Canada will likely ban Huawei from its upcoming 5G network, reads a new report from Bloomberg, although PM Justin Trudeau might delay the final decision “as long as possible to avoid jeopardizing three Canadians detained in China.”
According to the report, a number of former envoys to China, ex-spy chiefs, and telecom analysts are becoming more convinced that Canada will most likely follow in the footsteps of a number of its allies, like the United States, in keeping Huawei away from its 5G network.
“I think a ban is likely,” Richard Fadden, a former national security adviser to Trudeau, said in an interview. Fadden believes the Chinese company’s presence in 5G would pose a risk to national security, adding that some of Canada’s allies are shunning Huawei. “I think it’s important for Canada to remember it’s in, and of, the West.”
If Canada blocks or limits the use of Huawei equipment, it would be joining countries, including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, that have done the same. Various European governments, including Germany, have also been mulling over whether a Huawei ban is justified enough.
“For Trudeau, it’s arguably the most fraught decision he has faced in his almost four years as prime minister,” reads the report. “He must balance his ties with the U.S. and China with the fate of three detained Canadians, while also facing pressure from intelligence partners and domestic telecom companies. China’s envoy to Ottawa has warned of ‘repercussions,’ if Canada bans Huawei. If Trudeau allows Huawei, he’d look like he was bowing to Chinese pressure and would risk alienating close allies.”
Huawei warned that a ban would be a set back for Canada.
“To reverse this would set Canada’s wireless competitive advantage back years,” Huawei Canada said in a statement. “We are confident the Canadian government is committed to a thorough review and we have received no indication that a policy determination has been made.”
As more European countries follow the United States and turn away from the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment-maker, scrutiny grows over Huawei’s close ties with the Chinese government and allegations its equipment could hold backdoors to enable spying, which the company denies.
While the United States has already largely barred Huawei from supplying its government and contractors, it sees European and Canadian preparations for so-called 5G (fifth-generation) mobile networks as a security risk that could also endanger the United States.
“Going with an untrusted supplier like Huawei or ZTE will have all sorts of ramifications for your national security and … since we are military allies with almost all members of the European Union, on our national security as well,” an unnamed US official said on Tuesday.