"A victory for culture, a victory for Canadian ownership"
OTTAWA, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - The Federal Court has effectively restored the
foreign ownership restrictions of Canada's Telecommunications Act by
quashing the federal government's decision to licence foreign-owned
wireless telecom Globalive.
"The Federal Court has said that Cabinet is not above the law," says the
President of Canada's largest telecommunications union, Dave Coles.
"If Stephen Harper and his Cabinet want to change the Telecommunication
Act, they have to have the guts to go before Parliament," he said,
noting that "the decision says 'Cabinet mis-drected itself in law'."
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP),
ACTRA, and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting were intervenors in the
In December 2009, the federal government granted a wireless license to
Globalive, a company backed by Egypt's Orascom, overturning an earlier
decision to block the permit by Canada's broadcast regulator. The
Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission had rejected
the application on the grounds it violated rules banning foreign
control of the sector.
"Overturning the Cabinet decision is a victory for Canadian ownership
rules and a victory for Canadian culture," said Stephen Waddell,
ACTRA's National Executive Director. "Globalive was potentially the
beginning of the end of our foreign ownership laws, we're ecstatic that
the courts have stopped the train in its tracks."
The cultural coalition had intervened on the same side as Telus and
Public Mobile in opposing the government's decision. However, they were
the only ones to bring cultural concerns to the table, asserting that
telecommunication companies have a responsibility under the Telecommunications Act to strengthen and safeguard Canadian cultural sovereignty.
Increasing convergence between telecom and broadcasting has made the
need to maintain Canadian-ownership of both even more acute. In the few
months since the cultural groups were granted standing in this case two
major telecommunications companies have converged with broadcasters -
Shaw with CanWest, and BCE with CTVglobemedia.
"Foreign ownership was a looming threat to our entire communications
industry, our ability to control our media and to protect our culture,"
added Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the Friends of Canadian
Broadcasting. "The federal court's assertion that our foreign ownership
rules matter has brought a sigh of relief across our entire industry."
SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA
For further information:
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