It was revealed Monday that Canada is fighting in court to prevent release of information about the Meng Wanzhou arrest, saying that it could jeopardize Canadian lives and create more tension between Canada and China.
Meng’s lawyers are seeking access to correspondence between the two intelligence agencies involved in the case – the Canada Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the FBI.
“Generally speaking, such disclosure would inflame tensions between the governments of Canada and China, and would, necessarily, provoke a response harmful to the bilateral relations and Canadian interests,” Global Affairs Director General David Hartman wrote in an affidavit filed with the court.
“Given the consular considerations, disclosure could also risk causing harm to individual Canadian lives,” he wrote.
The affidavit, filed in June, is in support of the attorney general’s bid to stop the unredacted correspondence from becoming public. The release issue is expected to be heard in court later in July.
Under an extradition treaty, Meng was arrested in Vancouver at the request of the United States Dec. 1, 2018 and she has been under house arrest as her case winds its way through the courts. The Americans allege Meng committed fraud by contravening sanctions against Iran.
What is generally seen as retaliation by Beijing was swift, with Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor arrested little more than a week later. The two have been languishing in jail and were recently formally charged with spying.
The idea of a swap – Meng for the two Michaels, as they are referred to – was rejected by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“If countries around the world, including China, realize that by arbitrarily arresting random Canadians, they can get what they want out of Canada politically” and it would put Canadians traveling abroad at risk, he said.
A poll released Sunday showed that a majority of Canadians agree with Trudeau.
The Nanos poll found that 40% were against the prisoner swap. As well, 68% were in favor of letting the court decide Meng’s fate.
The poll also found that a majority of Canadians backed tougher action by the Canadian government, such as stopping Chinese firms from purchasing Canadian companies and blocking entry to Canada by Chinese officials.
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