June 22, 2020 | By Hopeton O’Connor Dennie |
Michael Spavor & Michael Kovrig
It is now 18 months December 2018, that Meng was detained in Canada and shortly after the two Michael’s were seized by Chinese officials in China and only recently some apparent trumped up charges were laid. Which relate to state secrets stolen.
We know Canada wants to be seen globally as the good guys who play by the rule of law at all times. Politics is not a straight line graph. When it comes to the lives of your citizens held in places with proven strange legal systems you cannot gamble with their lives. Do not expect mercy from these despots. They do not respect any established rules. Their foreign policy is tied to their political and economic objectives.
The arrest of Huawei Executive Meng should have never been allowed to happen. Having happened every effort should have been made to free her. She committed no crime in Canada and was therefore not wanted by the Canadian legal system. To have acted on spurious charges on USA’s request was short-sighted, if not neiviety at its best.
Smell The Coffee PM Trudeau
PM Justin Trudeau wants to project the nice guy image. That certainly has its place, but the rough and tumble of diplomacy means that at times you need to get your hands dirty. You are not only going to be shaking hands … at times you may have to shoot from the hip and spare no ammunition. The time for the gun boat type diplomacy may be now. Canada needs to hit the Chinese where it hurts. Tariff war or some other initiative that hurts their economic or other interests has to be the approach. To sit back and read beatitudes may not achieve any meaningful results at this time. It is time PM Trudeau wake up and smell the coffee. It cannot be business as usual while Canadian Iives languish in Chinese jails. No way! You must have a tough game plan.
The safe return of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig to Canadian soil has to be part of this plan.
If Meng was wanted on terrorism charges and therefore a threat to any country, then her arrest or detention by the Canadian authorities could be argued to be in the best interest of public safety. This is not the same as the strange charge of allegedly “lying” to the Americans on some likely trumped up “fraud charge”. Also a breach of Iran Treaty with the US. Canada should be smarter and sharper than that. Wise up Ottawa.
What’s in Meng’s arrest for Canada?
In my perspective only headache, heartache, economic losses and Canada licking its wounds from embarrassment to say the least. For example: Pork and Konola farmers were jerked by China. China banned or restricted imports of these products from Canada. Let the Americans do their dirty work themselves. They could have seized her as they have the most powerful army in the world. They also have the CIA that allegedly carries out nefarious and even dirty jobs for them across the globe. For example assist with regime change and allegedly arm rebels to destabilize governments.
Canada did not have to risk the lives of its citizens for the Americans. Trump even suggested that a deal could be worked out to free Meng. This seem to me to suggest possible political interference.
Yes. We are aware of the existence of an extradition Treaty, between USA and Canada, but this should not be used as a pretext or an excuse to destroy lives.
As Canada reflects on the alleged trumped up charges against Micheal Spavor and Michael Kovrig both charged for spying and related activities, we must ask the question what else will Ottawa do to secure the release of their two Canadian citizens? As Trump alluded to: “A political deal should not be ruled out” Is Ottawa prepared to be pragmatic and do what is necessary to free its citizens from the dark holes of Chinese prisons? Will the Chinese impose the death sentence on the two Canadians who are likely to get little or no legal representation and most likely than not a fair trial?
PM Trudeau said their detentions are “arbitrary”. “We are a society who believes in the rule by law”. Nice talk Mr. nice guy … PM Justin Trudeau. We are tempted to nominate you for a Nobel Prize for Peace. Will that help Spavor and Kovrig? The Jury is still out. We doubt that Mr. Trudeau.
This is our perspective. What is yours? The verdict as usual is yours.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior National & International Correspondent for GTA Weekly