DZSURDZSA: Canada is now a pawn in the U.S. – China trade war
The arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver is proving to be a foreign affairs nightmare.
It seems that Chrystia Freeland is in denial about this fact.
Currently Wanzhou is being held in Canada for extradition to the U.S. for allegedly having a hand in breaking U.S.-Iran trade sanction restrictions.
“I think it’s really important for Canadians to understand, that this was not in any way a political decision. There was no political interference as the Prime Minister has said. None at all,” she said while at the International Economic Forum of the Americas.
Minister Freeland seems to think that Canadians are gullible enough to believe that the highest levels of government had no hand in the arrest of a high profile Chinese national on Canadian soil.
Arrest has implications in international politics and trade
Perhaps she should try telling that to the Chinese, who have recently detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig under unclear circumstances.
I wonder what charges will be laid against the man who pioneered Justin Trudeau’s 2016 visit to Hong Kong. Perhaps it’ll be conspiracy, or the Chinese government will even trump up charges of espionage? Really, it doesn’t matter. It’s all a ploy to put pressure on Canada in the hopes of attaining Wanzhou’s eventual release.
Yet if Canada budges one way, even giving an inch to the Chinese, we can be sure that the Americans will retaliate.
The sequence of events initiated by Wanzhou’s arrest are the very definition of political. In fact, the political implications will have unprecedented influence on international trade, our recent NAFTA agreement and the political climate worldwide.
In this, Canada is wittingly playing the mediator of a long and drawn out scuffle between the United States and China.
The U.S. has sought to curb the activities of Huawei for years now, citing security concerns and potential digital espionage avenues embedded in their technology. The extradition request, is just another move in an increasingly freezing trade war between the two giants, and Canada is currently the chess piece being played.
Government is trying to avoid responsibility
Right now we are in between a rock and a hard place, being moved around as a pawn by greater powers.
Yet instead of trying to take responsibility for their decisions, the current government would rather pass culpability further down the line.
“This was a decision as…I would even say an action taken as all extradition arrests are at an official’s level in keeping with our international obligations,” Freeland continues.
So which one was it? Was it a decision or an action? And what international obligations is Freeland even talking about?
On one hand, Justin Trudeau so desperately desires increased trade with protectionist China, while China is in no hurry to rejoin his overtures.
And on the other hand, Canada signed the USMCA and everybody knows that President Donald Trump can use aluminum tariffs as a pressure point to get his way.
What happened to Freeland’s defense of Iran?
If the official reason is non-compliance to U.S. sanctions on Iran, where is Freeland’s former fierce defense of the Islamic Republic? In fact, it was the Trudeau government who decided to lift Canadian trade sanctions from the nation soon after coming into power.
When did Canada become the enforcer of U.S. trade sanctions it currently has no part in?
The current situation with China is about as political as it gets, and our government needs to stop denying responsibility and start making the tough decisions that are in Canada’s best interest.
Although Freeland and Trudeau like to play it tough in front of the cameras, it’s clear that under their direction, Canada’s fate is increasingly dictated by foreign powers.
Chinese tech giant Huawei tweeted on Monday regarding the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, calling her detainment “an unlawful and illegal act.”
The tweet links to a Globe and Mail article that goes over the moments leading up to Wanzhou’s arrest, but doesn’t provide any evidence her detainment was “unlawful” or an “illegal act”. The article is behind a paywall, so only subscribers can actually have access to the story and that it doesn’t match Huawei’s bold claims.
Reaction to the post from Canadians online was generally one of outrage.
Many replied to Huawei’s tweets, upset with the company’s audacity to complain about Wanzhou’s detention while two Canadians remain in Chinese prison, with another, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, sentenced to death for drug trafficking charges.
Nowhere in the article does it explicitly state that the detention of Wanzhou was illegal, with the word “illegal” not appearing once. Rather, the article features details regarding America’s role in Meng’s arrest, with quotes from Chinese diplomats calling the arrest “unreasonable” due to the lack of notice from the Canadian side during her arrest.
“In accordance with the consular agreement between China and Canada, the Canadian side should inform the Chinese diplomatic missions in Canada immediately of its unreasonable detention of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” said the Chinese embassy in a statement. “But the Canadian government failed to do that, the Chinese side first learned about the situation from other channels. We lodged stern representations with the Canadian side as soon as we learned about the relevant information.”
The Globe‘s article does note that those familiar with extradition practices call Meng’s arrest a “rare” incident, as Washington “typically pursues criminal charges for sanction violations against an individual rather than a corporation.”
“In a case like this one, where Ms. Meng is in all likelihood executing corporate policy, one would expect individuals not to be charged and the corporation would be fined,” said extradition expert Eric Lewis.
Huawei CFO and Chinese tech royalty Meng Wanzhou says the last year of conviction has been a year of “fear and pain.” as she remains cooped up in her Vancouver-area home under house arrest.
Meng was arrested in December of 2018 on an extradition request from the United States regarding the breaking of sanctions with Iran.“The past year has witnessed moments of fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment, and struggle,” said a letter by Meng, posted on the Huawei website titled “Your warmth is a beacon that lights my way forward.”
Meng also noted in her letter that she has switched from her hectic lifestyle of business dealings to long days of oil painting and reading books.
“When I was in Shenzhen, time used to pass by very quickly. Every day, my schedule was fully packed and I was constantly rushing from place to place, and from meeting to meeting… Right now, time seems to pass slowly. It is so slow that I have enough time to read a book from cover to cover. I can take the time to discuss minutiae with my colleagues or to carefully complete an oil painting.”
The letter talks about accepting the situation she is in and saying she is “no longer afraid of the unknown,” and mentions her gratitude.
“Of course I’ve also been deeply moved by the kindness of people here in Canada. Thanks to the kindness of the correctional officers and other inmates at the Alouette Correctional Center for Women, I was able to make it through the worst days of my life.”
Following Meng’s arrest, two Canadians—businessman Michael Spavor and consultant Michael Kovrig—were detained in China.
Northern telecom ready to deploy Huawei 5G while Ottawa dithers on decision whether to ban it altogether
The president of the Canadian telecom partnering with Huawei to upgrade high-speed wireless service for dozens of communities in the far north says they’re waiting for Ottawa’s decision on 5G and could deploy it in the hinterland in short order.
“We’re testing a few things, so (Huawei 5G) is not going live anytime soon, but it’s definitely in our labs,” said Samer Bishay, President and CEO of Ice Wireless.
“Just because it’s the north doesn’t mean they should get the technology a decade later. It doesn’t make sense.”
But as Huawei 5G has raised national security concerns, Bishay said Ice Wireless is “doing its part as a good corporate citizen” by not deploying it and blames “the political stuff that’s kind of driving the whole discussion around it right now.”
“We don’t have anything that says you can’t deploy (5G), and we don’t have anything that says you can. That’s why we’re just experimenting.”
While Rogers has opted to employ Ericsson 5G on its networks, other companies like Ice Wireless await a final decision on Huawei 5G that Ottawa has dithered on making.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to TPM queries about when the government would make a final determination.
Huawei 3G/4G LTE has previously received certification by the Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Commission, technology that Ice Wireless is currently deploying in the north.
Back in July, Huawei Canada vice-president Alykhan Velshi announced the joint-venture with Bishay’s company to upgrade communications services in northern Quebec and the Arctic where the big three players–Rogers, Telus and Bell–are reticent to tread.
“We cover a large landmass, places that not even Rogers or Telus ventured to build. A lot of those guys roam on our network up there,” Bishay told The Post Millennial in an interview.
However, citing national security vulnerabilities United States, Austrailia and New Zealand–part of the Five Eyes signals and intelligence network that includes the UK and Canada–have banned Huawei from their 5G networks; Britain is also mulling a Huawei ban on its core network.
The 5G technology is purportedly capable of activating “the internet of things”–a Bluetooth world where all our gadgets are operable via smart phone–by enabling up to 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer on wifi, fibre optics and satellite conduits.
The downside of this technology, is proliferation of such gadgetry widens an already deep field of existing cyber-threats to national security, involving not just thrill hackers but hostile state actors with strategic intention.
And a recent analysis of the Chinese tech-behemoth’s ownership structure by Fulbright University economist Christopher Balding and George Washington University law professor Donald Clark, found it leads straight to China’s politburo.
“If Huawei (Trade Union) Holding (Company) is in fact controlled by a trade union committee, then given the way such bodies are supposed to operate in China, it makes sense to think of it as state-controlled and even state-owned,” Balding and Clark conclude.
Adding to concerns about Huawei, is a CBC interview that aired at the beginning of November with Susan Rice, former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama, in which she caged Huawei 5G as a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice, who explained the threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy… I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have (if Canada allows Huawei 5G). It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
To counter the negative publicity, Huawei Canada went on a charm offensive of sorts this week, ballyhooing the $50 million it has spent on research at Canadian universities to date and the $700 million it added to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product in 2018.
The Liberal government has won a minority under Justin Trudeau, returning to the House of Commons as the party in power.
While the government has celebrated victory in what can only be described as a disastrous campaign after it became public the Prime Minister had worn blackface more times than he could remember, the nation should be wary about the rather large number of broken promises coming back with the Trudeau Liberals.
According to the Trudeau Metre, the Liberals broke 67 promises throughout their first term, accounting for 29 percent of all promises made.
These broken promises include massive campaign planks such as electoral reform, failing to properly restore the veteran’s pension system, and the continuation of massive deficit which put a balanced budget potentially decades into the future rather than 2019.
With the minority governments in Canada rarely lasting more than two years, it will be interesting to see what the government attempts to do in order to keep both previous promises made and new ones brought forth during the campaign. The Liberals must make compromises with other parties.
With both the NDP and Greens cash-strapped but needing wins, and the Conservatives facing an inner-party revolt against the current leader, we will likely see a relative calm as parties adjust followed by a truly harsh period as weakened parties attempt to regain ground lost in 2015.