GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau is right about two Michaels, wrong about China

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While there are many reasons to be concerned about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s naive view of China as reflected in his administration’s policies, his handling of the two Michaels case is not one of them.


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In this case, the Trudeau government got caught up in the cold war between two superpowers, China and the US, because Canada honored our extradition treaty with the US, our closest ally.

It was the right decision, but given the conflict it created between China and the US, Canada alone could never free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Trudeau, despite criticism to the contrary, also did not engage in hostage diplomacy prior to the US-China deal, allowing Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig to return home. simultaneously on Friday.

Indeed, Trudeau rightly resisted approving a hostage exchange during the 1,020 days that Kovrig and Spavor were unjustly incarcerated in China.


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He stood his ground even though he was under pressure to do so from many sources, including high-ranking liberals who are no longer in politics and who have passed their “best before” dates.

They had urged Trudeau to accept a trade, mainly because they have business interests in China.

Trudeau accurately said that while the Chinese government was engaging in hostage diplomacy, which China absurdly denied, Canada would allow legal process to determine Meng’s fate, and thus Spavor and Kovrig’s.

In the end, that’s what happened.

US justice officials worked on a deferred prosecution agreement with Meng’s attorneys, which Canadians are familiar with given the Trudeau SNC-Lavalin scandal, which allows Meng, Spavor and Kovrig to return home.


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Working on behalf of Canada was US President Joe Biden’s promise to help free Spavor and Kovrig – saying that human beings are not “bargaining chips” – in concert with international pressure Canada mobilized against China essentially for kidnapping, imprison and convict the couple on absurd espionage charges. in China’s kangaroo court system.

The events on Friday that freed Meng, Spavor and Kovrig were further proof, as if something else was needed, that despite China’s denials, the cases were related.

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China’s persecution of Kovrig and Spavor was in retaliation by Canadian authorities who arrested Meng at the Vancouver airport on December 1, 2018.

Canada’s motive for doing so was an extradition request from the United States, where she was wanted on fraud charges.


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The deal reached between the US and China was especially welcome given the amount of time it took for Meng’s glacially slow extradition trial to reach a verdict, still months away, despite all the evidence having been heard. .

What is concerning about Trudeau’s dealings with China is not his conduct in the Meng case, but related issues such as his refusal, up to this point, to ban Huawei, the company he works for, from participating in the development of the Canada’s 5G network due to security concerns.

That has damaged relations with our closest allies, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, which have already done so and may be one of the reasons why Canada was excluded from its recent security and intelligence pact to control the power of China.

Then there was Trudeau’s bizarre initiative for a Chinese company to develop a COVID-19 vaccine for Canadians, which only failed because China decided to eliminate it, plus the shocking statement by Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan that China is not our adversary. at a security conference in 2019.

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