Ex-Bell Executive: Ottawa’s Verizon Plan Puts Seniors’ Pensions at Risk

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The Star reports the wireless war over Verizon coming to Canada has now involved pensioners, in particular one former Bell executive who says his pension is at risk. Dan Braniff, 82, says if Verizon comes to town and eats away at the profits of the Big 3, his portfolio (which has more Bell stock than others) is expected to take a hit:

Braniff expects this battle to be bigger. Pensioners across Canada will be sideswiped if Ottawa gives American telecommunications giant Verizon privileged access to the Canadian telecommunications market. Many have a large portion of their savings invested in Bell, Rogers and Telus.

As a former executive of Bell Canada, Braniff is more exposed than most. But he is by no means alone. Robert Farmer, president of the Canadian Federation of Pensioners, which represents a quarter of a million retirees, fired off a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, warning that the failure of any of the big three Canadian telecommunications companies would bring “irreparable harm to all pensioners.”

The Canadian Federation of Pensioners sent off a letter to Prime Minister Harper to explain the dire consequences should Rogers, Telus and Bell lose profits due to Verizon, citing:

“The Verizon proposition is like providing a tax incentive and free transportation for cross-border shoppers.”

With the September 17 wireless spectrum auction application deadline looming, the Big 3 have stepped up their marketing efforts to convince Ottawa to reverse its wireless plans, despite the latter already saying the auction will go on as planned. Yesterday, telecom analysts expressed the incumbent PR campaign has caused more backlash than gained support.

Just yesterday, WIND Mobile’s CEO pushed his company’s stance on the auction and labeled the Big 3 guilty of serving up a “buffet of misinformation” to Canadians with their ‘Fair for Canada’ ad campaign.

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