Here’s a Clever Reply to Bell’s Open Letter to Canadians Regarding Verizon


Almost two weeks ago Bell CEO George Cope wrote an open letter to Canadians in the Toronto Star to warn Canadians about the threat of Verizon coming to this country. The CEO attempted to make clear to Canadians the “critical situation” set to impact our wireless industry, as Verizon would get unfair advantages compared to incumbents. He also spoke about the storied history of Bell Canada, which was “established shortly after Confederation in 1880.” Just recently, a new Bell ad appeared which denoted ‘concerns’ over Verizon were ‘growing and growing.’

Canadian Ben Klass, a graduate student from the University of Manitoba, has taken the time to formulate a reply to Mr. Cope and has done so with a bit more clarification on the history involved, responding to the letter with even more details than we could have imagined:

You must, however, be aware that Bell’s permission to operate in Canada was initially obtained by agents acting in the interest of the (American) National Bell Telephone Company and that, after securing a favourable charter, three top-level executives from National Bell were appointed to Bell Canada’s board of directors (Babe, 1990, pg 68-69). Or how about how American Bell initially owned 50% of your company, only fully divesting its interest 43 years ago, in 1970 (Winseck, 1998, pg 119)?

Bell began its life in Canada as a branch plant of an American company; in a strange twist of fate, it’s now a descendant of National Bell Telephone – Verizon – which is contemplating (re)entering the Canadian market. And they leveraged this relationship to get an early leg up on the competition – using patents owned by its American parent, Bell quickly monopolized the market for Canadian telephone services, a monopoly it used to funnel profits back to the States. (Smythe, 1981, pg 141)

Essentially, Klass’ surgically breaks down contradictions within the letter and provides his arguments against the three ‘loopholes’ Bell wants closed. Definitely worth the read–check it out here.


  • Omar Zebian


  • Jason Reid


  • Erik Kappel

    Wow, the hypocrisy of it all. I hope this makes the rounds.

  • Reality_check_777

    Hardly….this kid has got no clout and no status. Bell’s lawyers will be ripping his letter apart. Now, if the CRTC uses his letter and accept it as being “relevant” then that’s good news. Otherwise, the Big 3 will dismiss it and it essentially means nothing since the consumers have no say. #realitycheck

  • mcfilmmakers

    Consumers absolutely have say. #realitycheck via #UBB & #C10

  • ward09

    Haha… Burn!

  • beavisaur

    We should find a way to get that into the Toronto Star on a full 2 page spread.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Or better yet the readers on here should band together along with other sites (Mobile Syrup) and not only include that but express our outrage at the big 3’s negative ad campaign against Verizon and make it clear in no uncertain terms that they’ve screwed us over one too many times and there tactics are the final nail in the coffin and that given the chance, we’ll all be switching to Verizon. I know I’d be willing to donate some money for a newspaper ad. Either that or enlist Anonymous to post it on Bell, Rogers & Telus’ websites. Now THAT would be EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reality_check_777

    How do you figure? For example, if we had a say would CRTC pass the no 3 year contract provisions AND allow the carriers to jack up their costs as a result? The two cancel each other out. Would charging us for high SMS texts rates be allowed if the CRTC listened to us? Would the CRTC allow carriers to charge us hideously expensive rates for premium and unsolicited SMS texts? I know there are countless of other examples on how the CRTC ignores the consumers.

  • Patrick

    Ahahah… Never mind that Rogers had no money to expend their network when they bought Cantel… So it was Rogers AT&T!!! When thy got enough money they bought them out… But really, American money has been in comms in Canada before… And I welcome competition that is actually sizeable.

  • downhilldude

    wow. can’t believe you guys, nor this punk’s letter. I was aware of this history, but it’s not really relevant today. today, both nations are more protective of their competitive environments. in the long run, Verizon well not be good for Canadians.

    bunch of short sighted posts, not looking at the big picture.

  • charlie468

    The Star would be perfect. They could add it to the rest of the irrelevant information they publish.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Yes. Our say was no 3 year contracts. The CRTC has NO jurisdiction over price increases as a result of a decision taken. The two DO NOT cancel each other out. Do the math. The CRTC cannot fix rates for individual SMS messages, calls, etc. The removes competition as all companies will simply set the CRTC limit. The fact is, the CRTC has been listengin to us lately – they have to find the middle ground, not please all consumers with all their demands. The listened to consumers and killed UBB. They listened to consumers and set spectrum aside in 2008 and again for the coming spectrum. You need to realize that if Bell says they’ll charge 10$ and consumer ask the CRTC for a rate of 5$, the CRTC will set it to $7.50.

  • kuku

    Hmm. So the consumer has to to request exactly what they want and how much too? In collective bargaining your example could be a construed as a lose lose situation.

    As I am not an expert on the wireless industry rather just Joe Public, what little the CRTC has done and how long it took them simply does not sit well with me. I’d recommend you you post your favorable opinion of the CRTC on Howard Forums. They have some very qualified experts there that may put into perspective how little the CRTC has done for the consumer and how much they did for the big 3. In fact that’s why the President of regrets setting to in Canada because of the CRTC and their favoritism toward the Big 3.

  • kuku

    How do you breathe with your head stuck in the sand?

  • mcfilmmakers

    You are completely misinterpreting my statements. I NEVER said the CRTC was pro-consumer. I also NEVER said they were pro-industry. What I said was the CRTC is responsible for balancing the needs of both sides in order to come to a reasonable solution which yes, often means a lose-lose situation. The fact the industry is capable of making the most out of any situation is to their advantage at the cost of the consumer, that’s simply how commercialism works.

  • downhilldude

    I’m smart enough not to stick my head in the sand. What’s your excuse?

    When Verizon siphons off profits to the U.S., when Rogers/TELUS/Bell lay off tax paying employees, when EI claims go up, when your Dad’s mutual fund doesn’t do so well, and your grandmother’s pension gets threatened, don’t scratch your head wondering what the hell happened. Just be happy you saved $7.50 per month on your phone bill.