Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Says Canada Should Ban Huawei From 5G

Harper says he agrees with the Trump administration's policy to pressure China to play by the rules
By Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Omid Ghoreishi
Senior Reporter
Omid Ghoreishi is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
December 8, 2018 Updated: December 9, 2018

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he agrees with the United States that Canada and other western countries should ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei from their emerging 5G networks.

“My personal view is that that is something that western countries should be doing in terms of our own long-term security issues,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

Harper said that when he was prime minister, his government was increasingly concerned “about the penetration of Huawei and ZTE,” another Chinese telecom company, into the telecommunication networks of democratic countries.

“These are organizations ultimately … tightly tied to the Chinese security apparatus, and we think there are some serious issues there.”

Under Harper, Canada banned Huawei from bidding to build the government’s telecommunications and email network—a ban that still remains in place under the current government.

Huawei was founded by a former officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and is often cited in intelligence circles as a source of risk to national security.

The company is very active in the development of 5G technology in Canada, partnering with universities and research centres. The majority of Canada’s allies in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance—the United States, Australia, and New Zealand—have banned Huawei from their 5G networks. In the U.K., another Five Eyes member state, the BT Group telecom giant has said it will not use Huawei in its 5G network.

Harper said he wouldn’t comment on the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at the request of the United States in Vancouver on Dec. 1 for suspicion of fraud, because the matter is before the courts.

‘Geopolitical Rival’

Harper said it’s important for the West to look at China not only as an economic competitor, but also as a “geopolitical rival.”

“[China] has made no secret of its desire to spread an alternate to Western democratic norms, and I think that’s something that should concern us.”

He said while he may or may not agree with every aspect of  the Trump administration’s policies, he agrees with the administration’s pressure on China to play by the rules and not allow Beijing to exploit trade relationships.

“We have a situation where the Chinese have wide-ranging access to our markets [while] our access to their markets is extremely limited,” Harper said, adding that the trade deficit has been making China more wealthy and causing the loss of millions of jobs in North America.

“I think the United States has under long-term policy been essentially paying for the rise of an alternative rival, and this is simply unwise.”

Referring to President Donald Trump’s tactics to change trade relations with China such as imposing tariffs, Harper said that while it’s true that markets may be impacted by the trade war between the two countries, if the issue isn’t addressed now, it will get worse in the long-term.

“Frankly, we’ll get to the point in the long-term where China cannot be taken on, where it is determining the rules of global system in arbitrary ways that simply suits its own interests.”

Omid Ghoreishi
Senior Reporter
Omid Ghoreishi is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.