Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose to remain silent on the matter of Huawei and how the controversies surrounding the Chinese company will figure into his upcoming meeting with Telus executives.
According to a new report from The Star, Trudeau met with Telus executives in Vancouver on Monday. Telus is working with Huawei to expand its infrastructure into rural areas. He says he wants Telus executives to address what, if any, threat the Chinese telecom giant poses.
“There are many different topics to talk about and I know that the security and the safety of our networks is obviously an issue that will come up,” said Trudeau, referring to that a Huawei-made 5G infrastructure could potentially open a door to Communist Party intelligence agencies looking to compromise and collect data on intelligence operations in Canada.
“I expect to discuss it, but as you know, we are going to be taking advice from our security professionals and intelligence agencies on how to make sure that Canada and our data protections are kept safe,” he said in an interview at a federal housing announcement.
Telus has invested heavily in Huawei technology, while 13 Canadian universities (including UBC, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser and University of Toronto) are using computing services or receiving research funding from the company.
Rogers, on the other hand, has replaced the majority of its Huawei equipment previously installed in Canada with Ericsson equipment, with whom it says it will partner in the development of its 5G infrastructure.
Some of Canada’s strategic allies, including Australia, the United State, and New Zealand, have banned China’s high-tech firm Huawei Technologies from supplying 5G technology for reasons of national security.
Canada has yet to make a decision and is reviewing the matter.
The issue is complicated by a U.S. request to extradite Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, to face bank and wire fraud charges. She was released on bail in Vancouver and is under 24/7 surveillance while awaiting a hearing.
Trudeau was also silent on this matter and whether the outcome of Meng’s extradition hearing will figure into the government’s assessment of the country.
“We are a country of the rule of law, and we will always defend the rule of law,” he said. “We will live up to our international obligations, we will put the safety of Canadians at the forefront of everything we do.”
In related news, Canada will likely ban Huawei from its upcoming 5G network, although PM Justin Trudeau might delay the final decision “as long as possible to avoid jeopardizing three Canadians detained in China.”