Kevin Garratt thanks both Harper and Trudeau teams for his return to Canada

A Canadian held in China for more than two years appeared on Parliament Hill Thursday to thank the Canadian government for bringing him home from a “horrendous ordeal.”

Christian aid workers Kevin Garratt and his wife, Julia, had been living in China since 1984 where they ran a café in Dandong, near the North Korean border. The pair were detained in 2014 and accused of spying.

Julia was released in February 2015, but Kevin remained under detention until last month when a Chinese court found him guilty on two counts of espionage and ordered him deported. ​

“As this Thanksgiving weekend approaches, Julie and I and our son Peter and some of our immediate family are in Ottawa to express our gratitude to Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, honourable Minister [StéphaneDion and to all parties and levels of government that have worked on our behalf to bring us safely home,” Garratt said.

He said the 775 days he spent in detention were “a horrendous ordeal” that subverted 30 years of his and his wife’s life work in China and robbed him of contact with his family.

Garratt recounted how he was initially taken to a remote compound and held in isolation, separately from his wife, for six months. The pair were accused of espionage and stealing state secrets. 

“My only contact with the outside world, as it was for Julie and I during the six months isolation, was a 30-minute restricted and supervised monthly visit with one consular representative during the whole ordeal,” he said.

“Prime Minister Trudeau, former prime minister Harper and their teams and family, friends and communities in Canada and worldwide, persevered in prayer and quiet but strategic action, never stopped until we were on home soil. We are so, so grateful.”

“Happy Thanksgiving weekend, there is always so much to be thankful for, thank you very much,” he said.

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