Tuesday, June 23, 2020

It's Ottawa's Call. Should Canada Release Meng or Detain Her? Is This Really About Justin Trudeau?

Former Liberal justice minister, Alan Rock, and former Supreme Court of Canada justice, Louise Arbour, agree - the Trudeau government has the legal authority to set Huawei's Meng Wanzhou free and show her the door.
The result is that two Canadians’ liberty, health and perhaps their lives are at risk in China, without Canada debating the legitimate option of relenting to Chinese pressure and freeing Ms. Meng, Allan Rock and Louise Arbour say. 
Canada needs “a full debate based on a legitimate foundation of facts, rather than an incantation of rubrics, like ‘rule of law’ and the ‘independence of the courts’ and the ‘sanctity of the judiciary,‘” Mr. Rock, who was justice minister and attorney-general from 1993 to 1997, said in an interview
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister David Lametti say the court process must be allowed to unfold so as not to compromise the independence of Mr. Lametti’s ultimate decision on whether Ms. Meng should be surrendered to the United States for prosecution. In extradition cases, the justice minister first delegates to his officials a decision on whether a case can proceed; a court then holds hearings and decides whether the legal tests for extraditing a suspect have been met; and then the justice minister decides whether to surrender the suspect for trial. The Meng case is partway through the court hearings, and Mr. Rock says it may be 2024 before a judge rules
Rachel Rappaport, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lametti, said the government’s position is firm. “As this case remains before the courts, and the minister has a direct role in extradition proceedings, it would not be appropriate for us to comment. This has been our position from the beginning.”
Mr. Rock, Ms. Arbour and Vina Nadjibulla sought a legal opinion from Brian Greenspan, a Toronto lawyer with decades of experience in extradition cases, on Mr. Lametti’s authority to withdraw the case. ...Mr. Greenspan wrote a 10-page opinion saying that the Extradition Act has clearly spelled out since 1999 that the justice minister “may at any time withdraw” the government’s support from an extradition case, which triggers a court-ordered release of the extradition subject.
The SNC Lavalin Curse -  When the Attorney General is also the Justice Minister.
In Canada, one person holds the job of both attorney-general and justice minister. But the Extradition Act, Mr. Greenspan told The Globe, delineates the roles of each. The attorney-general acts on behalf of the requesting country, in this case the United States, in court; and the justice minister decides on Canada’s overall interests, which can include a consideration of international relations and political concerns.
Ms. Arbour said that she cannot understand the Canadian government’s claim that Mr. Lametti lacks the authority to free Ms. Meng right now, because the law is clear “on its face.” The government is “confused again, but the other way around, about the role of the minister of justice and the attorney-general. The dominant role clearly is of the minister of justice, not the attorney-general, who has a small, very visible, very public part to play – that’s the tail that shouldn’t be wagging the dog.”
Unfortunately this prime minister and his directing hand, yes you Mr. Butts, lack the skills required in this fiasco. This has become not about Meng, or the "two Michaels," or the rule of law. It is about how it reflects on Justin Trudeau, especially after he so botched the SNC Lavalin issue. And the prime minister would have a lot of explaining to do if he changed course now. People might want to know why, if he had a way out, he left the two Michaels to languish in Chinese jail cells for so long. And Trump is always looking for any excuse to trash Trudeau.


Toby said...

I think Trudeau's position is all about catering to the Americans. He'll play the court excuse because he has to but the last thing Trudeau wants to do is let Meng go back to China because Donny will have a fit and might mess up some trade.

Anonymous said...

Lametti should have released Meng the minute Trump admitted he was holding her as a bargaining chip in his trade war with China. In fact, we had no business arresting her in the first place. I see no reason why Canada is involved in enforcing US sanctions against third-country businesses, which are illegal in their extraterritorial application.


The Disaffected Lib said...

I also think Trudeau lost his nerve and chose to go along to get along with Trump, using the rule of law justification as political cover. Now he's in too deep to simply spring Meng loose. Such is life for those running a "branch plant" country, especially when the CEO of Home Office is Donald Trump.

Purple library guy said...

Actually, I think Trudeau would most prefer if the judge just ruled in Meng's favour and let her go so Trudeau could be out of the pinch but would be able to tell the Americans he had nothing to do with it. The problem is, as we found out with Hassan Diab, is that unless the minister does something directly it's almost impossible to beat an extradition in Canada.
So if he just noodles along hoping for that result, he probably won't get it. And when Meng hits real durance vile in the US, the Chinese will really be pissed off.

I suppose another possibility is, Trudeau's stalling for time, hoping that if the elections put somebody sane in the White House he can quietly say to them "Look, this whole 'grabbing a hostage to extract a ransom from China' gig isn't making you guys look good. This is a perfect chance for you to denounce Trump's record and make this mess go away by dropping the charges so we can give her back and then we can all pretend this never happened."

The Disaffected Lib said...

I expect Meng will be high on Trudeau's list if Biden wins in November, PLG. I read somewhere recently that it could be two more years, perhaps more, before this issue is decided in Canadian courts. We took our sweet time when it was Karl Heinz Schreiber and he wasn't a diplomatic nightmare.

No matter the outcome it won't reflect well on this prime minister. He really painted himself into a corner as he did on SNC Lavalin.

the salamander said...

.. So many delicious scenarios blossom out of this now convoluted and muddled debacle.. But there is a 'tipping point' whereby China in its almost infinite power says 'Ok.. here's the dealio' .. Only idiots try to dance around immutable fact. We have zero power versus China.. and we would do well to keep that REALITY in mind. Further, we do not need 'some other country' to intercede (more obvious weakness and futility to that 'strategy') regardless of whether Trudeau, Butts or the vaunted 'Liberal Caucus' dream in technicolour otherwise.

Upon a time, I arose & discovered a lovely herd of Holsteins grazing on the front lawn of our farmhouse. In short order I found they had grazed off all lettuce, pulled up carrots, spared the radishes in our veggie garden. Wha ? The party lines buzzed.. the herd had also visited elsewhere overnight. Had to be Frank Longstreet's gang. Frank said 'sorry' .. we got em moving down to and along the sideroad.. milking time was nigh. Recriminations ? Gripes ? Pointless. We snugged up Frank's split cedar rail fence that had been breached.. end of story.. Shit happens.. deal with it

Law & Order.. where I have I heard that boast before.. ?

Trudeau / Butts (our unelected guru of all crooked things SNC Lavalin - Law & Order) need to just quietly send Ms Meng to an airport for a one way trip to China. Sayonaro. Take a leap of faith.. and while doing so, get her out of Canada eh ! Let Trump and his mighty prick William Barr then tackle the conundrum. Ignore any 'consequence' .. howls of outrage from Kenney, Scheer or O'Toole.. or fatuous Main Media. Its amazing how refreshing a 'fait accompli' can be.. when 'your problem' is dumped back upon whomever dumped it on you. We have bigger fish to fry.. then continuing to be embroiled in some bizzaro Trump Admin vs China foofaroo. China gives not a fuck really. This 'file' amuses them.. and Canada strives on to 'appear brave' or 'reasonable'.. blah blah sez Trudeau 'brain trust'.. and Oh Deary Me.. do not rile up Trump. Since when do we kowtow to pieces of shit suckholes like Trump or William Barr ?

Northern PoV said...

I endorse all of the first 4 comments on this thread.
and will add ...
Perhaps our gov't is waiting/hoping the US election will remove the tyrant who undermines international law on a daily basis.
(ie The guy who just slapped sanctions on ICC members (incl. CDNs) for doing their job.)

Let's hope freeing Meng is only delayed due to fear of blowback.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Sal, JT has put himself in a bad place. They've held the 'two Michaels' for what, almost two years? To release Meng now would mean he has failed those hostages and if Trump exploited the opportunity to make Trudeau out as weak and untrustworthy he'll jump all over it. He's probably already got Navarro gaming his options to "punish" Canada. His base loves that shit.

the salamander said...

.. 'Our Flub' of this file is just that.. We should have been at the poker table same day.. with 'what's going on here'.. what's the deal ? True enough, Mound.. its now completely ulcerated, festering.. so just end it. Give her a push in the right direction, a midnight flight - tonight.. and we can all shuffle along from the boondoggle. Trump Inc has bigger fish to fry.. we small potato. When you try and deal or 'win' with a swindler.. you lose. We're the 'mark'.. and we let the USA drag us into their cage, then invited ourselves into China's cage.. hardly victims.. we are more realistically volunteers in my view. Let's show deference to China.. we've showed patience.. the dudes and their families have suffered enuff.. or do we want a pair of Omar Khadr payouts on our docket ! ? Send those two back here for our justice system to sort out, we send Ms Meng so China can sort that end out. It really doesn't matter if we make the generous move first.. Its either that or China sends the two men back.. with little explanation.. and then we owe them.. but reciprocate. And Trump et al can go suck eggs