Former parliamentarians, diplomats pen letter calling on Canada to release Meng

A group of high-profile Canadians, including former parliamentarians and senior diplomats, say Justice Minister David Lametti should end extradition proceedings for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to give Canada a chance to “re-define its strategic approach to China.”

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dated June 23, the signatories say Canada has the legal right to intervene to free Meng and end the extradition trial that could send her to the U.S. They cite a legal opinion published earlier this week by Toronto-based lawyer Brian Greenspan.

“There is no question that the U.S. extradition request has put Canada in a difficult position. As prime minister, you face a difficult decision. Complying with the U.S. request has greatly antagonized China,” the letter says.

The 19 signatories say that releasing Meng could also free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians who were detained in China shortly after Meng’s arrest.

The letter has been signed by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy, former Conservative foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, former Conservative senator Hugh Segal and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, among others.

The signatories say Lametti should set aside concerns about the rule of law — specifically Canada’s obligations under its extradition agreement with the U.S. — and politically intervene to end the B.C. court proceedings that involve Meng.

In 1999, the Extradition Act was amended to include a specific provision that gives the federal minister of justice the power to intervene in an extradition at any point during the judicial phase.

“The minister has the right to withdraw the authority to proceed and to end the extradition proceeding, and it’s totally at the discretion of the minister of justice,” Greenspan said in an interview with CBC News Tuesday.

Meng’s case now moves to another phase, where a separate judge will decide whether Meng should be extradited. The final decision to surrender the Chinese executive to the U.S. will fall to Lametti.



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