Huawei rejected by three in four Canadians on eve of 5G network decision

OTTAWA (BLOOMBERG) – More than 75 per cent of Canadians say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should ban China’s Huawei Technologies from taking part in the build-out of fifth-generation telecommunications networks, a new poll shows.

Opposition to Huawei’s participation in 5G is up from 53 per cent in 2019, according to the poll by Nanos Research for the Globe and Mail released on Monday (Oct 11). Mr Trudeau hasn’t ruled out including Huawei and is expected to make a decision soon.

The surge in disapproval of Huawei reflects public outrage that has simmered since December 2018, when China imprisoned Canadian business executives Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig within days of Canada arresting Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition request.

The two Michaels, as they were known, were held in grim conditions for more than 1,000 days.

The two men were released last month immediately after Ms Meng boarded a plane home to China after striking a deal with the US to resolve the criminal charges against her.

Canada and its Western allies accused Beijing of “hostage diplomacy”, while China insisted the cases were unrelated. If Mr Trudeau bans Huawei, that could further inflame relations between the two countries.

Canada had delayed it for nearly three years as the fate of the two Michaels hung in the balance. The country’s closest allies, including the US, UK and Australia, have ordered outright bans of the company.

A separate poll by Nanos Research for Bloomberg News showed that 36 per cent of Canadians believe the relationship with China was permanently damaged by its jailing of the executives.

The survey was conducted between Sept 30 to Oct 3 by telephone and online. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.

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