OTTAWA – POLITICS – After a few days of political turmoil Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has removed John McCallum from the position of Ambassador to China.
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the resignation of Canada’s Ambassador to China, the Honourable John McCallum:
“Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s Ambassador to China.
“For almost two decades, John McCallum has served Canadians honourably and with distinction. He held many positions in Cabinet over the years, including Minister of National Defence, Minister of Veterans Affairs and, most recently, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. His work as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in bringing in over 39,500 Syrian refugees remains an inspiration to Canadians and an example to the world. I thank him and his family for his service over the past many years.
“Effective immediately and in keeping with standard practice, Jim Nickel, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Canada in Beijing, will represent Canada in China as Chargé d’affaires.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says, “It should never have come to this. Justin Trudeau should have fired his ambassador the moment he interfered in this case. Instead, he did nothing and allowed more damage to be done. More weakness and more indecision from Trudeau on China.”
On January 23rd, 2019 Ambassador McCallum spoke to Chinese-language Canadian and state-owned Chinese media in Markham, Ontario. The Ambassador’s comments concerning the detainment and extradition request by the United States, which resulted in the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was awaiting court judgement generated political fireworks.
The United States alleges that Meng Wanzhou is in violation of the United States Sanctions against Iran, while the Canadian Federal government reaffirms that they are obligated to follow judicial protocol and that the arrest is not political in nature.
Ambassador McCallum shared his personal views with the reporter. He restated known public facts that could make Meng’s legal defence case strong against this extradition request. This included President Donald Trump’s political intrusion, which the Ambassador said undermined the integrity of the Canadian judicial protocol, thereby contradicting Canada’s stance by making it political in nature. As well, Ambassador McCallum re-stated other well-reported in the media motives the United States could have, citing the alleged intent of the arrest by the USA was to attempt to obtain trade concessions from China.
Ambassador McCallum was widely criticized by the federal Conservatives and in the national media for what was seen as his inappropriate political intrusion into the judicial process as an ambassador representing the Government of Canada.