• By: OLM Staff

NDP sponsor petition calling for immediate release of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou

Niki Ashton, a former NDP leadership candidate and the NDP Member of Parliament for the riding of Churchill—Keewatinook Aski in Manitoba has sponsored an official petition in The House of Commons calling for the Government of Canada to release Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou immediately. Ashton was first elected in 2008 at the age of 26, and serves as the NDP Critic for Transport, and Deputy Critic for Women and Gender Equality. She ran for the NDP party leadership in 2017 placing a strong  third behind winner Jagmeet Singh and runner up Charlie Angus. Her petition is the first formal call by the Opposition NDP for the release of Meng. 

Meng is the Huawei Corporation CFO, who has been held under house arrest in Vancouver at the request of the US Government since December 2, 2018.

The petition was initiated by Henry Evans-Tenbrinke a retired member of CUPE Local 7800 in Hamilton. It was Opened for signatures on September 29th, 2020. The petition calls for the Trudeau government to:

  1. Cease extradition proceedings against Meng and release her immediately.
  2. Protect Canadian jobs by permitting Huawei Canada to participate in the Canadian deployment of a 5G internet network; and
  3. Initiate a long-overdue foreign policy review to develop an independent foreign policy for Canada.

The complex and convoluted Meng saga began when the RCMP arrested Meng on a provisional US extradition request for fraud and conspiracy to allegedly commit fraud in order to skirt U.S. sanctions against Iran. Despite no charges being submitted when she was detained, within days of her arrest, US President Donald Trump mused in a media scrum that, “Meng might be let go, if it is in America’s interests to do so. Two months later, on January 28, 2019 Meng was finally charged and was later indicted by the DOJ on charges of trade secrets theft, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Meng and Huawei vehemently deny all the charges.

Meng accused the US of misrepresenting her case by omitting key information in the evidence filed against her, using her as a “bargaining chip” in the dispute, which is unrelated to the charges against her. Trump has linked resolution of the US government’s dealings with Huawei to a potential trade agreement with China. He has said he would consider Huawei’s role in a trade deal at the final stage of negotiations, the court application says.

Canada has been caught in the crossfire between the Trump Administration’s bravado and the Chinese Government, the fallout being the high-profile arrest of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, Canadian nationals who were held for 18 months in a Chinese prison before being charged on June 19, 2020 by the Chinese Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Kovrig is charged with spying on state secrets and intelligence for other countries abroad and Spavor is charged with spying on national secrets and providing those secrets outside China. Both deny the allegations, but if convicted, they could spend life in prison. They remain in prison to this day.

Critics of the Trudeau Government’s mishandling of the whole affair include former Canadian Prime Ministers John Turner, Brian Mulroney, and Jean Chretien. Many other highly reputable Canadians, including long serving federal Liberals, sent a letter to the PM on June 23, 2020 pointing out that Justice Minister David Lametti should end the extradition proceedings for Meng Wanzhou to give Canada a chance to "re-define its strategic approach to China”. They noted that Canada has the legal right to free Meng and end the extradition trial that could send her to the US. They also made the political link saying, "There is no question that the US extradition request has put Canada in a difficult position. As prime minister, you face a difficult decision. Complying with the US request has greatly antagonized China.” Nothing has changed since the letter, except for Trudeau repeatedly expressing concern and outrage over the detention of the ‘two Michael’s’, while doubling down on the Meng arrest as proper and part of the ‘rule of law’ process.

Former Prime Minister John Turner bluntly told Trudeau in the weeks before his death last month that Trudeau got it all wrong and that Meng should be released forthwith.

NDP Niki Ashton’s Petition E-2857 (Foreign Affairs) is live online until January 27th, 2021.