According to a security report submitted to the Canadian government, China is conducting a “hybrid warfare” (hybrid warfare) against Canada, including using telecommunications vendors such as Huawei to hack into networks to spy on intelligence and directing criminal organizations to intimidate Canadians, costing Canada hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Clairvoyance Cyber Corp., a consulting firm to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP, reported to the federal Department of Public Safety in 2019 that foreign governments are using a range of tools, using criminal groups, cyber hackers, and even high-tech companies like China’s Huawei, in a sophisticated and multifaceted new form of hybrid warfare against Canada. The report states that foreign governments are using a range of tools, using criminal groups, cyber hackers and even high-tech companies like China’s Huawei, to target Canada in a new complex and multifaceted form of hybrid warfare, targeting individuals, institutions and businesses in an attempt to control the Canadian discourse.
The report states, “Telecommunications providers like Huawei are in a better position to manipulate and violate Canada’s critical infrastructure because of the support they receive from national intelligence services.”
Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian justice minister, warned Ottawa that with the advent of the 5G era, cyber is becoming a battleground for new military conflicts. “State-sponsored cyberwarfare campaigns that can disconnect the Internet, shut down airports and railroads, and steal personal information have become more powerful than guns and missiles at the keyboard, and governments must come up with effective countermeasures to deal with this cyber threat.”
Dave McMahon, who authored the report and previously served in the federal government’s military, named Huawei and China Telecom as being involved in the Chinese government’s intelligence and military operations in Canada, warning of the risks of Huawei’s entry into the Canadian 5G market because “the future of civilization may depend on 5G, and its military applications make 5G become a major option for exerting political influence.”
The report also mentions that Chinese authorities could use Chinese technology companies to try to manipulate Canadian nationals. The report cites cases where, for example, China Telecom has used its own network system to divert Internet traffic from Canada for espionage and targeting purposes. In addition, shortly after the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, an increase in high-tech cyberattacks involving Huawei equipment was observed at several critical infrastructure and businesses in Canada.
Neither China Telecom, Huawei Canada nor the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa has responded to the report. But Huawei and the embassy have denied any involvement in espionage or interference with infiltration in other countries.
But while the U.K., the U.S. and Australia have banned Huawei from participating in the 5G program due to national security concerns, Canada’s Trudeau government has been dragging its feet for two years, delaying a decision. Erin O’Toole, leader of Canada’s largest opposition party, once again criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of commitment during the current parliamentary session. “This government said in the last federal election that it would make a decision, and our allies agree that Huawei is not a trusted partner in the 5G market, but Canada has been slow to decide and has not taken concerted action with its allies. Just how long is the Trudeau government going to drag this out?”
Meanwhile, Meng lost another round in the Canadian courts. On Thursday the B.C. Superior Court rejected her request to bar the release of newly obtained evidence. Two weeks ago, Meng’s legal team asked the court to prohibit the disclosure of the contents of new evidence they recently obtained from HSBC in Hong Kong that was seen as favourable to Meng, but the judge denied their application.