(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government will be relentless in seeking answers from Iran on the jet crash that killed 57 Canadians this month near Tehran.
Justin Trudeau’s second in command, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland, said Canada wants a “real, independent” analysis of the airplane’s black box, along with transparency on what exactly happened. She also said Canada is receiving support from allies in pressing on the issue, particularly from the Netherlands and Ukraine.
“I am confident we will get those answers because Canada is relentlessly focused on getting them and we will not stop until we get them,” Freeland said.
Iran is under intense international pressure to provide full accountability over the circumstances that caused the crash of the Ukrainian International Airlines plane on Jan. 8. The three-year-old Boeing Co. 737-800 was shot down about two minutes after takeoff from Tehran. While nearly half the victims were Iranians, the crash was also one of the worst air tragedies ever involving Canadians. Many of the victims were doctors, engineers and Ph.D. students who represented a microcosm of the northern nation’s immigration policies.
Separately in the interview, Freeland also commented on plans to get the new North American free trade agreement ratified in Canada’s parliament, calling it the top priority for the government.
The deal, a result of a year of rough negotiations with Donald Trump’s administration, has been passed in the U.S. Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. It has also been approved in Mexico.
Ratification won’t be a straightforward process in Canada, however. Trudeau’s team will need to get the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation, and expedite debate, after losing its parliamentary majority in October’s divisive election.
With all of Canada’s provincial premiers calling for a speedy ratification, Freeland said she’s confident the governing Liberals will be able to win support for the deal.
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