Freeland to look into approval of Syrias Assadfriendly honorary counsul

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she’ll look into why Ottawa signed off on a sympathizer of Syrian President Bashar Assad as that country’s honorary consul in Montreal.A report in Maclean’s says Waseem Ramli, a well-to-do Montreal businessman and “unapologetic supporter” of Assad, was nominated for the post earlier this summer and approved last month by Global Affairs Canada.As honorary consul, Ramli — a familiar figure who conjures fear and apprehension in the Syrian community in Montreal, the magazine says — will exert control over the affairs of the Syrian diaspora in eastern Canada and in much of the United States.Ramli reportedly described the White Helmets, a volunteer group of first responders and war crime monitors that enjoys the support of the federal government, as a “terrorist organization” that supports al Qaida.Freeland said on social media that she was “shocked” by Ramli’s comments and the views “he has espoused publicly on social media and elsewhere.”She says neither she nor her team were aware that Global Affairs officials had approved his appointment and has asked the department to look into it right away.last_img