James Moore Confirms Ottawa Commitment to Greater Competition and Liberalized Investment

by Istvan Fekete on August 1, 2013

Competition It just can’t get bigger than this: the outrage of the Canadian incumbents due to Verizon’s possible entrance as a fourth carrier has triggered a huge campaign attacking the government on every possible front. Fortunately for Canadian consumers, James Moore has finally made official the government’s position: it won’t change its plans to boost competition with a twin policy of encouraging foreign investment, plus setting aside spectrum for new entrants.

The carefully orchestrated campaign aims to capture Canadians’ attention by probing a sensitive area: jobs. Alongside media statements, the big three have targeted Canadians with an open letter from Bell CEO George A. Cope that highlights the unfairness of Ottawa’s wireless policy. More recently, the incumbents have also posted ads in newspapers claiming that if a deep-pocketed new entrant such as Verizon is allowed on Canadian soil, many Canadians working in the telecom industry will lose their jobs.

My question: will Canadians get more jobs if the struggling wireless startups decide to close their doors as they run out of financial backing?

The campaign goes as far as showing Rogers, Telus, and Bell employees threatened with losing their jobs, because of the government’s “sweetheart deal for US giant”, Verizon. But it doesn’t stop there: Rogers is seeking help from its employees, urging them to send a pre-written letter to the prime minister to the appropriate MP.

In fact, the big three have their own backers: the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union(CEP), and others.
Ottawa’s initiative, on the other hand, is backed by strong consumer groups, which called the Rogers–Bell–Telus initiative misinformative, which aims to ignite fear among Canadians.

But as one industry analyst has already pointed out, Ottawa’s position remains unchanged, and Industry Minister James Moore has issued a statement in reply to the Big Three campaign:

“Since 2008, our Government has introduced new policies to increase competition in our telecommunications industry. The result has been greater choices at lower prices for Canadians. In fact, our actions have driven down the average cost of wireless services by nearly 20%.

Our Government’s view is that Canadian families work hard for their money, and they want their government to make decisions that will help them keep more of it. Protecting consumers and increasing competition in the wireless market are priorities for Canadians and our Conservative Government.

Our policy has been clear and remains unchanged: greater competition and liberalized investment has meant more choices at lower prices for Canadian families.

Our Government’s telecommunications policy was not created overnight. It is the result of a vigorous consultation that started in 2008 and continues today. All players – industry, consumer groups and everyday Canadians – contributed to this policy.

We are committed to ensuring the best possible outcomes for Canadian consumers. We want all regions of Canada to benefit from competitive market forces, which is why more progress must be made. We will continue to stay the course by ensuring Canadians benefit from a competitive telecommunications industry.”

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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