More foreign ownership a "one-sided sell out of Canadian interests"

OTTAWA, June 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The president of Canada's largest telecommunications union says that to news reports that Industry Minister Tony Clement plans to ease restriction on foreign investment in the Telco sector are a one-sided sell out of Canadian interests.

"Besides ignoring the Canadian ownership requirements of the Telecommunications Act, the discussion around foreign ownership in Canada's Telco sector is totally focused on what works for big business," says Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

"Privacy for individuals and security for the nation are both threatened by placing our critical telecommunications infrastructure into foreign hands. Missing in the whole discussion is the critical role that telecommunications plays in maintaining Canadian cultural sovereignty, and the overarching purpose of the Telecommunications Act, which is to 'perform an essential role in the maintenance of Canada's identity and sovereignty'," says Coles.

"Hopefully we will be hearing more about that in the case that's now before the Federal Court on this issue."

CEP, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have been granted intervener status in a case before the Federal Court that claims the federal government has ignored the Canadian ownership requirements of the Telecommunications Act.

The case was initiated by Public Mobile last year after the Conservative government overturned a CRTC decision to deny Globalive a license to operate in Canada because it is owned and controlled by foreign investors.

Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director of ACTRA, stressed that the role of telecommunications was even more important with growing convergence of communications and media services, and with the advent of digital technology that is now making telecommunications the preferred conduit for media. "These companies need to stay in Canadian hands. The ability to tell our own stories, listen to our own music and get our own point of view on the world is at stake here," he says."

SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

For further information: For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628; Carol Taverner, ACTRA: (416) 644-1519, cell: (416) 768-3336, ctaverner@actra.ca

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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