The head of a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians heading to China this weekend says the detainment of two Canadians is not on the agenda for discussion with Chinese officials.
“If they bring it up, we’re well prepared to answer any questions they may have and to deal with any misunderstandings that may exist,” Sen. Joseph Day told Global News before boarding a plane to Shanghai on Friday.
The prime minister and the foreign affairs minister have been calling for the immediate release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who were detained in December over national security concerns but have not been charged.
“We’ll get into those discussions, absolutely, if they bring it up and if we see the opportunity. If we start to have discussions that are leading in that direction, it may well be that we will find that we will bring it up as a result of those discussions, but it’s not the purpose of our trip,” said Day, adding that the topic is not on the agenda.
Day, plus a handful of MPs who sit on the Canada-China Legislative Association, will attend the trip, which was scheduled long before Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and China’s subsequent detainment of Kovrig and Spavor. The China trip was tacked on to precede a trip to Cambodia for the annual Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum.
Day says they will be meeting with a counterpart group in China and topics of mutual interest on the agenda include trade, tourism, health and education.