A new poll by the Angus Reid Institute suggests that a majority of Canadians hold an unfavourable view of China and believe Ottawa should ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G network.
The poll found that 66% of people held an “unfavourable view” of China, while only 29% saw it as “favourable.”
With regards to trade ties, sentiments for a closer relationship between Canada and China have sharply declined since 2015. As noted by the poll, 40% of Canadians said Canada should try and develop closer ties with China in 2015. By November of this year, only 22% of Canadians believed the same.
On the topic of Huawei, 43% of Canadians believed that Canada “definitely should not” allow the company into Canada’s 5G network, while 25% stated that Canada “probably should not” allow it.
The negative views come at a time when Canada is involved in a diplomatic dispute over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is wanted by the U.S. for several fraud charges. December 10th also marked one year since two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, were arbitrarily detained in China in retaliation to Meng’s arrest.
According to the poll, Canadians were leaning towards letting the courts decide Meng’s fate. 53% of those polled said that Canada should “continue to treat it as a legal matter and leave it with the courts to decide, no matter the consequences to Canada-China relations,” while 47% believed political pressure should be applied to resolve the issue.
Recently, Huawei has engaged in a “diplomatically forceful” campaign to lobby Liberal ministers who would potentially hear them out.
“There’s always going to be naysayers that they don’t want to meet with you…[but] there are a lot of smart parliamentarians who were either re-elected or newly elected,” said the company’s vice-president of government affairs, Morgan Elliott.
Several ministers were named by the company as potential lobby targets including Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, among others.
As reported by True North, Huawei lobbied the government six days before the election and met with Senior Assistant Deputy Minister Mitch Davies from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Canada’s allies have raised the alarm over the company’s bid to join the network, citing national security and intelligence-sharing concerns.
“It would make it very difficult to have a full intelligence-sharing [relationship] with a partner who has installed a direct line to Beijing,” said U.S. Senator Angus King during the Halifax International Security Forum.