OTTAWA (Reuters) – In an unprecedented transfer, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday mentioned he had fired his ambassador to China, who prompted a political furor with feedback about Huawei’s high-profile extradition case.
John McCallum had embarrassed Trudeau’s Liberal authorities by saying Huawei Applied sciences Co Ltd [HWT.UL] Chief Monetary Officer Meng Wanzhou may make a robust argument in opposition to being despatched to america.
Opposition legislators and former ambassadors accused McCallum of unacceptable political interference in an affair which has badly broken relations between Canada and China.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in Vancouver final month over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
China subsequently detained two Canadian residents on nationwide safety grounds. A Chinese language court docket later retried a Canadian man who had been jailed for medication smuggling and sentenced him to demise.
“Final night time I requested for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s ambassador to China,” Trudeau mentioned in a press release that didn’t clarify his causes.
Veteran diplomats and specialists advised Reuters it was the primary time a Canadian ambassador had ever been formally fired.
Trudeau mentioned as just lately as Thursday that he had no plans to exchange McCallum, who apologized the identical day for his remarks earlier within the week.
However the Toronto Star newspaper on Friday quoted the envoy as saying that if Washington dropped the extradition request “that might be nice for Canada”. McCallum, 68, a long-time former Liberal cupboard minister, isn’t a educated diplomat.
Brock College professor Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who had served two postings in China, mentioned McCallum’s feedback on Meng probably avoiding extradition had signaled to Beijing that its laborious line ways have been working.
“He actually made it untenable for the prime minister to maintain him (in his submit) for any size of time and he needed to go,” Burton mentioned by phone, suggesting Trudeau ought to shortly appoint a particular envoy to deal with the dispute.
Spokespeople for Trudeau and International Minister Chrystia Freeland declined to remark when requested concerning the dismissal.
Andrew Scheer, chief of the official opposition Conservative Celebration, mentioned in a tweet that Trudeau “ought to have fired his ambassador the second he interfered on this case” and accused the prime minister of weak spot and indecision.
Polls present the Liberals have a slender lead over the Conservatives forward of a federal election this October.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Modifying by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler