Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected pleas urging the state head to halt the extraction of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou. Trudeau in a press briefing on Thursday told reporters, “If countries around the world, including China, realize that by arbitrarily arresting random Canadians they can get what they want out of Canada, politically, well that makes an awful lot more Canadians who travel around the world vulnerable.”
On June 23, 19 of Canadian leaders including former parliamentarians, judges and senior diplomats wrote a letter to Trudeau asking the President to free Meng and help Canada “re-define its strategic approach to China.”
The letter read,”There is no question that the U.S. extradition request has put Canada in a difficult position. As prime minister, you face a difficult decision. Complying with the U.S. request has greatly antagonized China.”
The supporters of the letter argued that by freeing Meng, Canada would have a chance to negotiate with the Chinese government for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians who were detained in Beijing shortly after Meng’s arrest on charges of espionage. Meng, the Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer was arrested in December 2018 in Vancouver, for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran and conducting business with the Islamic State.
The signatories of the letter included former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, former Conservative foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, former Conservative senator Hugh Segal and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, among others.
Disagreeing with the co-signers, who have been building immense pressure on the Canadian Prime Minister, Trudeau said, “We need to continue to be absolutely crystal clear that Canada has an independent judiciary and those processes will unfold independently of any political pressure — including by foreign governments.” Trudeau added,”We will continue to remain steadfast and strong and say very clearly in our actions and in our words that randomly arresting Canadians doesn’t give you leverage over the government of Canada anywhere in the world.”