"Is Canwest still Canadian?" union asks PM

    OTTAWA, Aug. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to
assure Canadians that the country's largest media company has not fallen under
foreign control, says Canada's largest media union.
    "We have serious concerns that Canwest Global and Canwest itself may now
be under the direction and control of U.S. investors, contrary to federal
law," says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President, Media for the Communications, Energy
and Paperworkers Union, which represents more than 20,000 media workers,
including employees at Canwest's print and broadcast outlets.
    "When Canwest Global purchased Alliance Atlantis, it barely reached the
Canadian ownership threshold by including all of its broadcast operations in
the deal - but since the value of those assets has now dropped so sharply,
it's clear that Canwest's U.S. debt holders may now be calling the company's
shots," explains Murdoch.
    "But Parliament has demanded that our communications media remain in
Canadian hands, to ensure our sovereignty and security. Canadian newspapers
receive tax breaks and Canadian broadcasters benefit from many regulatory
incentives, all to promote Canadian ownership.
    "Since Canwest's existence hinges on the consent of its major creditors -
largely foreign - CEP's concern is that control of the company has de facto
shifted to non-Canadians already - a situation that requires federal
government intervention.
    "The Canadian government should be monitoring Canwest's actions to ensure
that control is being exercised by Canadians, particularly while this
debt-ridden company restructures itself to meet the massive debt it took on.
    "We cannot allow financial advisors from Los Angeles to make decisions
about the Canadian media landscape - that's our turf," says Murdoch.

For further information:

For further information: Peter Murdoch, (905) 516-5720

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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