The responses come as investigating police in Thailand continue to say they have been constrained by Canadian embassy officials in Thailand from releasing more details about the cause of the strange deaths of Noemi Belanger, 26, and her sister Audrey, 20.
The young women were found dead in their resort room on Phi Phi on June 15, more than three months ago. One investigating officer told Phuketwan on August 30 that an autopsy in Bangkok revealed the presence of insecticide in the sisters' bodies.
A Canadian journalist reported soon after that the Bangkok autopsy report noted DEET - the most common active ingredient in insecticides - in the bodies.
With no official information revealed about the Bangkok autopsy or a second autopsy that took place when the sisters' bodies were returned to Canada, Phuketwan put a series of questions to Canadian government authorities more than a week ago.
Responses arrived via email today:
Q1 Will the results of the autopsy on the Belanger sisters conducted in Canada ever be released? If so, when?
Q2 If reports are correct that the father of the two young women claims a ''cover-up'' has taken place in Thailand concerning the cause of their deaths, will Canadian authorities explain at some point the known facts about these deaths?
Q3 Is there a concern that the Canadian government, by citing the privacy of the family as a reason for not releasing information about this case, could wrongly be perceived to be part of a so-called cover-up?
A1-3 Due to federal privacy laws, further details on this case cannot be released.
Q4 Under what circumstances does the Canadian government place public interest above the right to privacy in puzzling deaths of this kind, especially overseas?
Q5 If enough Canadians seek an answer to these questions, is it likely that the Canadian government will at some point place public interest and their citizens' right to know above individual right to privacy?
A Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada abides by the rules and regulations governed by the Privacy Act. You can find additional information on the Privacy Act here: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/P-21/index.html
Should you have any further questions relating to the Privacy Act specifically, we recommend you communicate with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (http://www.priv.gc.ca/index_e.asp).
Q6 How many Canadians travelled to Thailand last year?
A6 Please refer to Statistics Canada for information on the number of Canadian travellers to Thailand last year. You will find their contact details at the following site: http://www42.statcan.gc.ca/smr01/smr01_000-eng.htm
Q7 If the deaths of these two young women continue to go unexplained privately or publicly, at what point will a warning be issued to protect Canadians (and other nations' citizens) from suffering a similar fate?
A7 The Government of Canada closely monitors safety and security conditions in foreign countries and updates Travel Reports accordingly. On August 31st, the Travel Report for Thailand was updated to note that: ''some media reports indicate that there have been recent cases of poisoning allegedly linked to the consumption of a Thai beverage containing DEET.''
The Government of Canada recommends that Canadians never accept food or drinks from strangers and never leave food or drinks unattended, particularly in bars. Cases of drugging followed by robbery and sexual assault have occurred. Drugs may be administered through drinks, food, aerosols, cigarettes, gum, or in powder form. Canadians who suspect they have been drugged should seek immediate medical attention.
The families of American Jill St Onge, 27, and Norwegian Julie Bergheim, 22, who died mysteriously in similar fashion on Phi Phi in 2009, are among those who would like to know more about the cause of death of the Belanger sisters.
In Krabi, the province of Thailand that oversees the popular island of Phi Phi, investigating police say there may be more details released about the mystery ''at the end of September.''
One Krabi tourism spokesperson said recently that Thai police should decide whether information about tourist deaths in Thailand should be released, not the Canadian embassy.