Major federal departments are unable to rule out working with Huawei subsidiary companies

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Several federal government departments, including Public Safety, the Privy Council and the Department of National Defence, are unable to say if they are doing business with companies associated with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump banned Americans from doing any business with Huawei, citing security concerns. That ban was extended through to May 2021. However, the Canadian government is unable to respond to inquiries about the feds doing business with parent or subsidiary companies related to Huawei.

Confirmation of the lax security regarding government contracts comes from an order paper question posed to the Liberal government by Conservative MP Michael Barrett from the Ontario riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

In April, Barrett asked for details regarding "monetary and non-monetary contracts, grants, agreements and arrangements entered into by the government with Huawei and its known affiliates, subsidiaries or parent companies since January 1, 2016.”

Several agencies — including National Defence, Global Affairs, Public Safety, and the Privy Council — rule out working with Huawei specifically, but those same agencies were unable to deny entering into contracts with companies under the Huawei umbrella.

"National Defence is unable to search and validate the information requested in regard to affiliates, subsidiaries or parent companies."

“Global Affairs Canada has not awarded any monetary or non-monetary contracts, grants, agreements or arrangements with Huawei since January 1, 2016. As the question does not identify a complete and comprehensive list of affiliates, subsidiaries or parent companies, the department is unable to search and validate the information requested.”

Strangely, other less security sensitive departments — like Heritage, Environment and Climate Change and Western Economic Diversification — were able to answer the inquiry. Natural Resources Canada even looked up the affiliates of Huawei and provided a list of those they checked against a departmental ledger of contracts.

Two Canadians currently sit in a Chinese prison as political hostages in response to the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at a Vancouver airport on an American warrant. Trudeau may have forgotten about them, but we haven't. We've hired an international human rights lawyer to file a complaint to the United Nations to raise the profile of the plight of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

To support our human rights efforts on their behalf, donate today at

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