It is widely believed the Chinese government uses technology giants like ZTE and Huawei to spy on global users. While most consumers appreciate Huawei's smartphones, the company is also a network carrier. The United States has banned the company and last year asked its closest allies to do the same.
A former spy chief has said Canada should follow the lead of the US and ban Huawei from supplying hardware to Canadian 5G networks. Richard Fadden, a former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said the risk of working with Huawei is too great.
Fadden says evidence shows the company cannot be trusted:
“Canada's government should ignore the threats and ban Huawei from Canada's 5G networks to protect the security of Canadians,” he wrote in the Globe and Mail.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed this week that other companies could replace Huawei. It seems China suspects Huawei will be blocked, and the country's ambassador said Ottawa will face repercussions if a bad is imposed.
Canadian authorities have dismissed all threats that have come from China since a high-level Huawei executive (Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei's founder and current CFO) was arrested in Vancouver in December. The official was detained by Canadian police on an extradition warrant from the United States.
In China, government officials believe Ottawa has already chosen to side with the US. However, Ottawa has yet to say it will not consider Huawei as a supplier to its 5G networks.
Bad relations soured further when China responded to Wanzhou's arrest by detaining two Canadians. The legal system then placed another Canadian under a retrial and sentenced him to death for drug smuggling, despite a previous sentence being passed and already serving jail time.
“If China would resort to putting Canadians to death to defend its corporate national champion, what might it do if the Chinese Communist Party had unfettered access to Canada's vital communications networks?” said Fadden.