One of the protesters outside the Law Courts who was urging freedom for Meng Wanzhou on Jan. 20 said he was promised $100.
The man, who refused to provide his name or appear on camera, spoke with documentary filmmaker Ina Mitchell. [Click below to hear exclusive audio.]
Students protested in favour of freeing Meng Wanzhou. (Mackin)
The man said he was told he was going to be in a music video. But he ended up outside the Law Courts on the opening day of the extradition hearing for the chief financial officer of Huawei. He held a letter-size paper sign with “Equal Justice” written on it.
“That was the promise [$100 to be in a music video], and then it was like, when there was all these cameras, for a long time I believed it was filming a scene where someone was coming out of a car,” he said. “So I was genuinely like, OK, fine to do this. Then reporters start showing up and, I don’t feel great about this anymore. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
He said he started asking questions, but was faced with a “merry-go-round of non-answers.”
Outside the Smithe Street entrance, where Meng would arrive with her court-appointed security guards, the group of two-dozen students carried similar signs urging an end to the extradition hearings. Their signs said “Free Ms. Meng. Bring Michael home. Trump stop bullying us. Equal justice.”
Happening now: students parroting the message of ex-Chrétien chief of staff Eddie Goldenberg await Meng Wanzhou’s arrival at the Law Courts. Are they paid to be here? #cdnpoli #bcpoli #humanrights pic.twitter.com/02HaTcJN1d
— theBreaker.news (@theBreakerNews) January 20, 2020
Oddly, the signs referred to Meng as “Ms. Meng” and mentioned “Michael,” in the singular.
China arrested two Canadian men named Michael, diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor, in apparent retaliation for Meng’s detention in December 2018. They languish in jail in China, cut-off from their families and lawyers. Meanwhile, Meng lives under a curfew as part of her $10 million bail conditions in her Shaughnessy mansion which, coincidentally, is mortgaged by HSBC. The same bank she is accused by the U.S. government of defrauding.
Actress Julia Hackstaff protesting in favour of Meng Wanzhou on Jan. 20 (Mackin)
theBreaker.news asked some of those who were holding signs who they were, how they were affiliated and whether they were paid. None co-operated. One of the protesters said he was unaware of the extradition treaty between Canada and the U.S. and did not know the facts of the case. Another would not deny that the group was paid to appear outside the courthouse on the rainy Monday morning.
Keean Bexte of The Rebel News reported that one of the protesters was actress Julia Hackstaff. Her social media accounts show no explicit evidence of prior social activism.
Hackstaff’s IMDB bio credits include an appearance as a cult member in a 2019 video short called Monogamy, directed by Kick Chen.
The message on the signs echoed a Globe and Mail guest commentary last week by Eddie Goldenberg, a lawyer with the Bennett Jones law firm who was the chief of staff to former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Chretien is now a lawyer with Dentons, an international law firm with offices throughout China. Goldenberg is the latest Liberal Party member to advocate for the Trudeau Liberal government to set a precedent and meddle in the case.
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