Why on earth is the Trudeau government even considering allowing Huawei to be a partner in building our 5G mobile network?
If you don’t know about Huawei, beyond the fact that they are the title sponsor of much of Hockey Night in Canada — their logo displayed endlessly during the game — then let me help you. This is the company responsible for the kidnapping of two Canadians in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
In December 2018, Canadian officials detained the chief financial officer of Huawei, and daughter of the founder, Meng Wanzhou.
She was wanted on charges in the United States for breaking sanctions on Iran and charges of fraud. Canada has an extradition treaty with the U.S., something China would like to have with us, so we arrested her at the request of the Americans.
Meng has hardly been living the life of a prisoner during this time. She is out on bail, lives in her multi-million dollar mansion in Vancouver and can even go skiing at Whistler while her all-star legal team works to stop her transfer to the United States.
Yet, days after Meng’s detention, China took Kovrig and Spavor into custody.
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Their conditions are not the same as the ones Meng is living with. The two men are subject to torture, they are forced to live in cells with the lights on 24 hours a day, Kovrig even had his reading glasses seized.
The arrest of these two men was direct retaliation for Canada daring to act and follow up on our international treaty obligations — like the kind China would like to have with us.
Kovrig and Spavor are hostages because the Chinese government doesn’t want the favoured daughter of one of their favoured companies to face the judicial system in Canada or the United States.
Meanwhile, Huawei continues to try and ensure that they are seen in a positive light and allowed to continue to be partners in building Canada’s next generation of mobile access, the 5G system.
After being effectively banned from the United States over security concerns, Huawei turned its attention to Canada.
The company has ingratiated itself with sponsorships like Hockey Night in Canada, worked closely to sell their phones through major providers and offered grants and donations for research to Canadian universities. Yet, questions remain about Huawei from a security standpoint.
Companies in China are required to hand over any information they have to the government on demand. If Huawei is part of Canada’s 5G network, then they could end up accessing sensitive data including information shared with Canada from our main intelligence partners, the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
The Trudeau government has been warned that allowing Huawei to help build the system will not sit well with our partners, yet still it won’t rule out allowing the company a role.
“There is a great deal of work going on right now with our security officials looking at security issues with respect to 5G in Canada,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said on Tuesday.
“There are a number of other significant economic and even geopolitical considerations that are under consideration at this present time.”
I’d say that a major geopolitical consideration should be that China will kidnap our people over a slight to Huawei, and that should exclude them.
As for security concerns, having all of our sensitive data, even personal data, subject to the whims of the dictators in Beijing should be enough to shut this down.
Canada needs to stand for its people, their freedom and their privacy as well as standing with our allies. If that annoys Huawei, then that’s simply a bonus.
This content was originally published here.