January 15, 2019 7:34 pm
Updated: January 16, 2019 7:33 am

Sask. NDP calls on SaskTel to review ties with Huawei

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan NDP wants SaskTel’s relationship with Huawei reviewed to ensure the privacy and security of people and businesses of the province are protected. Rebekah Lesko reports.

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Ryan Meili is calling on Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to review SaskTel’s ties with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

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The Opposition leader said Tuesday he wants the government to take action to ensure the privacy and security of people and businesses in Saskatchewan are protected.

READ MORE: Huawei founder, and father of Meng Wanzhou, rejects accusations of spying

“I have written to the premier to outline our concerns over Huawei having backdoor access to our essential communications infrastructure,” Meili said in a statement.

“The most recent revelations of alleged espionage and security threats by Huawei underscore why this government needs to exercise extreme caution and may need to extricate SaskTel from its contractual relationships with this company.”

Meili called on Moe to place an immediate moratorium on any further contracts between the Crown corporation and Huawei, and inform the public of Huawei’s involvement with SaskTel.

He also wants the Canadian Security Intelligence Services to provide an urgent analysis of any espionage potential and a cost assessment of ending current contracts with Huawei and removing technology that poses risk.

WATCH BELOW: Coverage of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei

“Given what we know today, this relationship must be subjected to appropriate scrutiny and actions must be taken to protect the privacy of Saskatchewan people and security of Saskatchewan business,” added Warren McCall, the Sask. NDP critic for SaskTel.

SaskTel said they have worked with Huawei since 2010 and have not had any issues with the China-based company since they teamed up.

“The security of our customers and our network is our highest priority, Huawei equipment is tested to ensure there are no malicious holes in there hardware or software,” SaskTel’s chief technology officer Daryl Godfrey said.

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has been facing intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China’s government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for spying.

READ MORE: Huawei fires employee arrested in Poland on spying charges

SaskTel added that there has been no evidence of anything malicious in Huawei products but they will abide by any measure put forward by the federal government.

“Huawei has operated for more than 10 years across Canada without a single security breach or incident. We’re proud to play a role in connecting the people of Saskatchewan to wireless services,” Huawei Canada’s chief security officer, Olivera Zatezalo, said in a statement.

“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to safeguard the privacy and security of the wireless networks we support. Huawei Canada welcomes the scrutiny of government – and the tests and safeguards that it seeks.”

No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the accusations, but some Western countries have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets. Poland said this week it could consider banning the use of Huawei products by public bodies, after it arrested a Chinese Huawei official.

-With files from Reuters and Global’s Rebekah Lesko

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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