Thursday 15 March 2012

Working in Montréal today --Soveriegnity are us

Good morning folks,

I will be working in the Montréal office today.

So how about a simple question for you today -- is it wise for a sovereign country to allow foreign control of its communication systems?

A real quick explanation of sovereignty, unlike Bush 43, I will explain it without repeating the word 'sovereign' 10 times within my definition.  A sovereign state has a definable border of its land, and is able to exercise control, determine destiny,pass laws and generally conduct its internal affaires without succumbing to external pressures.

A very quick caveat to that is the Preemptory Norm or jus cogens of International law. Even sovereign states are supposed to not engage in genocide, slavery, piracy (on the high seas, copies of Windows 95 isn't really covered), acts of aggression on neighbors, etc.  These limitations are a reasonable encroachment on sovereignty.  Not really relevant to my question, but I always think a definition should be somewhat complete.

I think Bush's definition was something to the effect of, "A sovereign country has sovereignty, it has been granted to be sovereign.. ", I thought that rather lame and the ramblings of a bafoon, but what the hell do I know --it's not like I have been president..

Back to my question.

Canada will now allow foreign control of Canada's Cell, Internet and Telephone companies.  The foreign controllable companies are limited to those that have less than a 10% market share, but once they have foreign control they are free to dominate a market.

The move is designed to bolster competition in Canada which in theory results in better services and value for dollar for Canadians, but would a better move not be to ensure that Canadian regulations and practices enable homegrown competition?  

When Distributel participated in one of the spectrum auctions a few years back, the problem was not that we didn't have enough cash, the problem was that Bell and Rogers kept pushing the price up on the spectrum we were seeking for no other reason than to prevent us from entering the market.  If we had an absurd amount of cash from wealthy and good natured foreign investors we still could not have purchased the spectrum as we would have had to charge absurd prices to any customers to ensure any rate of return.

Canadians would have been better served if the predatory practices designed to maintain Bell and Rogers' cosy oligopoly were held in check by the regulator.

and back to the question.

What happens when foreign controlled telecom companies flood our market and do actually gain 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 ... percent market share?  Perhaps these are the same foreign companies that we are selling our oil patch to, or our farm land.

If we as Canadians are happy to reverse our evolution and go back to the days where Canada was a simple colony with laws and policies affecting our destiny were being passed at a table in another country, this is how to do it.

Sovereignty is not a state carved in stone, it is something that a state and peoples must defend and maintain.

Perhaps if we get our application in early, Canada can qualify for some IMF and WB dollars.  Think I will go farming and plant some cash crops.

Yeah.. that wasn't funny at all.  

A snail crawls up on to a bar and asks for a drink.  The bartender, instead of serving the snail the drink, flicks him (yeah, I know about the whole snail male/female androgynous thing) out the open door and the snail bounced down the street.  A year later the same snail crawled back up on the bar and yells out, "what the hell was that for!"

Have a good day, stay real.

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