Huawei lobbied two Liberal MPs and a cabinet official from the Privy Council Office on three different occasions in December.
The database published by the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada shows Huawei representatives meeting with Nepean MP Chandra Arya and Brossard Saint-Lambert MP Alexandra Mendes – both Liberals – as well as Paul Halucha, the assistant secretary to the cabinet in the Privy Council Office (PCO).
The associated registrations for subject matters of interest to Huawei include “security” and “5G technology.” The meetings which discussed international trade and research and development took place the month before Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou appeared before the B.C. Supreme Court for an extradition hearing on January 20, 2020.
Neither of the two MPs identified in the registry responded inquiries from True North about the nature of the meetings. Huawei Canada similarly did not respond to a request.
“Mr. Halucha, in his capacity as Assistant Secretary to Cabinet, Economic and Regional Development Policy, at the Privy Council Office, meets with various industry representatives throughout the year to discuss matters of great importance to Canada’s economic and regional development and sustainability,” said PCO spokesperson Pierre-Alain Bujold.
Huawei’s recent lobbying efforts are part of the company’s “diplomatically forceful” campaign to get the company into Canada’s upcoming 5G network. Prior to the election, the company admitted to mapping out and targeting specific MPs who would be willing to hear them.
“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 Huawei Canada vice-president of government affairs Morgan Elliott.
Among those listed by the company as desirable were Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, among others.
Earlier in 2019, Huawei lobbied Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, just six days before the federal election.
A decision on whether Huawei’s technology will be allowed onto Canada’s network is expected to be made in the upcoming months.
Members of Canada’s intelligence community have warned that allowing Huawei onto the network could have catastrophic implications.
Former national security adviser Richard Fadden warned the company is vulnerable to being a tool for spying on Canadians.
“Huawei claims that it is a private company—similar to Apple or Google—and is being unfairly treated by the United States and its allies. But the reality remains that Huawei is a company beholden to higher laws that could—and most likely would—make it a tool for state-sponsored espionage,” wrote Fadden.
Fadden was joined by his US counterpart, former national security advisor and UN ambassador Susan Rice, who also warned Canada to not make the deal.
“It gives the Chinese the ability, if they choose to use it, to access all kinds of information. Civilian intelligence, military, that could be very, very compromising,” said Rice
“That will throw the Five Eyes collaboration, which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy. It just can’t be done.
The company’s tech has already been banned in the US, Australia and New Zealand, while the UK is also expected to make a decision prohibiting the company soon.