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

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Kentucky has more bourbon than people

Your morning start for Thursday, May 6, 2021

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Grizzly bear. (File)
Malakwa man bitten by grizzly bear on dog walk

The man and dogs were not seriously injured

The downtown kiosks were recently painted black. Tourism Revelstoke said decals still need to be added and information inside the kiosks will also be updated. The city said the black paint is temporary as the area is slotted to be completely revamped in the coming years. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Newly painted black Revelstoke kiosks temporary fix; city

The recent colour changed caused an uproar on Facebook

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks votes down letter to support Penticton in homeless shelter battle

Grand Forks city coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Southbound traffic was reduced to single lane on Highway 97 as a vehicle involved in a collision was being retrieved by a tow truck on Thursday morning, May 6, 2021. (Jennifer Smith-Vernon Morning Star)
Collision causing delays on Highway 97 near Vernon

Southbound traffic reduced to single lane

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

Most Read