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Canada fired its Chinese ambassador over remarks regarding arrested Huawei executive

Canada fired its Chinese ambassador over remarks regarding arrested Huawei executive


Ambassador John McCallum said that it ‘would be great’ for Canada if the US dropped its extradition request

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Illustration by William Joel / The Verge

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired his Chinese ambassador, John McCallum, after the ambassador made several comments regarding the controversial arrest of a Huawei executive in December, saying that she has a strong case to oppose extradition.

Back in December, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO (and daughter of the company’s founder), Meng Wanzhou, who also served on the board of a Hong Kong company, Skycom. That company allegedly did business with Iran, and prosecutors say that because Huawei did business with US banks, she violated US sanctions against the country. Meng was granted bail in a Canadian court shortly after her arrest, and remains in British Columbia while the US attempts to make a case that she should be extradited to stand charges here.

Earlier this week, McCallum said at a news conference that Meng “has some strong arguments that she can make before a judge” when it comes to opposing her extradition, citing statements from US President Donald Trump, and the nature of the sanctions. While McCallum attempted to walk the statements back, but told the Toronto Star that if the US were to drop the extradition request, “that would be great for Canada.”

His statements suggested that the arrests were politically motivated, and have caused considerable headaches for his government as critics have accused him of interfering in the case. The initial arrest has cooled relations between Canada and China, which arrested two Canadian citizens shortly after Meng’s arrest. The deadline for US authorities to file their extradition request comes this week: January 30th.