February 17, 2020

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MP calls for review of planned takeover

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/5/2016 (1383 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton wants the federal government to launch a full-scale public review of the planned takeover of Manitoba Telecom Services by BCE Inc.

The two companies announced Bell’s plans to buy 100 per cent of MTS for $3.9 billion Monday, but the NDP are not buying the deal as good for Manitobans.

"Canadians already pay some of the highest wireless prices in the world," Ashton said in question period Wednesday.

"Greater competition in Manitoba means that we have paid lower prices than other parts of the country. However, the proposed takeover of MTS by Bell could erase this advantage, lead to job losses and sharply increase the prices that we pay."

Ashton wants a public study of the deal.

The Competition Bureau has to review and approve the deal to ensure it doesn’t substantially lessen competition.

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains wouldn’t comment specifically on the MTS/BCE deal but said the government’s "No. 1 concern is to ensure competition for Manitobans and continued investment in rural service."

"We will be looking carefully to make sure that concerns of Manitobans are addressed," Bains said in the House of Commons. "The government supports competition, choice and availability of service. We want to make sure we have a climate that is good not only for businesses but for consumers as well."

Earlier this week, Conservative innovation critic Diane Finley issued a statement arguing the government should only approve deals that improve competition in the wireless industry.

"More competition means lower prices for Canadian consumers," Finley said.

"With the Liberals raising taxes on Canadian families, now is not the time to make policy decisions that take even more money out of the pockets of hard-working Canadian families."

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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