ontario news watch

Joly urges more funding to hire Canadian diplomats, amid Liberal cutbacks on spending

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is asking MPs to support more funding for Global Affairs Canada, despite the Liberals undertaking cutbacks across the government.

Joly says that the United States, France and rapidly developing countries are staffing up to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world. 

She says Canada needs more diplomats if it wants to have an influence in the Indo-Pacific and other key regions. 

She also says more investment in government information technology is needed, citing more frequent cyberattacks. 

Global Affairs Canada confirmed last week it was investigating a cyberattack and data breach that had forced it to limit remote access to its networks, two years after a similar incident.

Joly is asserting the need for investment despite the government’s plan to cut expenditures by $7.1 billion over five years overall, starting with a three per cent cut on most departments. 

Joly made her comments to MPs at a meeting of the House of Commons foreign-affairs committee on Wednesday evening.

Senators have also been warning that the foreign service can’t reform itself while facing cutbacks.

“I really hope that we can all agree on the fact that we need to invest more in our diplomats. It is important that we have our resources,” Joly said. 

“This is an opportunity for you to say, ‘Yes, I believe in the work Canada does at the international level,’ and I’ll be frank, it should not be partisan.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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