Conducted by Nanos Research for the Globe and Mail, the survey found that 76 percent of Canadians are against Huawei taking part in the country’s telecommunication 5G network—an increase from 53 percent who supported the ban in 2019.
Only 10 percent of respondents say the Chinese telecom should be allowed to supply its 5G kit to Canada, a drop from 22 percent in the 2019 poll.
Canada remains the only nation among its Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance—consisting of Canada, New Zealand, the U.S., Australia and the UK—to have not made a decision regarding Huawei and 5G, despite years of grappling with the issue amid strong U.S. warnings of national security threats posed by Beijing.
In late September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his cabinet will decide whether to ban Huawei “in the coming weeks.”
“We continue to weigh and look at different options, but we will be no doubt making announcements in the coming weeks,” Trudeau told reporters on Sept. 28, during his first news conference since his re-election a week prior.
The latest poll surveyed 1,017 Canadians between Sept. 30 and Oct. 3 and found that a strong majority of Canadians support joining allies to “contain China’s growing power.” Seventy-eight percent of the respondents opted to “support” or “somewhat support” working with the U.S., the UK and Australia to develop policies to counter the Communist regime.
The survey also reported that 69 percent of respondents are against Canada negotiating a free trade agreement with Beijing at the present time, an increase of 22 percentage points since 2019, while supporters for such a deal declined from 43 percent in 2019 to 19 percent this year.
The poll observed that sentiment against the Chinese regime continues even after the freeing of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig—an apparent act of “hostage diplomacy” by Beijing in exchange for the release of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.
“Canadians are more than three times more likely to say relations between the Government of Canada and the Government of China should be unfriendly rather than friendly,” the poll stated.
Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018, on a U.S. extradition request related to fraud charges for allegedly misleading HSBC in 2013 about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions. Days later on Dec. 10, Kovrig and Spavor were detained on baseless charges in China.
Under a deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. prosecutors signed on Sept. 24, Meng was allowed to plead not guilty but had to agree to the charges against her as spelled out in a statement of facts document. On the same day a Canadian court removed her bail conditions and allowed her to fly back to China, the two Michaels were also released and flew home to Canada.
The poll, conducted through hybrid telephone and online survey, is considered accurate within +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
With files from Reuters