Canada's ambassador to China says he regrets comments

Canadian ambassador: Huawei exec could avoid US extradition

Speaking at a press conference held for Chinese language media on Tuesday, Canada's ambassador to China John McCallum suggested that Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou's extradition to the USA is far from a done deal.

Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada October 31, 2016.

"So I think she has strong arguments she can make before a judge, and the judge will decide whether she should be extradited to the United States", McCallum said.

"I regret that my comments with respect to the legal proceedings of Ms. Meng have created confusion".

"I think she has quite good arguments on her side", he told reporters during the news conference in Markham, outlining three areas where the US extradition request could be challenged. But Mr. McCallum also said one argument is that the case revolves around USA sanctions against Iran that Canada did not sign onto - and that's incorrect. Saying she had a "strong case", McCallum outlined numerous weaknesses of the legal proceedings: political interference from Donald Trump, the extraterritorial nature of the charges and the fact that Canada is not party to American sanctions against Iran.

If the judge orders the extradition to proceed, Meng can appeal that decision to the B.C. Court of Appeal, and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Canada. She is now out on bail as she awaits an extradition hearing.

"Before this happened, relations between Canada and China were going extremely well".

Days after Meng's arrest, Michael Spavor, a Canadian entrepreneur, and Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, were arrested in China and accused of engaging in activities that endangered China's national security. She was arrested in Canada, and is out on bail pending both trial in Canada and possible extradition to the United States.

Picture of Canadian and Chinese flags taken prior to the meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and China's President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on December 5, 2017, in Beijing.

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"It's not so much that Huawei poses a risk, it's that China poses a risk in terms of its worldwide intelligence collection", Elcock said. The U.S. alleges Meng deceived financial institutions and violated sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. Justice Department said it is continuing to pursue Meng's extradition and would meet any deadlines set under the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Canada.

They were cagey in the manner of bureaucrats, but alluded repeatedly to the possibility of Trump's remarks being wielded by Meng's lawyers in court or in direct submissions to the federal justice minister, who will make the ultimate decision to send her to the US or not, should the extradition process in the courts go the way American authorities hope.

Mr. McCallum knows as well as anyone that the problem is not just that the Chinese don't care about the independence of the Canadian judiciary - they don't believe it really exists.

In the editorial, the Global Times said "anyone with a brain can clearly see Washington's intention to stop rising Chinese high-tech companies in the name of the law".

"McCallum may be right on the extradition case, and the arguments to be used for the defense", Bothwell said.

McCallum added that he plays "no role in assessing any arguments or making any determinations in the extradition process".

Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto, said McCallum has always been somewhat autonomous and said his behavior when he was a lawmaker for Markham is what he would expect from someone who represented a largely Chinese-Canadian constituency.

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