Canada was warned not to cozy up to Huawei and Beijing. Now here we are.
Terry Glavin: We listened instead to Jean Chrétien and the pro-PRC Liberal old guard. Remember that if — or when — Xi Jinping takes revenge over the Meng Wanzhou decision.
For all anybody knows, now that Justice Heather Holmes has rendered a markedly unfavourable decision in the case of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the notoriously petulant and sadistic Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping will retaliate against Canada by instructing his secret police to abduct and imprison some more Canadians. As will be understood by anyone who has taken any notice of the Xi regime’s erratic and belligerent brinksmanship everywhere in the world — if you think this is just about Xi’s difficulties with the equally erratic U.S. President Donald Trump, you haven’t been paying attention at all — just about anything is possible.
And by this point, whatever is about to befall Canada, we should admit out loud that we were warned. It’s been at least a decade since U.S. intelligence officials and Barack Obama’s White House first told us, in the clearest language possible, that Huawei was bad news. But we thought we were clever. And around Trudeau’s cabinet table they still think they’re clever, ignoring the warnings of Canada’s intelligence agencies, and the intelligence agencies of our allies and kicking the can down the road on whether to bar Huawei from Canada’s fifth-generation internet evolution.
We ignored the Obama administration’s warnings that Huawei was up to its neck in dodgy sanctions-busting dealings in Iran. We ignored the warnings about Huawei’s deep and intricate entanglements with the Chinese police state. We were warned that while we thought it was smart to allow ourselves to be lavishly courted by China’s globe-encircling “national champion” telecom giant — and to do so at the expense of American national-security vigilance — that it would not end well. That it would end in misery.
But we didn’t listen. Instead, we listened to Jean Chrétien, and we took his counsel as the sage guidance of a lovable old statesman, rather than the cynical urgings of a big-money deal-maker who was working rooms in Beijing just as soon as he left office in the shadow of the sponsorship scandal in 2003. And we listened to Martin Cauchon, the Chrétien-era justice minister whose counsel when Huawei was moving into its gleaming and tidily-subsidized operations centre in Ottawa in 2013 was to ignore all the talk about Huawei’s opaque relationship with the Chinese military and intelligence superstructure. “If you can’t beat them,” Cauchon said at the time, “join them.”
It may well be that the “continuous harm” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Canada should be made to endure in the event that things did not go Meng’s way is that none of us will ever see the hostages Michael Kovrig or Michael Spavor — abducted shortly after Meng was detained on a U.S. Justice Department extradition request in December 2018 — ever again.
Perhaps an acceleration of the sabotage to the $100 billion annual Canada-China trade relationship will be among the “grave consequences” Beijing has been warning we will be made to endure unless Prime Minister Trudeau made an end-run around the courts of the kind he scandalously attempted on behalf of SNC-Lavalin. Perhaps the trade vandalism we’ve already endured, in the billions of dollars lost in disruptions to Canada’s soybean, pork, beef, peas and canola exports, is just a hint of what’s to come.
Source: Terry Glavin | Maclean’s