A majority of Canadians want to see Huawei either barred entirely or limited in the role it can play in building the new 5G spectrum.
According to the Angus Reid Institute (via Financial Post), only 56 percent of Canadians would support a banning the Chinese telecom giant from 5G deployment in Canada. Ottawa, in the throes of a diplomat row with Beijing on other issues, has yet to announce a decision.
Canada’s electronic eavesdropping and spy agencies are reportedly split on the issue, while military leaders were said on Monday to favour a ban.
Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, said the poll is slightly different than one conducted last year.
“When the question was simply ‘Yes, Huawei’ or ‘No, Huawei,’ the overwhelming view was, ‘no.’ But, of course, with the United Kingdom opening up partial access to the company, about a third are amenable to taking the middle way,” Kurl said.
The number come as the federal government continues an ongoing assessment of whether the firm poses a spying risk, as American national security experts have long argued as the basis for the country’s own ban on Huawei and its efforts to get allies to block it from their markets as well.
Some of those efforts to ban Huawei have been successful — Australia and New Zealand, both Five Eyes allies, have barred Huawei from their 5G networks. But the U.K. last month rejected the demands from the U.S. to ban it outright and said it will allow the firm to play a limited role in non-core parts of the network.
In Canada, it’s not yet clear what position the federal government will take as it tries to calm unprecedented tensions with China over the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on an extradition request from the U.S.