OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said he would not recall the ambassador to Beijing who has been blasted by the opposition for saying a Chinese executive being held in Canada could make a good case against extradition to the United States.
Opposition politicians accuse John McCallum of political interference in the matter and insist he be fired. [L1N1ZN0R7]
After Huawei Technologies Co Ltd chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested on a U.S. warrant last month, China detained two Canadian men on national security grounds.
“Our focus is entirely on getting those Canadians home safe … and making a change would not help release those Canadians a day sooner,” Trudeau told reporters in New Brunswick when asked whether he would recall or punish McCallum.
McCallum’s comments to Chinese-language media, which were broadcast on Wednesday, were the most explicit sign yet from a Canadian official that Meng might not be extradited.
“Canada will always remain a country where the rule of law is at the very core of the judicial system … which of course includes the capacity of people to defend themselves,” Trudeau said in televised remarks.
McCallum, like Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, has stressed the importance of the long-term relationship with China. Before the dispute erupted last month Ottawa had been debating the merits of opening free trade talks with China.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by David Gregorio)