The Government Did Not Court Verizon, Industry Minister Says


Industry Minister James Moore denied allegations that Ottawa courted Verizon and emphasized once again that the government’s policies will remain unchanged whether the red US carrier decides to enter the Canadian wireless market or not. He also stressed that Ottawa’s wireless policy isn’t tilted toward a U.S. player, so it does not live or die by Verizon’s entrance.

“Whether Verizon comes or does not come, in either circumstance consumers are going to benefit from our policy,” Mr. Moore said. “Verizon coming or not coming is not the success or failure of our government’s policy.”

James Moore’s words point to the false advertising claims the Big Three are using to influence Canadian wireless subscribers. The claim of Ottawa courting Verizon comes from Rogers, but turns out its allegations are false: the government did not seek out Verizon to invite the deep-pocketed U.S. carrier to Canada.

Neither James Moore nor his predecessor Christian Paradis have met with Verizon to convince the wireless player to invest into the Canadian wireless industry, Moore said to the Financial Post.

What did happen is they have met at Verizon’s request for an exchange of information. In other words, the Industry Minister has highlighted once again what every informed wireless subscriber already knows: the Big Three’s campaign should be taken with a grain of salt.

Mr. Moore said representatives from Industry Canada did meet with Verizon officials on one occasion, on May 21, but added, “It was at Verizon’s request — not our request — and it was just a basic exchange of information about the nature of the spectrum auction and what the rules are and Canada’s telecom policy and that’s it. So it’s simply not true [that the government sought out Verizon].”

During his cross-country speaking tour, Moore characterized the Big Three’s campaign as “impressively unsuccessful.” From his perspective, the campaign hasn’t resonated with Canadians, but raised questions instead. His tour is to answer the questions about the government’s wireless policy and promoting competition that is for the benefit of consumers.

“So after having listened to quite enough of that, I thought it’s important that the public knows that this campaign by the Big Three needs to be taken with a grain of salt.”

I think it’s pretty obvious that the picture looks totally different from the Big Three’s perspective. From their point of view, what is a failure is the Industry Minister’s campaign for wireless competition. They just can’t accept the fact that any new wireless player can pick up struggling wireless startups and can bid on two blocks of spectrum during the forthcoming spectrum auction. They just can’t accept the government’s wireless policy, which, by the way, was applauded by them when announced. Interesting, right?

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