Champagne’s statement was in response to a question about Canadian telecom giant Telus’ decision to reject Huawei from its 5G network earlier in the day. Until Monday, Telus had been the only remaining major Canadian telecom company yet to rule out Huawei’s participation.
“What’s most important to us is national security. That will always be the biggest thing when we’re dealing with something like this – protecting our systems in Canada,” Champagne said on Monday.
The latest Special Committee on Canada-China Relations meetings comes less than a month before the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is mandated to make a final decision on Huawei’s participation in the development of Canada’s 5G network.
The stipulation was written into a parliamentary motion adopted last week that also requires the federal government to introduce a plan to counter China’s alleged "growing foreign operations" in Canada, akin to the plan introduced by Australia.
The tense relationship has been further exacerbated by Canada’s condemnation of the newly enacted Chinese law on national security in Hong Kong and a suspension of some bilateral agreements with the special administrative region. Beijing has said that it reserves the right to respond to any interference by Canada and holds Ottawa accountable for all consequences.