Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig still held hostage in China
Nineteen former federal cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and diplomats signed an open letter urging the federal government to intervene in the extradition case against Meng in exchange for the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been arbitrarily detained in China since December 2018.
But at a press briefing on June 25 Trudeau rejected the idea, saying such a move could encourage more of the same behaviour and endanger Canadians abroad.
“We cannot allow political pressure or random arrests of Canadian citizens to influence the functioning of our justice system.”
“Bowing to China’s bullying & ignoring rule of law would only encourage other bullies to push Canada around,” he said.
In a media briefing June 24, Zhao Lijian, the spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, cited comments made by Kovrig’s wife to media outlets saying Canada’s justice minister has the power to end the extradition case “at any point.”
Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole called the letter “incredibly naive” in a tweet on June 24, saying “Canada cannot allow our principled approach to justice and the rule of law to be compromised by Communist Chinese influence.”