As the Canadian Parliament opened yesterday for a new session, Governor General Michaëlle Jean dedicated a small portion of her Speech from the Throne to highlighting the Conservative government’s plans to open up the wireless industry to foreign investment. As anyone who even closely pays attention to Canadian news will remember, it was just a few short months ago when Industry Minister Tony Clement over-ruled the CRTC’s decision to bar the launch of what is now WIND Mobile. Since then, the controversy over the move has died off, but it looks like what we experience in December could easily balloon into something much bigger. Here is what Jean said:
“Our Government will open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment in key sectors, including the satellite and telecommunications industries, giving Canadian firms access to the funds and expertise they need. While safeguarding Canada’s national security, our Government will ensure that unnecessary regulation does not inhibit the growth of Canada’s uranium mining industry by unduly restricting foreign investment. It will also expand investment promotion in key markets.”
So far there is no official word as to whether or not the government will attempt to amend the Telecommunications Act which stipulates that wireless carriers must be no more than 46.7% owned by foreigners and no less than 80% controlled by Canadians, but it certainly doesn’t seem as if there are many other options.
So what think you, Canadians? Is this just progress that will be of great benefit, or is it just another example of the slow but steady parcelling off of Canada’s identity.