57 percent of Canadians feel Canada should not work with Huawei: poll

According to a new public opinion poll, 57 percent of Canadians think Canada should not allow Huawei to participate in providing 5G telecommunications network equipment.

Research Co. published the poll on February 12th, indicating that of the 1,000 adults that were polled, 23 percent believe Canada should still work with Huawei, while 20 percent are not sure.

The poll also included Research Co. says the 57 percent that thinks Canada should not establish closer ties with China “a proportion that includes majorities of those who voted for the Conservative Party (62%) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (55%) in the last federal ballot,” the release said.

Canada has had a frosty relationship with China since December after Vancouver authorities arrested Huawei’s global CFO Meng Wanzhou. The U.S. charged 13 counts of bank and wire fraud against Meng, Huawei and its subsidiary Skycom in mid-January. Meng currently faces extradition to the U.S.

At the time, Canada said it was a country that follows the rule of law and as such Meng will go through the necessary judiciary steps to determine whether she gets extradited to the U.S. or not.

According to the poll, 63 percent of Canadians felt that the approach Canadian authorities have taken was right. Twenty-five percent do not agree, while 12 percent are not sure.

“Most Canadians approve of the decisions that the federal government has taken on this file,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. in a February 12th press release. “Most are also wary of enabling Huawei to play a role in Canada’s future telecommunications networks.”

Huawei Canada has been working with Bell and Telus to deploy 5G network equipment, the next iteration of mobile network technology. However, last Thursday when Bell reported its Q4 2018 earnings results, the carrier’s CEO George Cope said a ban of Huawei would not impact Bell’s timeline to bring 5G technology to the Canadian market.

“If there was a ban or we chose a different supplier than Huawei, we are quite comfortable and all those developments would be addressed within our traditional capital intensity envelope and therefore no impact from a capital expenditure program.” Cope said during the conference call.

Bell, along with its competitor Telus, have invested millions of dollars to prepare for their future 5G technology rollout. If a ban is implemented by the federal government, the carriers could stand to lose as much as $1 billion CAD.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains told MobileSyrup during a sit-down interview that whether or not Canada bans Huawei, his department will still support the carriers.

Telus will be reporting its Q4 2018 on February 14th and might address its views on rolling out 5G and its relationship with Huawei.

The results of the poll are based on an online study that was conducted between February 2nd and 5th. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 out of 20 times.

Correction 13/02/19 10:25 pm: A previous version of this article indicated a breakdown of those who voted for different parties were tied to that of the 57 percent who felt Canada should not allow Huawei to participate in 5G deployment. In fact, the break down of those who voted for different parties are actually tied to those who felt Canada should not establish a closer relationship with China.

Source: Research Co.