Canada’s Huawei decision has ‘gained momentum’ 2 years ago. So what is happening? – National

Canadian diplomats express surprise at the Trump administration’s “dumb” public response to the UK’s decision to partially allow Huawei into that country 5G network in January 2020, documents obtained by Global News show.


Records provided through the access to information law show Canadian officials wondering if the US response would mark a “silent resignation” amid increasingly strained efforts to appeal to the US government. US allies banning Chinese companies seems to have failed. At the same time, officials also note that decision-making in Canada is “gaining momentum.”

But nearly two years later, Canadians are still waiting for a decision.

A diplomat, working at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, writes in a memo to government officials on January 29, 2020.

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The memo suggests several possible reasons for the “muted response”, including a pending afternoon meeting when US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are set to speak. Another hint to the reaction involved an expected trip to the UK by Mike Pompeo, then US secretary of state.

“But it could also be a quiet resignation [their] Advocacy efforts were unsuccessful”.

Click to play video:'UK gives Huawei limited 5G role, challenges US'

UK gives Huawei a limited 5G role, challenges US

UK gives Huawei a limited 5G role, challenges US – January 28, 2020

The UK’s decision to allow Huawei partial access to the country’s 5G network comes despite massive global pressure from US officials to ban Huawei. They frequently cite concerns that the company could use technology backdoors to spy if Beijing ordered it to do so.

British media reported on Additional political pressure from American leaders, which culminates in tighter restrictions on Huawei in July 2020. But British officials cited new security concerns from its signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, for that policy reversal.

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The same month, the UK reversed its partial approval with a vow to remove Huawei from UK 5G networks by the end of 2027 and ban British telecom providers from buying Huawei equipment after the end of 2020.

That reversal brought the UK in line with the US, Australia and New Zealand, all of which have banned or restricted Huawei’s access to their 5G networks.

The documents obtained by Global News do not extend to July 2020 or provide any insight into Canada’s assessment of the British change.

But they do show that officials, including Canada’s high commissioner to the UK as well as Forces Canada intelligence officials and Communications Security Agency staff, are working to understand the partial ban. Great Britain and America’s response.

READ MORE: Will Canada ban Huawei from 5G mobile networks? Experts say it’s pretty obvious

Canada, however, has yet to decide.

Click to play video:'Huawei Canada will not condemn the detention of 2 Michaels in China'

Huawei Canada will not condemn the detention of 2 Michaels in China

Huawei Canada will not condemn the detention of 2 Michaels in China – February 14, 2021

The Liberal Government initially suggested it would make its decision before the 2019 election – only to delay that decision by more than two years. It’s not clear what caused that delay.

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Reuters reported in August 2020 that six sources directly familiar with the government’s approach said Canada had effectively blocked the company by not making a formal decision. Sources say that strategy will force Canadian telecommunications companies to find alternatives.

But a source told Global News that Huawei continues to sell networking equipment in Canada while Ottawa weighs the ban.

COMMENT: It’s a lot easier for Ottawa to say ‘no’ to Huawei

At the time, Canada was still entangled in a legal and diplomatic impasse with Beijing over the arbitrary detention of two Canadians.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were released from Chinese prisons this summer after US authorities reached a deferred prosecution agreement with Huawei that led to the effective release of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver, since Canadian authorities arrested her in December 2019 at the behest of US authorities, just days before China arrested Kovrig and Spavor in a widely seen case. is retaliation for Meng’s arrest.

READ MORE: China continues to deny retaliatory arrest, frees 2 Michaels for health reasons

Concerns about the safety of the “two Michaels”, as they are known, are often cited as a key factor in the government’s refusal to make a formal decision on whether to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G network. .

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With both Kovrig and Spavor free, there is growing speculation that the government could make a decision shortly. Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has told the Canadian Press that the government only wants to deal with “credible allies” on future high-tech projects.

Champagne said in that interview he expected a decision to be made within weeks of Congress returning, followed by a five-month break for the summer and then an election. federal election. A government official told Global News on Tuesday that the timeline has not changed.

READ MORE: Huawei Canada Vice President defends Meng Wanzhou, will not condemn the detention of two Michaels

Chinese Ambassador Cong Peiwu told the National Post on Monday that banning Huawei without concrete – and public – evidence shows that telecommunications is a security risk, which in turn could pose a risk to investors. Chinese investment in Canada.

“It would send a dangerous and alarming message,” Cong told the paper.

While the federal government delayed the decision, the three major Canadian telecommunications companies Bell, Telus and Rogers have independently announced that they will no longer use Huawei technology in their 5G networks.

But Huawei equipment is already used by Bell and Telus in their existing networks. That means a total or partial ban by the federal government could have a significant impact on those telecommunications companies’ operations – potentially leading to calls for federal compensation.

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Bell and Telus did not immediately respond to Global’s request for comment on Tuesday.

READ MORE: There is no clear evidence that 5G or cell phones cause cancer. This is why some are still worried

Alykhan Velshi, Huawei Canada’s vice president of corporate affairs, told Global News on Tuesday that the company would “not comment on hypotheses” when it comes to the pending government decision regarding the federal government. state.

However, Velshi noted that Huawei’s business in Canada extends beyond networking equipment and the company remains committed to its Canadian operations.

“As long as Huawei equipment is a vital part of Canada’s telecommunications network, we stand ready to continue serving our customers,” Velshi said.

Government officials would not confirm a timeline on Monday for a decision on whether to ban Huawei.

Spokesperson for Defense Secretary Anita Anand, who has authority over the Media Security Facility, pointed to previous government statements that a decision would be made “in the near future”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on September 28 that will be done “within the next few weeks.”

Click to play video:'China's arrest of 2 Michaels will affect Canada's decision on potential Huawei 5G ban: Trudeau'

China’s arrest of 2 Michaels will affect Canada’s decision on potential Huawei 5G ban: Trudeau

China’s arrest of 2 Michaels will affect Canada’s decision on a potential Huawei 5G ban: Trudeau – September 28, 2021

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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