In his daily briefing to media outside Rideau Cottage on Tuesday, Trudeau was asked about a report by the Globe and Mail that Chinese tech firm Huawei — which the U.S. views as an espionage risk — is quietly shipping millions of medical masks and other protective equipment to Canada.
“Don’t you feel there might be a quid pro quo in accepting donations from China, a quid pro quo regarding the 5G network and other issues?” one journalist asked in French.
“We are not expecting these donations to have any impact on our decisions. In fact, they will not affect our decisions on any issues,” Trudeau said in French in response to the question.
“Receiving goods from a particular company won’t necessarily imply at all that we regard different situations with that company any differently in the future,” he then repeated in English.
Huawei wants to supply parts for the development of Canada’s next-generation 5G network.
But it is barred from 5G networks in three Five Eyes allies because officials believe the risk that the company could use its access to the networks to spy for the Chinese government is too great.
Huawei denies the allegations, but the company and its CFO Meng Wanzhou currently face dozens of criminal charges in the U.S. for corporate espionage and fraud.