That, given that (i) the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, is threatening Canada’s national interest and its values, including Canadians of Chinese origin within Canada’s borders, (ii) it is essential that Canada have a strong and principled foreign policy backed by action in concert with its allies, the House call upon the government to: (a) make a decision on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network within 30 days of the adoption of this motion; and (b) develop a robust plan, as Australia has done, to combat China’s growing foreign operations here in Canada and its increasing intimidation of Canadians living in Canada, and table it within 30 days of the adoption of this motion.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for .
The government has logged a number of foreign policy accomplishments. It signed a new free trade agreement with the United States under very difficult circumstances. It also signed a new free trade agreement with the European Union and the Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, most of which was negotiated by the previous government.
Despite these accomplishments, the government's overall foreign policy has been a disappointment. The government came to office telling the world that Canada is back, but the facts say otherwise.
Last June, Canada lost the vote for the UN Security Council seat with 108 votes, which is six fewer votes than Canada got a decade ago. That is six fewer countries today that see Canada as a global leader than did a decade ago. This is a quantitative indictment of the government's foreign policy.
On foreign aid, the government has been a disappointment. It came to office saying that it was going to make Canada a leader in helping the poorest around the world. The opposite has happened. Under the government, official development assistance has declined by 10% to 0.27% of gross national income. Compare this with the previous Conservative government's decade in office, when ODA averaged 0.3% of GNI.
On climate change, the government has been a disappointment. It came to office promising to do better, but the facts say otherwise. Under the government, Canada's emissions have been increasing. In its first full year in office, in 2016, Canada's emissions were 708 megatonnes. In 2018, the last year for which we have data, Canada's emissions rose to 729 megatonnes.
It is on China that the Liberal government has been the biggest disappointment. China is not upholding its responsibility to the rules-based international system. It is ignoring its condition of entry into the WTO. It is manipulating its currency using state-owned enterprises to interfere in other country's economies, infringing on international property and violating international law in its treatment of Canadians Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor, Robert Schellenberg and Huseyin Celil. It violates international law in its treatment of the people of Hong Kong and in its treatment of religious and ethnic minorities, such at the Tibetans and the Uighurs in China. In short, China is threatening our interests and our values.
In that context, it is really important that the Government of Canada speak with a clear, consistent and coherent voice. Unfortunately, that is not happening.
In January of last year, the said he was not going to intervene in the judicial proceeding concerning Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. The same week, former Canadian ambassador to China, John McCallum, said that the government should intervene and trade Meng Wanzhou for Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
This inconsistency and incoherence have continued into this year. In July, the told the House that he is looking into putting sanctions on Chinese officials for their actions with respect to Hong Kong. The very next day the government told Reuters that this was off the table.
In September, the told The Globe and Mail that the pursuit of free trade with China was being abandoned, and on the same day, Ambassador Barton, Canada's ambassador to China, was in Edmonton telling an audience, which included the Chinese ambassador to Canada, that Canada should do more in China and expand trade with China.
These are just a few of the many, many examples.
The government itself acknowledges implicitly that its China policy is not working. It has acknowledged it by its recent change in rhetoric on China this fall, and it has acknowledged it by its announcement that it plans to come forward with a new framework on China this fall, by December 24. That is why I have introduced this motion today.
Any new framework on China must include two elements.
First, it must include a decision on Huawei. In May of last year, the government said it would make a decision on Huawei's involvement in Canada's 5G network before the 2019 election. That July it changed its mind and said it would make a decision after the 2019 election.
It has now been more than a year since the last election, and there still has been no decision. It has been years since the government first started deliberating on this decision. The consequence of these years of delay and indecision on the part of the government is threatening Canada's national security. Because of the government's delays on this file, Telus, a major Canadian telecommunications company, went ahead and purchased Huawei's equipment for its network. It installed it in the national capital region, where most of Canada's federal government offices are, including the RCMP, CSIS, the Department of National Defence and other military installations, despite having reached an agreement with the federal government not to use Huawei's equipment in the region. Reports now indicate the federal government is scrambling to get Telus to remove its equipment, which has now been installed on some 80 towers and sites in the national capital region. Under article 7 of China's national intelligence law, Huawei must support, assist and co-operate with China's intelligence activities.
The government's lack of action on Huawei demonstrates something else: the yawning gap between its rhetoric and reality. The government said it believes in multilateralism, but when given the opportunity fails to act. Huawei is a good case in point. Four of the Five Eyes intelligence partners, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, have banned or put restrictions on Huawei's involvement in their networks. Canada is unilaterally alone in failing to take action.
It is long past time for the government to make a decision on Huawei. No framework on China is complete without it. Any new framework on China must also include a robust plan to counter China's subversive operations here in Canada. China, through its agents and foreign operations here on our soil, is threatening our national interests and values. It is intimidating Canadians, particularly Canadians of Chinese origin. It is spying on and cyber-attacking our citizens, companies and the federal government itself. It is spreading disinformation. It is engaging in elite capture: the provision of monetary inducements, in sinecure, to retired bureaucrats and retired politicians. It is providing financial support for research institutes that support Beijing's positions, such as the Confucius Institute. It is co-opting Chinese language media and local organizations on the ground to promote Beijing's interests. It is surveilling and organizing Chinese foreign students at Canadian universities to stifle on-campus debate and threaten others, as it has done at the University of Toronto and McMaster University. It is interfering in the Chinese community by mobilizing political support against those who do not support Beijing.
There are countless examples of China's influence operations here in Canada documented by CSIS, the RCMP, Amnesty International and the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations of the House. Any new framework on China must include a plan that does more to protect Canadians from China's foreign influence operations here in Canada as our allies, such as Australia, have already done.
The government came to office talking about responsible conviction. That was jettisoned for Canada being an essential country. We now get a new framework on China. Any new framework must include a decision on Huawei and a robust plan to protect Canadian citizens and interests from China's subversive foreign influence operations here on Canadian soil.
I have a final point on the timing in the motion. The motion calls on the government to make these two decisions within 30 days. The government has announced for months that it is coming forward with a new framework on China by the end of this fall, which ends on December 21, so the timing of the motion's provisions is very reasonable. That is why I have introduced this motion. I hope members will support it.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to our motion.
I want to begin by talking about courage. Anyone in a leadership position should expect to have to show some courage. However, just because someone is in a leadership position does not guarantee that he or she is courageous. History is full of examples of leaders who chose appeasement instead of making difficult decisions. Here in Canada, the has chosen to appease China instead of doing what is best for Canada.
Unfortunately, being courageous is never easy. Difficult situations require courage, and our relationship with China's Communist regime has become unacceptable for Canada. When we are faced with a situation where the status quo is unacceptable, we must take action.
Today's motion calls on all of us to act with courage to protect public safety, Canadian industry and Canada's sovereignty. Canadians also know that the Chinese communist dictatorship is no reflection on the Chinese people. We have to be careful not to confuse Chinese people with the Chinese communist regime. It is important to understand that the Chinese communist regime has nothing to do with the population. There is enough evidence that the regime has no interest in its citizens. It has a singular focus on becoming a global power.
Today, our motion is clear. We believe that given that the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, is threatening Canada’s national interest and its values, which are important, including Canadians of Chinese origin within Canada’s borders, it is essential that Canada have a strong and principled foreign policy backed by action in concert with its allies.
We are calling on the House to urge the government to make a decision on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network within 30 days of the adoption of this motion. We are calling on the government to develop a robust plan, as Australia has done, to combat China’s growing foreign operations here in Canada and its increasing intimidation of Canadians living in Canada, and table it within 30 days of the adoption of this motion.
When Chinese communists are hurling thinly veiled threats at Canadians living in Hong Kong, we need to do something. When Canadians are being detained on bogus charges, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and claim everything is fine. When pro-communist officials are intimidating Chinese Canadians on Canadian soil, it is impossible to turn a blind eye. When billions of dollars' worth of intellectual property belonging to Canada and our allies is being stolen by these same communists, we need to do everything we can to protect it.
Obviously, there is no way to trust them, to work with them or to seek to deepen our relationship with them. Friendship requires trust, and we simply cannot trust them. Some will say that we need to be careful about criticizing these communists so as not to make enemies. However, if this communist regime was really Canada's friend, its actions would show it, and that is not currently the case. What is more, in Parliament, only the Prime Minister has publicly stated his affection for China's communist model.
As a former solider, I was taught not to be afraid of the enemy. In our capacity as elected officials, friends come and go and we also make enemies. However, the way I feel about having enemies makes me think of a poem I heard recently by British poet Charles Mackay. It reads as follows:
You have no enemies, you say?
Alas! my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You’ve hit no traitor on the hip,
You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You’ve never turned the wrong to right,
You’ve been a coward in the fight.
The Prime Minister needs to be brave. He must ban Huawei and protect Canadians from the influence and intimidation of the Chinese Communist Party.
Huawei's participation in Canada's telecommunications networks is unacceptable. Huawei is a threat to Canada's national security. It is a well-known fact that under Chinese law, Huawei must support, assist and co-operate with China's intelligence services.
If the cannot see the threat, it is only because he is hiding his head in the sand, unless there is another reason. The Liberal government is dithering, but it must make a decision on the possible participation of Huawei in Canada's 5G network.
I would remind the Prime Minister that on May 1, 2019, the then , Ralph Goodale, stated that the government would make a decision about Huawei before the 2019 general election. On July 30, 2019, former minister Goodale stated that he would announce the decision after the election. Today, more than one year after the election, we still have not heard from the government on the Huawei file. It takes courage to make decisions, and that is what we expect from a government.
Everyone knows that Canada is currently the only member of Five Eyes that has not banned Huawei from its networks. Yes, England has conducted an analysis and walked back its decision. However, it is clear that countries unanimously recognize the danger of installing Huawei 5G technology in their networks.
The world is watching Canada to see whether the Prime Minister will take our country's security seriously. We would be having a different debate if all the stories about Huawei were made up or stemmed from a war between competitors, or if people believed that the Conservatives were trying to promote a given company over Huawei. We would be talking about competition among large corporations looking for an opportunity to make billions with Canadian networks. That, however, is not the case.
Two years ago I had the opportunity to meet with senior officials from the FBI, the Pentagon and the CIA in Washington. I also met with cybersecurity experts in San Francisco. Every single one of them warned me of the danger. I asked whether they were just touting their president's position, but they told me no. These were public servants, directly involved in operations, and their response to me did not appear to be political. It was truly a matter of national security.
I think the evidence is clear, and even our Canadian agencies know this. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has already expressed concerns about Huawei, and the chief of the defence staff has talked about it. At some point, it has to be enough.
Our motion calls on the government to respond within 30 days. Why bother taking 30 days to provide a response when it could respond today? We know the answer and so does the government. It just needs to find the courage to say it out loud and take action. It must tell communist China that Canada will stand up to them.
Canada is a large country with a small population and we are often told to pipe down because China could wipe us out with the snap of a finger. We shall see whether Canadians and the Government of Canada will be courageous and stand up to communist China by taking the necessary measures.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to address the motion brought forward by the member for and our dear colleague for . I have enormous respect for them both, and I have said it many times in this House.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. This anniversary is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the foundations of our relations and how to adapt going forward.
In light of the current challenges, we take a sober view in assessing the relationship 50 years on, considering the importance of mutual respect and reciprocity, adherence to rules and principles, including human rights, and achieving results that are in Canada's interests. While we share long-standing connections that took root well before the establishment of diplomatic relations, today we are facing a difficult reality.
Less than four weeks before the second anniversary of their detention, Canadians are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The use of coercive diplomacy and the ongoing crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet, not to mention the hostile activities against Canadians, are entirely at odds with Canadian values and interests. Our government continues to be unequivocal on these issues, making sure that our stance is clear to China at all times.
However, we are not alone. It is not only Canada, but many like-minded democracies have raised their voices to challenge China on the question of arbitrary detentions and other human rights abuses in China, most recently in a joint statement on Xinjiang and Hong Kong at the UN General Assembly Third Committee, which was signed by Canada and 38 other states.
It is important that China recognize that its actions harm its reputation in many other countries, not just in Canada, and that it is sending the wrong message to the international community.
In light of China's hardening of its position, and in a broader geostrategic situation, we are adopting an approach to China that has three fundamental pillars: Canada's long-term interests, our principles and values, including human rights, and the rules of international law.
We will do so while continuing to defend and protect Canada and Canadians against activities that harm democratic values, our sovereignty, our economic interests and, of course, as my colleagues mentioned, national security in general.
The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada's foreign policy, and we will continue to play a fundamental role in the Government of Canada's engagement with China. We will continue to raise our voice to express our concerns about China's behaviour and failure to abide by its international obligations. The best way to do this is to continue working with our allies and partners to hold the Chinese government accountable and to defend the rules-based international order.
We will also continue to pursue co-operation when it aligns with our national interests. China is a key player in the global commons in the fight against COVID-19, climate change or to ensure the stability of financial markets and global economic development. We are aware that China is and will remain an important commercial partner for Canada. China is also a significant source of tourists and students to Canada, and brings economic and enriching social benefits across our nation. Canada believes in a strategic approach to trading with China. We will also continue to encourage trade diversification.
While co-operation in these areas is beneficial, Canada is taking a clear-eyed view in examining our relationship. We are not alone in recognizing the need for a new approach. Like-minded democracies around the world are adjusting to the new dynamics that have emerged in recent years. As I have said, we will, and we are, continue to engage with China with our eyes wide open.
As part of our assessment, we continue to be seized at all levels of government by the cases of Canadians detained and sentenced arbitrarily in China. It is unacceptable that any citizen, anywhere, be arbitrarily detained.
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor must be brought home, full stop. This is something for which all Canadians stand united, and I am sure every member of the House as well. The government has been very clear that the detention of these two Canadians is unacceptable. Their arbitrary detentions are something we will speak against at every opportunity. They must be immediately released.
We are encouraged by the fact that Ambassador Barton was able to have consular access to Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor this fall after more than eight months without contact. I personally raised this in a meeting with my counterpart, state councillor Wang Yi, in Rome in August of this year. We have worked on this tirelessly. We continue to request ongoing access to them and to all Canadians who are detained in China.
We also continue to provide all appropriate support for Mr. Robert Schellenberg and oppose the arbitrary decision to issue a death penalty sentence at his retrial. We continue to call on China to grant clemency to Canadians facing death sentences.
As we work to resolve these serious conditions, the government will also continue to provide consular support to them and their families and press for consular access to all Canadians detained in China. I have been talking to their families regularly to update them on what we are doing. We are taking an approach of all hands on deck when it comes to obtaining the release of Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and other Canadians.
I would now like to talk about what is happening here in Canada. Like many other open and free democracies, Canada is targeted by hostile states looking for information, intelligence and leverage to advance their own interests.
This is not a new threat and is not limited to a single country. More and more, we are seeing governments around the world exposing and countering foreign actions that are detrimental to their interests. Furthermore, state and non-state actors that may present a security threat have greater access to economic tools.
Our government recognizes that such economic threats can affect traditional national security concerns but, as we have heard this morning, these threats can also affect Canada's long-term prosperity, economic competitiveness, and industrial, military and technological advantage.
This situation has been exacerbated by globalization and the use of the Internet and social media platforms.
Hostile actors have better access to cheaper online tools to run operations, which are difficult to track. This has become more apparent during the pandemic. For example, our government has, on a number of occasions, acknowledged the increased risk of foreign interference in and spying on our hardworking biopharmaceutical companies, our university scientific research institutes, the various levels of government and other organizations participating in international efforts to develop a vaccine.
This is why our domestic agencies have been working tirelessly with these entities to raise awareness of the threat and to ensure they have the tools and information they need to protect themselves and their proprietary information. Our government is equally aware of intimidation tactics being used against Canadians in Canada and that is something which is of great concern to me, my colleagues and this government.
State actors target the fabric of Canada's multicultural society, seeking to influence communities, including through pressure and threats. States may attempt to threaten and intimidate individuals outside their country. These tactics can also be used as covers to silence citizens, pressure political opponents and instill a general fear of state power no matter where a person is located.
Any reports of harassment and intimidation of individuals in Canada is troubling and will not be tolerated. We invite Canadians to report any such action to law enforcement officials. CSIS uses the full mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act in order to investigate, advise and respond to any threat to the security of Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will continue to investigate with a view to laying charges under the Criminal Code.
An open and multicultural society is at the heart of our Canadian values. Canadians can be assured that their government takes the threat posed by foreign interference activities very seriously.
Increasingly economic tools are also deployed by state and non-state actors that can pose threats to security and threaten Canada's long-term prosperity and economic competitiveness. For decades, Canada has been a strong supporter and builder of the rules-based international order. We believe in and support these rules because we know that when companies compete in a predictable and level playing field, the positive outcomes are tremendous: rising living standards, improved choices for consumers and new technologies that improve the quality of life to name just a few.
However, the success of this system is not guaranteed and it must be fostered. It can be undermined when some countries do not abide by the rules or disregard reciprocity.
Our government has responded to this ever-changing environment by utilizing existing regulatory tools as well as creating new initiatives that will protect the integrity and robustness of Canada's economic security.
First, the oversees and utilizes the Investment Canada Act to ensure that investments coming to Canada are of a net benefit and are not injurious to national security. The act applies to all investors regardless of the country of origin.
Second, Canada has one of the strongest export control regimes in the world. We have a robust risk assessment framework under the Export and Import Permits Act. Canada also became a party to the Arms Trade Treaty in September of last year. Canada evaluates every export permit application on a case-by-case basis to determine what the goods or technology will be used for, where will they be used and by whom among many other factors.
Through this regulation Canada seeks to mitigate against risks that the exported goods could be used to undermine peace and security, commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law or serious acts of gender-based violence.
There is no doubt that 5G technology has raised some serious security concerns. The government is carefully examining the security challenges and threats related to 5G technology, while recognizing that this technology is key to Canada's future economic development.
Canada's review takes into account technical, economic and national security factors and obviously includes advice from our allies and partners. Canada considers this issue to be an important element in the context of our bilateral relations with the United States. The security of Canadians will be central and critical to how we proceed with the deployment of 5G technology in Canada.
Public Safety Canada, the Communications Security Establishment, the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Global Affairs Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada are working together on this important issue.
Protecting the critical systems and infrastructure Canadians rely on every day is a major priority of the Government of Canada and protecting telecommunications equipment and services from cyber-threats is particularly important. We will ensure that Canadian networks are kept safe and secure at all times and that Canada's public interest is protected.
The government will continue to work with telecommunications service providers and vendors to mitigate security risks in current and future networks as 5G technology is adopted by Canadians.
I would like to submit that China poses some of the key foreign policy challenges of our time. In this context, we must engage with China with eyes wide open. As we adapt our approach to China, given the new realities, Canada will work with partners and allies around the world to defend the rules-based international order in the face of common challenges and continue to hold the Chinese government accountable for its actions and international obligations.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in this debate after the speeches from my Conservative colleagues and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
This is another motion similar to what we have come to expect from our Conservative friends. It is a motion that I would say is coming out of left field. It is a rather unexpected motion. I think that the phrase “left field” is quite appropriate in this case because the Conservatives are giving themselves another opportunity to raise the spectre of communism. They have this urge, this fantasy, I would even call it, to harp on the idea that communism must be condemned.
Members will recall that Stephen Harper's government wanted to erect a monument to the victims of communism, as though communism were the only authoritarian regime in human history that has generated a certain number of victims, and as though Canada itself had lived under the yoke of communism, which is not the case, thank goodness. They are always obsessing over the Chinese Communist Party and the dire threat it poses to Canada, Canadians and the entire world.
A few moments ago during questions and comments with the minister, our NDP colleague rightly pointed out that China is definitely not the only country in the world with an authoritarian regime. It is definitely not the only country that openly violates human rights. It is definitely not the only country that tries to unduly influence events in other countries, including Canada.
What is perhaps a little different about China, however, is the fact that western states have often facilitated China's emergence as a superpower and that China aspires to play a predominant, if not dominant, role in international politics. Consequently, the motion moved by our friends in the official opposition raises some very legitimate concerns.
China aspires to a certain role and is taking action to play that role on the world stage. One need only think of the 5G network, which we discussed. I will come back to that in a few moments. China has also developed an entire network in what is known as the new silk road, a network of client states, a network of states that are beholden to the government in Beijing on a whole series of internal decisions or economically. This even includes some European countries, not just countries in Africa or South East Asia. We are talking about certain European countries where the financial influence of the People's Republic of China has become central and decisive and will have an impact on the decisions made by a number of countries all over the world. We must not bury our heads in the sand and ignore this situation, because it is a reality.
Driven by its ambitions, China is engaging in a type of diplomacy that is truly unique in the context of the long tradition of diplomacy in the history of international relations, an extremely aggressive and coercive diplomacy, the kind of diplomacy where a country will even go as far as to take foreign citizens hostage in order to put pressure on their government's decisions.
That is why we cannot take all of this lightly.
That is why the House decided last December to form a special committee to study the Canada-China relationship in order to determine what has led to its deterioration and the motivations behind the decisions that Beijing is making against Canada. Examples include the unjustified imprisonment and detention of two Canadian citizens and the imposition of retaliatory economic measures. All this is completely unjustified. What could possibly be causing the People's Republic of China to behave this way against Canada? Through a motion moved by our friends in the Conservative Party, we formed a committee to look at all of this.
While we are studying all this, however, the Conservative Party comes along with a motion that presumes that the committee's findings are a foregone conclusion. I understand that there is evidence in the motion, and I will come back to that. However, beyond that evidence, there is something that makes me a bit uneasy. In December, the Conservative Party put us, as parliamentarians, in a position where we had to decide whether or not we would create a new committee to examine the Canada-China relationship. We said that might make sense, that we might need to reflect on it and study it at greater length. We decided to support the motion and create that committee.
Now that the committee's work is under way, however, the Conservatives are saying that the motion that we adopted in December is not enough and that they want the government to do more right away. The government has not been standing idly by, because even before the committee finished its work, it announced that it was going to unveil a new policy regarding our relationship with the People's Republic of China. We are currently in the process of examining that, and we may have some suggestions and recommendations for the government.
Yesterday, the appeared before the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations. It was a very interesting meeting, but it left me unsatisfied as a parliamentarian. One of the reasons we invited the Minister of Immigration to appear was the urgent situation regarding Hong Kong. There are defenders of democracy in Hong Kong whose freedom, safety and very lives are being jeopardized by the enforcement of the national security law. The committee found that Canada needs to react and do something to provide a safe haven for these defenders of freedom.
Yesterday, the minister rattled off a whole series of pre-planned answers about how mechanisms already exist for welcoming refugees. However, this is a completely extraordinary situation, and we could suddenly end up with an unprecedented influx of refugees here in Canada. Until it is proven otherwise, they will be told that there are mechanisms in place to deal with this type of situation, but in fact, there are not. That is why the committee focused on the situation in Hong Kong in particular, and that is why we asked the Minister of Immigration to appear yesterday.
There are things to do and things we need to consider. We could talk ad nauseam about human rights violations by the People's Republic of China, especially against religious minorities. We have heard some horrendous stories about entire communities being sent to concentration camps, where sterilization policies are enforced to wipe them out. This is called genocide. Our colleagues on the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, which includes the member for , have recognized this as genocide. I think we need to call a spade a spade.
However, this debate is not about the safety of people in the People's Republic of China. We are discussing how the People's Republic of China poses a threat to people in this country, to Quebeckers. This is what we need to look at.
Is this reflection premature? Are we putting the cart before the horse, since we have a committee actively looking into this issue? I have my own opinion on the matter, and I think I have already expressed it. I do think that this is a little premature.
Once again, the Conservatives are forcing us to take a stance. Whether or not this is premature is not at issue in this debate because, like it or not, we are being forced to take a stance. Let us do just that.
Here is the motion moved by our friends in the Conservative Party:
That, given that (i) the People's Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, is threatening Canada's national interest and its values, including Canadians of Chinese origin within Canada's borders, (ii) it is essential that Canada have a strong and principled foreign policy backed by action in concert with its allies, the House call upon the government to: (a) make a decision on Huawei's involvement in Canada's 5G network within 30 days of the adoption of this motion; and (b) develop a robust plan, as Australia has done, to combat China's growing foreign operations here in Canada and its increasing intimidation of Canadians living in Canada, and table it within 30 days of the adoption of this motion.
Before I dive into the details, I just want to say that every time our Conservative friends move a motion like this one, I cannot help but think they might be trying to make the government look bad. Maybe I am just being a little paranoid because we know there are a lot of conspiracy theorists around these days, or maybe I am making assumptions about the Conservative Party's true intentions, but it seems to me that 30 days is both an extremely tight deadline and an extremely long period of time.
Take the 5G network as an example. I assume that the Canadian government has already begun thinking about this issue to some degree and that it is not surprised today to be asked what it has decided with regard to 5G. I also assume the government is not surprised that we are asking whether it has reflected on the issue of the undue influence of the People's Republic of China within Canada. Quite honestly, between my colleagues, myself and the fence post, if the government has been caught with its pants down today, we have a big problem. If the government has not yet started thinking about these fundamental issues, we are in trouble.
A 30-day deadline may seem really tight, but it may also seem quite long if we assume that the government has already done its homework on these matters. If it has done its homework, we can then assume that it should be in a position to deliver. When the government says the Conservatives are being unreasonable by allowing only 30 days, I have to wonder whether this means that the Liberals are not entirely ready to deal with these matters, and if that is the case, that really worries me. If the deadline is far too tight and it really puts the government in a tough spot, it is because it is incapable of delivering.
I would now like to take a moment to look at the 5G network. I mentioned conspiracy theorists earlier. I do not want to use that term in a pejorative or derogatory way, but some of our constituents sincerely believe that the 5G network poses a threat to their fundamental rights and their privacy. When we consider Huawei's attitude around the world, their concerns are understandable.
We know that Huawei was caught with the African Union and accused of passing on information. China has passed a national intelligence law that requires all companies to collaborate on the People's Republic of China's national security. Chinese authorities swear by all that is holy that this law does not have extraterritorial reach. However, we have our doubts because we now know that the new national security law for Hong Kong does apply extraterritorially. Does a Chinese company have a responsibility to contribute to Chinese national security in its foreign operations? In light of what happened with the African Union, the answer is yes.
On that issue, the minister talked about national security and intelligence services. The Five Eyes, of which Canada is a member, also includes the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. These five countries co-operate on their intelligence activities. The other four countries have already decided that Huawei is out because it is too dangerous. Again, however, it seems that Canada is reluctant to upset Beijing.
Most of the experts who have appeared before the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations so far have said that ingratiation and appeasement have had no effect on a political regime of this nature because the only thing it understands is forcefulness, in other words, a puffed-out chest and an assertive tone. That is what the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand did. Canada is lagging behind this group of allies since its government still does not know what it is doing and is keeping Canadian businesses in uncertainty by failing to tell them whether or not it will choose Huawei technology.
The 30 days allotted in the motion is a very reasonable timeline for the government to make a decision, and I think the time has come for a decision. Canadians and Quebeckers have serious concerns and expect the government to make that decision.
I now want to talk about the other point, which is the undue influence of Chinese authorities on Canadian soil.
Based on all of the evidence we have heard, we know beyond any reasonable doubt that the People's Republic of China is using agents on Canadian soil to intimidate people who are protesting the Beijing regime and intimidate people of Chinese origin who are here in Canada.
Earlier, one of our Conservative colleagues asked the minister a question about the action taken in other states and about what is happening in Canada. Has the Canadian government been looking into this issue and does it plan to propose a policy? Will the Canadian government continue to tolerate the undue influence of foreign states, in particular the People's Republic of China, on its soil? Is it prepared to do something, or does it need a push from the Conservative Party's motion and its 30-day deadline?
This is why I asked the minister whether he supported our Conservative colleagues' motion, because everything the minister said was quite relevant. However, we still do not know whether the Liberals will support the motion or what justification they will use if they choose to vote against it. No matter what the government decides, we need to know whether it is prepared to act on these two issues. Either way, we need to know.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join today in the opposition day motion presented by the member for .
Without accepting everything in the preamble, the issues are set out pretty clearly. The motion is calling on the House to do two things: make a decision on Huawei's involvement in Canada's 5G network within 30 days, and develop a robust plan, as Australia has done, to combat China's growing foreign operations here in Canada and its increasing intimidation of Canadians living in Canada. It also calls for it to be tabled in the House within 30 days. Aside from the timing, which is fairly precise for an opposition day motion, I want to say that these are two issues that have been outstanding in this country for quite some time, and I think the time has come to bring them to a head.
At our Canada-China committee, we have heard lots of evidence of intimidation of Canadians by agents of the Chinese government in one form or another. Concerns have been raised about Canada's lack of a proper response. We have also heard of the confusion that has ensued as a result of people being approached, intimidated and sometimes threatened, whether obviously or subtly, and when they go to report this matter to the authorities they do not get a positive response. We had direct evidence from individuals passing on this information. They talked to people at CSIS and were told to go to the RCMP. When they talked to people at the RCMP, they were told to go to CSIS. CSIS then told them to go to Global Affairs. Essentially, it is the proverbial runaround.
I know there have been comments made by the about this in the House recently, but there seems to be a lack of a coherent plan as to how to deal with this. Obviously, thought must be given to this. The agencies of government are well aware of this. The government itself is well aware of this. There seems to be something missing here with respect to the kind of response Canadians would expect on a matter of such great importance and concern to Canadians, particularly Canadians of Chinese descent who are living in Canada. These are citizens of Canada, or in some cases students or international students who are here, or people who are engaged in political activities within Canada who are being intimidated in their home country by agents of a foreign country, in this case China.
It is a problem no matter who it would be. This is not particularly aimed at China. If there is a need for a response by government, it should be a response that applies to any country. We are not looking for an expectation that there is a China-specific rule here. The examples that have been brought forward are related to China in this instance, and should be rules of general application.
For example, it has been said in the Canada-China committee that legislative approaches have been taken by other countries. I know Australia in particular has been singled out in the motion, but that does not need to be the exact model. The clear point is that other countries have taken legislative action. The United States has a particular strong piece of legislation dealing with the rules of the operation of foreign missions in the United States. Action has been taken under those rules against individuals, in particular from China, using that legislation, getting a fairly quick response and showing clearly that this kind of behaviour is not going to be tolerated. We do not see examples like this within Canada. We do not see a clear indication by government that action is being taken where it is needed to ensure this kind of activity cannot happen.
The Canada-China committee was set up nearly a year ago and has been studying this. We have been looking at these questions. We have been hearing from witnesses. We have been getting plenty of information to show there is a need for an effective government response, which is lacking.
Witnesses come to our committee and say they feel that CSIS does not have the enforcement power that it ought to have. They feel that the RCMP, at the local level, are ill informed as to how to deal with this question and do not really have answers for people. People feel abandoned by their government in circumstances where either threats were made against them or there was intimidation toward them and their families who remain in China. That is something we have to do something specifically about. People need to know that their government is prepared to respond. That is what is missing from this picture right now.
We support the notion of seeing the government lay out a plan quickly, so that people can be assured that the government is prepared to respond, in a positive and necessary way, to the kind of intimidation and interference that we are seeing. We are seeing it at other levels as well. We are seeing interference, and potential interference, in universities. We have heard some evidence on that in the Canada-China committee, and there seems to be a growing concern that there is undue influence in that respect. However, whatever involvement there might be in terms of research support, it is something that ought to be transparent and open and not subject to the kind of pressure and concerns we have seen being raised.
As well, the decision being talked about, thought about and clearly studied on what to do with Huawei has to be brought to a head. Clearly, the government has been looking at this, or says it is looking at it, and we would like to know the results of the investigation and the results of the concerns that have been raised. We have seen them very broadly raised internationally. We have seen other governments take action. Other members of the Five Eyes have decided that they are not going to allow Huawei to participate in 5G. That, obviously, has to have some influence on decisions made by Canada.
I think the U.K. decided that it could get around it at one point, but then changed its mind. This is something that weighs heavily in the mix if we are going to continue to have the kind of relationship that we need at the international level and know what is happening in the intelligence world. We need to be as prepared as possible to deal with that, and if the government has a workaround on it, it had better tell us. It is something that the U.K. at least made a decision on, based on having a workaround, but obviously it changed its mind.
There is the recent change that was brought about as a result of decisions by the United States to prevent certain elements of the 5G network from being exported to China, whether for commercial or other reasons. This is perhaps irrelevant in some respect, but not necessarily irrelevant to the decision that Canada has to make. If the Huawei capability is interfered with by this technical matter, then that is a consideration as well.
We also have mounting evidence of the ability of Huawei to act in a monopolistic way, with special support from the Chinese government in terms of investment, capability and providing it with a near monopoly market within China. This allows it to grow exponentially and act in a manner in the rest of the world that is highly competitive, perhaps unfairly. It has been assessed to be unfair to competition with other enterprises, and is in a position of having control over a market that is extremely important, from a strategic and industrial point of view, within Canada. If we become overwhelmed and dominated by the Huawei enterprise system, then we are vulnerable, through its control over the future of communications and technology to a large degree within Canada, to the exclusion of other players and to more robust interaction with different enterprises.
There is research and development that goes with that. Innovation goes with that. Opportunity and alternatives need to be available for companies and enterprises, and for the free movement of ideas and control.
We are now in the virtual world. We are talking in a virtual world. We are dependent, for our parliamentary democracy, on the electronic equipment we are using right now to operate our Parliament. It is also penetrating totally into the industrial world, the commercial world and the transportation world. It is an extremely important strategic element and infrastructure for our future. That is something that we have to take very seriously.
Frankly, we cannot take the kind of chances that are open if we go with Huawei as a major player, and perhaps the only player in a sense, if it is able to meet the competitive price for our upcoming 5G network. We have to take all of those things into consideration and make a decision. The decision starts to lay very heavily against Huawei's participation for all of those reasons.
Other members have pointed this out, but in addition, we have the issue of Chinese government law, which requires economic enterprises to respond to information requirements if the government so decides. They tried to downplay that, but the law is the law, and the potential is there. Whether they would choose to exercise it or not is not necessarily something we can place a bet on.
At this particular point in time, we are seeing a relationship with China that is far less than wholesome. We have two Canadian citizens who have been arbitrarily detained in China for almost two years now as a result of, and in response to, Canada acting in accordance with its legal treaty obligations to the United States on an extradition matter. We are using and following our laws in an open and transparent manner, yet we have a response by China that is cruel, arbitrary and clearly not in keeping with the kind of relationship that Canada should have with any of its international interlocutors.
We have had a very strong trade relationship with China throughout all of this. There is a bond of trust that appears to have been broken quite dramatically as a result of these actions. We heard a response from the Chinese ambassador to Canadians' complaint about human rights and the imposition of a state security law on Hong Kong. This was in contravention of treaty obligations and international obligations. We had been asked, back in 1997, to support the treaty obligations and help make them work.
We now see the Chinese government is not following through on those. There is a loss of faith here that is going to take an awful lot of activity, behaviour and change to try to mend. It is not going to happen soon enough to allow us to trust the use of a Chinese technology that is so vital and important to the future of how our economy will operate, how our communication system will operate and how our country will operate in these circumstances.
The time has come for Canada to make a decision on this. We suspect, as perhaps most Canadians suspect, that the government may have made a decision, but for whatever reason, it is deciding it is not an opportune time to make it known publicly. I think the time has come for us to see that. We do not need to be left in the dark about this issue. It is something that has to be faced. It is holding up investment and progress on the development of the 5G network.
The Huawei decision is affecting the economic activity and investment activity in our country. I know some in the telecom industry have moved forward with other platforms, and I think that is to be expected, but there are other investment decisions that may be very important for getting broadband all across this country as quickly as possible. It has been brought strongly to the forefront as a result of the COVID situation we are dealing with and the obvious need for it. A great divide is occurring between people who have access to broadband and the Internet and people who do not when it comes to access to education, educational materials, working from home and economic activity. This needs to be fixed, and certainty needs to be part of it. It is desirable.
We see in industrial activities, including in automobile factories, the kind of investments that might occur and will occur. However, will they occur in Canada? We are not certain what the platforms are going to be. We see this in the auto industry, which is extremely important for parts of Canada. I know many members of Parliament have concerns about this in their ridings and regions, and it is extremely important to the economy of Canada that we equally participate in innovation in automobile technology, whether with regard to autonomous vehicles or advances in manufacturing techniques. All of that is highly dependent on computers and computing technology, so this type of investment is extremely important.
This has to be brought to a head. It is on the table; it is already there. However, a decision needs to be made, and if there is a very good reason not to make the decision now, the government should come forward and tell us what it knows so far and what is of concern and bring it forward.
I will raise, as a final point, something that we have not heard from anyone. I understand from some of the questioning earlier that some Conservative members of Parliament may not be familiar with what their own government did in making a foreign investment protection agreement with China in 2014. I have not done an analysis of the consequences of that legislation, but I am hoping that the Conservatives, when they speak, will tell us what they think the consequences would be. The government should also tell us what it has determined based on an analysis of that, because there seems to be protections for China that we do not receive. They are not reciprocal and are, in fact, fairly secretive and not transparent, and they may have extremely negative consequences on issues like Huawei. I would like the government to explain that as well. It looks like a deterrent for us to do what we may have to do for our national interests, our national security interests and our national economic interests.
For both of these issues, the issue of dealing with the interference and intimidation and the issue of the activities of China's government in particular, we need a legislative response. We need a direct response about what the government plans to do to deal with this in a comprehensive way. This should be on the table very shortly. I am hoping the government can give us some outline today as to what might be included in that, and will ensure that this happens very quickly so that Canadians can feel safe in their own country from foreign influence, intimidation and threats from representatives of other governments. Both of these things are important, and I will end by saying that we support the motion.
Madam Speaker, I am grateful to speak today in support of this motion. I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for .
I want to thank the member for for bringing forward this important motion calling on the government for real action. The need for the motion is clear. The Liberal government has not taken the threats from the Chinese government to Canada and to Canadians seriously and so far, has failed to act decisively and forcefully on this urgent public safety issue.
Canadians have been arbitrarily detained in China. Officials from the Communist Party of China and their government harass, bully and intimidate Canadian citizens here on Canadian soil and around the world. Canadian citizens living abroad, especially in Hong Kong, have faced an erosion of civil liberties and increasing control and threats from China.
When the world needed information and access from the Chinese government at the start of the pandemic in order to protect our own citizens, China's regime presented obfuscation and delays. Every day, the Canadian government, businesses and civilian networks face intellectual property theft and data breaches by China. Enough is enough. It is long past time for Canada to take the threat from the Chinese government seriously and for the Canadian government to take action to protect our own citizens and our national interest.
Despite all the evidence and warnings, and months, even years, that have passed, the Liberal government has still not made a decision to ban Huawei from involvement in Canada's 5G infrastructure. This motion calls on the government to make a decision on Huawei within 30 days. Because of the government's repeated delays, it seems there is no other choice left for us but to try to force the government to take it seriously through this motion.
If Huawei were permitted to build Canada's 5G infrastructure, it would give the Chinese government sweeping backdoor access to confidential information from Canadians, from Canadian businesses and even to secret government information. This cannot be allowed to happen.
Alarmingly, the government's delay in making a decision puts Canada at odds with the rest of the countries in our Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., each of which has now either banned or restricted the use of Huawei 5G equipment. The Canadian government's passivity and delay is mind-boggling. Presumably, it accesses the same intelligence as our free and democratic allies around the world and every one of them have come to the same conclusion that Huawei is not to be trusted. Therefore, the question is: Why has the Canadian government not done so? What is holding the Liberals back from making a decision? Protecting Canadian citizens at home and abroad should be the paramount responsibility of the Canadian government, its number one priority.
Others in the Five Eyes community caution that if Canada does not ban Huawei technology, it will put Canada's intelligence sharing and protection with our allies in jeopardy. It is galling that the government would risk relationships with our closest allies and Canada's own security and sovereignty in order to placate the Chinese government, but that is why we are debating this crucial motion today.
Canadian intelligence agencies are taking the threat from the Chinese government seriously. Just last week, a Globe and Mail report showed that CSIS has confirmed that Chinese state security officials are operating on Canadian soil, targeting members of Canada's Chinese community in an attempt to suppress criticisms of the Communist government and its leader.
One of those campaigns, Operation Fox Hunt, is directed by Beijing's ministry of public security itself and has been going on for years, since 2014. A CSIS spokesperson said, “When individuals in Canada are subjected to such harassment, manipulation or intimidation by foreign states seeking to gather support for or mute criticism of their policies, these activities constitute a threat to Canada’s sovereignty and to the safety of Canadians.”
Therefore, the Liberals must do more than share words of concern. That is why this motion also calls for Canada to develop a comprehensive plan, similar to that of Australia, to combat China's growing foreign operations here in Canada, its increasing intimidation of Canadians here and around the world, and to table it within 30 days.
The proof is there. The intelligence is clear. Canadians want and need action from the government in order to protect citizens, to keep them safe and protect our values. If the government already has a plan, then it owes it to Canadians to show how it is taking this seriously. It should act quickly to assure our political, economic and strategic free and democratic allies around the world of the same. The threat posed to Canada from China is wide-ranging and Canadians are right to be concerned.
At the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, my Conservative colleagues and I already moved a motion that was adopted. It called for the committee to examine the influence of hostile foreign entities in Canada and the abuse of Canadians by foreign national regimes in Canada and abroad, along with cases and evidence of hostile and distressed acquisition of Canadian assets by state-owned enterprises, corrupt foreign regimes or organized crime organizations.
Because we cannot seem to get concrete answers from Liberal ministers, the motion says that the committee will hear from the RCMP and CSIS on the measures taken to prevent security violations of Canadians of national economic interests, including theft or acquisition of sensitive technologies and current measures and potential future actions to prevent state-backed and corporate espionage, intellectual property and trade secret theft.
The reality is that China is advancing a plan of economic imperialism throughout vulnerable developing countries, but also in Canada through increasing ownership of resources and economic and intellectual property interference. It is not only the Chinese government guilty of campaigns of economic and political interference in Canada.
The Communist government of China plays by an entirely different set of rules. Today's motion would require the Canadian government to act urgently and to present its plan to combat China's growing foreign operations. China's communist regime does not respect the rule of law and the independence of the judicial process.
The Chinese government's ambassador to Canada has gone so far as to threaten Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong. He said that if Canada grants asylum to pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong it would jeopardize the “health and safety” of the 300,000 Canadians who live there. That is a clear threat. The ambassador must retract his remarks and issue a public apology, because a threat to Canadians anywhere is a threat to Canadians everywhere. This House passed a unanimous motion condemning the ambassador's remarks, but the Liberals equivocate and delay in response and the ambassador continues to double down.
With enough evidence of illegal Chinese government operations on Canadian soil, and Chinese Canadians and Chinese immigrants to Canada being threatened by Beijing, they and their families members, both in Canada and in China, being threatened with violence and intimidation, these Liberals must go beyond words.
It is a clear violation of Canadian sovereignty and a clear threat to the public safety of Canadians. It is the Government of Canada's duty to do everything in its power to protect its citizens, and that duty to protect extends to Canadians living overseas.
One concrete action is to finally actually make a decision on Huawei and leave no room for doubt or question; to ban it from having anything to do with Canada's 5G infrastructure. The government must put the safety of Canadian citizens first and must put our allies ahead of an aggressive and hostile foreign government.
I encourage all members to support the Conservative motion today and to do what we were elected fundamentally to do, which is to put the lives, the interests, the liberty, the rights and the safety of Canadians first and foremost beyond all else.
Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to speak today to such an incredibly important topic.
Today's motion is so important because when it comes to Canada's approach to China, we, like many other western democracies, have simply gotten it wrong. Now, 50 years after establishing diplomatic relations with China, we must collectively, soberly and urgently rethink our approach to the People's Republic of China.
That is why today's motion is so critically important. It represents a long overdue first step to changing that approach. The motion calls for the government, within 30 days, to make a decision on Canada's use of Huawei in our 5G network and to develop a robust plan to combat China's growing foreign operations in Canada and its increasing intimidation of Canadians who live here.
Let me be clear, before we get too far, that this is not about Chinese citizens, it is not about the people living in China; it is about the People's Republic of China, the Communist Party of China.
How did we get our approach to China so very wrong? Overall, we collectively, as western nations, Canada included, made the assumption that China would eventually liberalize, uphold the rules of international order and co-operate with the democratic world because it saw the benefits of capitalist economics. However, we were wrong.
Instead, China has emerged as one of the most powerful, authoritarian states in history and a major challenger to the liberal world order. Oppression in China is intensifying. It has imposed drastic and far-reaching national security law in Hong Kong. It continues to exploit people in Tibet. It has re-education camps where Uighurs are interned. Those are just a few of various, numerous examples of oppression.
Probably the most disconcerting thing is that these increasingly oppressive acts, once hidden, are now much more blatant and out in the open. The CCP, the Chinese Communist Party's ambitions are not confined within China's borders. They represent an integrated approach across the world, employing social, economic and military means to achieve its ambitions.
That is why today's motion is so important. Our response in Canada must be an integrated and comprehensive approach that recognizes that the threats are not only on foreign soil but they actually happen right here.
Once upon a time Canadians believed that foreign policy was something we did on distant shores. We believed that because we were on this side of the Atlantic, protected and had not really seen drastic or dramatic wars on our shores, foreign policy was something that happened somewhere else, that we were not threatened here at home.
However, that must fundamentally change. The CCP looks to legitimize authoritarianism and seeks greater acceptance of that authoritarianism. It is using means to achieve that end by undermining and eroding democracy right here at home. Many of our democracies, as a result, are hanging in the balance.
Exactly what means is it using? We know about cyber espionage, where it is using social media to influence and to change the minds of our citizens. The People's Liberation Army is hacking and we see intellectual property theft from everything from private corporations to the National Research Council.
We are now aware of Operation Fox Hunt, which is just a simplistic term for saying that Canadians of Chinese background and others are being intimidated and threatened by Chinese agents in Canada. We know of the united front work department, which brags in its training videos about how it has been able to influence elections and find pro-Beijing candidates who take positions in our democracies.
We also know that the Chinese government keeps a list of those people in other countries whom it is able to influence and have power over. We should know whether CEOs of companies or, ourselves, elected officials, and what exactly the Chinese government is thinking where we are in terms of our favourability and susceptibility to Chinese influence.
It is also using powerful economic means by expanding its economic imperialism, or what we call “debt-trap diplomacy”, through the one belt and road initiative, where it makes major strategic investments in critical infrastructure like ports, roads, airports and oil and gas industry assets. Then, when countries cannot pay, it takes possession of those assets. Strategic assets allow it to bolster its economy, hold the economies of those countries hostage and ensure it can get goods, people and potentially military assets anywhere in the world.
It is also using Chinese companies in nations around the world, of which one is the centre of discussion today, Huawei. There is a national intelligence law that states that those companies are mandated to provide intelligence and information to the Chinese government and act in its best interest even when they are on Canadian soil even if that means going around Canadian law to do it. That is frightening and it is a threat not only to our national security but to the rule of law, to democracy and to our social and economic security.
Militarily, the Chinese government is expanding rapidly. We have seen one of its largest operations, where it partnered with Russia, in recent memory, with over 300,000 troops and 36,000 tanks. It has now considered itself a near Arctic state, putting in place a Chinese Arctic policy and targeting our Arctic in Canada. We know that there are Chinese submarines and that it has ambitions for the Northwest Passage, which will be a game changer in the next century. It will allow goods to get around the world by water much more quickly.
Economically, socially and politically we are vulnerable right at home and the Chinese government is working non-stop to place us under threat.
Therefore, what do we do about it? We need to urgently and absolutely rethink our approach.
The good news is we are not alone. Many western democracies around the world are recognizing that it is a greater threat and we need to do something urgently. That is why this plan today is so important.
First, we need a decision on Huawei and it must be banned. Second, and more important, we need a plan to get a plan. We need to be clear-eyed about Chinese ambitions. We need to get more intelligence on just how vulnerable we are. We need to have one integrated comprehensive plan to address these threats. Perhaps we even need a cabinet level position to do that.
The government is saying that it cannot give us a plan, that to get a plan in 30 days is unreasonable. This is an existential threat. We are running out of time. We must do something to protect the citizens on our soil and the values we hold dear at home and abroad to protect the international world order, our democracy, our security and our future.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I also want to thank the member for for bringing forward the motion because I think it is an important debate and an important motion.
I want to start by making a comment on the member's preamble to the action aspects of his motion, which I agree with and will get to in a moment. In point (i) of the motion, it states that:
(i) the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, is threatening Canada’s national interest and its values, including Canadians of Chinese origin within Canada’s borders....
I believe that statement, sadly, is increasingly true, but it was not always that way and I do not believe it has to remain that way. The motion is, in effect, calling out the Chinese leadership. Let us get back to normalizing our relationship and work together like we have done in the past.
I say it was not always that way and I will tell colleagues why. It was Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the former prime minister, who went to China in 1973 and worked to open up a relationship with China and then make that relationship important for both countries.
We have had some considerable background in China. It could be called a “leg-up”. In the country, when then prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau went there, Dr. Norman Bethune, a Canadian, was seen as a Canadian hero among the Chinese population for saving people's lives. Canada, because of Dr. Bethune, had a place in the Chinese culture and the Chinese mind.
An agency that I was involved with in the farm movement, the Canadian Wheat Board, was the first international agency that went to China to open up trade and did it on credit. The Conservatives, I know, during the former Harper government, destroyed the Canadian Wheat Board as a farm marketing board. It has now been bought out by Saudi interests, but that is beside the point. The fact of the matter is that we had an in with China, where that marketing agency provided credit so that China could feed its people. Eventually those loans were paid back.
Let us not forget the somewhat positive history we have had before this time, despite our relationship being considerably negative today.
I have been to China a number of times. In fact, I also hosted a former ambassador in Prince Edward Island and later hosted a group of Chinese legislators in P.E.I. Out of those meetings, and through some of Prince Edward Island's educational institutions, we were able to build a close working relationship with educational institutions in China. That relationship goes on to this day and is beneficial to citizens in both countries.
I say that because it was not always that way. We need to try to get back to a better relationship of trust. Certainly the arrest of the two Michaels, Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, and what is happening in Hong Kong gives us plenty of reasons to be concerned and to lose trust in the Chinese leadership. I say to the Chinese leadership that it is at the moment certainly going in the wrong direction.
Before I get to the key recommendations of the motion, I want to give the background of where the government is at on national security, because we kind of overlook that from time to time.
The government's priority remains to protect Canada and Canadians against activities that undermine democratic values, economic interests, sovereignty and overall national security. The government is aware that certain foreign states may conduct themselves in Canada in a manner that is inconsistent with our values.
This threat is not new and not limited to any one country. Governments worldwide have been engaged in efforts to mould public opinion and government policies in other countries to advance their own interests. When this is done in a transparent, peaceful manner within the law, it is called diplomacy or treaty negotiations. When it is covert or clandestine, employs threats or intimidation or consists of lies and disinformation aimed at misleading people, destabilizing the economy or society, or manipulating the democratic process, a red line gets crossed.
It could be the old-fashioned way, with certain intelligence services collecting or stealing political, economic, commercial or military information, but increasingly, the interference is higher tech. Social media has been used to build anxiety, and even hysteria, around sensitive issues. Fake news masquerades as legitimate information.
Several recent reports have highlighted the threat of foreign interference in Canada. For example, a 2019 CSIS public report released on May 20, 2020, states that espionage and foreign-influenced activities “are almost always conducted to further the interests of a foreign state, using both state and non-state entities.” Foreign powers have also attempted to covertly monitor and intimidate Canadian communities to fulfill their own strategic objectives.
Further, the annual report of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians outlined foreign interference activities by a handful of states, like China and Russia, including the targeting of Canadian institutions by threat actors. The Government of Canada's security and intelligence community is combatting these threats within their respective mandates.
As an aside, I was at meetings with a number of governors of states in the United States some time ago. It actually shocked me what the governor of West Virginia had to say. They were talking about attempts to hack into their security systems. The governor indicated that in the previous year, either 2016 or 2017, in the state of West Virginia, they had 82 million attempted hacks.
There are whole departments in some governments and that is all they do. They try to hack into intelligence systems or steal secrets from other countries. That tells us how serious the problem is with that one example. Canada too has to be prepared for that kind of intervention into its system.
From a law enforcement perspective, foreign interference activities can be investigated when criminal or illegal activity is involved. The RCMP, for instance, has a broad, multi-faceted mandate that allows it to investigate and prevent foreign intelligence, drawing on various legislation.
As part of its mandate, CSIS provides the Government of Canada with timely and relevant intelligence on these threats for actions as appropriate. The Communications Security Establishment works to monitor the cybersecurity environment and to use that understanding to identify, address and share knowledge about systematic threats, risks and vulnerabilities.
A key point of the motion is “make a decision on Huawei's involvement in Canada's 5G network within 30 days of the adoption of this motion”. I am not sticky on the 30 days. There may be another option there. However, I can say the fact is this: Australia, the United States and the U.K. have all set restrictions on access to their 5G networks, not allowing equipment into national development.
We have a long history with these Five Eyes partners. We have to stand with them to protect our interests in common with each other, and that means we cannot allow a foreign interest into our security and intelligence system.
Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak with respect on this very important motion, which highlights concerns Canadians are having. I want to thank the member for for raising this issue in the House. It is an issue that has occupied the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, and this motion will draw some attention in the Canadian imagination to it.
I also want to thank the member for , not only for sharing his time, but also for calming down the discourse on this topic a little, saying that there is very little dissension or disagreement in this House about our concerns. We share the concerns that people have about their individual security and about the activities of China in the international world.
We share concerns about arbitrarily detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. We share those concerns and are eager to work with opposition members to find a way to assert Canada's important issues with respect to foreign policy everywhere, particularly with respect to the bilateral issue when it comes to China.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. Indeed, the world has changed significantly in these 50 years. This milestone allows us to look back on 50 years of history, and even longer than 50 years, but also to look ahead. We can look at, as the has said, how we can do a restart. We can stop, look at where we are and recognize that we need to ensure we do not continue on in ways that could cause more difficulty for Canadians.
I am very glad that the member for mentioned Dr. Norman Bethune because, when I have travelled to China, his name was mentioned everywhere. In only two years he established a relationship that is valued by Chinese people all over their country and is a matter of respect that Canadians hold.
I also want to mention another medical missionary, and that is Dr. Robert McClure. For over 25 years, from 1923 until 1948, Bob McClure was a medical missionary in China. In two years, Norman Bethune opened up the world's eyes to what was going on in China. What Dr. Bob McClure did was spend 25 years of his life establishing a deep and abiding friendship and relationship between Canada and China.
Bob was a very close friend of mine. As I have reflected on Bob, his ministry and his medical practice, I am reminded that he talked about the basic desires and needs of the Chinese people as being the same as those of us living in Canada. They want healthy families, prosperity and respect for human rights. They want to be able to live with dignity in the world and to travel, and they want to be part of a global community. The Chinese people themselves are not different from us by nature.
However, as we look at what has happened in recent years, we have concerns. I do not think those concerns are on this side of the House or that side of the House. They are shared in this House. We are concerned about the erosion of human rights. We are concerned about the treatment of the Uighurs. We are concerned about the aspirations of Chinese people for their full rights and dignity. Even as we have seen a rise in the standard of living in China, we have seen a diminishing of human rights, and we are concerned about that. We should express that concern, and we will continue to express that concern.
We are also concerned about issues such as the arbitrary detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. It is absolutely inappropriate. This government has been clear right from the beginning that we will not tolerate this. We have spoken up about that individually with China at every opportunity, every day, as well as with like-minded people from around the world. We are not resting until Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been returned home.
We stand up also for Canadians in other forms of detention. We have called again and again for clemency for Robert Schellenberg, making sure that the death penalty, which we are opposed to in this country, is not imposed on Canadians in China. It is absolutely critical that we stand up for these rights.
Canada, through the former CIDA, spent 30 years engaging in agricultural development and humanitarian assistance, ensuring that the base was laid for prosperity in that country. That has deepened our friendship and, I think, has deepened the expectation that we think China will hold Canada in high regard. It would be an understatement to say that we are disappointed in the way Canada is being held by China right now.
We will strongly assert that for the good of the Canada-China relationship, for the good of Canadians and Chinese citizens, we need to restart. We need to stop and look at this issue. We recognize that we did that in 2016, but the Canada of 2016 was not the Canada of 2020. Canadians' patience has been sorely tested by what has gone on.
We are concerned about these issues, but we are also mindful that it is an important economic relationship. It is an important cultural relationship. We have important academic relationships. We have students who travel back and forth between our countries. We have trade in goods and services. It is our second-largest trading partner, with almost 5% of our exports going to China.
We are mindful that this relationship is important. It is broken, but it is important. We want to dial down the rhetoric a bit to recognize that we are all on the same page in this House, and we have to find a way to restart and reclaim.
Getting to the particular motion on the floor today, I would say, very personally, I believe on this side of the House we are not against this motion. We recognize the concerns that have been raised, and the fears of Canadians and others in Canada, particularly since the imposition of the national security law. We recognize the concerns about Hong Kong and about people in Canada defending rights. We are concerned about interference.
We want to take the steps that are appropriate, not based on hearsay, and not throwing people out of the country because we hear something about them. We have due process in this country. We have courts. We have police procedures. We will do that, because we are a country of the rule of law.
However, we are mindful that interference by any foreign country, including China, is not acceptable. We are also mindful that Canadians are concerned about their cybersecurity, the Huawei 5G network and that decision. We are obviously concerned that we make that decision based on science, evidence and co-operation with other countries.
We recognize decisions have been made by our Five Eyes partners. We recognize that those decisions are important for us to understand, but we also recognize that we have an independent foreign policy in Canada. We do not just automatically do what even our like-minded partners want to do. We want to make sure that we have a thorough, thoughtful and careful process to make the best decisions for Canadians, making sure that security is foremost in our minds.
That is why I think we could come to an agreement in this House. We could drop the rhetoric. I am very glad that early on in this debate the member for did indeed say he was open to discussion about how we could, perhaps in a small way, tweak this motion to find a way that we could all agree to it in this House.
I am hoping we have a chance to debate an amendment to this motion. That is why, at this point, I am putting forward an amendment to make a very small change to the motion that has been proposed by the member.
I move, seconded by the member for , that we replace “make a decision on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network within 30 days of the adoption of this motion” with “make a decision on Huawei's involvement in Canada's 5G network as soon as possible after the adoption of this motion”.
That would be my proposal to the House, to change that one part, just to make sure we have time to do the best of due diligence. We want to make sure we have the time to consult the partners we should be consulting, appropriately, to make sure that we engage in an independent foreign policy that will be for the betterment of all Canadians, and to do it well and carefully.
That is my proposed amendment.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to join everyone today. I will be splitting my time with the member for .
I want to thank the member for for bringing forward this motion. It is one that is timely and this is an issue we need to deal with immediately.
I want to recognize the communist regime in Beijing continues to abuse human rights of Falun Gong practitioners by harvesting their organs and denying them the ability to assemble and worship in their way. We know they are also denying those same rights to Uighurs and putting them into forced labour camps, and there are rumours of sterilizations. Let us also never forget the Tibetan monks who have been fighting against the Beijing regime for ages. Of course, all Canadians are too well aware of the human rights abuses being committed against the champions of democracy in Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party.
A lot of speakers today talked about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. They have now been unlawfully detained for 708 days. I would just like to remind the House it was the who described it as “hostage diplomacy”. Both gentlemen deserve to be brought home and we need to do that collectively as quickly as possible.
The issue of intimidation of Chinese Canadians here by the Government of China has already been referred to, and it has been given the name Operation Fox Hunt. We know the ambassador to Canada from China has also made shocking threats about Canadians who currently live in Hong Kong. We have to take those threats seriously and we need to make sure the ambassador himself knows that was completely inappropriate. The government should be dressing him down and recalling its own ambassador from China because of those shocking revelations.
We are here to talk about Huawei, and the government has waited far too long. It has been over a year since the former public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, said that we would have a decision by the current Liberal government before the last federal election. This has dragged on and on, and meanwhile, all of our Five Eyes partners have already said no to Huawei. Allies in Europe under NATO have said no to Huawei and giving access to their 5G networks.
We cannot deny the fact that if we take those alliances and partnerships seriously in the areas of intelligence collection, the defence of our sovereignty and working in cohesion with like-minded nations, there is no way we should be allowing Huawei to even continue to speculate on having access to our future 5G network.
We know the Chinese Communist Party has great interests in Canada. It is buying up sections of our natural resources. Through its belt and road initiative, it has a strategy called the polar silk road. It has been building icebreakers and submarines with under-ice capabilities as both commercial and military vessels to transit the Northwest Passage. Because of that interest, because of its continued espionage and surveillance of Canadians here at home, we have to take measures now as a government to ensure we are protecting Canadians and our interests as best as possible.
As the shadow minister of National Defence, I have been following this debate for ages, and I have watched as one after another our Five Eyes partners have said no to Huawei. A lot of that is bound in article 7 of China's 2017 national intelligence law, which says that Chinese companies must support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work.
It could not be any clearer that the People's Liberation Army and the Communist Party of China have nefarious objectives with respect to collecting as much intel as possible from Canadians, Canadian companies and the Government of Canada, as well as all our allies at all those different levels.
Just to demonstrate how Huawei has already been used for intelligence-gathering purposes, all we have to do is look at what has happened in Europe. Back in 2009, Vodafone, which is the biggest company in Europe, installed a bunch of Huawei equipment throughout Italy. It was found that Huawei had provided equipment that was faulty. Vodafone's security briefing documents, which were given to Bloomberg, reported there were a number of switches that could have been exploited by the Chinese government to ensure it was given access the network in Italy. Even Vodafone has lived through this. A lot of us who have travelled to Europe as well are familiar with that company. We have to make sure that does not happen here.
Actually, it has happened here. All we have to do is look at the Nortel campus, which is now home to the Canadian Armed Forces. If we look at the history of Nortel, we realize that there was a bugging of the Nortel campus by a Chinese organization called Faxian Corp. It hacked into the emails of Frank Dunn, the CEO, 100-plus times a day and was able to use those to undermine Nortel's success. It also took and reverse-engineered a number of Nortel's hardware and products, which it was able to use back in China. It was also reported that it largely benefited start-up tech companies in China like Huawei. It took years for the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence to ensure the Nortel campus contained no bugging or surveillance equipment before they finally moved into their new location.
We know the People's Liberation Army has an elite cyberwarfare unit, unit 61398. It has hackers working all day and all night long who have hacked into companies like Equifax and stolen hundreds of thousands of documents on Canadians. It has hacked into the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, Nortel, plus many other companies here in Canada and around the world. That was one of the reasons why the United Kingdom reversed its decision to allow Huawei to have limited access to the 5G network. More importantly, it realized there were other options out there and it did not have to use just Huawei. There are other companies, like Nokia, Ericsson and others, that can provide 5G equipment.
I look at how our Five Eyes partners, as well as members of the Canadian Armed Forces, have been saying that we do not want to give the Communist Party of China and its regime in Beijing easy access to our 5G networks. The best way to say it was reported back in March in The Canadian Press, when Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance was worried about anything that would give China easier access to the Canadian military computer networks. He said that the Five Eyes network is “monumentally important” to Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. He also stated:
I've made it clear that I have concerns...[with] China and China's cyber efforts...and clearly if there was to be an avenue, an easier avenue, for China to get into our digital networks then I would be [very] concerned about that.
We know that China has maligned activities in the past, especially in cyberspace, and we should not be giving it that easy access. Even the Australian military, the U.S., New Zealand and the U.K. are calling Huawei a high-risk vendor. I reiterate this. Are we going to just continue to delay and dither, which is the Liberal way, or are we going to recognize—
Madam Speaker, I have looked forward to trying to address what is a major failing on the part of the Liberal government. I am grateful to our leadership, our caucus leadership as Conservatives, for bringing forward a motion that challenges the to finally abandon his naive approach to doing business with China and take the steps required to protect Canada's national interests.
I believe that China, over the last decade, has become increasingly adversarial, confrontational and hostile, and increasingly a threat to our economic prosperity and national security. The bottom line is China is becoming an untrustworthy partner. Why do I say that? I would like to highlight six areas where I believe China needs to improve its relationship with the rest of the world.
First, the Chinese regime in Beijing, the communist regime, has failed to respect the rule of law and human rights. The plight of the Uighurs in east China is just one example, and the House has condemned the state of security of the Uighurs in east China. As Canadians, we have to see the human rights violations taking place in that country.
The second area is that China has failed to respect our national security as a country. Third, China has failed to respect our Canadian sovereignty. It has interfered in our domestic affairs. Fourth, the communist regime in China has failed to respect international treaties, norms and conventions. Its incursion in the South China Sea, which is contrary to international law, and its willingness to violate the treaty between China and the U.K. on Hong Kong, are evidence of that. Fifth, they failed to respect the international community in the area of trade and investment rules. Finally, the Chinese regime has failed to respect fundamental diplomacy and the transparency that we expect of our partners around the world.
I want to first deal with the rule of law and human rights. Today, our two Michaels, Spavor and Kovrig, are still in jail and are still not getting the benefit of the rule of law. The communist regime is holding them in retaliation for steps that Canada took in full compliance with our international extradition treaty with the United States. The communist regime in China simply does not share our value system. It does not share values such as openness, justice and tolerance. In fact, these values have been weaponized against us as Canadians.
China has also failed to respect our security as a country. The extent of its espionage in Canada and its theft of untold billions of dollars' worth of trade secrets and intellectual property over the years is still largely unknown, but we know we have paid a huge price. Nortel is just one example of how Canada has lost opportunities to grow our prosperity.
Our national security has been at risk for quite some time. Our national security agency, CSIS, has highlighted this regularly. Former national security adviser Richard Fadden has repeatedly warned Canadians of the risk that China represents to Canadian security. Even former ambassadors, like Guy Saint-Jacques and David Mulroney, have highlighted the fact that Canada has to be vigilant and protect itself on the security front.
As my previous colleague highlighted, our Five Eyes partners, the United States, U.K., Australia and New Zealand, no longer have confidence in us as the fifth partner because we will not ban Huawei from our networks. Even former BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie has expressed concerns about the risks to Canada's national security, especially if we allow Huawei to participate in the rollout of our 5G network across Canada.
I would like to also address the issue of China's failure to respect our sovereignty and its interference in our domestic affairs. It is becoming more and more well known that China is willing to bully and intimidate Chinese Canadians through organizations like the United Front and the Confucius Institute, and through Operation Fox Hunt.
My friend Anastasia Lin, who is a former Miss World Canada, has been outspoken about China's heavy-handed approach to using fear to intimidate Canadians to do China's bidding. That is wrong. CSIS, our national intelligence agency, has confirmed that Beijing routinely uses undercover state security officials and trusted agents, or proxies, to target members of Canada's Chinese community in an effort to silence critics of China's president, including threats of retribution against their families in China. The federal spy agency also says these illegal activities in Canada are “part of a global campaign of intimidation that constitutes a threat to [our country].”
Harassing members of our Falun Gong community in Canada is another example of a group that is mercilessly persecuted in China being intimidated here in Canada. People will say, “We know where your parents live in China and we are going to go after them. We are going to go after your siblings.” That is unacceptable by any international norm.
Fourth, let me address the failure to respect international law. China's incursions and breaches of international law are evident in the South China Sea, where it is looking to expand its footprint and push its territory further out by violating international norms. China failed to respect the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, in which the Chinese government declared the one country, two systems principle for Hong Kong. That has now been violated. The Chinese had promised that Hong Kong would not have to practise the socialist system of mainland China, but would maintain Hong Kong's existing capitalist system and way of life for 50 years, until 2047. What happened? There is no commitment to living up to its international commitments.
There is the flouting of trade laws. I just met with one of our key stakeholders in the agriculture industry who said they can no longer rely on China to respect international trade laws, such as those under the World Trade Organization.
There is also the issue of fundamental diplomacy and transparency. China's belligerent and bellicose treatment of Canada-China relations includes the imprudent rhetoric of its ambassadors to Canada. Rather than building bridges and exercising discretion, the last few ambassadors who have come to Canada have instead inflamed the rhetoric and inflamed the relationship between our two countries. It is totally unnecessary. Our diplomats are expected typically to be bridge builders, to seek common ground and to exercise the highest level of judgment and discretion. We just have not seen that from China's representatives in Canada.
China has also failed to share critical information about the coronavirus. It bought up Canadian PPE and hoarded it before Canada even knew the extent of this virus, and then sent a few token PPE items back to Canada, thinking that would curry favour with the government.
Finally, I want to address the issue of trade and investment. China is a non-market economy. It does not operate as a true free market. Its pervasive role in using state-controlled actors to do the bidding of Beijing is well known.
Its willingness to ignore World Trade Organization rules, including the dumping of Chinese products into North America on a regular basis—
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
I appreciate having the opportunity to participate in the debate on the motion put forward by the hon. member for .
Let me assure the House that the Government of Canada takes the security of our telecommunications infrastructure and establishment very seriously. This is clearly outlined in our digital charter, which is focused on building trust in a digital world.
The second pillar of our digital charter is safety and security and, thus, we take it extremely seriously. That is why we have been working diligently across the government in a review of 5G technology and associated security and economic considerations. This work crosses multiple departments and agencies: Innovation and Science and Economic Development Canada, Public Safety Canada, the Communications Security Establishment, the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Global Affairs Canada. It is an important issue and we want to ensure we get it right. This review includes the careful considerations of our allies' advice, whose decision on this issue we are all well aware of.
We will ensure that our networks and our economy are kept secure and we will take the appropriate decisions in due course.
In the meantime, we are already collaborating with telecommunications service providers and equipment vendors to address cybersecurity concerns on an ongoing basis. This collaboration enables the public and private sector to exchange information on issues that may affect the resilience of Canada's telecommunications infrastructure. A safe and secure cyberspace is important for Canada's competitiveness today and tomorrow, for economic stability and long-term prosperity. Therefore, government, industry, academia and civil society must all work together to strengthen Canada's cybersecurity and make Canada a safer place to be online. Cyber threats are continually evolving. That is why collaboration is key.
The cybersecurity strategy, announced in 2018, made significant investments to centralize the governance of cybersecurity within the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security by bringing operational security experts under one roof to provide targeted cybersecurity advice and guidance. It is ensuring a better coordinated and more coherent government response to cyber threats.
At a more strategic level, there is also an important body called the Canadian Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, or CSTAC. It allows senior government officials and senior telecommunication executives to exchange information and collaborate strategically to ensure the security of our networks. ISED co-chairs this committee along with a co-chair from the private sector. It also includes a representative from Public Safety Canada, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and all of the major telecommunication companies.
The industry's members of CSTAC have developed a set of best practices designed to provide a baseline of appropriate security measures to meet the needs of Canadians. It recognizes that one of the key ways to enhance customer safety and the stability of their portion of the Internet is to share cybersecurity threat information with one another. This sharing includes information about new threats as well as detailed technical information after an attack has been detected by standardizing how we log, share and disseminate information. CSTAC collaboration has helped to enhance the resilience of Canada's networks. In addition, CSTAC's working groups have helped investigate and respond in times of emergency.
By focusing on the executive level, CSTAC is able to ensure that a security culture permeates from the top down. Myriad working groups and incident response teams bring together cybersecurity experts to tackle specific, technical and technical issues. Face-to-face participation in groups covered by strong non-disclosure agreements to promote candour help ensure that Canada's security is put ahead of competitive issues among market players.
In addition to the work undertaken by CSTAC, the Communications Security Establishment does important work in running the security review program. This program mitigates cybersecurity risks in the context of current wireless networks. It has been in place since 2013.
This program has helped mitigate risks stemming from designated equipment and services under consideration for use in Canadian telecommunications networks, including Huawei. To date, this program has led to excluding designated equipment in sensitive areas of Canadian networks, mandating assurance testing in independent third-party laboratories for designated equipment for use in less sensitive areas of Canadian networks and restructuring outsource managed services across government networks and other Canadian critical networks.
The Government of Canada has other tools to encourage the security of our networks. This includes the idea of encouraging vendor diversity. Canada has already funded a number of 5G initiatives through the strategic innovation fund. Among these initiatives are specific partnerships on projects with Nokia, BlackBerry, Ranovus as well as Encore, the world-class 5G test bed in Ontario and Quebec.
One area that we are excited about is the development of open radio access networks, ORAN. ORAN could allow smaller players, including Canadian companies, to participate in network development. Increasing vendor diversity could lower barriers to entry for new players and lower costs for secondary incumbents to compete with dominant vendors.
We realize the importance of securing our 5G networks across the country as 5G will be a key driver of innovation. It will enable cleaner energy, smart cities, precision agriculture, autonomous vehicles and advance telemedicine. These new technologies will create existing opportunities for Canadians, well-paying jobs, innovative new products and services. The 5G service will require that new spectrum or airwaves be made available.
The government is committed to making spectrum available at the right time to support the deployment of 5G services. In June 2021, the government will be auctioning a key portion of the spectrum that will enable 5G. It is a 3,500 megahertz band, which has been identified worldwide as one of the key bands to be used for 5G.
This is the second of several planned spectrum releases to support 5G deployment across Canada. This mid-range band will support a broad array of 5G applications. The increased number of connections, indeed intensive applications expected with 5G, will require large amounts of spectrum in a variety of frequency bands.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the spectrum is available for Canadians to take advantage of 5G networks and technology and we are committed to doing all we can to make these networks secure.
Madam Speaker, may I say that I largely agree with the motion and welcome the opportunity for Parliament to weigh in on this debate. We are a nation in a state of asymmetrical conflict with the world's emerging superpower and, about to be, the world's largest economy. The stakes actually could not be much higher.
The Communist Party of China has shown itself to be a collection of diplomatic and military thugs unworthy of a great nation. We have watched as the Government of China enslaves an entire population, then denies that it has done so and then argues that, really, this is an internal matter and not anyone else's business.
Reports by respected NGOs such as Amnesty International are dismissed out of hand and well-founded accusations by our own United Nations ambassador are ridiculed. The pattern is first denial, then distraction and then a fact-free counter-accusation.
We saw it again in Hong Kong. The one country, two systems agreement between Great Britain and China of 20 years good standing was ripped up overnight when Hong Kongers robustly embraced their democratic rights. Now Hong Kong is a mere appendage of the Communist Party in Beijing and entirely dependent upon its political masters. Once again, the pattern is to deny the facts, ridicule and set up a distraction, and then develop a fact-free counter-narrative, all the while kidnapping activists and impeding the exit of those citizens of Hong Kong who feel they are no longer safe.
In Taiwan we watch a belligerent Chinese Communist Party fly provocative military missions in Taiwanese airspace. It is abundantly clear that the full and free expression of the democratic will of the citizens of Taiwan and the peaceful transition of power are an anathema to the Chinese Communist Party.
Then we watch the military buildup of bases on the shoals in the South China Sea, threatening the entire region, including the countries of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. It is again a full-scale demonstration of fact-free denial. The conversion of shoals from incidental islands to military bases goes from outright denial, as though the satellite photos are fake; to claiming it is an internal right and therefore no one else's business, international law be damned; to a counterfactual propaganda that these buildings are only for peaceful purposes, notwithstanding the menace that all the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand see.
We could circle the globe. Sri Lanka might surely have regrets over its Faustian bargain concerning its harbour. Many African countries rue the day that they let the Communist Party of China build local infrastructure. The belt and road initiative is a policy that seeks to strangle independent nations and bend their resources and sovereignty to China's purposes.