NDP Leader Urges Industry Minister to Block Rogers-Shaw Merger

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Sunday sent a letter to Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, urging him to block Rogers’ proposed $26 billion takeover of Shaw Communications — reports BNN Bloomberg.

In his letter, Singh cited higher wireless/internet pricing and layoffs as likely consequences of the transaction. “Canadians need lower cell and internet bills, not higher prices. We need more good jobs, not layoffs,” Singh wrote.

Minister Champagne’s approval has become the last hurdle for the Rogers-Shaw deal after the Federal Court of Appeal last month dismissed the Competition Bureau’s appeal against a federal tribunal decision to greenlight the deals.

The Industry Minister is currently deciding whether or not to approve the transfer of Shaw’s spectrum licences to Quebecor in the sale of Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile to Quebecor’s Vidéotron, a side deal that’s part of the larger merger. Rogers, Shaw, and Quebecor previously extended their mutual deadline for both transactions to Friday, February 17.

Minister Champagne told the press on Monday that the Canadian government isn’t obligated to abide by the companies’ deadlines.

“I am not bound by any date that the parties could decide between themselves. What interests me is the interests of Canadians. I will make my decision in time and place,” Champagne said.

“I will be relentless in making sure that whatever is the decision, that that decision is in the best interest of Canadians and will lower prices.”

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