Canadians Shouldn’t Pay Rogers-Shaw’s Legal Fees, Says Think Tank
The Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project (CAMP) has expressed strong disapproval over the recent decision by Canada’s Competition Tribunal, which ruled that the Competition Bureau must pay $13 million in legal fees to Rogers-Shaw in relation to their merger case.
“That the Tribunal would force Canadians to foot the bill for two multi-billion dollar corporations is a reminder of how hostile Canada’s laws and institutions are to protecting competition,” said Keldon Bester, Executive Director at the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project, in a statement on Wednesday.
The Competition Bureau, unlike other public officials in Canada, is treated as a private litigant, making it vulnerable to multi-million dollar cost awards whenever it challenges corporate behaviour in court. This comes despite the Bureau operating solely in the public interest. Bester emphasized the need for reform, stating, “Any reform of Canada’s Competition Act must include recognizing this public interest role and immunizing the Bureau from cost awards to avoid chilling effective enforcement.”
The statement highlights the disparity between the Competition Bureau’s annual budget of $59.5 million in 2022 and Rogers’ revenue of $15.4 billion in the same year, raising questions about the fairness of the Tribunal’s decision.
The tribunal’s ruling follows an extended legal struggle, in which Boswell persisted in challenging the merger despite Rogers and Shaw agreeing to divest most of Shaw’s wireless operations (Freedom Mobile) to Quebecor.