Stephen Harper urges Canada to ban Huawei from 5G network in Fox News appearance

In an interview with Fox News, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said that he supports American efforts to persuade its western allies, including Canada, to ban Huawei from emerging 5G networks.

“I obviously note that the United States is encouraging western allies to essentially push Huawei out of the emerging 5G network and my personal view is that that is something western countries should be doing in terms of our own long-term security issues,” Harper said in an interview.

The former prime minister wouldn’t comment on Canada’s Dec. 1 arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of American law-enforcement officials, though he did say that Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE are tightly tied to the Chinese security apparatus, “and we think there are some real serious issues there.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he knew in advance of the pending arrest in Canada, but that there was no political involvement in the decision to detain Meng.

Currently, the Trudeau government is the only member of the Five Eyes Intelligence community who has refused to bar Huawei equipment from being used in the infrastructure that will support 5G networks.

However, it’s important to note that Canada is conducting a review of whether Huawei equipment poses a national security risk.

Harper went on to say that western allies need to address “Chinese rule-breaking,” which have allowed the Chinese to “frankly exploit a trade relationship.”

“If we don’t take on this problem now, in the long-term, this is going to get worse and frankly, we’ll get to a point in the long-term where China cannot be taken on and it is determining the rules of the global system in arbitrary ways that simply suit its own interest,” Harper said.

Huawei sells smartphones as well as telecom equipment that has allowed it to play a significant role in Canada’ push towards 5G networks. Western countries, including the U.S. and Australia, have warned that Huawei technology could be used for undetected surveillance or intelligence gathering.

Huawei has denied any improper links to the Chinese government or that it is collecting data on their behalf. Furthermore, the company has become increasingly involved with the major players in Canada’s telecom industry and act as a major supplier for Bell, Rogers and Telus.

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