Politics

Conservatives, New Democrats seek study into allegations government pressured former diplomats

The Conservative and New Democrat members of the House of Commons committee on foreign affairs have requested that the committee meet next week to discuss a possible study of allegations that a federal official pressured two former diplomats to coordinate with the government before speaking publicly about Canada's diplomatic conflict with China.

Members of foreign affairs committee request meeting to discuss possible inquiry

David Mulroney, Canada's ambassador to China, speaks before a parliamentary committee in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

Conservative and New Democrat members of the House of Commons committee on foreign affairs have asked that the committee meet next week to discuss a possible study of allegations that a federal official pressured two former diplomats to coordinate with the government before speaking publicly about Canada's diplomatic conflict with China.

"We believe it is incumbent on the Committee to study these matters and ensure that Canada's non-partisan, public service is not being unduly exploited for political purposes," the four MPs say in a letter to the committee's clerk.

The committee would still have to vote to begin a study. Liberal MPs hold five of the committee's nine seats.

The Globe and Mail reported this week that David Mulroney, a former ambassador to China, had been contacted by an official in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

"He said … 'I've been asked by PMO: before you comment on aspects of China policy, it would be good if you called in and got the latest from us on what we're doing.'" Mulroney told the Globe.

Another former ambassador, Guy Saint-Jacques, later told the Globe that he had been contacted as well.  

Appearing on CBC's Power & Politics on Thursday, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said neither the Prime Minister's Office, nor the minister, were involved in trying to pressure the former diplomats.

MPs discuss news that two former envoys to China received calls from a Global Affairs official indicating Ottawa wants unified message on China. 12:43