Huawei Not Only Firm That Could Build Canada's Eventual 5G Networks: Liberals

By Blanchfield, Mike | The Canadian Press, January 21, 2019 | Go to article overview

Huawei Not Only Firm That Could Build Canada's Eventual 5G Networks: Liberals


Blanchfield, Mike, The Canadian Press


Canada has 5G options beyond Huawei: Liberals

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OTTAWA - Chinese telecom giant Huawei isn't the only company that can build Canada's next-generation wireless networks, the Trudeau government said Monday as China muted its threat to retaliate if Canada bans the company.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains offered a sharp retort to China's ambassador to Canada, who warned last week of repercussions if the federal government bars Huawei from supplying equipment for faster, more resilient communications systems than cellphone users have now.

When asked about the government's ongoing national-security review of Huawei's potential involvement, Goodale said there are other suppliers besides Huawei that can set up Canada's 5G networks.

"There are other suppliers, yes indeed," Goodale said.

Bains named one: "Ericsson is another provider," he said, referring to the Swedish telecom company.

China views Huawei as one of its corporate jewels as it tries to battle slowing economic growth. That fact came into sharp focus on Monday when China reported that its economy expanded by 6.6 per cent in 2018, its slowest rate of growth since 1990.

A Chinese foreign-ministry spokeswoman attempted to play down the earlier remarks by Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye. The envoy told reporters in Ottawa last Thursday that there would be "repercussions" if Canada bans Huawei from 5G work.

"To my understanding, he did not mean that China intends to interfere in the decision-making of the Canadian government," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a Monday briefing in Beijing, according to a transcript on the foreign ministry's website.

"We all know that Huawei is a leading supplier in the 5G technology, so losses are inevitable if Huawei is not chosen as a co-operation partner."

Canadian security agencies are still reviewing the security and technical issues surrounding the potential involvement of Huawei and other companies in new 5G networks for smartphones and other wireless communication devices.

That decision has become more politically charged since the RCMP arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States.

Meng's arrest has infuriated China, which has since detained two Canadians, plunging Canada-China diplomatic relations to a new low. Michael Kovrig, a diplomat on leave to work for a non-governmental organization, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, were arrested on vague allegations of endangering Chinese the national security. …

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