Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig attend President Biden’s speech in Ottawa


25th March 2023 – (Washington) Two Canadian men, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who had been held captive in China for more than a thousand days, graced the occasion of President Joe Biden’s speech to the parliament in Ottawa on Friday. The men, who were at the centre of the conflict between Washington and Beijing, were lauded with applause and a standing ovation. This event marked their first public appearance after being granted freedom in 2021.

The Chinese authorities arrested Spavor and Kovrig in December 2018, shortly after the Canadian police arrested Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, on a U.S. warrant. The apprehension of the two gentlemen was seen as a retaliatory measure for Meng’s arrest, which further worsened the relationship between Canada and China.

Spavor and Kovrig were released on the same day when the U.S. Department of Justice abandoned its extradition request for Meng, who then returned to China. The Canadian and American governments had persistently demanded the release of the two men, stating that their captivity was illegal and unjustified, which the Chinese government denied.

The presence of Spavor and Kovrig in Ottawa holds immense significance as it symbolises a gesture of political harmony between Canada and the U.S. Both countries have implemented policies to counter the rising influence of China in the Indo-Pacific region. The attendance of the two gentlemen at President Biden’s speech suggests a united front in their approach towards China.

Furthermore, the two gentlemen were also present at the gala dinner for President Biden on Friday evening, highlighting their status as key figures in the ongoing diplomatic dispute.