Most support Trudeau’s refusal to swap Huawei executive for imprisoned Canadians

Half of Canadians say arrest was the right move, while an equal number say it should have been avoided

AS Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rebuffs calls to intervene in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in order to secure the release from China of detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a majority of Canadians support his stance.

Last week, in response to a letter signed by 19 prominent Canadians – including several former Liberal politicians – Trudeau has emphatically refused to entertain the suggestion of the Chinese government to end legal proceedings against Meng (who was arrested at the request of the U.S. Government) in order to free “the Michaels” – held in China for more than a year and recently charged with espionage.

Now, the latest study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians supportive of the federal government’s position of letting Meng’s extradition case play out in the courts. Seven-in-ten (72%) feel this way, while a minority (28%) say that they would rather the government negotiate a way to exchange Meng for Canadians Kovrig and Spavor.

This sentiment is consistent across generational lines, gender, and political partisanship. At least two-thirds of past voters for each of the main federal parties say the case should continue in court.

That said, views of Trudeau’s overall handling of the situation are less positive. Close to two-in-five (37%) say the government has done a good job, led by those who supported the Liberals in the last federal election (64%). Half (50%), however, say he’s done a poor job, with past Conservative voters overwhelmingly critical (83%), and past NDP voters divided close to equally on each side.

Amid the ongoing tension, disagreement continues over whether Canada should have arrested Meng in the first place. As was the case last December, half of Canadians (50%) say that the arrest was the right move, while an equal number (50%) say it should have been avoided.

More Key Findings:

  • Four-in-five Canadians (81%) say that consumers in this country should boycott Chinese goods in response to the detainment of Kovrig and Spavor.
  • Those who do not want to see intervention in the court case give the Liberals mixed reviews on their overall handling of tensions with China (43% good, 44% poor), while those who feel the government should intervene say the relationship with China has been handled poorly (67%).
  • Nine-in-ten Canadians (93%) say that China cannot be trusted to uphold human rights, continuing a consistent trend in opinion noted over the last 18 months.