LILLEY: Trudeau’s soft on China view led to RCMP contract with Chinese firm

Article content

The contract that never should have happened was cancelled on Thursday.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The Trudeau government confirmed late in the day that a contract to provide communications equipment to the RCMP was cancelled over security concerns.

Article content

Sinclair Technologies, an Ontario-based firm, won the contract worth $549,637 in 2021. They were supposed to provide a radio frequency filtering system to encrypt RCMP land-based radio communications.

The problem is, Sinclair is ultimately controlled by a Chinese company with ties to the Communist Party of China, one currently facing accusations of espionage in the United States.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed the civil service for the contract being signed.

“We will have some real questions for the independent public service that signed these contracts, and we’ll make sure this is changed,” Trudeau said.

Advertisement 3

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Trudeau wondered aloud at his news conference of how this could happen at a time when experts are warning of security issues with China.

The answer is simple, leadership and policy start at the top and Trudeau has only recently become concerned with China and the threat an increasingly aggressive government in Beijing poses to our national security.

While the PM himself and some of his cabinet ministers have recently begun to take a more cautious approach to China, including calling for a decoupling, others have not made the move. To blast the civil servants as he did is disingenuous given that when the contracts were signed, his government was still bullish on China.

That’s not to say the civil servants were right to sign the deal, they weren’t. But if we are going to have a national security lens on examining government contracts, that needs to be spelled out.

Advertisement 4

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

No security review was conducted

Public Services and Procurement Canada, the federal department in charge of government contracts has confirmed that security concerns and Sinclair’s ownership were not taken into consideration when the account was awarded last year. That should be concerning given the allegations against Sinclair’s ultimate parent firm, Hytera, which has faced plenty of scrutiny south of the border.

In August 2019, Hytera was banned, along with Huawei and ZTE, from supplying any communications gear to American government agencies over security concerns. The company has also been in a long running dispute with Motorola on patent infringement and earlier this year was indicted on 21 counts of technology theft.

Advertisement 5

Article content

And no one in the Canadian federal government thought that granting a company owned by Hytera was a bad idea? A security risk?

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

They didn’t think about that because the boss at the top, Trudeau, was until very recently incredibly pro-China. He famously named China as the country he admires most, other than Canada because “their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green.”

That foolish statement, made at a “Ladies Night” party fundraiser and prompted by a friendly question, is an insight into Trudeau’s thinking on China. In the United States, the once unanimous view of opening up to China as a way to bring about change has long ago turned to suspicion of China’s now backward-looking leadership.

We’ve seen a similar shift in attitudes towards Beijing by allies such as the United Kingdom and Australia but through it all, even when facing pressure from other leaders, Trudeau would not shift. Our allies moved away from us, the Five Eyes becoming three in many aspects because the U.S., U.K. and Australia didn’t trust us when it came to China.

If Trudeau is wondering how the civil service could get the idea that this contract with RCMP was acceptable, he needs to simply look in the mirror.

[email protected]

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment