Justin Trudeau’s industry minister said Canada won’t be strong-armed into a decision on restricting a Chinese technology giant’s access to next-generation wireless networks.
The comments by Navdeep Bains come on the heels of a push by a group of US senators seeking to remove a preferred investment status for countries that allow for the installation of Huawei equipment in their 5G networks. The Donald Trump administration is pushing allies for an outright ban.
“We will make sure that we proceed in a manner that’s in our national interest,” Bains told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday evening. “We won’t get bullied by any other jurisdictions.”
Canada is the last member of the so-called Five Eyes network of English-speaking nations that share intelligence to make a call on Huawei. Australia and New Zealand followed the US lead in banning it, but Boris Johnson’s government opted for a mixed approach in the UK, allowing the Chinese company access to non-sensitive parts of its wireless network.
The British decision disappointed the White House and resulted in an angry phone call from Trump. Trudeau’s government says it’s studying the UK approach, but is also factoring in its bitter feud with China over Canada’s 2018 arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer on an American extradition request.
‘Very important issue’
Asked if he was referring to the US specifically, Bains dialled down his rhetoric. “Maybe that wasn’t the right choice of words but we won’t be influenced by other jurisdictions,” he said.
“Countries have raised their concerns. We’re engaged with our Five Eyes partners. We know that this is a very important issue,” he said. “But we will make a decision that makes sense for Canadians and protects Canadians.” — Reported by Kait Bolongaro, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP