McCal­lum didn’t toe line on China: Free­land

The Province - - NEWS CANADA & WORLD -

OT­TAWA — For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land says John McCal­lum was fired as Canada’s am­bas­sador to China be­cause he didn’t toe the gov­ern­ment’s line on the ar­rest of a Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­ec­u­tive.

McCal­lum apol­o­gized last week for mis­s­peak­ing about the ex­tra­di­tion case of Huawei ex­ec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou, who was ar­rested on Dec. 1 in Van­cou­ver at the re­quest of the United States, which wants to ex­tra­dite her on fraud charges.

He was then fired af­ter telling a Van­cou­ver news­pa­per it would be “great for Canada” if the United States dropped its ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for Meng.

Free­land says McCal­lum’s com­ments were in­con­sis­tent with the po­si­tion of the gov­ern­ment, which is that Meng is the sub­ject of a le­gal pro­ceed­ing that is not po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

She says that made it un­ten­able for McCal­lum to con­tinue in the job.

Free­land says the gov­ern­ment re­mains fo­cused on gain­ing the re­lease of for­mer diplo­mat Michael Kovrig and en­tre­pre­neur Michael Spa­vor, who have been ar­rested on vague sus­pi­cions of vi­o­lat­ing Chi­nese na­tional se­cu­rity.

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