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Don Martin: China dials the wrong number in calling for Meng's immediate release
OTTAWA -- The time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s years-long footdrag is over.
Ban. Huawei. Now.
The proof that the company’s controversial integration into our 5G network development comes with an unacceptable security risk was oh-so-clearly unmasked in a B.C. courtroom on Wednesday.
China’s furious over-reaction to a Superior Court judge, who ruled Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition process to the U.S. can continue, underscores how the interests and actions of the company and the country are one and the same.
The apprehension and luxury-mansion detention of the Huawei founder’s daughter should’ve been a political spat left to the diplomatic corps to sort out.
But by imprisoning and isolating two Canadians in obvious retaliation, cutting our meat exports on the flimsiest of pretexts and now threatening unspecified reprisals which could put a major trading connection on ice, China is taking this case far too personally to be merely a corporate slap in the face.
By sacrificing so much for so many for the return of the one, China proves the building and integration of Huawei telecom technology in Canada would be for the benefit of its own corporate and security self-interests above all other considerations.
China somehow believes Justin Trudeau should simply ignore the judge and order Meng’s tracking bracelet removed so she can be whisked home to see that premature Vancouver victory smile photo-op splashed across the front page of the China Daily News.
This may be how China sees justice being done, inspired by studying its own reflection in the mirror, but that’s not the Canadian way.
Even so, China is betting everything on our trading relationship being too big to fail and that we’ll capitulate to keep the connection by simply releasing Meng.
It’s true that, even though their $75 billion in exports to Canada are three times our exports to China, it’s trade worth fighting to preserve.
And yet public support for strengthening economic links to China generally, and allowing Huawei into 5G development specifically, has falling off a polling cliff, numbers which will likely drop even further as the source and spread of the coronavirus is explored and the Hong Kong security crackdown takes root.
So far, Canadian political leadership has reacted in a fashion some regard as docile while others see it as carefully diplomatic.
The ministers dutifully (and correctly) chant the ‘rule of law being followed’ explanation for Meng’s slow meander through our extradition process.
But they should up their game beyond the usual weasel words in condemning the new Hong Kong security laws passed today and join the chorus demanding an inquiry into China’s behavior in containing the coronavirus outbreak.
And, clearly, with our own military leaders calling for the ban along with our United States, Australia, Britain and New Zealand allies, it’s time for the prime minister to end the Huawei word waffle and make it clear that this brand of advanced technology is toast.
Canada can’t sell out its principles for economic self-interest just so the kids can play games or download movies at lightning speed a few years before other telecoms deliver 5G.
Canada needs to stand up and show China that it dialed the wrong number in calling for Meng’s release ahead of our independent judicial process, even though they’re holding $100 billion in two-way trade as hostage.