The close connection of Chinese telecommunication firms Huawei and ZTE to the Chinese government made global headlines recently, with a U.S. Congressional committee worried about the strong influence of the Chinese state over both firms. Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute, argues that this should come as no surprise to the American government, considering their own acts of industrial espionage towards the Chinese. (Steven Staples, “Worried about Huawei? Take a look at Lockheed Martin.” Embassy Magazine, 17 October 2012).
Staples goes on to look at the story from a Canadian perspective. He links the actions of Huawei in Canada, such as the $6.5 million agreement with the Ontario government to create jobs, to the cozy relationship between US defence contractor Lockheed Martin and Ottawa’s Conservative government. Lockheed Martin lobbying firm CFN Consultants regularly hires former Canadian military brass to help sell the F-35 stealth fighter and the Canadian government employed Lockheed Martin to help process the 2011 Canadian census.
The Canadian government should be equally concerned about security drawbacks that come from allowing any foreign corporations to operate in our country. Staples points out that a level playing field is needed:
The bottom line is that Canadian sovereignty and security, including economic security, is a responsibility of the federal government. If this should apply to Chinese companies, fine. But let’s ensure that other companies, like Lockheed Martin, aren’t given a free pass, when their links to another government are so evident.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defence