Trudeau: Dropping Meng Wanzhou’s extradition proceedings would put Canadians at risk

Trudeau: Dropping Meng Wanzhou's extradition proceedings would put Canadians at risk
File photo/CHEK
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says bowing to pressure from Beijing to ensure the release of two Canadians would put “an awful lot more” citizens at risk by signalling Canada can be intimidated.

“It is obvious the first priority of any government is to protect its citizens. That’s why we’ve been working so hard to bring back those two Michaels who have been arbitrarily detained for political reasons as Beijing continues to suggest, and that’s wrong. But at the same time, our responsibility is to make sure we are protecting Canadians into the future,” said Trudeau in a morning press conference from Rideau Cottage on Thursday.

Trudeau isn’t budging from his stance that it would send the wrong message to drop extradition proceedings against Huawei telecommunications executive Meng Wanzhou in the hope of winning freedom for entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig.

The Prime Minister previously confirmed his beliefs in a previous press conference on Monday, where Trudeau said China made a “obvious link” between Meng and two Michaels.

“If countries around the world realize that by arbitrarily arresting random Canadians, they can get what they want out of Canada politically, well that makes an awful lot more of Canadians who travel the world vulnerable that kind of pressure,” said the nation’s leader.

Canadian authorities took Meng Wanzhou into custody over American allegations of violating sanctions on Iran, and her extradition case is now before a British Columbia court.

Soon after Meng was arrested, Beijing detained Spavor and Kovrig on allegations of undermining China’s national security, a move many Canadians, including the Prime Minister, say is in retaliation for the detention of Meng.

A letter to Trudeau signed by 19 former politicians and diplomats urges that Meng be freed in a bid to win the release of the detained Canadians.

Signatories to the letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, include Jean Chretien-era ministers Lloyd Axworthy and Andre Ouellet, former Conservative minister Lawrence Cannon and former diplomat Robert Fowler, who was himself taken hostage in 2008 in Niger.

With files from the Canadian Press


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