The vice-chairman of Rogers Communications Inc. (RCIb.TO) is warning Canada against giving Huawei Technologies Co. control of the country’s 5G telecommunications systems.

“Huawei is cheaper and quite sophisticated. But the fact is, they’re very, very close to the Chinese government. So for anyone to argue that they wouldn’t be compromised if the government said, ‘do this’ – they’d do it. They have to do it. They’re in that country,” Phil Lind told BNN Bloomberg’s Catherine Murray in an interview Wednesday.

“The idea of Huawei controlling – or potentially controlling – our communication system in Canada is crazy. I don’t think they should be allowed to.”

Rogers announced in 2018 it was partnering with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson as part of a multi-year plan to deliver 5G to Canadians.  

On May 17, the U.S., which has long accused Huawei of facilitating espionage for Beijing, blacklisted the Chinese telecom giant and cut it off from the U.S. software and components it needs to make its products. It has also sought to convince allies – including Canada – not to purchase its 5G equipment from the company.

Lind says that the bipartisan U.S. support to restrict Huawei is a sign that Canada should consider its neighbour’s warnings.

“If it was just President Trump, that’s one thing. But if you’ve got Democrats as well saying ‘no deal,’ then I think we’ve got to listen. We should listen,” Lind said. 

He added that the Chinese government’s response to the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou – which is said to have prompted a ban on canola exports from Canada and the detention of two Canadians – also signals a closeness between China and Huawei.

“I mean, why does the Chinese government get so excited about this? Why? Because they’re very, very close to Huawei,” Lind said.