Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says there is no reason to believe Canada’s national security was under threat at any time due to the RCMP’s dealings with an Ontario company that has links to China.
Mendicino tried on Monday to reassure members of a House of Commons committee who are looking at the RCMP’s standing offer with Sinclair Technologies for radio-frequency filtering equipment.
The standing offer was suspended and a stop-work order for undelivered goods was issued last month after a Radio-Canada report about the arrangement.
Sinclair’s parent company, Norsat International, has been owned by Chinese telecommunications firm Hytera since 2017, and the Chinese government owns a 10 per cent stake in Hytera through an investment fund.
The United States Federal Communications Commission banned the use of Hytera technology for the purpose of public safety, government security and surveillance of critical infrastructure in 2021 when it was deemed a risk to national security.
The equipment being used by the RCMP does not have the technical capability to access Mountie radio communications, Mendicino told the committee.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Bryan Larkin said the equipment does not transmit any communication, but rather filters out interference.
He said two reviews are still underway: an internal audit of due diligence and a technical study of the equipment in question.
An initial examination of one of the devices from an Ontario radio tower revealed no sign of compromise, Larkin said. Other such spot examinations of the equipment are taking place across the country, he added.
“The next one will be in British Columbia. And we can come back to the committee with that information in writing at a later time as we progress across the nation.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.