The Prime Minister took a hard stance. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor won't be the only ones to be arbitrarily detained if Canada gives in to what China wants, according to Justin Trudeau. He said that "no Canadian will be safe" if that happens.
On June 25, the PM addressed the ongoing situation regarding the two Michaels who were detained in China after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada.
China has recently suggested that letting Meng go could lead to Kovrig and Spavor being freed.
However, Trudeau was not on board with that.
"If countries around the world, including China, realize that by arbitrarily arresting random Canadians they can get what they want out of Canada politically, well, that makes an awful lot more Canadians who travel around the world vulnerable to that kind of pressure," he said.
He noted that his government will stand up for Canada's independent justice system while also working to bring the detained men home.
"We deplore what China did in arbitrarily detaining the two Michaels," Trudeau said.
According to him, stopping the attempt to extradite Meng could set a dangerous precedent.
"It is not just the two Michaels who are at question here. It is every Canadian who travels to China or anywhere else overseas," he said.
Simply put, it would show China that they can get whatever they want by arresting Canadians.
He said that could mean "no Canadian will be safe going forward."
A group of former politicians and diplomats sent a letter to Trudeau that called for Canada to intervene in Meng's extradition trial so that the two Michaels would be released.
"We cannot allow political pressures or random arrests of Canadian citizens to influence the functioning of our justice system," he said.
He noted that a precedent like this would put millions of Canadians who live overseas or travel there every year in danger.
"I respect these individuals but they are wrong in their approach," Trudeau said.
"I respect the distinguished Cdns who put forward that letter but I deeply disagree with them," PM Trudeau tells re… https://t.co/5CGmG9T2dH— CPAC (@CPAC) 1593097382.0
According to CBC, that letter was signed by a former Supreme Court justice and former Liberal, Conservative and NDP federal politicians.
Trudeau said that the focus will be on keeping Canadians safe in the future showing that random arrests don't give countries leverage over the government of Canada.
A week earlier, the two Michaels were formally charged with espionage by China.