Canada’s Conservative Deputy Leader Melissa Lantsman has accused the Liberal government of deliberately leaking its plan to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement, proscribing the IRGC as a terror organization on June 19 at a news conference in Ottawa. Before the official announcement, CBC News and Iran International English were the first outlets to break the news. 

"The government leaked that listing, and that's not usually how something as serious as this takes place," Lantsman told Iran International’s ‘Eye for Iran’ Podcast.

Lantsman stated that while she does not attribute malicious intent to the federal government for the leak, it may have given individuals with ties to the IRGC time to relocate their money or assets within Canada.

The parliamentarian, whose party has been pressuring the federal government to list the IRGC, admitted that she does not know when the government began taking action or notifying banks.

Iran International sought an interview and a response to the allegations from Canada’s Public Safety Minister for the 'Eye for Iran' podcast but received no reply in time for publication.

In a previous email correspondence, a Public Safety spokesperson told Iran International that adding an entity to the terrorist list results in “significant and immediate consequences for the entity and those associated with the entity.” 

“Canadian financial institutions, such as banks and brokerages, must immediately freeze the entity’s assets, which can then be the subject of seizure, restraint or forfeiture," the spokesperson said. 

Lantsman said “You know when you give somebody a heads up of a decision you know, it allows things to move around. Frankly the government is sloppy on this, just as they've been sloppy on foreign interference, and more than sloppy, but outright dangerous.”

When asked by Iran International’s Negar Mojtahedi during 'Eye for Iran,' whether this points to potential foreign interference within the government itself, Lantsman responded that she does not have the intelligence to suggest that, but that it’s not usual to “see something written in the newspapers before you hear it from a minister's mouth. It's usually the other way around. It should be the other way around. Canadians should expect that it's the other way around.” 

The designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group has long been sought by Iranian-Canadians and the relatives of those killed when the IRGC shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 with two surface-to-air missiles on January 8, 2020. 

The downing killed all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents of Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resisted calls to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, despite his party's support for a motion to list it in 2018.

Trudeau previously cited several concerns, including the unintended consequences such a designation could have for individuals conscripted into the group. 

In an email, a Public Safety spokesperson told Iran International that “being listed as a terrorist entity does not constitute a criminal offense, however it can lead to other criminal consequences.” 

The RCMP does not investigate movements or organizations for their ideological dispositions but rather for their criminal activities, the statement said. 

The listing of the IRGC as a terrorist entity, the Public Safety spokesperson wrote, identifies individuals who have engaged in or played a “substantial role in terrorism and acts of violence.” Doing so allows the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to prevent these individuals from obtaining a visa, entering, or remaining in Canada.

You can watch the full podcast with Minister Melissa Lantsman on Iran International YouTube Page.

More News