One of the points of tension in the Canada-China relationship is the Canadian government’s continuing delays into a decision about whether to allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei to participate in the next-generation 5G mobile networks.
The United States and Australia have already barred the company from participating in 5G networks there because of national security concerns. (Critics of Huawei allege that the company could monitor data on the behest of the Chinese government, which the company denies.)
So far the Canadian government has mostly stuck to its line that this is a question for security agencies to evaluate. But now Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has acknowledged that “a number of other significant economic and even geopolitical considerations” could be taken into account. Mr. Blair did not elaborate on what those other factors could be.
But one of the other points of tension has been the arrest of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by Canadian authorities on a U.S. request.
Ms. Meng’s extradition hearing began this week. The B.C. judge who is hearing her case appeared to be skeptical of the legal argument being forward this week by Ms. Meng’s lawyers, though, of course, it remains to be seen how the judge will rule.
One of the odd features of the first day of hearings were a line of placard-wielding protesters who were allegedly supporting Ms. Meng’s release. The Globe spoke to one of the protesters, who said she was an actor who thought she was working on a movie set and had no idea what was really going on.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
Jean Charest is out. The former Quebec premier and former leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives said he doesn’t have enough time in a leadership race to build the support necessary to win. And, he says, he feels as though his policies on issues like the environment are too out of step with other members of the party.
The Bank of Canada held its key interest rates steady and said the economy could improve this year.
The percentage of prisoners in federal custody who are Indigenous has risen to a record high of more than 30 per cent, according to the corrections watchdog.
The U.S. Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is going about as well as you’d expect. “That’s a mockery of a trial,” one Democrat said. “It’s well past time we start this so we can end this ridiculous charade and go have an election,” Mr. Trump’s lawyer said. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial, said both sides should remember that the Senate has often referred to itself as “the world’s greatest deliberative body" and it was worth demonstrating that.
Inside demolition work has started in Parliament Hill’s Centre Block, though the government hasn’t finalized plans for the overall renovation.
And in today’s Meghan and Harry news: despite ditching other duties, the Prince will retain his patronage of the Royal Ontario Museum. So he can still take his family to the museum with his lifetime membership.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on moving beyond an “abortion and same-sex marriage” definition of social conservatism: “Conservatives should promote and protect families as the sound foundation of society. They should support an incremental approach to change, order within freedom, respect for the law. That’s a social conservatism worthy of respect.”
Tom Flanagan (The Globe and Mail) on why Peter MacKay should be the next Conservative leader: “Coming from Nova Scotia and now living in Toronto, Mr. MacKay is well positioned to attract the suburban Ontario voters that the previous CPC leader had difficulty reaching. Yet he can also become an attractive figure in the West. He took a public stand in 2016 in favour of the now-abandoned Energy East proposal, writing that ‘pipelines present a modern-day equivalent of the Canadian Pacific Railway – John A. Macdonald’s visionary project.’ If he stays with that position, he will get a positive response out here.”
Daphne Bramham (Vancouver Sun) on the politics of Nazanin Afshin-Jam, MacKay’s spouse: “From supporting teenager Greta Thunberg’s climate change leadership to the right of women to choose what to wear (or not wear) to a December letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urging him not to meet with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Afshin-Jam’s views, posted on social media, may rankle some on the party’s right wing.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the changing conversation about climate change among business leaders: “Alberta has two choices. It can accept what’s going on and begin the uneasy transition that will need to take place in its economy over the next few decades. Or it can continue organizing conferences like the one this past weekend and inviting speakers who are blind to the facts of the zeitgeist.”
Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on changing our own habits to address climate change: “From a driver’s perspective, it’s not hard to understand the SUV’s appeal. All that leg room and cargo space provide comfort for families on the go. Their height and wider wheelbase offer a sense of security. But from a societal point of view, the rise of the SUV comes with some serious costs. Their dominance is driving everything from climate change to traffic congestion — and perhaps even a spike in pedestrian deaths. They have become both a symbol and a symptom of our inability to change our most destructive habits.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the metric system: “At any rate, whatever people’s reasons for using non-metric measures, they do. And yet, no crisis ensues. Metric advocates used to complain about this lack of uniformity, predicting widespread confusion would result. Instead, by and large, people seem able to work things out. All that’s required is for both parties to an exchange to use the same units of measurement: It doesn’t matter what units they use.”