The federal government has been taking its time in deciding whether Chinese telecommunications company Huawei should be allowed to help build the country’s 5G network, but Canada has a history of indecision and delay on crucial matters of defence and national security, says political science professor Andrew Richter.
In an opinion piece published Monday in the National Post newspaper, Dr. Richter cites two precedents: the decisions on whether to accept American nuclear weapons in the early 1960s and on participating in the U.S. missile defence program in the early 2000s.
“Both hinged on the desire to maintain good relations with Washington, against an opposing desire to chart a more independent path,” he writes.
The current case pits the Canadian wish to remain on excellent terms with the U.S. against the conflicting desire not to do more damage to its relationship with China.
“In situations like this, the decision is ultimately based on a careful weighing of the pros and cons, and balancing core national interests against the potential consequences that might arise should Canada say no,” Richter concludes. “But the reality is that Canada’s decision is going to make someone very unhappy, and it is this realization more than anything else that explains the government’s delay.”
Read his entire column, entitled “Think the government is taking a long time making a decision on Huawei? It’s nothing new,” in the National Post.