Liberal Majority Could Result in Positive Change for Big 3: Analyst

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After nearly 10 years of Conservative leadership, Canadians may vote today for a change, as an opinion poll released on Sunday showed the Liberals nearly seven points ahead of Conservatives (37.3% to 30.5%). Of course, today’s results will also affect the telecom sector, so Scotia Capital Inc. analyst Jeff Fan put his forecast on paper, saying that a Liberal majority “could be a fresh and positive change for the incumbents” (via the Globe and Mail).

“In recent years, the Conservative government appeared to take a more hands-on approach to setting telecom policy and as a result CRTC decisions have been under the microscope. If a new Liberal government is elected, we believe it would take a more hands-off approach given its many other priorities.”

He points to the growing tension between Ottawa and the incumbents due to the regulatory interventions we have seen during the past few years — think spectrum auctions, relaxed foreign investment rules for smaller players, and price caps on wholesale roaming prices, just to name a few.

A Liberal majority, Fan says, could ease the tensions between the parties, and there would be a possibility for a more productive dialogue between them.

In the case of a Liberal minority government, Fan predicts that telecom and media policy issues would rank lower on the priority list. That would not be the case for a Conservative minority: if pushed by the NDP, “it might continue to focus on consumer-related polices linked to price and competition.”

Overall, the telecom file is complicated enough; hence, the new industry minister will refrain from making significant regulatory changes in the near term.