Important decision for Canadians
Although the House of Commons does not resume sitting until next week, all-party Parliamentary committees are currently sitting and reviewing essential subjects of national interest.
One of the Parliamentary Committees sitting this week is INDU (Committee on Industry and Technology), which is currently reviewing the proposed takeover of Shaw Communications by Rogers Communications.
This proposed deal has faced several obstacles, including being opposed by Canada’s Competition Bureau, which recently went to Federal Court to block the deal.
The Federal Court ruled against the Competition Bureau, leaving the final decision to approve or reject this proposed deal to the Liberal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, who is also the MP for Saint-Maurice—Champlain in Quebec.
Aside from the Competition Bureau’s opposition to this proposed deal, an initial study from the INDU Committee resulted in four recommendations, one being that “the Committee believes the merger should not proceed.”
The primary concern of many opponents to this proposed deal is that it could result in even less competition in an industry that already has very little competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers.
Canadians pay some of the highest cell phone bills in the world.
In fact, during the 2019 election, PM Trudeau promised that his Liberal government would reduce cell phone bills by 25% within two years, saving the “average Canadian family $1,000” a year.
On February 9th of last year, in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Trudeau stated, “We promised Canadian families that we would reduce the cost of their cell phone bill. Today, I am happy to announce that we have met our 25% price reduction target. In fact, we have done so three months ahead of schedule.”
In my MP Report from February 23rd last year, I asked whether your wireless cell phone bills have decreased by 25%, as Prime Minister Trudeau claimed.
The response to this question was overwhelming, and almost every reply I received indicated that what the Prime Minister stated was patently false.
Many individuals even shared their wireless bills, which provided a well-documented cost increase.
Several citizens also noted that wireless plans had changed so that they now paid separately for the plan and the phone instead of being combined, as was the case previously.
In every example I received from citizens, people were paying more overall.
Recently Professor Michael Geist, who is one of Canada’s foremost law professors and also holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, wrote on this proposed deal and the upcoming political decision that Minister Champagne must make to approve or reject this takeover.
Professor Geist stated: “Minister Champagne and the government can choose to stand up for Canadian consumers and say this deal doesn’t go ahead on their watch. Or they can stand with big telecom companies and choose to make matters even worse. It’s Champagne’s choice.”
I have two questions for you this week:
How concerned are you over the size of your monthly wireless bill? If you were the Minister, what would you do?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola