A rare occurrence
It is not often that I find myself in agreement with Prime Minister Trudeau but in his decision to not get on board with a prisoner exchange involving Meng Wanzhou – he is right. To yield to what the Chinese government has now admitted to being hostage diplomacy would put every Canadian that travels anywhere outside of Canada in grave peril in the future.
Should we as a country ever have gotten involved in this: Some legal experts believe that our legal system left us no choice but that is irrelevant now. We are in this, and it will have to take its course or we undermine our legal system both at home and in the eyes of the world. To change this for political reasons now would come with a cost.
What can we do inside our legal system?
What comes to mind though is that Meng Wanzhou has been granted every courtesy that could be granted her in spite of the treatment of the two Michaels in China. Although technically incarcerated Meng Wanzhou is a bird in a highly gilded cage, granted freedoms and luxuries well in excess of what many quarantined Canadians are experiencing.
Should Canada wish, her bail could be revoked and she could be remanded in custody as the 10 million bail hardly prevents her from being a flight risk. To put it in perspective the family wealth is estimated to be 1.3 billion or more, so if you had $130,000 in the bank that would be about $1,000 of that amount, not much of a deterrent when facing serious prison time in the USA.
The result of this without a doubt would put the two Michaels at risk but considering that Meng Wanzhou’s father Ren Zhengfei is one of the most powerful and influential people in China having strong connections to China’s Communist Government. Seeing his daughter in prison orange may bring pressure to bear on the Chinese government.
Meng Wanzhou would likely have to be held in protective custody as I think general population would be a very hazardous place for her.
This would be extremely risky and could drag us into a volatile confrontation. As former ambassador Michael Kergin put it “Meng Wanzhou is almost like Royalty in China” and that would make this a difficult and precarious course of action.
It is probably a very good thing that this decision is not mine to make.