White House Pressures Ottawa on Forthcoming Huawei 5G Decision

A senior US envoy on Monday pressed Canada about the federal government’s forthcoming decision on whether to allow Huawei to take part in its 5G network, a move Washington opposes, officials said.

A new report from Reuters explains that the US Embassy in Ottawa and a spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed the meetings with Robert Blair, the White House special representative for international telecommunications.

Blair discussed the “importance of a secure and reliable next-generation telecommunications infrastructure” and the defense partnership between the United States and Canada, the US embassy said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump has warned the country’s allies, particularly those in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network that includes Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, not to allow the Chinese telecommunications giant into its 5G networks.

The White House has accused Huawei of being able to spy on customers and maintaining close ties to the Chinese government, allegations Huawei denies. Washington’s campaign to thwart the top producer of telecoms equipment was hit by Britain’s plans to give Huawei a limited role in its next-generation wireless network.

The Conservatives accused the Liberal government on Monday of being indecisive.

“Just today, the U.S. sent a top official to plead with the Liberals to ban Huawei. However, instead of working together with our most important ally, senior Liberals called them bullies,” Conservative MP Rob Morrison charged in Question Period, without providing further details, most likely referring to recent comments by ISED Minister Navdeep Bains.