Contrary to what has been said, Canadian wireless pricing is not higher than others in the developed world. Most recent studies ranked Canada in the middle of the G7 in terms of pricing.
The three Canadian incumbents have consistently been at the forefront of introducing new technology (to all Canadians, not just in the Toronto-Montreal corridor, which is Verizon’s publicly stated intention), typified by the high penetration rate of the latest LTE wireless technology.
Full disclosure: I’ve been an employee of Telus for about a decade. The problem with the current policy of this federal government is that it allows Verizon to acquire wireless spectrum (the life blood of the business) in the coming auction at a discounted rate to Canadian incumbents, and two existing failing wireless companies, Mobilicity and Wind, at discounted prices, since the Canadian incumbents are prevented from bidding for them.
Regulatory rules that were designed to assist upstart new entrants in the telecommunications field are apparently going to be used to provide a U.S.-based multinational (larger than the entire Canadian industry) with preferential treatment and cost relief. Far from promoting competition, this does the opposite.
I can’t think of another example in the developed world of a government promoting protectionist policies to favour a foreign competitor. What’s next for the Harper government? Giving away parts of Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. companies in order to promote competition?
There is a lot at stake here: tens of thousands of Canadian jobs and innovation and advancement in an industry that is crucial to the future of the economy.
Rodger Madden, Toronto
Steven Shepard lauds the Big Three telecoms for having “already invested billions of dollars in the service infrastructure that supports the country,” as if they did it out of the goodness of their hearts (A Fourth Player’s Fine, If The Game’s Played Fairly – July 31). They have extracted extraordinary wealth from those investments through the exorbitant fees they charge Canadians.
Daniel Lahey, Ottawa
A British lens
Re Thatcher’s Briefing On Canada Revealed (Aug. 2): In your reporting of the recently released briefing notes on Canada prepared for Margaret Thatcher, you use a quote from Bob Plamondon’s recently released biography of Pierre Trudeau, in which he is very critical of Mr. Trudeau’s tenure, particularly in the area of foreign affairs. Mr. Plamondon argues that world leaders thought Mr. Trudeau a lightweight.
Of all the biographies that have been written on Mr. Trudeau, it’s curious you would choose this one. It could as easily be argued that to be looked down upon by Margaret Thatcher, and her advisers at that time, would have been seen as a compliment.
Michael O’Shea, Vancouver
Racial pots, kettles
Reading the articles and letters about the abuses at residential schools makes me realize that some people do not recognize what actually happens in their own country (Genocidal Policy – Aug. 2). For many years, I lived in South Africa, where there were abuses under the apartheid regime. The rest of the world was up in arms about that country and forced change.
Canada being one of the countries in the forefront of this world condemnation, why were the abuses here ignored by most Canadians and the rest of the world? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Diana Purkis, North Vancouver
Re Tenuous Positions, Interim Solutions (Aug. 2): I am amazed to see U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry investing so much personal political capital in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. If they succeed, he will get the credit and likely be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But if they fail, which is much more likely, he will be discredited and his effectiveness for the rest of his term will be seriously impaired.
As Mr. Kerry has said, the first step to settling any dispute is to get the parties talking, however, it doesn’t do much good when the parties are so far apart, they can barely see each other. I have to question his judgment in risking so much on such a long shot.
Garth M. Evans, Vancouver
Since the election of Menachem Begin in 1977, no government of the Israeli right has been in any significant way responsive to the displeasure of the UN or the EU. With considerable justification, most Israelis are inherently distrustful of the international community. Benjamin Netanyahu is exquisitely sensitive to the national psyche; his every election campaign has featured theatrical disdain for the world beyond Israel’s borders.
Yet another hostile General Assembly cannot explain the evolution of Bibi the peacemaker.
For decades, every Israeli has understood that a Jewish majority is unsustainable without territorial concessions. Could the prospect of a demographic doomsday have so profoundly affected the Israeli Prime Minister? Not likely. It’s always been just around the corner.
It’s been observed that Israel has no foreign policy – only domestic. The last election saw the emergence of a vital centre-left movement. In an evolving Israel, the zealots of the Greater Land of Israel Movement could become an overnight liability.
Mr. Netanyahu may one day get it right, but not by listening to us. He never has.
Farley Helfant, Toronto
Re Canada’s Failing Grade On Disability Rights (Aug. 2): While Canadians with disabilities continue to face obstacles, our laws have eliminated many barriers. Think about closed captioning, or ATMs designed for people who use wheelchairs or have visual impairments.
Many of these changes happened because individuals complained to Canada’s human rights commissions. Provincial and territorial commissions usually have jurisdiction in places like restaurants and schools. The Canadian Human Rights Commission oversees the federal sphere, including federally regulated industries, like broadcasting or banking.
Despite progress, people with disabilities confront new barriers to opportunity every day. Surging numbers of discrimination complaints attest to this. A society that values and includes everyone benefits everyone.
David Langtry, acting chief commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Peter Cheney says driving is “one of the greatest pleasures in the history of the world” (Eliminating The Human Factor – Aug. 1).
On a closed course with zero public access or in a fantasy commercial with empty roads, blue-tinged mountains and no traffic lights, “pleasure” might be an appropriate adjective – but the 401 eastbound at 4:10 p.m. on a Friday is not a pleasant sight. Perhaps Mr. Cheney is right: Driving should be ceded to a robot.
Geoff Rytell, TorontoReport Typo/Error
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