Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"blabbermouth on booze"...Canada's man in Beijing says Huawei's Meng has 'strong case, may go free'That puts Trudeau in a bind

Canada's Idiot Du Jour, Our Drunken Ambassador, McCallum

Canada's man in Beijing says Huawei's Meng has 'strong case, may go free'That puts Trudeau in a bind

Canada's ambassador to China, John McCallum, arrives to brief members of the Foreign Affairs committee regarding China in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

"blabbermouth on booze".../me

JANUARY 23, 2019
Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, says top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has a good chance of winning a Canadian court case to avoid extradition to the United States on allegations of banking fraud relating to U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Speaking at a news conference for Chinese-language media in Markham, Ont., on Tuesday, Mr. McCallum took the extraordinary step of effectively offering legal advice to Huawei’s chief financial officer, who Canada arrested early last month at the request of U.S. law-enforcement authorities.
Mr. McCallum, who last year stated that Canada has more in common with China than the United States under Donald Trump, told reporters Tuesday that the extradition request has two serious flaws, including the U.S. President’s suggestion last month that he could intervene in the Meng case if it helped trade talks with Beijing.
“I think she has quite good arguments on her side,” he said. "One, political involvement by comments from Donald Trump in her case. Two, there's an extraterritorial aspect to her case, and three, there's the issue of Iran sanctions which are involved in her case, and Canada does not sign on to these Iran sanctions. So I think she has some strong arguments that she can make before a judge,"
Mr. McCallum’s comments contrast with statements by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who insist the Canadian government will not interfere politically in the Meng legal case and that it should be left to the judicial system to resolve.
Mr. Trudeau would not say Wednesday whether he agreed with his ambassador that the U.S. extradition evidence against Ms. Meng was weak. He maintained Ottawa would not intervene in the court case.
“Part of the strength of our justice system is that people get to mount a strong defence and I know she will,” he told reporters in La Loche, Sask. “We will ensure as a government and a country that the rule of law and independence of our justice system is properly defended.”
Ms. Freeland’s office, when asked for comment on Mr. McCallum’s advice to Ms. Meng, again insisted that Canada’s position is to leave the matter to the courts.
“With respect to Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, Canada is conducting a fair, unbiased and transparent legal proceeding. There has been no political involvement in this process. Canada respects its international legal commitments, including by honouring its extradition treaty with the United States,” press secretary Adam Austen said.
The United States has informed Canada that it intends to proceed with a formal extradition request by the Jan. 30 deadline.
Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole said he was “flabbergasted” by Mr. McCallum’s comments, and accused him of trying to “crater” the U.S. legal case against Ms. Meng.
“This was worse than the flippant comment by President Trump,” Mr. O’Toole said. “It was an enumerated list of things he believes help her case so it was almost like this was a news conference with the strategic intention of bolstering her case and discrediting the extradition process.”
Mr. O’Toole said the Conservatives want to know if the Prime Minister and the Liberal cabinet directed their China envoy to undermine the U.S. case.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said Mr. McCallum had eroded the Liberal government’s claim to zero interference in the Meng case.
“Mr. McCallum, who is himself a part of the federal government, has seriously undermined a very important point. His comments, coming at this juncture, can only cause confusion,” Mr. Mulroney told The Globe and Mail.
Mr. McCallum did say a Canadian judge will make the decision on whether Ms. Meng should be extradited, and stressed there has been “zero involvement” by the federal government. A final decision on extradition will be left to new federal Justice Minister David Lametti.
The detention of Ms. Meng has angered Beijing, which has demanded that she be immediately allowed to return home. She is out on $10-million bail and is living in a $5-million home she owns in Vancouver, subject to a daily curfew of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Days after her arrest, China arrested Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Canadian businessman Michael Spavor on allegations of endangering China’s national security. Beijing also imposed the death penalty on Canadian Robert Schellenberg after a Chinese court had given him a 15-year prison term for drug smuggling.
Mr. McCallum said the harsh Chinese reaction against Canada is being directed by China’s top ruler.

“I do know that President Xi Jinping was very angry about it and so others in the Chinese government had taken the lead from him and I don’t know exactly why,” he said. “Maybe it is because Huawei is a national flagship company of China.”
He said Ms. Meng will appear in a Vancouver court on Feb. 6 to discuss her bail conditions but the extradition case will not take place until early March, but only to set a date for court hearings several months later.
He outlined three scenarios that could happen: Ms. Meng will win her court case and be allowed to return home; the court will extradite her to the U.S.; or the Americans could cut a deal with China.
“And part of the deal would be that they would no longer seek her extradition. And we would hope if the U.S. made such a deal, part of the deal would be also to release the two Canadians. So that is an option but that is more under the control of the United States.”
Mr. McCallum’s comments are not the first time he has been critical of the United States and outspoken in defence of China.
The former Liberal cabinet minister, whom Mr. Trudeau named as ambassador in 2017 to pursue a free-trade deal with Beijing, criticized Mr. Trump and lauded China in early 2018. Back then he said the Trudeau government has more in common with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian regime than the United States.
“In some important policy areas such as the environment, global warming, free trade, globalization, the policies of the government of Canada are closer to the policies of the government of China than they are to U.S. policies,” Mr. McCallum said in January of 2018.
At the time, Mr. Trudeau didn’t disavow Mr. McCallum’s comments but said his government’s approach to foreign affairs is to look for common ground with countries, including China.
Mr. McCallum accepted more than $73,300 in free trips to China when he was a member of Parliament on the opposition benches between 2008 and 2015, The Globe revealed in 2017 following an investigation into sponsored travel provided to MPs. The travel was paid for by China or pro-Beijing business groups.
China’s one-party state has come under significant criticism for its brutal human-rights record, as well as its aggression in the South China Sea. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, China has, over the last decade, “effectively seized over 80 per cent of the South China Sea, an area about the size of Western Europe” and built 12 “militarily significant facilities” in the region, including three major fighter bases.
Back in 2018, Mr. McCallum said he never imagined it would be possible for Canada and China to be so closely aligned – a development he attributed to Mr. Trump’s policies, which include protectionist measures and an anti-climate-change stance. “I believe that because of this political situation with Donald Trump, the Chinese are now more interested than before to do things with us” in Canada, he said.
The envoy said at the time that the divergence between the United States and China is a boon for Canada. “In a sense, it’s a good thing for me as an ambassador and for Canada with China because, because of these big differences, it gives us opportunities in China. There is no doubt that Canada wants to do more with China, which is what the Prime Minister told me when he asked me to come here.”
Mr. McCallum’s statement on Tuesday that Canada did not sign on to the sanctions against Iran related to Ms. Meng’s case are perplexing, as Ottawa did in fact back international and U.S. sanctions during the period under investigation in the Meng case.
At that time, Canada not only applied United Nations-mandated sanctions against Iran, but between 2011 and 2013 it also joined the U.S. and several other so-called “like-minded” allies in a new round of sanctions.
Ottawa loosened those sanctions in 2016 after Iran agreed to controls on its nuclear-weapons capacity – an agreement which Mr. Trump later disavowed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments always welcome!