Today, readers are responding to Andrew Willis’s column Instead of lobbying for their Huawei ties, Telus and BCE should change the 5G conversation. Readers are also discussing increasing pressure from the United States for Canada to cut ties with Huawei in the wake of two wide-ranging indictments against the telecom company.
Concern about Huawei has been in the news for years. BCE and Telus have courted the risk of installing Huawei product that they knew, or ought to have known, could be banned. They have wasted shareholder value. Their continued lobbying exacerbates the waste, and could lead to consumer resentment further worsening matters. If they spend a dollar on Huawei equipment tomorrow, it is another shareholder dollar put to known excess risk. - George Bay
After reading the Telus article in support of Huawei I sold all of my Telus and BCE stock. With their approach to Huawei and current earning multiples there is much more downside risk than upside. - Yolette Dorilas
I expect that a federal bailout for Telus and Bell will be the eventual outcome. I wonder why any subscribers would stay with them as long as they have Huawei equipment. - Toronto Bob
Until something actually happens, and then it’s too late, security is all about risk assessment and management. Given that Chinese companies are mandated to assist the Chinese government when requested, Huawei mostly definitely represents a risk. The next step is to determine the severity of the risk and what would happen of the risk is realized. Given that 5G technology will be used in secure situations, it seems that the risk is pretty high that Huawei would be asked by the Chinese government to assist them in espionage. Finally, what would happen if the Chinese government were to get its hands on confidential information from the West? That’s a political question, of course. The current Chinese government does appear to be inimical to the Western way of life and culture, but does it represent an existential threat to the West? I think not, but let’s not make things easy for the Chinese government. - R Rowat
I agree, Mr. Willis. Bell and Telus should see the writing on the wall and build a 5G network that Canadians can have confidence in. It is not realistic that these companies and any contractors that our security agencies hire will be able to detect all threats on the original installs as well as those that may be added in maintenance work, upgrades and patches. They don’t have the capacity to analyze every line of code.
Huawei and other Chinese companies and Chinese citizens must, under Chinese law, cooperate with Chinese espionage authorities. They could provide Chinese security agencies with all the source code for the software on the equipment, making it easy for them to hack the equipment here. How is that threat tolerable?
Allowing Huawei would make us look like the weak link among our allies. How would that play out in practice? Would traffic from Canada be segregated in some way for scrutiny? Some more reporting on this issue would be welcome. Beyond Huawei, any ban should consider other Chinese 5G manufacturers and any 5G components made for Western companies. The extent of the threat should be fully delineated so it can be contained. - res ipsa loquitor
Companies, certainly larger companies, like to say “it’s just business” as if the other factors around them don’t matter and only making money does. But every business has to live within a social, legal and political framework - and they damn well know it. So their typical game is to twist the framework - particularly the political framework - when they don’t like the framework that exists. The way you influence them is to hurt their managerial bonuses. And, you do that by not buying their stuff. That may be tough because Huawei is providing state subsidized stuff and people tend to like things cheap. But Rogers has a great alternative strategy - turf Huawei and promote alternatives. They should be advertising this more. Then we will hopefully see people switch to them and away from Telus and Bell. Win-win for Rogers and our country I’d say. - Timley
Our Five-Eyes partners have already warned us of the threat, as has CSIS in the past. Unfortunately, the federal government is blinded by its misguided pursuit that the People’s Republic of China can be an alternative to the U.S. Yes, let's trade and have other contacts with the PRC, but it needs to be on our terms, ones that resonates with our own national security requirements. Remember, the PRC is not our ally. - Jack Canuck
Any company that uses software to provide a service involving data transmission from mobile devices or computers can spy for whomever they please. Does the fact that a country has a controlling interest in a company really matter? It is not difficult to hack into internet traffic. Most national spy agencies have significant capacity to do so. Bottom line is don’t put anything online that is sensitive or is not backed by a guarantee. Is the current fuss over Huawei about China spying or competitive advantage by rival companies? - Redmaple
I think the government has already decided but there's no need to let the public know yet. They're drinking coffee and eating doughnuts and when they've waited a sufficient amount of time, they'll make the announcement. After all Canada makes decisions independently and it would not be in it's best interests to be viewed as a lackey of the US by responding every time they bark. It's unlikely the government has the technical savvy to decide or they would have done so a long time ago. This decision will be entirely political. - tip2
Strangely in all the comments for and against with respect to Huawei, there is no mention of construction giant Aecon. In case people have forgotten, the $1.5-billion takeover of Aecon was vetoed for security concerns. You would think that if the government had security concerns with a construction company, imagine the concerns there should be with allowing the Chinese control of our technology access. - JeffSpooner
There's a time for deliberation and a time for action. We're past the deliberation stage. This is a national security issue. Get on with it, Navdeep Bains et al. Show some leadership. Ban Huawei and ZTE from Canadian 5G networks. Require Canadian telecoms to rip out 5G and fibre optic equipment. These companies will squawk, but resist their lobbying.
Ban university research arrangements with China, too. Again, resist the predictable lobbying from the affected institutions (U of T, Waterloo, McGill, UBC, etc.). Provide these universities with new federal funds for research arrangements with non-Chinese players in 5G. The voters are watching. - Kate2888
In response to Kate2888:
I agree wholeheartedly, but I don't think anything will happen until the Meng affair is resolved and hopefully, two of the three detainees are released. - Mack54
The New McCarthyism. And we’re getting sucked right into it. - Rob88
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