Newspaper article The Canadian Press

National Security 'Comes First' in Huawei 5G Review: Infrastructure Minister

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

National Security 'Comes First' in Huawei 5G Review: Infrastructure Minister

Article excerpt

Security paramount in Huawei review: minister

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OTTAWA - National security "comes first" in deciding whether to allow Huawei Technologies to take part in developing Canada's 5G telecommunications network, Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says.

Canada must be prudent and rely on the input of its intelligence services before ruling on whether the Chinese firm should be involved in the next-generation wireless communication system, Champagne said Monday during a roundtable interview with The Canadian Press.

"We understand that there are concerns and we need to properly assess whatever risk, or benefits, that there might be."

Former security officials in Canada and two members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have warned that Huawei's participation could compromise the security of Canada and its closest allies. The thinking is that the Chinese company could build spying capabilities into equipment it supplies.

Huawei stresses it is not a state-controlled company and denies engaging in intelligence work on behalf of any government.

The Opposition Conservatives urged the Trudeau government anew on Monday to leave Huawei out of Canada's 5G infrastructure, which is expected to enable much faster connections and greater data capacity.

"It seems like the only Canadians not concerned about the threat Huawei poses to our mobile network are sitting in the Liberal benches," Conservative MP Dan Albas said during question period. "This is a major security threat, and this government refuses to do anything about it."

The government wants to make sure Canadians have access to new mobile technology without compromising on security, replied Liberal MP David Lametti, parliamentary secretary to the innovation minister.

Three of Canada's partners in the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing group -- the United States, Australia and New Zealand -- have forbidden the use of Huawei products in 5G network development in their countries. …

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