Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday rejected calls from former Canadian parliamentarians and diplomats, as well as the Chinese government, to release executive Meng Wanzhou of China’s telecom giant Huawei and unilaterally end her extradition process.
This week, a group of 19 high-profile Canadians, including former foreign affairs ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Lawrence Cannon, signed a letter to Trudeau saying Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti should intervene to free Meng.
Speaking in Ottawa at his regular COVID-19 update briefing, Trudeau said he respected the signees of the letter, but, “I deeply disagree with them.” He said giving in to China’s demands would put other Canadians at risk by showing other nations the country can be intimidated.
In 2018, Canadian authorities took Meng into custody regarding U.S. allegations of violating sanctions on Iran. Her extradition case is now before a court in British Columbia.
Soon after Meng was arrested, Beijing detained two Canadians, entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, on allegations of undermining China’s national security. Canada considered those detentions as retaliation.
Trudeau Thursday described Spavor and Kovrig’s detentions as “arbitrary” and “political,” and said he will continue to work to get them released.