Joly and Chinese counterpart confront each other over interference claims

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and her Chinese counterpart had a testy exchange over allegations that Beijing's envoys may be interfering in Canadian matters.

Joly spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang during a G20 meeting in New Delhi this week, telling him Canada will not accept China meddling in Canadian democracy.

The Liberal government has been under pressure to explain what it's doing about alleged interference in the last two federal elections, which came to light in recent media stories based on leaks from security sources.

Canadian officials who were there for the exchange say Joly approached Qin, and their discussion lasted about 20 minutes.

Chinese media reported the allegations of interference are not credible, and that Qin rebuked Joly for not condemning the reports from Global News and the Globe and Mail.

Joly's office says she told Qin that Ottawa will not allow Chinese diplomats to breach international agreements that restrict envoys from interfering in local politics.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2023.

The Canadian Press