Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “disconcerting.” This should be underscored as a huge understatement.

After all the past hassles with the extradition of Meng Wanzhou to the United States, the unnecessary stall in tossing the Huawei 5G contract, and the arbitrary imprisonment in China of the Two Michaels, the fact that the Liberal government awarded another Chinese firm that is partially owned by the Communist government a high-tech contract with the RCMP shows the heads of Public Services and Procurement Canada may have suffered an aneurysm.

There are few other explanations. According to the CBC, the federal government awarded Sinclair Technologies a contract worth $549,637 in October of 2021 for a radio frequency filtering system designed to protect the RCMP’s land-based radio communications from eavesdropping.

The work is already underway in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

While Sinclair Technologies is based in Ontario, the company has been controlled by Hytera Communications of Shenzhen, China since 2017, when Hytera purchased Norsat International, Sinclair’s parent company.

The Chinese government of dictator Xi Jinping owns approximately 10% of Hytera Communications through an investment fund.

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) blacklisted Hytera in 2021, stating the company is one of several Chinese firms that pose “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.”

Sales and imports of Hytera equipment were banned in the United States as a result.

Hytera is facing 21 charges in an American espionage case. The United States Department of Justice has accused the company of conspiring to steal trade secrets from American telecommunications company Motorola.

The indictment alleges Hytera recruited and hired Motorola employees to obtain confidential business information between 2007 and 2020. Hytera Communications has denied all the charges in the indictment.

Sinclair Technologies’ main competitor for the RCMP contract was Comprod, a Quebec-based communications technology firm.

According to the CBC the difference in the Sinclair and Comprod bid was approximately $60,000.

Jawad Abdulnour, Comprod’s vice-president of R&D and engineering, told the CBC that Sinclair Technologies can make equipment cheaper than it did before because some of its components are now made in China, not Canada.

“It’s very frustrating, disappointing and worrisome,” Abdulnour said in an interview. 

“How is it that a government agency just goes with the lowest bidder and will give contracts to companies like that when we’re talking about national security?”

That’s the $60,000 question when firms linked to the Chinese government — like Huawei — should be treated as extremely toxic instead of given half-mil contracts with our federal police force.

So, what gives?

University of Ottawa senior fellow Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a former senior federal official and a specialist on China’s science and technology, said the government should terminate the contract.

“You have to be naïve,” McCuaig-Johnston said. “It’s like giving the key to Canada’s security to Chinese actors.

“It’s not just about getting rid of the contract. It’s also a matter of ripping out what has already been installed.”

The October 2021 decision by the federal government makes Sinclair a preferred vendor for a three-year term. The agreement includes the possibility of a two-year extension option.

A spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), the department that awarded the contract, said in response to the CBC’s questions that PSPC did not take security concerns and Sinclair’s ownership into consideration during the bidding process.

Disconcerting? says the PM.

In spades.


  • Mark Bonokoski

    Mark Bonokoski is a member of the Canadian News Hall of Fame and has been published by a number of outlets – including the Toronto Sun, Maclean’s and Readers’ Digest.