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

Two of the weapons seized in a Nov. 8 traffic stop in Black Creek. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP seize guns, drugs in Black Creek traffic stop

Two arrested in connection with incident

Canadian Tire Courtenay’s Owner Bert Heeringa and General Manager Keith Pistell displaying the donated sanitizer. Photo supplied.
Courtenay Canadian Tire donates 2,400 litres of hand sanitizer to local not-for-profits

Organizations can request sanitizer via the Comox Valley Community Foundation

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Village, business association looking to promote shopping local for holidays

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Comox Valley connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

A late-blooming Welsh poppy gave the Cox garden some unexpected colour last month. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: La Nina signs not necessarily steeped in science

LESLIE COX Special to The Record I am beginning to think climate… Continue reading

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

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

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

3L Developments president Dave Dutcyvich is pictured during a 2018 meeting at the regional district boardroom. File photo
Denied developer prefers not to log Comox Valley land: Planner

At its inaugural meeting Tuesday, the Comox Valley Regional District board refused… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read