On Wednesday, Canada’s opposition called on Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to get tougher on China, including by officially banning Huawei’s 5G technology from being used in the country.
Opposition parties passed a non-binding motion put forward by the Conservatives calling China a threat to Canadian interests and values, and urging the government to draft a plan to “combat China’s growing foreign operations” in Canada.
The Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said that “We call on the Liberal government to finally grow a spine and make a decision on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network.”
Trudeau heads a minority government that depends on one of three opposition parties to pass legislation and stay afloat. The prime minister appeared to seek an early vote without success last month, but many in Ottawa now expect a snap election next year.
The arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a US arrest warrant two years ago put Canada in the middle of the US-China trade war, and Ottawa continues to struggle to respond to Beijing’s aggressive tactics.
China arrested two Canadian citizens for alleged spying after Meng’s arrest and they have been imprisoned ever since. China also cut off imports of canola. Meng is fighting extradition to the United States.
With US-China relations at their worst in decades, Washington has been pushing governments around the world to squeeze out Huawei, claiming it would hand over data to the Chinese government for spying. Huawei denies it spies for China.
Trudeau repeated that his government was awaiting a recommendation from the country’s intelligence agencies.
Huawei Canada Vice President Alykhan Velshi said in a statement that “Huawei has always supported, and continues to support, the government’s evidence-based review of potential 5G providers,” adding the company “has never received a complaint” from Canada about a security breach.
The opposition move, which passed 179-146, called on the government within 30 days to officially ban Huawei 5G and come up with a plan to counter Chinese operations aimed at intimidating Chinese nationals living in Canada.