Canada’s already tense relationship with China is in danger of getting worse after two Canadians detained there were formally arrested for state secrets-related crimes.
China says it “officially arrested” Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after holding them incommunicado for months. The detention of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor has been widely seen as retaliation for the Dec. 1, 2018 arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
“Canada strongly condemns their arbitrary arrest as we condemned their arbitrary detention on Dec. 10,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement. “We reiterate our demand that China immediately release Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.”
The two men were arrested “recently,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang. He would not comment on where the men are being held or whether they have been provided access to a lawyer.
He said they have been “accused” of wrongdoing rather than formally indicted. The offences he described are, in the most serious of cases, punishable by death.
“All of the measures we have taken with the two Canadian citizens … are lawful, and the prosecutorial department’s decision to arrest them is also lawful,” Mr. Lu said.
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Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he supported the chief of defence staff’s decision to suspend Vice-Admiral Mark Norman in 2017, more than a year before he was charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets about military procurement.
Mr. Trump’s Middle East envoy says he welcomes Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s commitment to move Canada’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize the city as the Israeli capital if elected later this year.
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Andrew Coyne (National Post) on climate, carbon taxes and the fall election: “I say this as a fully paid-up subscriber to the orthodoxy on carbon pricing. For the Tories to win by pretending either nothing need be done on climate change or that nobody needs to pay for it would confirm all of one’s worst suspicions about Canadian politics. But cheap oil was a winning strategy in 1980 and I fear it may well be again in 2019.”
Éric Grenier (CBC News) on the shifting political landscape: “Of course, Canada’s economy is not now in the depths of a Great Depression. Unemployment currently stands at 5.7 per cent, while estimates put unemployment almost as high as 30 per cent during the Depression. But some of the former premiers who have recently become unemployed themselves — Philippe Couillard in Quebec, for example — were canned despite healthy provincial economies. In short, we appear to be living through a Great Disruption in Canadian politics. It might not be over yet.”