Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday rejected a call to swap an imprisoned Huawei Technologies executive for two Canadian citizens held by Beijing, saying such a move would set a bad precedent and render vulnerable other Canadians traveling abroad.
Shortly after Vancouver police arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. arrest warrant in December 2018, Beijing detained two Canadian men, Michael Covrig and Michael Spavor on security charges. Last week they were charged with suspected spying.
A group of 19 prominent figures, including former cabinet ministers and diplomats, this week wrote a letter to Trudeau urging Ottawa to halt the extradition proceedings against Meng. This, they said, would boost the chances of China freeing the two men.
Trudeau, who has dismissed repeated calls from China to intervene in the case against Meng, while indicating respect for the signatories, went on to say they were wrong to call for her release.
The wife of one of the “two Michaels” on Tuesday urged Justice Minister David Lametti to consider intervening in the case, saying her husband was in an increasingly dire predicament.
Although Beijing insists there is no connection between the Meng and the two Canadians, Trudeau said there was a clear link.