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Video shows confrontation with Melanie Joly over Palestinian refugees


A video circulating on social media platforms this weekend showed Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly in a tense confrontation with a man on the street in Montreal over the Israel-Hamas war.

The man who filmed the video implored Joly to "lift the cap on the number of Palestinian refugees" that Canada should welcome while she was walking on Laurier Street in the Mile End neighbourhood on Friday.

A few seconds into the interaction, the minister appears to grab the man's phone. "You can't take my phone like that," the man says to her, later saying, "let go of my coat."

She then appears to try to calm things down and say that she is "taking care of the issue" but that she was trying to enjoy a relaxing walk before he confronted her.

"I agree with you," she says when pressed on the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"You don't have the right to have a relaxing walk in the city while allowing the deaths of Palestinians," the man says, to which she replies, "Yes, I have the right."

@love.ways canadian minister of foreign affairs Mélanie Joly v!olently grabs the phone of a concerned citizen in front of his two children as he vocalizes his demands : Lift the cap of Palestinian refugees allowed into Canada & Recognize the state of Palestine. This is how our elected officials act when we let them know of their complicity. #montreal #melaniejolymustgo @montreal4palestine ♬ original sound - loveways

The video ends with Joly continuing to walk on the street.

'Not a constructive conversation,' Joly says

In a statement to CTV News, the foreign affairs minister's office said that Joly "always welcomes conversations with her constituents, and all Montréalers, about the issues that matter most to them. These conversations are most productive when approached with respect."

The statement went on to say that, "In this case, it is clear that this interaction began with the intention to startle her for the purposes of a social media clip, not a constructive conversation."

The Associated Press reported Saturday that more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, with the majority of them being women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry. The ministry doesn't distinguish between combatants and civilians in its death toll.

Meanwhile, Israel's military said more than one-third of the dead are militants, but doesn't provide evidence to support the claim. It also blames Hamas for civilian casualties because the group operates in residential areas.

The UN and aid agencies have said more than 80 per cent of Gaza's 2.3 million residents has been displaced since the start of the Oct. 7 war that saw 1,200 Israelis killed and 250 taken hostage by Hamas, which Canada listed as a terrorist organization.

Last week, CTV News reported that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is reviewing a large volume of requests from citizens after the federal government announced in December that it would allow 1,000 Palestinians to flee to Canada on temporary visas.

"As of March 4, 2024, we have 986 applications accepted into processing, meaning that applicants have used their unique reference code to submit a complete application," the department said in a statement on March 18, adding that it's doing its best to be flexible as it assesses the situation and that it has put forward names of people who passed the preliminary eligibility to the local authorities.

"As of March 11, 2024, 14 people who exited Gaza on their own had a temporary resident visa (TRV) applications in process were able to submit biometrics and complete their application, and have been approved to come to Canada. Data is preliminary and subject to change," it said.

With files from CTV News Atlantic and The Associated Press Top Stories

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