemns equating Israelis to Hamas leaders: Freeland'
Canada calls for ceasefire in Gaza, condemns equating Israelis to Hamas leaders: Freeland

Trudeau and his ministers weighed in on the case a day after the U.S. on Monday, rejecting a move to implicate Israel, while France and Belgium supported the decision.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is “very closely” following the case and also raised concerns about an equivalency being drawn, while noting that the court is suggesting different charges for each side of the conflict.

“There’s no equivalency, because one organization’s a terrorist organization; the other one is a state. That being said, (the) charges that have been laid are different,” she said.

She also wouldn’t say whether Canada would arrest Israeli officials if they did end up subject to an international arrest warrant and visited Canada, saying this is a theoretical situation. Joly added that senior Hamas leaders are already barred from Canada due to terrorism and sanctions laws.

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A handful of Liberal MPs weighed in since news of the arrest warrants was announced.

Iqra Khalid, who represents a Toronto-area riding, said in a post on X that Canada must respect the ICC and its independence.

Anthony Housefather, whose Montreal riding has a large Jewish population, argued the decision was drawing a moral equivalency between leaders of Hamas and democratically elected politicians of the state of Israel.

–with files from The Canadian Press

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