Who would have thought that Canada, under a Prime Minister like Justin Trudeau, would grow the spine to take on China? Going by recent developments, however, and heightened tensions between the two countries, Canada is all set to dump China, and along with it, its 5G technology. Huawei is now staring at an existential crisis, with no scope of its operational or technical capabilities being put to use among the five eye nations.
Although Huawei offers the most sophisticated, and cheap 5G technology, it has now been shunted out of Canada. This, even before the government of the country actually taking concrete measures against the Chinese major (which it is deliberating upon, by the way).
Two Canadian telecom carriers – BCE Inc. (parent company of Bell) and Telus Corp have now decided to use equipment from Nokia and Ericsson to build out their next-generation 5G networks in Canada. This effectively means that Canada has shown China the door, along with its co-opted 5G technology provider.
While Bell and Telus were both almost certainly going to use Huawei’s 5G equipment for rolling out the technology in Canada, however, much has changed in a short span of time. Bell already uses Huawei in its existing 4G network, however, the Chinese company’s involvement in 5G rollout has now been ruled out. Telus had gone as far as stating in February this year that it would be partnering with Huawei for rolling out 5G technology in the country. With both Bell and Telus rejecting Huawei quite vocally, the Chinese Communist Party is bound to be infuriated. All three major telecom carriers of Canada, namely Bell, Telus and Rogers are now working with Nokia and Ericsson.
The show of strength by Trudeau-led Canada and its telecom major’s comes in the backdrop of escalating tensions between the two countries over the almost-certain extradition of Huawei CFO and Vice President, Meng Wanzhou to the US. Wanzhou was arrested from Toronto airport in 2018 by Canadian authorities, following the USA’s nudge in favour of the same. Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is wanted in the US for violation of Iranian sanctions. The US is now pushing for the extradition of the Huawei executive, and the extradition hearing scales are tilted heavily against Meng. Currently, she is under house arrest in Canada.
Only recently, the British Columbia Supreme Court rejected Huawei CFO’s plea and ruled that her case met the required conditions of “double criminality”, both in Canada, as well as the United States. This makes her extradition to the US all the more certain. It must be remembered that Huawei is the CCP’s lapdog, and Ren Zhengfei, the CEO of Huawei is said to share very close relations with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. As such, China is putting all of its weight behind Meng Wanzhou, and is hell-bent on bullying Canada to ship her back home.
Yet, Canada seems in no mood to budge. In fact, if any of its recent actions are anything to go by, even if the telecom industry induced, Canada seems all set to take the dragon head-on. Until only recently, Canadian companies were particularly pro-China, however, that’s now changed. Companies like Bell and Telus, who were almost ready to partner with Huawei for their 5G rollout, have now taken a U-turn.
The developments being reported from Canada are surprising, to say the least. While Justin Trudeau has historically been pro-China and also hesitant to extradite the Huawei CFO to the US, he now seems to have realised what a post-CoVID world order will look like, a world order in which being in China’s camp will not be any less than a taboo. While China thought that it flexing its muscles against Canada would win Huawei multiple contracts in the North American country bordering the US, its strategy has boomeranged big time. Despite Justin Trudeau’s differences with the United States leadership, he seems to have realized that being in the good books of US is far better than being a slave to China.