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Russia's Plan to Open Consulate in Vancouver Blocked by Trudeau Government, Russian Envoy Says

© DAVE CHANCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifies before the Public Order Emergency Commission public inquiry on November 25, 2022, in Ottawa.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifies before the Public Order Emergency Commission public inquiry on November 25, 2022, in Ottawa. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.02.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia's plans to open a consulate in Vancouver are being blocked by the Canadian government, Russian Ambassador in Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told Sputnik.
Stepanov had told Sputnik last February that Russia had submitted an official request to increase its consular presence in Canada, but had not received a clear response.
"Trudeau's team has blocked it all. Despite declarations of commitment to the policy of multiculturalism, it blocks the access of Russians to consular services," Stepanov said.
Russia has a consular section at the embassy in Ottawa, as well as consulates in Montreal and Toronto.
Stepanov added that Canada is a very dangerous country for Russian citizens at present and while he would not recommend the country for the purposes of tourism, studying or business he believes such opportunities would eventually return in the future.
"I want to emphasize that Canada is a very dangerous country for Russian citizens today. I would not recommend it either for tourism, education or for business," Stepanov said. "All of these opportunities will return but not soon."
Stepanov, however, emphasized that the Russian government and people remain friendly to all Canadians and seek good relations.
Stepanov noted that last year marked eight decades since Russia and Canada established diplomatic relations.
"We celebrated the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 50th anniversary of the hockey super series in 1972," he said.
The situation in Ottawa and other Canadian cities where Russian diplomatic missions are located remains tense and law enforcement there do not always properly respond to security requests, he stressed. .
"The situation in Ottawa and other cities of the country where there are Russian diplomatic missions - Toronto and Montreal - is tense. With the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, the authorities and the corporate media outlets took an openly Russophobic position," Stepanov said.
Stepanov pointed out that the anti-Russian sentiment produces daily pickets and actions near the embassy and consulates general.
"Participants from among the ‘Western’ Ukrainian diaspora and some Canadians, from among those who have little knowledge of history, sometimes behave aggressively: they attack diplomats’ cars, take pictures of the plate numbers and the passengers, including family members and children. There are threats from time to time. This is definitely worrisome."
In addition, Stepanov said Canadian law enforcement do not always respond appropriately to relevant requests to ensure security.
"So far, only security considerations are the source of self-disciplined restrictions," he said.
Stepanov emphasized that the majority of ordinary Canadians have a good attitude toward Russia and Russians, according to their personal impressions.
Despite all this, if Canada wishes to hear Russia's position first hand, Moscow stands ready to do so but the Trudeau government at present remains willfully ignorant, Stepanov added.
"I have said more than once to our Canadian interlocutors that the Russian leadership is open to dialogue. If Ottawa is interested in hearing Moscow's position first hand and not by being told by its older brother, we are ready," Stepanov said. "For now, Trudeau's team remains ignorant at will."
When asked about Canada’s position on holding peace talks on Ukraine, Stepanov said, "Official Ottawa is in favor of our strategic defeat."
Stepanov said that a change in Canada's position under the current political class, which has decided to support neo-Nazism in Europe - the vote of Canada in the UN General Assembly on this issue is a litmus test - is possible only with a direct command from the United States.
"[That is] if Washington considers that it is easier for the United States' security to return to finding a new balance of interests with Russia. Canada does not currently have a sovereign foreign policy. It's sad, but true. We, Russia, would like it to be different," he said.
Stepanov spoke to Sputnik on Diplomats' Day, which is traditionally celebrated in Russia on February 10 and honors Russian diplomatic staff, past and present.
The holiday was created in 2002 by presidential decree, in reference to February 10, 1549, the date when the Posolsky Prikaz, Russia's first foreign affairs agency, was first mentioned in official chronicles.
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