In Canada, China, Huawei

Meng Wanzhou leaves a Vancouver courtroom after being granted bail on Dec 11, 2018 (no photo credit available)

Introduction by Roger Annis:
The detention in Canada on December 1, 2018 of Meng Wanzhou and the extradition request against her by the Trump regime in Washington is a legal battleground in the U.S.-led new cold war against China. She is the chief financial officer of China’s telecommunications giant Huawei. The company competes successfully with the largest telecoms in Western countries, so much so that the U.S., New Zealand and Australia have banned Huawei from participating in lucrative work to install next-generation ‘G5’ communications technology.

Washington’s junior partner in Ottawa is a key ally and willing accomplice in the new cold war against China and Russia. Canada can be expected to join its ‘Five Eyes’ spying partners in banning Huawei from G5 work. The political firestorm now surrounding Jody Wilson-Raybould threatens to further weaken the extradition case against Meng Wanzhou, and it heightens concerns about the extreme dangers and reckless consequences of the NATO countries’ new cold war. At a time when all the world’s attention should be focused on mitigating the global warming emergency, rising militarism and war by the Western countries is taking the world in the opposite direction.

On February 11, 2019, Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned as minister of veterans affairs, the post to which she was demoted on January 14 after she declined as justice minister to step into the minefield of assisting SNC-Lavalin in avoiding criminal corruption charges. See postscript below, consisting of a dossier of news and analysis about the scandal.

By Roger Annis

Published on A Socialist in Canada, Feb 10, 2019
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The Trudeau government in Ottawa has insisted throughout the U.S extradition case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou that in Canada, “the rule of law”, not political influence, determines what happens in Canadian courts. Now its former justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, who oversaw the decision to detain the Huawei executive, is at the center of a political firestorm after revelations that she was the object of intense lobbying by the Prime Minister’s Office to protect the Quebec-based engineering company SNC-Lavalin from criminal accusations of corruption.

SNC executives stand accused of using bribery to win contracts in a series of countries, including in Libya prior to the overthrow of that country’s leader by a NATO military intervention in 2011 and in Montreal during the construction of the new ‘super-hospital’ in the city center. If SNC-Lavalin executives are found guilty of corruption or bribery by a criminal court in Canada, the company would be disqualified from billions of dollars of federal government-funded projects. See below a full news background on the political upheaval surrounding SNC-Lavalin and Jody Wilson-Raybould, in the form of news headlines and weblinks.

Justin Trudeau and Jody Wilson-Raybould, at her swearing in as minister of veterans affairs on Jan 14, 2019 (photo by Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press)

Wilson-Raybould was demoted from her justice minister post on January 14, 2019. Eleven days later, on January 25, Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, was fired after stating on several occasions that the U.S. extradition request against Meng Wanzhou was politically motivated.

McCallum said the Huawei executive has been caught in the crossfire of the U.S. drive to sanction and weaken the government of Iran. He could also have mentioned how the U.S. extradition request is part of the U.S. stepping up its new cold war drive against China.

Meng Wanzhou was detained by Canadian police on December 1, 2018 and is currently under house arrest in Vancouver as a Canadian court determines a recommendation to be made to the justice minister, that is, to the minister who was appointed by Justin Trudeau on January 14 to replace Wilson-Raybould.

The justice ministry under Wilson-Raybould’s direction had resisted entreaties by Trudeau’s office to go easy on SNC-Lavalin. She and her ministry led the charge in the extradition request against Meng Wanzhou.

Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S. is decades old. An individual can be extradited from either country if alleged criminal activity is recognized as criminal in both countries. In Canada, the final decision is in the hands of the minister of justice, taking into account the recommendation of a court. The U.S. may request the provisional arrest of the person in question. The latter option was taken in the case of Meng Wanzhou. Police determined that “urgency has been established”. Then-Justice Minister Jody Raybould-Wilson stated at the time that the decision to seek an arrest warrant was made “without any political interference or direction”. (Global TV News, Dec 12, 2019) ]

Jody Wilson-Raybould was the first Indigenous person to serve as justice minister in Canada. One of her legacies is Bill C46, consisting of changes to the Criminal Code of Canada which took effect in December 2018 and give police unprecedented powers to stop drivers and take breathalyzer and DNA (saliva) tests, in the name of combatting driving while impaired by alcohol or marijuana. Whereas previously police had to provide courts with evidence of ‘reasonable cause’ for stopping drivers and taking breathalyzer tests or searching vehicles, Bill C46 eliminates that provision. It adds the power to take DNA tests. The increased police powers are unlikely to survive court appeals, but that will take years to play out. Racial profiling by police in Canada is already proven to be widespread, even as police say they are taking steps to end the practice. Racial profiling can be expected to increase due to Bill C46.

This commentary by two Toronto lawyers published in the Toronto Star on January 16 (also weblinked in the postscript below) describes as a lamentable failure the legacy of Jody Wilson-Raybould as justice minister and first Indigenous person to serve in that post.

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