Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. O’Toole says Chinese telecom giant Huawei rose to power by stealing the technology of the defunct Canadian firm Nortel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. O’Toole says Chinese telecom giant Huawei rose to power by stealing the technology of the defunct Canadian firm Nortel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Tories push Liberals to decide 5G, Huawei amid China imprisonment of Kovrig, Spavor

China has imprisoned two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

Chinese telecom giant Huawei rose to dominance by stealing the technology of the defunct Canadian firm Nortel, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says.

O’Toole levelled the industrial-espionage charge against Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party on Tuesday as he announced that the Conservatives are pushing the Liberals to decide within 30 days which companies can provide Canada’s next-generation 5G wireless internet technology.

“The rise of Huawei was itself facilitated by years of industrial espionage conducted by China against Nortel,” O’Toole told a press conference on Parliament Hill.

“Intellectual-property theft, counterfeiting and digital piracy are not exceptions to our dealings with China. They are the reality, and it’s high time our government and many corporate leaders realize that,” the Conservative leader added.

“We may have lost Nortel to Huawei … but we can and must learn from it. Because if we don’t, we have to accept that another company will be next.”

Nortel Networks Corp., a once mighty Canadian telecom giant, filed for bankruptcy in 2009, becoming one of the country’s most spectacular business failures. Two years later, Nortel executed the biggest patent sale in history, raising billions in cash, when it auctioned off 6,000 patents to a consortium that included Apple and Microsoft.

The Conservatives introduced a motion in the House of Commons that demands the government decide whether Huawei ought to be banned from participating in Canadian 5G networks amid the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Canada and the People’s Republic.

China has imprisoned two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in apparent retaliation for the RCMP’s arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou nearly two years ago on a U.S. extradition warrant.

The United States is pressuring Canada and its allies in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network to ban Huawei because it views the company as an espionage arm of the Chinese state, a charge the company denies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was noncommittal Tuesday on the timing of his government’s long-awaited 5G decision. He reiterated his government’s position that it is relying on the advice of security and intelligence agencies, is consulting with allies, and is committed to keeping Canadians and their businesses safe.

O’Toole said he wants the matter debated in the Commons and wants a new strategy for relations with China, because the Liberals have not done enough stand up to its intimidation of Canada.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said during question period that he is open to working with the Conservatives on national security and foreign policy and would be prepared to propose constructive amendments moving forward.

Champagne said the government is working on a new plan to deal with China because China is not the same country it was four years ago and Canada needs a plan to respond to the “new reality.”

O’Toole said China poses long-standing domestic risks, including threats from its foreign agents to Chinese-Canadians and the peddling of anti-western propaganda through post-secondary Confucius Institute partnerships as well as Chinese media outlets.

“It is now fashionable in some quarters to say that say that standing up for human rights is anti-Chinese racism and that denouncing Chinese state bullying is paternalistic,” said O’Toole.

“When a dictatorship starts having so much influence, to the point that protecting Canadian citizens on Canadian soil is now an open question for a debate, you know we have a problem.”

Trudeau told O’Toole during question period that Canadian security agencies are actively protecting Canadians from foreign influence and interference.

“Not all of it appears in the newspapers. On the contrary, a lot of the work that is done in important situations is never heard of at all,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister also said the government is working with Canadian universities, industry partners and national security agencies to protect research projects from threats.

“We will always protect data and intellectual property, advance science and ensure that international research partnerships are always beneficial to Canadians,” said Trudeau.

Champagne told reporters after a Monday night cabinet meeting that the government takes reports of Chinese foreign intimidation seriously and that he is working with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to address it.

“Our security and intelligence community, including CSIS and the RCMP, are actively investigating threats of foreign interference and espionage, and where the evidence exists, we will take action,” Blair said Tuesday.

O’Toole acknowledged there could be an economic cost to Canada taking his proposed harder line against China, but he played down the potential effects.

Asked whether his party’s action would expose Kovrig and Spavor to reprisals from their Chinese captors, he blamed Trudeau for not doing enough to secure their release.

“I think about the two Michaels every day, and I think many Canadians do,” he said.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

ChinaConservative Party of CanadaHuaweiLiberals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 exposure at The Key, weather shelter announced in Fort St. James

Northern Health made the public service announcement Dec. 1

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Second COVID-19 exposure incident confirmed at Fort St. James Secondary

First exposure incident at the high school was announced Nov.26

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Most Read