Politics on TV, Oct. 9 edition: Huawei, inequality, flu shots

Dale Smith on who said what on evening TV

Message of the day:

“We need to take a closer look at these telecom companies.”

Questions not answered:

  • Will the Canadian government ban Huawei Technologies?

Chinese telecoms:

With the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s report on Chinese telecoms – and Huawei Technologies, in particular – Power Play talked to former CSIS Director General Geoffrey O’Brian and Wenran Jiang of the Asia Pacific Foundation. Jiang said the Congress report has no substantial evidence, and warned that one shouldn’t overplay national security concerns. Jiang said the bigger question is why we are looking at China as an enemy rather than a business partner. O’Brian said we shouldn’t panic, but should have appropriate tools in place, like criminal sanctions for industrial espionage.

Power & Politics started with a briefing on Huawei from Greg Weston, followed by an MP panel featuring Pierre Poilievre, Paul Dewar and Wayne Easter. Poilievre wouldn’t comment on specifics, but noted there is a national security exemption in international trade agreements. He said networked services are limited to companies from NATO countries. Dewar suggested the government doesn’t have a strategic plan for telecom, which leaves Canada vulnerable. Easter decried government secrecy, and noted that if Australia, which has an excellent security and intelligence service, has banned Huawei, then Canada should look into what areas we should exclude them from operating in.

Over on Power Play, Poilievre and Dewar appeared with Geoff Regan. Dewar said telecom is a bedrock of our economy. Poilievre reiterated that the government has expanded the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre, while Regan said that hacking and industrial espionage are as serious a threat to the economy as terrorism and should be taken more seriously – especially by a Parliamentary committee.

Income inequality:

Evan Solomon spoke to Ed Broadbent about the first report from his namesake institute. The former NDP leader explained that inequality in Canada has grown more than in other OECD countries — a phenomenon he blamed on the globalized economy. He said the governments of France, Germany and Britain have increased tax rates and noted his institute commissioned a poll that suggests Canadians are prepared to pay more taxes to tackle that inequality.

Don Martin also spoke to Broadbent, who warned that if we stay the course, we’ll see higher crime rates, more teenaged pregnancies and lower health outcomes.

Power & Politics got political reaction to the report from Peggy Nash, Kellie Leitch, and Ralph Goodale. Nash said it is important to focus on inequality, though it’s not NDP policy to increase personal taxes or to impose a carbon tax. She reiterated that the Broadbent Institute is arm’s-length from the party. Leitch touted government job creation and denied there is a growing gap in equality. Goodale said the government is wrong to deny, but that those who would try to turn the issue into one of class warfare are also wrong.

Tainted meat:

On Power & Politics, Megan Fitzpatrick noted that the recall has extended to Hong Kong, while the list in the U.S. has tripled. CFIA was checking the plant again today. If it is unsatisfied, it could escalate enforcement measures — even cancel the plant’s licence altogether.


Evan Solomon spoke to Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews about the decision to allow pharmacists in the province to administer flu shots and to fill and modify certain prescriptions. Matthews said it’s about better access to healthcare, which may save money in the long run. Matthews added it will take time to expand the program to other services.