OTTAWA — Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, will step down from his functions at the request of Justin Trudeau.
According to a statement from the prime minister’s office published on Saturday, Justin Trudeau was asked by Mr McCallum to submit his resignation Friday evening.
The latter had put himself in hot water earlier this week, stating that Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the tech giant’s chinese Huawei, has legal arguments solid to avoid extradition.
Ms. Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport, on the 1st of December last, by virtue of a warrant of arrest american. The United States the suspect has sought to circumvent the trade sanctions imposed on Iran.
His arrest has caused a serious quarrel diplomatic with China and the ambassador McCallum had apologized publicly for his comments, which had raised doubts about the politicization of this folder explosive.
However, Justin Trudeau had initially rejected calls for his dismissal.
Although the prime minister has not immediately explained its change of course, the announcement of the recall of Mr. McCallum occurs after he once again expressed on the matter.
The former liberal minister said that the abandonment of the request for the extradition of Ms. Meng would be “good for Canada”, according to remarks reported in the journal star metro Vancouver Friday.
The prime minister’s office has refused to specify the reasons for this volte-face of Justin Trudeau.
Prior to his diplomatic career, John McCallum had held the positions of minister of national Defence, minister of Veterans affairs and minister of Immigration, at the peak of resettlement of syrian refugees.
“For nearly twenty years, John McCallum has served Canadians with honour and distinction, said Justin Trudeau. His work remains a source of inspiration for Canadians and an example for the rest of the world. I thank him and his family, for his many years of service.”
The deputy chief of mission at the embassy of Canada in Beijing, Jim Nickel, the replace with title of charge d’affaires, a-t was specified.
The decision of Mr. Trudeau to show the door to John McCallum came too late, supported the leader of the conservative Party Andrew Scheer, one of those who had called for the departure of the ambassador after his first controversial statement.
“It should never have come to that point. Justin Trudeau would have had to lay off its ambassador at the time of the interference in this case. He has done nothing and has allowed further damage. No more weakness and indecision on the part of Trudeau with China.”
Before reporters in Ottawa, Saturday, Mr. Scheer has accused the prime minister of having undermined Canada’s international reputation.
“This is part, I believe, of a larger problem. And this is the approach of Justin Trudeau on the diplomacy, so that he believes he can trust the image rather than the substance of foreign affairs. And now, the Canadian pay for his mistakes”, he argued.
In appointing Mr. McCallum as ambassador to China in 2017, Mr. Trudeau seemed to have found the right person to deepen Canada’s commercial relations with China.
Mr. McCallum has personal ties with China. His wife is of chinese origin and his three sons have wives in china.
He also represented the federal riding of Markham, in the region of Toronto, where citizens of chinese origin were numerous.