Hockey Night in Canada and large telecoms will continue to work with Huawei despite CFO’s arrest

Canadian telecommunications companies are staying the course with Huawei, despite the arrest of the company’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver and mounting international pressure on Canada to distance itself from the Chinese company.

U.S. officials are ramping up the pressure on Canada to follow their lead—and the U.K., Australia, Japan and New Zealand’s—in limiting the Chinese telecom’s access in Canada.

Rogers, SaskTel, and Ice Wireless said the week’s events—which included the U.K. telecom BT announcing it will block it from accessing its 5G network—have not affected their relationships with the Chinese smartphone and wireless infrastructure company.

Huawei currently works with a number of Canadian telecoms, including the Big Three. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

The company has also received funding and incentives from governments across Canada, including from Ontario, which promised the company a grant of up to $16 million in 2016 to build out 5G in the province. Huawei receives a 15 per cent tax credit for R&D expenditures from the federal government and provincial tax credits from Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. 

Rogers Communications has “a national infrastructure agreement with Ericsson and are partnering with them to build our network,” said Michelle Kelly, director of media relations and network communications. She also wrote that there was “no update to share re: Hockey Night in Canada.” Huawei is the presenting sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada, which has an average nightly viewership of 2.36 million. The broadcast, hosted by Ron MacLean on Saturday nights, also airs on the CBC. The CBC declined to comment and redirected questions about the two-year sponsorship deal, signed in 2017, to Rogers.

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