Canadian lawmakers have passed a motion urging the government to decide whether to permit participation of Chinese telecom giant Huawei in the country’s 5G network while also seeking a plan of action against intimidation of Canadians by China.
The motion was passed with the support of opposition MPs, who outnumber the minority Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons.
The development came on a day when Canada’s cyber-spy agency warned that “state-sponsored” programmes of countries such China posed the “the greatest strategic threats to Canada”.
The opposition motion came in reaction to reports that China was using proxies to coerce Canadians of Chinese origin into silence and not criticising the regime of President Xi Jinping.
It calls for a “robust plan” from the government “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”.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre), which is part of the Communications Security Establishment, released a report identifying China, Russia, Iran and North Korea as foreign states that posed a security threat to Canada in this realm.
“State-sponsored actors are very likely attempting to develop cyber capabilities to disrupt Canadian critical infrastructure, such as the supply of electricity, to further their goals,” the report from the Cyber Centre stated.
While it judged such action was “unlikely”, it added that “cyber threat actors may target critical Canadian organisations to collect information, pre-position for future activities, or as a form of intimidation”.
It described such state-sponsored activity as the “most sophisticated” threat that Canada faced.
The report also pointed out that such nations will “almost certainly continue” their attempts to steal intellectual property related to research in Canada into countering the Covid-19 pandemic.
“State-sponsored actors will almost certainly continue to conduct commercial espionage against Canadian businesses, academia, and governments to steal Canadian intellectual property and proprietary information,” it stated.
It also warned that such dangers were not restricted to within the country, but was “almost certainly higher for Canadian organisations that operate abroad or work directly with foreign state-owned enterprises”.
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