The Liberal Party of Canada is hosting a roundtable on Consular Affairs and the Rights of Canadians Abroad today as part of its series of meetings being held in Ottawa during the shut-down of Parliament by the Harper Government.
“Conservative inaction on consular cases, along with their recent reliance on the Supreme Court to determine the legal obligations of government in consular matters, has led to a serious decline in the level of assistance being made available to Canadians,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “The Harper government has applied an ideological lens to consular policies that is indifferent to the plight of Canadian citizens in serious trouble abroad.”
Liberal Consular Affairs Critic Dan McTeague will chair the roundtable, with sessions focusing on the provision of consular services to Canadians and the Transfer of Offender process.
“Canadians in trouble overseas should not have to await legal opinions or seek court rulings before they can receive help from their embassy,” said Mr. McTeague. “Canadian citizens deserve to have their government stand up for them, instead of avoiding its responsibility to provide appropriate levels of consular assistance as clearly outlined by international conventions.”
The Roundtable panel will be comprised of prominent lawyers, academics and NGOs with expertise in the area of consular affairs, some of whom have been directly involved in recent, high-profile consular cases.
“Liberals believe that government has a role to play in protecting the rights of its citizens and – and especially for those in trouble abroad,” concluded Mr. McTeague.