For any of you who have had the opportunity to hear Janice Stein speak at the CHHMA Spring Conference this year, you know how important the decision of who gets to build the 5G network across our country is for Canada and what the consequences could be. This article from the Toronto Star demonstrates the Canadian public’s stance against allowing Huawei as a supplier for the new generation of ultra-fast wireless networks that are being built by the country’s telecommunications companies. 

An Angus Reid online poll published on Dec. 11 says 69% of respondents were against the federal government allowing the Chinese telecom equipment maker from being involved in Canada’s fifth-generation wireless networks.

“Canadians are relatively united in this view, with two-thirds of supporters of each major federal party saying that Canada should not allow Huawei to be involved in 5G network production,” the non-profit survey company said. 

The November online survey of 1,499 respondents also found 77% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Canada should prohibit Chinese investment in sensitive industries such as finance and telecommunications.

The poll comes as the United States continues long-standing efforts to convince its allies such as Canada to bar Huawei as a threat to national security because of the influence of the Chinese government.

The U.S. warns that China could require the company to gather sensitive information flowing through its equipment, an allegation that Huawei says is unproven and against the company’s business interests.

Although Trump administration officials have warned repeatedly that inclusion of Huawei equipment in 5G networks could threaten its information sharing with allies, the Trudeau government has yet to announce a decision.

Canada’s relationship with China has been strained since Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested on Dec. 1, 2018 in Vancouver at the request of the United States. She remains under house arrest at one of her two Vancouver homes while fighting a court battle alleging an abuse of process.

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, apparently arrested in retaliation for Meng’s arrest, have been in custody in China for a year without seeing their families or a lawyer. On Tuesday December 10th, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said the cases have been sent “for investigation and prosecution’’ on national security allegations.

A commentary with the Angus Reid survey, conducted Nov. 16 to 20, said that Canadians have grown more frustrated with China but also more divided about the government’s handling of the Meng saga.

It says 51% of respondents in the latest poll said Canada should have resisted the U.S. request to arrest the Huawei executive, while 49% said it made the right decision.

The survey also found that 66%  of respondents had a negative view of China, up from 51% in 2018.

According to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

Source: The Star