Most Canadians oppose foreign ownership in telecommunications: poll
OTTAWA, Aug. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is calling on Harper's Conservatives to heed the majority of Canadians' opinion and repeal legislation allowing foreign companies to take over Canada's telecommunications. According to a recent Nanos Research survey*, 33% of Canadians "oppose" and 17% "somewhat oppose" "foreign-owned wireless telecommunications companies entering the Canadian market to compete for business."
"The current crisis in telecommunications policy has its roots in the Conservatives removal of foreign ownership restrictions in last year's infamous omnibus budget," says CEP President Dave Coles. "Buried in the 450 page omnibus budget bill was an ideologically driven overhaul of the Telecommunications Act."
That move allowed foreign-controlled corporations to buy 100 per cent of telco companies holding up to 10 per cent of the Canadian market. They can then expand limitlessly.
"Opposition to foreign ownership of Canada's telecommunications will grow as there is more discussion about the far-reaching consequences for Canadian workers, security and culture," says Coles. "For instance, Telecom firms increasingly provide both telecommunications and broadcasting services so opening the sector up to foreign companies is a step towards foreign ownership in broadcasting, which will undermine Canadian cultural content."
According to a recently leaked German negotiating document, for the first time in any trade agreement the Conservatives have included telecommunications liberalization in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently under negotiation with the European Union.
"They want to lock foreign ownership of telco rules into CETA," says Coles. "This will make it nearly impossible for a future Canadian government to reverse their recent reforms allowing foreign multinationals to take over Canada's telecommunications industry. It will restrict forever the right of Canadians to own, protect and regulate our telecommunications and communications sectors."
*The Nanos Research telephone survey of 2,000 Canadians was conducted between August 12 and 19 and was commissioned by Bell and Telus, which recently called for the elimination of all foreign telco ownership rules. 27% of respondents said they "support" and 19% said they "somewhat support" foreign telco ownership while 5% were unsure.
SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADAFor further information:
DAVE COLES, 613-299-5628