Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is calling on the Liberals to immediately scrap a contract with a Chinese company over national security concerns.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government faced a flurry of questions from the Official Opposition in the House of Commons on Wednesday after it was reported by CBC that Ottawa had awarded a contract for sensitive RCMP communications equipment to a company facing espionage charges in the US.
The $549,637 contract in question was awarded on Oct. 6, 2021 to Sinclair Technologies – a company directed by China-based Hytera Communications. The contract was awarded to the company despite a Quebec-based competitor also submitting a bid.
“Yes, it should be cancelled and Justin Trudeau is responsible. He is the head of government. This is a government contract. Let’s put this into perspective. This is a contract for anti-eaves dropping technology to be used by our (federal) police force that was awarded to a company whose owner is charged with 21 potential espionage crimes in the United States of America,” said Poilievre while speaking to reporters.
“It’s almost something that you’d expect to be out of a spy novel but characters in spy novels would never be that incompetent. So the prime minister has to take the responsibility for his own government rather than trying to blame everyone else all the time.”
Last year Hytera was blacklisted by the United States Federal Communications Commission citing “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.”
On top of the fact that the company is owned in part by the Chinese government, changes to Chinese law implemented by President Xi Jinping in 2017 require companies operating in China to cooperate with the communist country’s intelligence operations should the need arise.
This latest debacle rekindled concerns about what influence Chinese tech has on Canadian infrastructure after the Liberal government took years to ban the Chinese company Huawei from using its technology in Canada’s 5G network.
Concerns about Chinese espionage in Canada came to a head last month when it was revealed that Hydro-Quebec researcher Yuesheng Wang was arrested on a slate of charges including obtaining “state secrets to benefit the People’s Republic of China, to the detriment of Canada’s economic interests” according to the RCMP.