A former Canadian ambassador to China retweeted a joke pondering the death of U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter, the day after Trump announced his positive diagnosis for COVID-19.
“If you’re in the Trump Administration, may I recommend viewing The Death of Stalin?” the tweet read, referring to a satiric film that depicts the power struggle that ensues following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953.
The tweet was posted by author and Trump critic Rick Wilson on Oct. 3, and retweeted the same day by John McCallum, former Canadian ambassador to China and a former Liberal MP who was forced to resign amid controversy.
Originally reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, McCallum and the Department of Foreign Affairs did not respond when asked on Oct. 5 for comment by the news outlet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked McCallum to step down in January 2019 after he spoke in favour of the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
McCallum lost his post after suggesting Meng had a strong case against extradition to the United States because Trump was using her as a pawn in a trade negotiation with China.
In a press conference that sparked controversy and ultimately led to McCallum’s firing, he weighed in on the Meng case and said her extradition “would not be a happy outcome” for Canada. He also went on to provide legal arguments in defence of Meng, and in another incident, told a reporter it would be “great for Canada” if Meng’s extradition request was dropped by the United States.
His statements were seen as political interference by a government official in a case that is before the courts.
McCallum also sparked controversy in 2018 for saying Canada has more in common with China under Communist Party head Xi Jinping than the United States under Donald Trump.
Last July, he told a Hong Kong newspaper that he warned his former contacts at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that any more “punishments” imposed on Canada’s exports, thought to be in retaliation for Meng’s arrest, could help the “less friendly” Conservative Party win power in the 2019 election.
“Anything that is more negative against Canada will help the Conservatives, [who] are much less friendly to China than the Liberals,” McCallum told the South China Morning Post on July 8, 2019.
“I hope, and I don’t see any reason why things will get worse. It would be nice if things will get better between now and [Canada’s federal] election [in October].”
McCallum was a strong advocate for greater ties with China and one of the heaviest users of sponsored trips to China as an MP. He was also a regular guest at the Chinese Consulate in Toronto.