Kovrig and Spavor Receive Standing Ovation Ahead of Biden’s Speech to Parliament

Kovrig and Spavor Receive Standing Ovation Ahead of Biden’s Speech to Parliament
Canadians Michael Kovrig (L) and Michael Spavor receive a standing ovation before U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the Canadian Parliament, in Ottawa on Mach 24, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)
Andrew Chen

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were arbitrarily detained in China for over three years, received a standing ovation in the House of Commons ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s address on March 24.

The two Canadians, who became known as the “two Michaels,” were imprisoned from late 2018 until the fall of 2021. Their incarceration was regarded as the Chinese Communist Party’s retaliation for Ottawa’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant to have her extradited on fraud charges.

The men were released shortly after Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department on Sept. 24, 2021. A Canadian court lifted her bail conditions on the same day, allowing her to leave Canada.

Biden arrived in Ottawa on March 23 for a two-day visit and discussions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top officials on a variety of issues including security, trade, and the economy.

The U.S. President didn’t specifically talk about China during his remarks to Parliament, though he accidentally said “China” instead of “Canada” at one point in his speech.
Kovrig and Spavor will also attend a gala dinner for Biden at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa on the evening of March 24, hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. According to CTV News, other invited guests include former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Joe Clark, the major opposition party leaders, and actress Sarah Polley.