Trudeau sacks Canadian envoy to China after Huawei controversy

Trudeau sacks Canadian envoy to China after Huawei controversy

The Prime Minister gave no reason, but Mr. McCallum's Tuesday comments about how Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou had a strong case to avoid extradition generated a storm of controversy about whether he was in fact speaking for the Liberal government.

On Thursday, McCallum said he "misspoke" and regretted making those comments.

Opposition legislators and former ambassadors accused McCallum of unacceptable political interference in an affair which has badly damaged relations between Canada and China.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired Canada's ambassador to China after the envoy said it would be "great" if the U.S. dropped its extradition request for a Chinese tech executive arrested in Canada.

He suggested the case was politically motivated and said the USA could make a trade deal with China in which it would no longer seek her extradition, and two Canadian detained in China could then be released.

McCallum's dismissal Saturday was too little too late for Scheer, who had called on Trudeau to fire the ambassador as early as Wednesday, on the grounds that McCallum's remarks raised concerns about the politicization of the Meng case.

That comment followed a statement McCallum issued Thursday, saying he misspoke earlier in the week when he discussed Meng Wanzhou's case with a group of Chinese-language journalists in Toronto, listing several arguments he thought could help her with her legal fight against extradition.

Ms Meng, Huawei's chief financial officer, is accused by the USA of evading sanctions on Iran.

McCallum then popped up in the news once again, saying Friday that it would be "great for Canada" if the USA dropped its extradition request, according to the Toronto Star newspaper.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) shakes hands with former Immigration Minister John McCallum after McCallum delivered his farewell speech in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 31, 2017.

"We have to make sure that if the USA does such a deal, it also includes the release of our two people".

He said he spoke to China's consul general in Montreal on Thursday who reported that China is furious at Canada for arresting Meng on behalf of the United States, which is involved in trade talks with China.

"Justin Trudeau should have fired his ambassador the moment he interfered in this case".

He said the deputy head of mission in Beijing will take over for now.

At the time Trudeau brushed off the call, saying his government's focus is on getting detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor released from China and recalling McCallum wouldn't achieve that.

Trudeau's statement saluted McCallum's decades in public service. "On a matter of this importance, the Canadian government has to speak with a single, clear voice".

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