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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed media on Monday from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, where he provided updates on the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more broadly, providing updates on the diplomatic situation surrounding Huawei's Meng Wanzhou, and Canada's two Michaels; Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
On tourism and international travel, Trudeau said that reopening too quickly or carelessly "might just force us to go back into lockdown, to shutdown the economy once again, and nobody wants that."
"We're going to be very, very careful about when and how we start reopening international borders," the prime minister said.
Canada's two Michaels in China
Trudeau started by thanking Canada's "steadfast allies," who have "strongly expressed their solidarity with Canada, and their condemnation of the arbitrary detention of these two Canadians."
"It's a real shame to see China continue to punish Canadians for decisions that comes out of our independent judicial system, involving Mrs. Meng," said Trudeau.
Trudeau said that Canada will continue to push for more consular access, and to "see the return of [the two Michaels] to Canada. It's a very difficult situation to them and for their families, but it's also a very troubling situation for all Canadians to see what China continues to do to these two citizens," said Trudeau, translated from French.
Earlier today, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told Trudeau to put an end to his "irresponsible remarks" after his comments on the communist country's decision to charge two Canadian prisoners in China.
“There is no such thing as arbitrary detention,” said the ministry spokesman in response to Trudeau's comments.
Today, Trudeau doubled down on his previous comments, saying "it was obvious from the beginning that this was a political decision made by the Chinese government."
"We will continue to advocate strongly and firmly for the release of these two Canadians who have been arbitrarily detained," Trudeau continued.
Trudeau said that it was Chinese officials who made the "obvious link" between the Meng arrest and the arrest of Canada's two Michaels.
"We've continued to stand up for Canadian interests and Canadian values... Every conversation with Chinese officials, going back five years, we've always raised human rights issues, concerns we have around China's engagement both regionally and with Canada and in the world... We understand that as the world's second largest economy, they have a significant amount of economic might and levers, but Canada will continue to stand strong," the prime minister said.
On whether or not Trudeau was considering trading Meng for the two Michaels, Trudeau gave a firm and resounding "no," citing Canada's "strong and independent justice system."