While Ottawa has just banned Chinese giant Huawei from the 5G network for security reasons, Quebec universities are continuing their research with millions with the controversial company.
At Laval University, more than $13 million worth of projects are underway with Huawei, according to recent data obtained by The newspaper.
“At the moment, the announcement made concerns the commercial use of Huawei equipment and we do not yet know the implications of this government decision for the investigation,” explained Laval University spokesman Jean-François Hoopoe.
On the McGill University side, it is said to have “a very limited number of research partnerships with Huawei Canada” without quantifying funding.
“To date, no decision has been made regarding ongoing research initiatives. That said, Canadian universities, the federal government and the private sector have a shared responsibility to ensure that our scientific enterprise and our intellectual property are safe from external threats,” admits Frédérique Mazerolle, Media Relations.
At the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), which has four projects with the Chinese company, it is also argued that “no decision has been taken on the ongoing projects with Huawei but [que] The INRS is closely monitoring the development of the situation”.
Million dollar rain
At the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which has paid at least $32 million to Canadian universities for projects with Huawei, including $12 million in Quebec, over the past ten years, we recall the lines” of last July.
“The guidelines do not target any country or company, as the risks in terms of research security are constantly evolving and can come from anywhere in the world”, guarantees Martin Leroux in a communication.
Last May, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Montreal was annoyed to see Ottawa ban Huawei in this way.
“Without any evidence, the Canadian side has decided to exclude Huawei and ZTE from the Canadian market under the guise of national security, which greatly expands the concept of national security, goes against the principles of market and free trade, and violates the legitimate and interests of Chinese companies,” he said in writing to Record.
According to Beijing, “the so-called security term is actually used for political intentions” in the 5G file.
“It should be noted that this type of action could damage Canada’s international reputation and its own interests,” he concluded.
Huawei did not respond to our questions.
Last May, Ottawa said it was “very concerned that vendors like Huawei and ZTE could be forced to comply with extrajudicial directives from a foreign government that would violate Canadian law or harm Canadian interests.”