Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers have filed a notice of civil claim with British Columbia’s Supreme Court against members of the Canadian Border Services Agency, the RCMP, and the federal government. It alleges "serious violations" of Ms. Meng constitutional rights, accusing officers of detaining and questioning her for three hours before notifying her of her arrest. The lawsuit also seeks damages for false imprisonment based on multiple alleged failures of government officials to comply with the rule of law upon her detention, search, and interrogation at the Vancouver airport on December 1.
The claim says, "This case concerns a deliberate and pre-meditated effort on the part of the defendant officers to obtain evidence and information from the plaintiff in a manner which they knew constituted serious violations of the plaintiff's rights." It alleges that RCMP officers and/or representatives from the United States Department of Justice arranged for Canadian border officials to delay the immediate execution of the arrest warrant "under the guise of a routine border check." The court document says that when Ms. Meng exited her plane at Vancouver airport, border officials checked each passenger's passport on the jetway and after identifying Ms. Meng, brought her to an inspection area.
The claim says border officers prohibited Ms. Meng from speaking with her travel companion or anyone else, including a lawyer, and the officers "did not promptly inform the plaintiff of the reason for her detention, afford her an opportunity to retain and instruct legal counsel without delay, or inform her of her right to do so under the charter.” Instead, they directed Ms. Meng to surrender all of her electronic devices and computers, as well as her passwords. The claim alleges officers opened and viewed contents on her devices and also searched her luggage.
Canada is proceeding with an extradition hearing for Ms. Meng following her December arrest at the request of the U.S., where she is wanted on fraud charges for allegedly misleading banks about the company's dealings with Iran. Last Friday, the Canadian Department of Justice gave the go-ahead for an extradition case against Ms. Meng, marking the formal start of the high-profile process that has put Canada in an uncomfortable position between the United States and China. The U.S. Department of Justice has laid out 13 criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction against Huawei and Ms. Meng, who is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei. The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said it is "utterly dissatisfied" with Friday's decision, calling the case "a political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly maintained Canada is simply following the rule of law.
In the latest move against Canada, the Government of China has put a stop to canola shipments from Winnipeg-based company Richardson International. According to Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership, Canada shipped CAD $2.6 billion in canola product to China last year, and CAD $1.82 billion came from Saskatchewan. Minister of Agriculture David Merit said, “China is our number one customer of canola seed and we’re concerned about it.”
China's foreign ministry claimed the reason it is blocking some imports of Canadian canola is due to fears of insect infestation. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China suspended canola imports from a Canadian company "in accordance with laws and regulations and international practice." The provincial government says it has offered to help the federal agriculture minister work to resolve the issue with China.