Meng Wanzhou now has her day in court.
The chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested by Canadian police on Dec. 1, 2018, on the request of U.S. authorities. Her arrest kicked off dramatic tensions between Canada and China, leading China to jail two Canadians and impose economic punishments, such as banning the import of some agricultural products. The Canadian government has maintained it was just following the law in agreeing to the U.S. request.
More than a year later, a B.C. court will begin hearing the case of whether to allow her extradition to the United States. The process could take years.
The focus this week is on the argument from Ms. Meng’s defence team (learn more about them) that her extradition should be blocked because of “double criminality” – the legal practice that, in order to be extradited, a suspect must be accused of something that is a crime in both countries. Ms. Meng’s lawyers contend that because her charges of fraud relate to alleged infractions of the United States’ sanctions on Iran they would not also be a crime in Canada, because Canada does not have similar sanctions on Iran. Government lawyers argue that fraud is fraud, regardless of the alleged circumstances.
Hours before the court hearing began, the Chinese government once again demanded the high-profile businesswoman should be released.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the rest of the Liberal cabinet are in the second day of their three-day retreat in Winnipeg. Some news has come out of the gathered ministers: Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the Canadian government is concerned that Iran might back out of its promises to provide all black-box data to other countries; Finance Minister Bill Morneau says changes are coming to the fiscal stabilization fund, something Alberta has been asking for to help make up for lost oil revenue; and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the government has not yet assessed whether it needs to provide security to royals Meghan and Harry when they start living part-time in Canada.
One of the Liberal’s first minority-government losses was an opposition bid to create a special committee to examine the relationship between Canada and China. That committee meets for the first time this afternoon. The Conservatives want ambassador Dominic Barton to be the committee’s first witness.
Rotating teachers strikes have begun in Ontario, in Ottawa, York Region and Toronto, as unions and the province continue negotiations. The main sticking points have been wages, class sizes and online courses.
Progress Alberta, a progressive non-profit, is threatening legal action against the Alberta government’s inquiry into the funding of environmentalists.
Prince Harry says he is not stepping away from Britain, but he does hope the life change he and Meghan are making will be for the best. On the weekend, the Queen announced the two royals would no longer be styled as His and Her Royal Highness, though they would retain their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
And the military has arrived in St. John’s to help residents dig out from an unprecedented snow fall. More than 75 centimetres of snow fell in one day in the city, burying residents in their homes and covering cars in their driveways. Some of the videos need to be seen to be believed.
Times Wang and Ti-Anna Wang (The Globe and Mail) on Meng’s extradition hearing: “When Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing takes place this week, the outcome will be decided by an impartial judge, based on the facts and the law, and free of the pernicious influence of politics. As such, one winner is sure to emerge: the very principle of the rule of law itself. And, as a matter of geopolitics, the Trudeau government would do well to emphasize this fact as publicly and forcefully as it possibly can.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on who’s supporting the push for Alberta’s autonomy: “The conference was also proof there is serious money behind the movement. It was organized by the right-of-centre advocacy group Alberta Proud and the non-partisan Canadians for Democracy & Prosperity. The event was sponsored by the pro-oil advocacy group Modern Miracle Network as well as the Buffalo Project, an organization focused on a new deal for Alberta and Saskatchewan that counts some of the wealthiest and most private of the two provinces’ business elites as members.”
Kenneth Whyte (The Globe and Mail) on whether the next Conservative leader must be bilingual: “Bilingualism is not a constitutional or legislative requirement for a party leader or prime minister. It is not even a convention. Bilingualism as a leadership credential arose relatively recently in our history in response to a discrete event, the rise of separatist sentiment in Quebec. The retiring Liberal prime minister, Lester B. Pearson, thought it advisable, under the circumstances, that his successor be a bilingual French-Canadian capable of countering the appeal of René Lévesque.”
Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun) on Meghan and Harry giving up their royal duties: “It changes this country’s obligations to provide security for the couple. Make no mistake, the Queen will have been kept closely apprised of the opinions of Canadians in this. Yes, we’re flattered to have you come stay. No, we don’t want to pay for security.”
Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on the royal relationship with Canada: “I have always been ambivalent about the monarchy. On one hand, it’s an outdated vestige of a long since failed empire, but on the other we made treaty with the Crown and our rights are embodied in the commitment made in Queen Victoria’s name. If we didn’t have the monarchy and the subsequent honour of the Crown, our treaties would have been reduced to meaningless rhetoric long ago, much like the Americans’ treaties south of the medicine line.”