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People sift through the rubble of a destroyed building following Israeli strikes on Al-Shatee camp in Gaza City on Oct. 28.MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly will call on Israel in a speech on Monday to temper its heavy bombardment of Gaza and allow for pauses in the war to permit sustained humanitarian aid to reach beleaguered Palestinian civilians.

In a wide-ranging foreign-policy address to the Economic Club in Toronto, Ms. Joly will lament that the world is engulfed in a “major international security crisis” that stretches from China and the Indo-Pacific to the war in Ukraine and the violent conflict in the Middle East. A copy of the speech was provided in advance to The Globe and Mail.

The Foreign Affairs Minister was scheduled to speak at the club earlier this month, but the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war forced her to postpone her appearance as she spent extensive time travelling in the region.

In the speech, Ms. Joly urges Hamas, which controls Gaza and is banned in Canada as a terror group, to free all hostages, including two Canadians. She also admonishes Israel for the relentless bombing that has left thousands of Palestinians dead or wounded, but stops short of calling for a ceasefire in the war as have other countries and the United Nations.

“What is unfolding in Gaza is a human tragedy. The humanitarian situation facing the Palestinian people – facing Palestinian women and children – is dire,” she says.

Ms. Joly lays out the broad framework of Canada’s concerns about a destabilized world and says her role as Foreign Affairs Minister is to vigorously defend Canadian sovereignty and to practise pragmatic diplomacy even with hostile states.

In her remarks, she focuses on the breakdown in diplomatic relations between Canada and India, but says Ottawa was right to publicly call out New Delhi for its role in the killing of Canadian Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar last summer. She warned that the government will “send packing” any diplomat who engages in any form of foreign interference.

“We stand by the decision to inform Canadians of credible allegations around the killing of a Canadian citizen. This is, at its core, a question of protecting our national sovereignty and Canadians’ safety,” she says in the speech.

Addressing the war in the Middle East, Ms. Joly also condemns “extremist settlers’ attacks” in the West Bank, which is under the Palestinian Authority. There are about 100 illegal outposts in the West Bank where more than 450,000 Israelis have settled since the occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967 after a six-day war between Israel and surrounding Arab countries.

While Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks, Ms. Joly says it must respect international law in how it employs use of force and urged the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to pause the assault to allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza and foreign nationals to leave.

“We must be guided by human dignity – all civilians – Israeli and Palestinian, for they are equal – must be protected,” she says.

Ms. Joly says 400 Canadians are trapped in Gaza and they are living in fear and despair. “As a government, we have a duty to bring them to safety. And that is why we need humanitarian pauses, a humanitarian truce, in Gaza,” she says.

The Foreign Affairs Minister says she has been in contact with Qatar, Israel, Egypt and the U.S. every day for the past three weeks, seeking a way to get these people out of Gaza, but she acknowledged that time is running out. “We need an agreement from all parties to get foreign nationals out, including Canadians. To release all hostages. And to allow food, fuel and water into Gaza.”

Ms. Joly’s speech also focused on the serious rupture in relations with India, a country Canada and other Western countries look to as a counterweight to China and a valuable trade market of 1.4 billion people.

While Indo-Canadian relations have sunk to a low, Ms. Joly says the dispute “is one moment in a relationship that spans decades” offering up the possibility that over time, the two countries can mend fractured ties.

But Ms. Joly was adamant that Canada will no longer tolerate any interference by foreign governments in domestic affairs. She expelled Indian intelligence officer Pavan Rai over the killing of Mr. Nijjar and Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei after The Globe reported in May that he was behind an intimidation campaign directed at Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong and members of his family in Hong Kong in the leadup to the 2021 election.

“Any foreign diplomat who engages in this type of activity will be sent packing,” she says.

Ms. Joly also says Ottawa is committed to the creation of a registry of foreign agents to help prevent China and other countries from meddling in Canada’s affairs, although the government has given no indication when legislation will be tabled.

A foreign-agent registry, which exists in the United States and Australia, requires people who act on behalf of a foreign state to disclose their ties to the government employing them.

Ms. Joly, who is considered a leadership challenger should Justin Trudeau step down as Prime Minister, detailed her government’s vision for the high Arctic, noting that both Russia and China have their eyes on the region as global warming opens it up to mineral exploration and shipping through the Northwest Passage.

‘We will make the investments necessary to reinforce our Northern security and critical infrastructure,” she says, also vowing to work with the U.S., Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland to safeguard the passage, “which serves as the gateway to the Arctic.”

Canada has been accused of being a laggard when it comes to its international defence commitments and recently ordered the military to slash $1-billion from its budget. However, Ms. Joly says in her speech that Ottawa is prepared to devote more resources to national defence.

“We will increase our investments in our military through the Defence Policy Update, which is now being finalized by my colleague [Defence Minister] Bill Blair,” she says.

Canada’s defence budget is about 1.38 per cent of GDP despite commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to spend 2 per cent of GDP on equipping its military.

The minister says Canada remains steadfast in its support of Ukraine in the bloody war with Russia, vowing to “continue to strengthen their position on the battlefield” and that “we will help with its postwar reconstruction.”

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