Trudeau rejects calls to fire McCallum for ‘unprecedented’ remarks on Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is dismissing calls to remove Canada’s ambassador to China from his post, saying such a change wouldn’t help two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities get home any sooner.

Meeting with reporters in New Brunswick today, Trudeau was asked if he intended to recall or sanction his envoy to Beijing, John McCallum, for opining on how a Huawei executive being held in Canada might avoid extradition to the United States.

Trudeau says his government’s focus is entirely on getting detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor home safely from China and making sure all their rights are respected.

McCallum’s candid comments this week about the case of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou has raised eyebrows and fuelled speculation they were a political ploy to end Ottawa’s deepening diplomatic crisis with China.

In a Toronto-area news conference with Chinese-language journalists, McCallum said he thought Meng has strong legal arguments that could help her avoid extradition and then he listed several possibilities.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has called on Trudeau to fire McCallum for the remarks, which he says raise grave concerns about the politicization of the Meng case.

Erin O’Toole, the Conservative foreign affairs critic, called the remarks “unprecedented.”

He also accused McCallum of throwing the U.S. Department of Justice “under the bus.”

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