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Consumer Products & Retail | May 28, 2018

Trudeau urged to probe Chinese telecom giant Huawei's role in Canada

Robert Beggs

Short take:

In defining "critical infrastructure", most countries know why, and (usually) how, to protect it once it is established and providing a defined service to citizens. But protecting the underlying technology of a critical infrastructure like communications is difficult while it is under development, and will require hard decisions and actions from any government. Will the Canadian Federal government be able to balance investment in research with protection of the final product?


Mr. Ellis shares the view of the U.S. and Canadian security and intelligence establishment that Huawei represents a cybersecurity danger because of its close links to China’s ruling Communist Party. It was recently revealed that Huawei is helping China’s state security apparatus spy on its Uyghur minority. Former top Canadian intelligence officials have warned that Huawei could use 5G technology for espionage, a charge denied by Huawei spokesman Scott Bradley.

A spokesman for Mr. Trudeau on the weekend deferred questions about Huawei to Industry Minister Navdeep Bains. His department said on Sunday that the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council grants to academics

“are awarded through an independent peer-reviewed process to ensure excellence and impartiality.”

It added that businesses partnering and co-funding the research “must demonstrate economic, social or environmental benefits for Canadians. Canadians can rest assured that our government will never compromise national security and will always listen to the advice of public-security officials.”

David Campbell, a former CSIS China analyst, said some research universities may plead ignorance or practice willful blindness when it comes to potential national-security threats involving China, especially if it could affect funding.