Meng Wanzhou’s extradition request will be turned down by court judge if her defense lawyers can prove that the US or the Canadian legal process is subject to political influence. In arresting of Meng, Trudeau repeatedly claimed that Canada was following the rule of the law and its due process. However, the Liberal’s SNC scandal has put that claim under scrutiny, raising concerns over Canada’s motives for arresting the Huawei’s executive and casting shadows over her extradition hearing.
The US president Trump said he would drop the charges against Meng if it would help in his country’s trade dispute with China. His comments cover the case with a cloud of political influence, fueling the defense arguments that the US judicial proceedings are used for political purposes.
However, If Trump’s comments served as a lifesaver rescue for Meng’s defense team, the SNC scandal in Canada has equipped them with more arsenals to attack Trudeau’s rule of law assertion.
自由党政治干预加国司法程序的行为由来已久。为了让SNC免于刑事诉讼，联邦政府可谓费劲了心机。早在2015年，自由党就考虑通过建立推迟诉讼体制，以便让像SNC这类加国公司巨头免遭刑事起诉。 但当2018年9月加国检察官Kathleen Roussel决定不与SNC达成私下和解，特鲁多两周后会见当时的司法部长和总检察长王州迪，向她施压，以期她能推翻检察官的决定而让SNC免于刑事审判。
The Liberal’s efforts to politically interfere judiciary process seems to be years in the making. Tremendous efforts have been made to protect SNC-Lavalin from criminal trials by the Liberal government. In 2015, the Liberals were considering amending the criminal code by implementing a deferred prosecution regime, which would spare corporate giants like SNC from a criminal trial. However, after Kathleen Roussel, the director of public prosecutor decided on Sept. 4, 2018, not to reach a private settlement with the company, Trudeau met then-Justice Minister and Attorney General Wilson-Raybould two weeks later, pressing her to overturn Ms. Roussel’s decision – in a bid to allow SNC to avoid the criminal proceedings.
“For a period of approximately four months, between September and December of 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role of Attorney General of Canada, in an inappropriate effort to secure a prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin,” she said Wednesday, as she testified before the House Justice Committee on the SNC-Lavalin scandal. “The alleged pressure include “veiled threat” if she did not change her mind.
When Wilson-Raybould refused to bow to the pressure or to intervene on the matter politically, the frustrated Trudeau government demoted her in Feb. and shuffled her to the lesser cabinet position of minister of Veterans Affairs. Trudeau’s ensuing public statements that Wilson-Raybould was happy to remain in the cabinet after the demotion prompted her to immediately resign from her post.
Reasons behind Trudeau government’s efforts to intervene Canada’s justice system were simple and straight forward. SNC presents strategic political importance to the Liberals. The criminal trial which may put its billions of contracts at risk will deal a hash blow to not only the company but also Trudeau government. With 53000 jobs across the globe and 9000 in Canada, SNC is Canada’s economic flagship and a fuel injector for government’s coffers. More importantly, with SNC’s headquarter in Quebec -- a highly sought-after turf province in the upcoming federal election, the company plays a significant role in the Liberals’ re-election strategy. The job created by SNC through Liberal’s infrastructure investment has been the touting point for the Liberals, as its ministers crisscross the province painting a rosy economic future for Quebec voters.
The Liberals’ political interference over SNC, if proven, shows that when a party’s interest is on the line, judiciary independence or democracy can go out the window. It ruins the image Ottawa has pledged through Mengs’s case -- that Canada judiciary system is free from political interference, turning his rule of law claim into hypocrisy.
Moreover, it provides the best defense opportunity for Meng’s supporters. Ren Zhengfei, Meng’s father and Huawei’s founder escalated his rhetoric this week in accusing Meng’s arrest was politically motivated.
He also made comments revealing his confidence over his daughter's release.
“I trust that the legal systems of Canada and the United States are open, just and fair, and will reach a just conclusion,” said Ren. Indeed, the SNC scandal has only bolstered Meng’s defense argument over political interference.
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