Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Huawei’s donation of masks to Canada will not influence whether or not the company will get access to Canada’s 5G network.
During Tuesday’s daily coronavirus briefing, Trudeau was asked about a Globe and Mail report that revealed the Chinese company was sending millions of masks Canada as Canada’s essential medical supplies dwindle.
“We are not expecting these donations to have any impact on our decisions. In fact, they will not affect our decisions on any issues,” said Trudeau in French.
“Receiving goods from a particular company won’t necessarily imply at all that we regard different situations with that company any differently in the future.”
According to the Globe and Mail, Huawei has plans to give Canada six million masks, some of which are N95 respirators.
The coronavirus pandemic has temporarily suspended Trudeau’s decision as to whether the company will be involved in Canada’s upcoming 5G network.
Huawei officials have been lobbying the federal government for some time now in order to gain access to the network.
The company has employed a “diplomatically forceful” campaign by targeting specific members in Trudeau’s government.
Among the Liberal cabinet ministers listed by the company as lobbying targets include Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains.
“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.
Both American and Canadian intelligence experts have warned the Trudeau government that granting the company access could jeopardize intelligence-sharing relationships between the two countries and install a backdoor for espionage by Beijing.
“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 former US national security advisor Susan 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.”