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The PQ criticizes Martine Biron for lacking transparency

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PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon believes that Minister Biron did not tell the truth in the House and to the press regarding the Quebec Office in Tel Aviv.

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The Parti Québécois (PQ) accuses the Minister of International Relations, Martine Biron, of having made “inexact” remarks concerning the deployment of the Quebec Office to Tel Aviv by claiming that the post chief was working from Montreal, even though he had already been in Israel for several weeks.

The minister knew or should have known that the diplomat in question, Alik Hakobyan, had been sent to the field, argued her boss, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, Tuesday at the Salon Bleu. According to him, Ms. Biron withheld crucial information on the deployment of diplomatic representation – a subject he describes as sensitive.

The leader of the PQ criticizes the minister for having assured several times that Mr. Hakobyan worked from Montreal, notably in a document tabled in the National Assembly on March 21 in response to a petition presented by Québec solidaire ( QS) to demand the closure of the Quebec Office in Tel Aviv.

The head of post had then been in Israel for three weeks, underlined M . St-Pierre Plamondon.

These inaccuracies are all the more worrying given that the Middle East has been grappling with a tragic war since October, which has so far cost the lives of 1,200 Israelis and more than 35,000 people in Gaza, he added.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Middle East, the eternal conflict

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In the absence of Minister Biron – on mission to the United States – it was Prime Minister François Legault who responded to the PQ leader on Tuesday, repeating the explanations provided the day before by the main interested, namely that Mr. Hakobyan had not yet officially and permanently settled in Tel Aviv.

For months, the person had been in Quebec, he explained. Now, this person has gone to make an initial contact, then returns in the next few hours. I don't see the problem.

Alik Hakobyan arrived in Israel on February 26 and should return to Quebec on Wednesday March 27, the cabinet confirmed from Minister Biron on Radio-Canada on Monday. His stay, otherwise, would possibly have gone unnoticed.

However, the opening of the Quebec Office in Tel Aviv is sparking a debate, both on the political scene and in civil society.

The PQ, for example, believes that its activities should be suspended as long as the request for a ceasefire does not materialize, argued Paul St-Pierre Plamondon on Tuesday.

QS also accused the minister of having done things on the sly in the wake of Radio-Canada's revelations, adding that it was absolutely aberrant to learn that Quebec, in the current context, is accentuating its relations [with Israel] by formalizing the field missions of its office in Tel Aviv.

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On mission to the United States, Minister Biron was absent from the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Archive photo)

The decision to open a Quebec Office in Tel Aviv was taken last summer, well before the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7.

This resumption of armed clashes also caused the cancellation of the inauguration of the diplomatic representation, which was to take place a few days later in the presence of Minister Biron and the head of post. p>

The ceremony – which was to be held at the Canadian embassy, ​​where the premises of the Quebec Office in Tel Aviv are located – had been postponed on an unspecified date.

Since then, the minister has insisted that the representation was open, that the work was being done from Montreal and that the head of post would be dispatched to the site once security conditions permitted.

Before CORIM on Friday, Ms. Biron also assured that the opening of the Quebec Office in Tel Aviv should “in no way” be interpreted as taking a position in the conflict Israeli-Palestinian – an argument taken up on Tuesday by the Prime Minister, who assured that the two things had nothing to do with each other.

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