Canada’s Liberal government is still reviewing whether or not to ban 5G equipment from China’s Huawei or not, a major decision with security implications. In an update to the media, the federal government has said the final decision will come before this fall’s election.
According to The Globe and Mail, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters the decision will be made before the October 21 election date:
Mr. Goodale said a national-security review of Huawei is still under way and that he expects a cabinet decision well before Canadians go to the polls in October.
“We understand the importance and the urgency of the question,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “We want to make sure Canadians have access to the best and most beneficial 5G technology, and at the same time we want to make sure they are safe and that their systems are not compromised.”
After a report leaked out in the UK the latter would allow Huawei equipment for non-core parts of its 5G network, the U.S. warned the decision was “an unacceptable risk” and intelligence sharing between both nations could be at stake. The U.S. has banned Huawei equipment citing espionage concerns.
Canada is part of the Five Eyes group for intelligence sharing, which includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Would Canada risk losing out on intelligence from the U.S. if it approved Huawei?
“We will very carefully weigh the opinions and advice of our Five Eyes allies, our G7 allies,” Goodale said, adding, “The United States is always a reliable security partner with Canada, just as I would underline in bold letters that Canada is a very reliable partner to the United States. The relationship is good and valuable in both directions, and we need to make sure it is strong.”
An unnamed Canadian official told the Globe with 5G networks, there are more entry points for potential backdoor access, as the technology would allow far more devices to be connected to networks.
Telus and Bell have invested in Huawei equipment for their tower sites, but the hardware is not part of core network access.
Canada is currently embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with China, after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver last December, at the request of U.S. authorities for extradition to the country.