If Harper’s vision is

If only it were true. Those who voted Conservative because they believed Martin was telling the truth may be in for a disappointment. Now that he’s Prime Minister, it’s not clear that Harper will allow the telecommunications industry to become a truly free market, even though Harper cut his political teeth with the Reform Party, which was founded not only in a spirit of Western alienation but as a proponent of free enterprise.

At press time, the new federal government had not committed to lifting the restriction on foreign ownership of Canadian telecommunications carriers.

After the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel released a report last month calling for the government to have yet another group of experts review Canada’s broadcasting policy, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier promised he would “carefully review” the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel’s report. I’m willing to bet that as of the time you’re reading this, the federal government still hasn’t committed to lifting the foreign ownership restrictions, as politicians and bureaucrats are probably still reviewing a review that has recommended yet another review.

Right now, the federal Telecommunications Act prohibits foreigners from owning a majority of voting shares of Canadian carriers.

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel believes the restrictions are in place “in large part” over concerns over the amount of Canadian content aired by broadcasters, though it calls for the government to eventually bring in a “phased liberalization” of the restriction. In other words, let’s not act too hastily to allow a foreign company to buy a Canadian carrier, because that might somehow result in radio stations playing fewer Burton Cummings tunes. Lets hope the new government gets beyond the fearmongering over culture and does something to stimulate investment in technological innovation.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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