Trudeau says he will share decision on Huawei 5G tech in 'coming weeks'
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he hopes to share a decision on whether to ban Huawei Technologies from Canada’s 5G wireless network rollout “in the coming weeks.”
Speaking to reporters at a media availability Tuesday, Trudeau said his government is still weighing different options but will “look forward to sharing a decision on many different issues, including on telecommunications and Huawei in the coming weeks.”
His comments come on the heels of the release of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from a Chinese jail last week, after the U.S. Department of Justice reached an agreement to pursue a deferred prosecution agreement with Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
Spavor and Kovrig were detained on Dec. 10, 2018 on spying charges, days after the arrest of Meng in Vancouver on a U.S warrant related to Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
China maintains the jailing of the Canadians and their subsequent release is not linked to the case of Meng.
Canada is the only remaining member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to have not banned or restricted Huawei from partaking in the implementation of the network.
Former diplomats and international security experts have speculated that the federal government was holding off on making a decision because of the uncertain fate of Spavor and Kovrig and that banning the telecommunications giant outright might make an already charged situation worse.
Now that the two men are free, the Liberals will face heightened pressure.
During the election campaign, the Conservative Party vowed to formally implement a Huawei ban and pledged to “further investigate the company’s role in providing surveillance capabilities that have been used against the Uyghur people and other persecuted minorities in China.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has long called on Trudeau to respond more aggressively to the threat of Chinese influence in Canada and on the world stage.
On Tuesday Trudeau thanked those involved in the release of Spavor and Kovrig.
“I want to think all the incredible public servants, diplomats, and officials who worked unbelievably hard to get to this moment, as well as thanking our partners and allies around the world who stood strongly in solidarity with Canada and specifically with these two Canadians,” he said.
After being held in Chinese custody for 1,019 days, the two men touched down in Calgary on Saturday morning and were greeted by the prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau.