Date
21 October 2019
Huawei's 5G participation in Canada has been caught up in the broader trade and diplomatic dispute between Ottawa and Beijing. Photo: Reuters
Huawei's 5G participation in Canada has been caught up in the broader trade and diplomatic dispute between Ottawa and Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Canada may defer Huawei 5G decision until after election: report

Canada is likely to postpone a decision on whether to allow China’s Huawei Technologies to supply 5G network equipment until after the October federal election, Reuters reports, citing sources.

Experts in Ottawa are reviewing the security implications of 5G networks, including Huawei’s participation.

An important issue is whether Canada should allow a Chinese company to dominate an important part of the telecommunications network, a source was quoted as saying.

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also reluctant to move until the fate of two Canadians detained in China becomes clearer, according to the report.

China picked up the pair last December and later charged them with spying. Beijing acted after Canadian police arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer on a US.

The 5G issue is entangled in the broader trade and diplomatic dispute with China. Trudeau has condemned the arrests of the two men.

A decision before October would not help Trudeau with voters, a source told Reuters.

Banning Huawei could anger Beijing but a positive decision would leave him open to attacks that he is ignoring the detainees’ fate.

Recent polls suggest the Liberals could retain power, fending off a challenge from the rival Conservative Party, which has said it would not allow Huawei 5G technology.

The question of whether Huawei’s 5G equipment could contain backdoors allowing access to spies is dividing Canada and its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network.

The United States, Australia and New Zealand have bans in place while Britain is taking a less firm line, indicating Huawei’s 5G products could be used in less sensitive areas.

Canada is watching what Britain does very closely, a source told Reuters, indicating Ottawa could take a similar decision.

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