China is an enemy of the West, and Canada needs to act like it
16 July 2020
Huawei Technologies Co. is not a tech corporation. It is a weapon, created and subsidized by Beijing that ruthlessly gobbles up and spits out competitors and countries. It’s also pushing a technology that will spread China’s surveillance ability around the world.
One of Huawei’s early victims was Nortel, Canada’s busted technology champion. Nortel had become a world pioneer in 4G and 5G networks before Huawei was even a twinkle in its founder Ren Zhengfei’s eye. Eventually, its intellectual property and talent became Huawei targets and a recent investigative piece in Bloomberg recounts the tragic story. This is not the only example of Chinese corporate predation in Canada and around the world in the technology sector.
Bloomberg’s headline said it all: “Nortel was once a world leader in wireless technology. Then came a hack and the rise of Huawei.” To be fair, the company also went under due to the incompetence of its Canadian management.
Today, Huawei’s biggest victim is Canada itself following the arrest in 2018, on behalf of the United States, of Meng Wanzhou who is Zhengfei’s daughter and Huawei’s chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman. She is accused of fraud and sanctions violations.
This has unleashed attacks against Canada because Huawei’s enemies are the People’s Republic of China’s enemies. Ergo, the detention of Meng is considered “an act of war.” Her father, Zhengfei, had been a big shot in the People’s Liberation Army (as was China’s dictator Xi Jinping) before he launched the company. As a result, he is royalty inside China’s military dictatorship and his daughter, a princess.
This is why billions in trade contracts have been abrogated by China and two innocent Canadian businessmen have been held hostage in anticipation of a prisoner swap for Zhengfei’s daughter.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a weak, naive leader who has bungled most foreign policy files. He has neglected the military, damaged the energy and resource sectors, and concentrated on converting the country into a Polar Bear park and bribing dictatorships in Africa to get a useless seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Instead, Canada should have — as Australia has done — outed China’s behaviour as equivalent to acts of war, then joined the trade gang-up with the United States. It should have more fully joined forces with the military-intelligence alliance Five Eyes, which include Canada, the U.S., Britain, New Zealand and Australia. All these others have all bluntly lambasted China for its Hong Kong and other abuses, and banned Huawei as a security and economic threat.
But not Canada. Trudeau listens to Canada’s ruling elite — China whisperers from the Liberal party, banks, insurance companies, and Quebec business community — who do business there and counsel appeasement. This effort is led by former prime minister Jean Chrétien whose son-in-law is a big China fan and whose protégé is Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who himself borrowed more than $1 million from the Bank of China to buy two London apartments. After press reports, he paid off the Chinese bank.
Such intrusion into Ottawa policymaking and execution has prevented public recognition that China is an enemy state and decoupling — politically, scientifically, diplomatically and economically — must take place. The minute that the two businessmen were kidnapped without charges in 2018, Canada should have explicitly stated that there would be no Meng prisoner exchange. That year, when China began punitively halting agricultural imports, Canada should have banned Huawei and all other state-owned enterprises, along with Chinese foreign students and those working in strategic industries.
The stakes have never been higher. Is Canada a country or is it a pawn that a Chinese oligarch can hold to ransom?
In 2017, Canada lost its only entry ticket into the 21st century technology big leagues as a result of Huawei. Now Trudeau’s incompetence and naïveté may cost Canada’s status and membership in the community of civilized democracies where it belongs.