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What to do about Huawei?

For months, the federal government has been mulling a decision about whether to allow the Chinese telecom giant access to Canada’s next-generation 5G mobile network. U.S., Australia and New Zealand have banned Huawei from accessing their countries’ 5G networks, but Britain has given the go-ahead for the company to have “limited” access.

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But is limited access even possible? Experts warn that because of the design of 5G technology, any company that has access to part of the network will have access to the whole thing. Vendors could have access to data on the network, and to items in the Internet of Things, such as self-driving cars.

The Canadian military is one institution that is opposing Huawei’s entry to 5G behind closed doors. The Liberal government has not said when it will make a decision.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was at the African Union summit on the weekend, touched down in Kuwait today to shake hands with the troops who were relocated from Iraq last month.

The RCMP has arrested protesters trying to block construction of the Coastal GasLink natural-gas pipeline in Northern B.C. The project was supported by elected band councils along the route, but opposed by the Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs. Sympathy protests have now popped up across the country at rail lines and ports.

Alberta and the federal government disagree about how close the province is to reaching its cap of 100 megatonnes a year of greenhouse-gas emissions caused by the oil sands. The provincial government says it’s only at 67 or 68 megatonnes this year, while Ottawa pegs it at 87 megatonnes. The size of the gap matters as the federal government continues to evaluate major emissions-causing energy projects, such as the Teck Frontier mine.

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Draft John Baird? The former cabinet minister, who had been behind Pierre Poilievre’s aborted run, is not ruling out his own run for leadership of the Conservative Party.

And a Globe investigation of a star youth athlete and her University of Guelph coach shows yet another example of how predatory behaviour can flourish in the sporting world and beyond. The university and Athletics Canada are being criticized for how they handled the allegations years ago.

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley: “While she was in government, Ottawa introduced legislation that the energy industry says could kill future pipeline projects. But Ms. Notley maintains that it’s better to keep the conversation going with Ottawa, the other provinces, environmentalists and Indigenous groups who oppose pipeline projects and oil sands mines.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the federal decision on Teck oil sands mine: “Politically, it’s entirely a lose-lose proposition for the Liberals. Approve it, and the government gets little to no credit in Alberta; the Liberals will still be loathed, Mr. Trudeau will still be hated. Elsewhere, they will be disdained by supporters who will feel betrayed, and who will see the decision as further evidence of the fraud many suspect the government’s climate plan to be. There are some around the cabinet table, including former environment minister Catherine McKenna, who have felt the sting of that accusation. It’s hard to imagine her being a proponent of this venture.”

Duane Bratt (The Globe and Mail) on why the irregularities in the United Conservative Party leadership race should be a bigger deal: “Not only are these serious allegations – some ethical and some criminal – but the 2017 UCP leadership race determined the current Premier of Alberta. It also implicates current UCP MLAs such as Peter Singh, whose auto-shop business was raided by the RCMP seeking evidence about voter fraud in the UCP leadership race. The RCMP has interviewed at least five current Alberta cabinet ministers, three MLAs, current federal Conservative Party MP Tim Uppal, and key Kenney organizer Allan Hallman over these voter fraud allegations. It also implicates senior members of the Premier’s Office such as Matt Wolf who, based on documents and other evidence, was the chief conduit between the Kenney and Callaway campaigns. A special prosecutor from Ontario was appointed in July to lead the investigation.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet’s views of the courts: “But let’s face it, Mr. Blanchet wasn’t making a case about the court’s bias. He was engaging in a conspiracy-minded wink. It is increasingly common in politics to suggest that’s just the way things work. Mr. Blanchet seems to suggest anything else is naive.”

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Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on the social conservative base of the Conservative Party: “It is actually social progressives who have more sensitivity to these issues when casting their votes. These people are more likely to adamantly adopt a tougher stance and say they could never vote for a party whose leader’s positions on social values are in direct contrast to their own. Refuse to march in a Pride event? Expect marching papers of your own. Express sympathy or support for public prayer? You ain’t got a prayer with this segment of voters. By contrast, social conservatives are more likely to express uncertainty about their ability to vote for a more socially progressive leader. Many say they’d be less likely to vote for a party’s chief whose views on social issues don’t align with their own, but it’s not an automatic deal-breaker.”

Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and the Conservative leadership race: “This is the narcissism of small differences taken to new heights. MacKay and O’Toole are soft-spoken lawyers, Dalhousie grads and sons of elected politicians, with professional experience in Nova Scotia and Ontario. If you locked them for a day in separate rooms with pens and the same list of 100 issues, you’d discover that they had written identical views on 97 of them. The absurd dynamic of a leadership contest requires that each describe the other as a peril to the nation, until the day one wins and appoints the other deputy leader.”

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