“This decision hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s been an important one. We took this decision to make sure Canadians remain safe, that our telecommunication businesses remain secure, and it is the right decision to take for Canada’s interests,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Ever since the United States charged Huawei with stealing U.S. company trade secrets, the Conservative party of Canada has claimed that China could also spy on Canada in the same way, using Huawei’s connection to their own 5G network. The Conservative Party of Canada has pressured Trudeau and his Liberal government to act fast to “protect national security.” Both Huawei officials and China have denied these accusations, but that hasn’t eased the minds of many Canadian citizens.
Huawei is a Chinese tech giant that sells electronics like PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Huawei was connected to Canada’s 5G network, which was partly developed by China. 5G is the fifth generation of the mobile network with a speed over one hundred times faster than previous mobile network generations, communicating via radio signals that can travel from 1000 to 1500 feet.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a history of withholding information from the rest of the world, which is an attribute of China’s government that Conservatives, including their former leader Erin O’Toole, have loathed for years.
However, it’s doubtful that Conservative pressure was the only factor into this sudden decision. The United Kingdom, who banned Huawei 5G technology much earlier than Canada, had most likely gone through with that decision due to American pressure, not to reinforce national security. Due to how close the United States and the UK are to Canada, it’s most likely that it’s the same situation.
The American pressure may not end there. Very recently, American President Joe Biden vowed to defend Taiwan from any possible attacks by China in the future, which has since enraged China, reminding the United States to not get involved. While the odds aren’t promising, Canada may end up siding with America to back up Taiwan against any future threat made by China, may it be through American pressure or because Canada sees that as the just way to continue.
However, China is one of Canada’s largest trade partners, only second to the United States. This sudden move of Canada banning Huawei has already disrupted trade between the two countries, but explicitly going against China’s wishes would without a doubt impact the two countries and their relationship with each other.
While China is Canada’s second largest trade partner, Canada doesn’t even reach China’s top 15 trading partners, meaning a change in trade could potentially hurt Canada much more than it would hurt China. In addition, Canada’s electrical equipment, prefabricated buildings, and even furniture are imported much more from China than they are from the United States. This could potentially lead to a shortage of those imports if trade was cut off between China and Canada. As stated earlier, this is a move that would do little to China, but would negatively affect Canada in a number of ways.
“It makes it extremely important to ensure that as we start into this… 5G world, we’re able to, from the outset, protect Canadian safety and security, and that’s exactly why this was the right time to take this decision,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.