Alison Azer shares a moment with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns during a visit to Ottawa this spring.

Alison Azer shares a moment with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns during a visit to Ottawa this spring.

Foreign affairs office takes issue with MP’s comments

'Calling on the government to provide an explanation ... does nothing to advance our shared goal'

  • Aug. 9, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Record staff

The office of the minister of foreign affairs has emailed The Record with an official response to Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns’s comments in recent articles regarding the developments in the Azer case.

In an interview with The Record Saturday afternoon, Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns questioned the federal government’s handling of the Azer case, saying Canada has failed Alison Azer, by not acting upon the Iranian government’s notification that Saren Azer had been detained, in accordance with an Interpol red notice.

“When the RCMP were notified by Interpol that they were serving on a red notice, that was the first opportunity for Canada to finally act on a 10-month-old file. Instead what they did was they politically interfered at a time that was critical in this case, against their promise that they wouldn’t interject in an RCMP file,” Johns said in Saturday’s phone interview. “They (Canadian government) have failed to act. When Dr. Azer was in court, the Canadian government was nowhere to be found.”

“The Government of Canada’s goal is, and will always be, the safe return of the Azer children to Canada,” said Chantal Gagnon, press secretary for the office of the minister of foreign affairs, in an email addressed to editor Terry Farrell, received Tuesday morning. “Global Affairs Canada decisions and advice always consider the specifics of the given context to assure the safety and wellbeing of all Canadians, in any situation. ”

“The Government of Canada has been actively engaged on the Azer children case since it first began, and will continue to be so.

“Officials in Ottawa and in six missions abroad have spent hundreds of hours working to find a resolution to this very complex family case.”

Gagnon went on to explain that the complexity is expounded, due to Iran’s political environment.

“Parental abduction cases can be especially complicated where a child is taken to a country, such as Iran, which does not recognize dual-nationality,” she wrote.

“The RCMP is an independent agency which operates Interpol Ottawa. Interpol Red and Yellow Notices have been relayed to the Government of Iran.”

“Interpol Notices are international requests for co-operation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.”

In regards to the detention and ensuing court appearance in Iran, Gagnon said the onus was on the Iranian government to follow through with the Interpol red notice.

“The decision to enforce an Interpol Notice, including the decision to detain or extradite, rests with the host government,” wrote Gagnon, who then reiterated the government’s commitment to the Azer children. “The safety and security of Sharvahn, Rojevahn, Meitan and Dersim remain a priority for the Government of Canada, as evidenced by the personal attention this file has  received from PM Trudeau, Min. Dion and PS Alghabra.”

Gagnon said Alison Azer and Johns have been kept abreast of the federal government’s actions, and reasons behind the process. She said now is not the time for political grandstanding.

“We have regularly updated Ms. Azer and MPs Laverdière and Johns and on multiple occasions have discussed the rationale and steps taken by the Government of Canada. In fact, on May 9, 2016, MPs Laverdière and Johns agreed with the assessment of the specific challenges to this case.

“The responsibility lies with all parliamentarians to work together and resist politicizing consular cases to help Canadians in trouble abroad. Calling on the government to provide an explanation for a rationale that was previously shared and understood does nothing to advance our shared goal of seeing the children safely returned home.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society reaching families in the Comox Valley and beyond

COVID-19 restrictions forced a subdued first-anniversary celebration for the Vancouver Island Down… Continue reading

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
Cumberland photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

A concept plan for the Bevan Road industrial lands from 2020. Council recently approved variances to help move along the development. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland approves variance for Bevan industrial lands

Change allows one site to be smaller than the minimum lot size

The Comox Valley RCMP have issued a warrant for Brittany Forrest. Photo supplied
Comox Valley RCMP issue arrest warrant for 29-year-old woman

The Comox Valley RCMP have issued an arrest warrant for 29-year-old Brittany… Continue reading

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Most Read