Two of Canada’s largest unions will rally their members in downtown Toronto this Friday to protest the federal government’s plan to allow Verizon to bid on valuable wireless spectrum at an upcoming auction. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) and Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), who later this month will merge into a single union called Unifor, say the government’s policies would give the American telco an unfair advantage and will ultimately cost Canadian jobs.
“Opposition to allowing Verizon to take over our Telco industry is growing every day,” says CEP President Dave Coles in a press release. “The deal will give Verizon the green light to piggyback on technology built by and for Canadians, and put thousands out of work.”
“There is the falsity being circulated right now that allowing Verizon in Canada will automatically lower costs for consumers,” says CAW President Ken Lewenza. “Not only will this not be the case, Canadian jobs are at stake.”
The views are largely in line with the position stated by Canada’s so-called “Big Three” providers — Rogers, Bell, and Telus — who say that Verizon doesn’t need help getting into the market, and want to be able to bid on as much spectrum as outside entrants are being allowed.
So, owners and workers in Canada’s telcom industry are united in their opposition to foreign competition. Meanwhile, a report in the National Post suggests that just the threat of Verizon coming to Canada has already benefitted consumers here in the form of better data-sharing plans.