OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada spearheaded an international declaration denouncing state-sponsored arbitrary detentions because of China's decision to imprison Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Trudeau made the connection for the first time today during a federal election campaign appearance in Windsor, Ont.
In February, when the federal government announced that it had created a coalition of dozens of countries denouncing the practice, it played down any connection that it was specifically targeting China, which has been angered by the declaration, nonetheless.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said at the time the declaration was "country agnostic" and was meant to be a broad denunciation of a coercive practices taking place in numerous countries, including Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
The government has routinely branded Kovrig and Spavor's arrests by China as arbitrary, and called for their release.
China has accused the two men of being spies, a claim rejected by Canada and its allies in what is widely viewed as retaliation by Beijing for the RCMP's December 2018 arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition request.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2021.
The Canadian Press