Finally… the “two Michaels” – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – are back at home in Calgary and Toronto.
Now, hands up who can tell me why the hell it’s taken 1,020 days of these guys being unlawfully held in Chinese jails for this to happen? Why has it taken nearly three years to get these innocent men home?
Why, after attesting that the jailing of these Canadian men was in no way kinked to the detention of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou (the Chinese government jailed the pair shortly after Meng was arrested in Canada, but insisted they were held on charges of espionage), have both Spavor and Kovrig been released by China just hours after Meng cut her deal with U.S. prosecutors?
Why has the U.S. finally dropped their extradition warrant, thus allowing Canada to release Meng? And thus meaning this whole exercise has gained absolutely nothing!
Why has Canada been a puppet of the U.S., taking all the abuse of curtailing Meng in Vancouver while the two Michaels suffered in a Chinese jail? Seems there was no sweat in the U.S. while the almost-three year chasm fractured Canada’s relationship with China. Why are we the ones taking it on the chin?
Why did Justin Trudeau feel he should fly out and welcome the lads back with open arms when he did so little to expedite their release? (I would have told him where to go if it were me.)
Why was Meng allowed to stay simply under “house arrest” in her multimillion-dollar home in Vancouver, while the Canadians were kept in Chinese prisons with the lights on 24 hours a day, enduring no legal processes and enduring a "mock sham trial”?
OK, I’m no diplomat and offer little understanding of how international agreements are negotiated. But sorry, I can’t accept that this should have taken nearly three years to get solved. Someone’s been asleep at the switch in this hostage-taking. The detention of Kovrig and Spavor was clearly a retaliatory action by China in response to the Huawei executive's arrest. Knowing this, surely someone could have put in place the pieces that have finally been played out… only much, much sooner.
You know, I learned first-hand about China’s heavy handedness in dealing with anything the government feels is not for them when I interviewed Dr. Wan Yanhai in New York City for my new book “Pushing The Boundaries”. He had suffered horrendous human rights violations in his homeland of China as he proceeded with his agenda of advocating steadfastly for people there with HIV/AIDS, full of the knowledge that this did not sit well with the iron-fisted Communist regime in Beijing, which didn’t want to admit to this health problem. He eventually was pressured to leave his home and native land, being forced to accept that he’ll likely never, ever return.
At the end of the day, the detention of the two Michaels sends a clear message to other countries: "If you cross China, they’ll just randomly pick up a couple of your citizens, throw ‘em in jail and hold ‘em hostage." But let me tell you, if it does happen to another country, I hope their government has the spine to face up to the situation and deal with it, not leave their citizens unlawfully languishing in prison for three years!