A senior Huawei Canada executive who served as the company’s spokesperson in Canada has announced he will be leaving the Chinese company as tensions rise between Canada and China.
Scott Bradley, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Huawei Canada, disclosed his departure in a LinkedIn post but did not give a reason for the move.
“We are saddened to see him leave but grateful for the tireless work he has put in to help us grow our brand and public image, and build various relationships with government,” Huawei Canada president Eric Li said in a memo to staff obtained by Reuters. Li said Bradley will continue to serve as a special adviser “as required.”
Bradley said in a separate memo to Huawei Canada, which was reported by the Globe and Mail, that his exit was “not a sudden decision but rather an understanding over the past year and a half that at some point, I would be moving on from a formal role with the company.”
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Bradley joined Huawei in 2011 after working as a Bell Media executive and running unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate in the 2011 general election.
During his time at Huawei, he attempted to create a favourable reputation for the Chinese company in Canada and to dispel worries that it is closely connected to the Chinese government.
Nevertheless, tensions have recently increased between Canada and China over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver and the detention of two Canadians in China, which some speculate was done in response to Meng’s arrest.
Ambassador Lu Shaye said on Wednesday that Canada’s demand for the release of the two detained Canadians reflects “double standards” born of “western egotism and white supremacy.”
On Friday, Poland arrested a Chinese Huawei employee on spying allegations, but a spokesman for Polish security services said the allegations relate to the individual’s actions and are not directly related to the company.
There has been no public evidence that Huawei’s equipment has been used for spying and the firm has repeatedly denied the claims, but several western countries have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets and have pressured Canada to do the same.
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Though the Canadian government launched a security review of Huawei’s 5G technology last year, it is still a major supplier of telecommunications equipment in Canada and at least two major carriers have said they plan to test the company’s 5G technology in small-scale pilots.
Bradely previously served as chair of the 5G Canada Council, a national trade group promoting the adoption of the next-generation wireless technology.
As of 2017, companies under Chinese law are required to “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work.”
-With files from Reuters