Thank You Gary Filmon

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Aristotleded24
Thank You Gary Filmon

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Aristotleded24

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bce-buys-manitoba-telecom-1.3561982]BCE to buy out Manitoba Telecom Services:[/url]

Quote:
BCE Inc. has agreed to buy Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. in a friendly deal valued at $3.9 billion.

The deal will add Manitoba's largest phone, internet and wireless company to a Montreal-based telecommunication business that is already the largest telecom company in Canada.

The purchase price includes $3.1 billion for the company, plus BCE will assume $800 million worth of MTS debt.

Former Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon privatized MTS, and the price for service has gone up since. I don't know what Bell is like pricewise, but I'm not sure that all the jobs with MTS are going to stick around. So more costs for the average working people in this province.

Of course, the fact that this sale is announced just before Filmon's buddy Pallister officially becomes our Premier is just a coincidence. Is there any way we can stop this from going through?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I think it's a done deal. What a shame.

MTS, even after privatized, still managed to keep our prices much lower than those in Ontario and Quebec. On the upside, Bell has always been a better service provider for telephonic and broadband services than Roges and Shaw - so there's that.

Unionist

In fairness, the thread title should also thank Messrs. Doer and Selinger for not figuring out how to re-nationalize MTS over a 16-year period.

Apparently, it's an ironclad law of economics. Public property can be privatized, but private property can't be nationalized.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Very much agree, Unionist. Pretty silly of Doer and Selinger since the privatization of MTS was such a touchstone with so many Manitoban voters. How hard a sell would it have been to nationalize it?

Aristotleded24

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/ndp-mp-niki-ashton-asks-federal-l... more reason why Niki Ashton rocks:[/url]

Quote:
Ashton wants the Liberals to look at the deal first.

"Canadians already pay some of the highest wireless prices in the world. Greater competition in Manitoba means that we paid lower prices than other parts of the country, but the proposed takeover of MTS by Bell could erase this advantage," she said during Question Period Wednesday.

The same day the takeover was announced, MTS issued service bulletins for its residential and business customers saying prices would increase for a variety of services effective July 2016.

Will the Liberals commit to a public study of this potential takeover? Or will they rubber stamp this deal and stand with well-connected business interests instead of standing up for Manitoba jobs and Manitoba consumers?" Ashton asked.

Canada's minister responsible for economic development, Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, said ensuring competition for Manitobans was their "number one concern."

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Unionist wrote:

In fairness, the thread title should also thank Messrs. Doer and Selinger for not figuring out how to re-nationalize MTS over a 16-year period.

Apparently, it's an ironclad law of economics. Public property can be privatized, but private property can't be nationalized.

Liberal/Conservative logic is that nationalisations = bad economic policy.

NDP logic is that nationalisations = gov't going bankrupt from a lawsuit under chapter 11 of NAFTA.

Orthodox economic logic, adhered to by all three parties, also holds that reapealing NAFTA = economic collapse.

Unionist

Left Turn wrote:

Unionist wrote:

In fairness, the thread title should also thank Messrs. Doer and Selinger for not figuring out how to re-nationalize MTS over a 16-year period.

Apparently, it's an ironclad law of economics. Public property can be privatized, but private property can't be nationalized.

Liberal/Conservative logic is that nationalisations = bad economic policy.

NDP logic is that nationalisations = gov't going bankrupt from a lawsuit under chapter 11 of NAFTA.

Orthodox economic logic, adhered to by all three parties, also holds that reapealing NAFTA = economic collapse.

Correct.

When in opposition, the NDP should declare:

"If this government sells off any public assets, we pledge to re-nationalize them as soon as we're back in power".

At worst, that should drastically reduce the price that private sharks will be prepared to pay (because the thing about capitalists is, they can never be sure that the NDP won't, someday, actually keep a promise). That would have the dual benefit of: 1. Making a sell-off less likely. 2. Making a future compensated re-nationalization cheaper.

Horwath and her "let's out-right the right!" ONDP should have made that pledge in respect of Ontario Hydro. They still should. But that would require a visit to an alternate universe.

It's 16.5 years too late for the Manitoba NDP to make that promise in respect of MTS. But what about Manitoba Hydro? Etc.

Does anyone in the Manitoba NDP actually care about privatization? I'm not talking about the cowardly leaders. I'm talking about the vast majority of members and supporters. If they do, they will pressure their party to make this solemn pledge - now.

 

swallow swallow's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/ndp-mp-niki-ashton-asks-federal-l... more reason why Niki Ashton rocks:[/url]

Quote:
Ashton wants the Liberals to look at the deal first.

"Canadians already pay some of the highest wireless prices in the world. Greater competition in Manitoba means that we paid lower prices than other parts of the country, but the proposed takeover of MTS by Bell could erase this advantage," she said during Question Period Wednesday.

The same day the takeover was announced, MTS issued service bulletins for its residential and business customers saying prices would increase for a variety of services effective July 2016.

Will the Liberals commit to a public study of this potential takeover? Or will they rubber stamp this deal and stand with well-connected business interests instead of standing up for Manitoba jobs and Manitoba consumers?" Ashton asked.

Canada's minister responsible for economic development, Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, said ensuring competition for Manitobans was their "number one concern."

Well said, but it's interesting how no one can make the case for public ownership of common goods any more - only use the langauge of neo-linberalism to defend consumers. Which is worth doing, of course, but not especially socialist. 

Unionist

swallow wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/ndp-mp-niki-ashton-asks-federal-l... more reason why Niki Ashton rocks:[/url]

Quote:
Ashton wants the Liberals to look at the deal first.

"Canadians already pay some of the highest wireless prices in the world. Greater competition in Manitoba means that we paid lower prices than other parts of the country, but the proposed takeover of MTS by Bell could erase this advantage," she said during Question Period Wednesday.

The same day the takeover was announced, MTS issued service bulletins for its residential and business customers saying prices would increase for a variety of services effective July 2016.

Will the Liberals commit to a public study of this potential takeover? Or will they rubber stamp this deal and stand with well-connected business interests instead of standing up for Manitoba jobs and Manitoba consumers?" Ashton asked.

Canada's minister responsible for economic development, Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, said ensuring competition for Manitobans was their "number one concern."

Well said, but it's interesting how no one can make the case for public ownership of common goods any more - only use the langauge of neo-linberalism to defend consumers. Which is worth doing, of course, but not especially socialist. 

Sorry, just noticed this linked article...

How pathetic. Defending "Manitoba jobs and Manitoba customers". By pushing for increased competition between private companies. Which she calls an "advantage". In a sector that used to be a publicly-owned monopoly.

Could someone email Niki Ashton a copy of the Regina Manifesto?

Or, never mind that old-fashioned communistic propaganda. How about the much more moderate Winnipeg Declaration of 1956?

Quote:

The CCF has always recognized public ownership as the most effective means of breaking the stranglehold of private monopolies on the life of the nation and of facilitating the social planning necessary for economic security and advance. The CCF will, therefore, extend public ownership wherever it is necessary for the achievement of these objectives.

Or the even more "moderate" current policy book:

Quote:

1.10 The public sector

New Democrats believe in:

a Promoting innovation and improving services and management within crown corporations and government agencies.

b Protecting crown corporations against privatization.

c Improving the public sector’s role as a wealth creator and a major provider of jobs.

d Halting public private partnerships (PPP) which are wasteful and inefficient models for delivering public services.

e Opposing all forms of privatization and in [sic] supporting the delivery of all public services by public sector workers.

Oddly enough, the glories of "competition" appear nowhere in the policy book - you know, the book which is passed by convention - which is, like, you know, the supreme policy-making body of the party. Supposedly.

If Ashton is the best we've got, a merger with the Liberals is clearly indicated, fast, before our share price drops even further.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I am more concerned with what the NDP provincially and federally is going to say about Pallister's changes to Manitoba Hydro. Ashton would be better served to call out an alarm or warning on this front.

As for lack of competition, the Bell purchase is not in essence limiting choices in Manitoba since Bell never operated here. In fact, part of the deal is to release 1/3 of cell phone customers to Telus, making that a new entry in the cell phone market (although I don't fully understand their connection to Rogers). Supposedly Virgin Mobility offers services here too.

Aristotleded24

So strangely enough, we have [url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/bell-mts-wireless-coverage-improv... promising upgrades along Highway 75 and Pallister is enthusiastically supporting it.[/url] He has also [url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-opposition-province-oppo... that prices will go up but that it will be worth it.[/url] Funny that, he ran in the campaign saying that our taxes were too high and that we need to keep more money in our pockets. What's up with that?

I also find the timing of this announcement by Bell, just after an election which returned a Cabinet member who sold off MTS to the Premier's spot, to be very strange. It can't be a coincidence.

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
Sorry, just noticed this linked article...

How pathetic. Defending "Manitoba jobs and Manitoba customers". By pushing for increased competition between private companies. Which she calls an "advantage". In a sector that used to be a publicly-owned monopoly.

Why yes. How dare a representative of a party of the working class argue on behalf of preserving jobs for working people.

Unionist wrote:
Could someone email Niki Ashton a copy of the Regina Manifesto?

Or, never mind that old-fashioned communistic propaganda. How about the much more moderate Winnipeg Declaration of 1956?

Quote:

The CCF has always recognized public ownership as the most effective means of breaking the stranglehold of private monopolies on the life of the nation and of facilitating the social planning necessary for economic security and advance. The CCF will, therefore, extend public ownership wherever it is necessary for the achievement of these objectives.

Or the even more "moderate" current policy book:

Quote:

1.10 The public sector

New Democrats believe in:

a Promoting innovation and improving services and management within crown corporations and government agencies.

b Protecting crown corporations against privatization.

c Improving the public sector’s role as a wealth creator and a major provider of jobs.

d Halting public private partnerships (PPP) which are wasteful and inefficient models for delivering public services.

e Opposing all forms of privatization and in [sic] supporting the delivery of all public services by public sector workers.

Oddly enough, the glories of "competition" appear nowhere in the policy book - you know, the book which is passed by convention - which is, like, you know, the supreme policy-making body of the party. Supposedly.

If Ashton is the best we've got, a merger with the Liberals is clearly indicated, fast, before our share price drops even further.

The issue at hand is the sale of MTS to BCE, and that has to be approved by the CRTC. The CRTC has rules about competition so if the sale of MTS is to be blocked, it will be on that basis and not on the basis of arguing over the principles of public or private ownership. That discussion is an important overall conversation to have, but it's not particularly helpful in this case. (Nor was the failure of the NDP to even propose renationalizing MTS when they had the chance, but that's a discussion for another day.)

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Parables of privatization: A cautionary tale of two telcos

At a time when the Ontario Liberal government is planning to privatize Hydro One and other provincial governments are also planning significant privatizations, it's instructive to look back and see what the impact of earlier privatizations has been.

There's an excellent example right here in Canada of two neighbouring jurisdictions of a similar size, one of which privatized a utility and the other that kept its similar utility under public ownership. It should be seen as a cautionary tale and an indication of what is likely to happen with other privatizations.

That example is the telecom companies of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. These provinces have relatively similar populations -- 1.29 million in Manitoba and 1.13 million in Saskatchewan. Both provinces established publicly owned telephone companies at about the same time over a century ago.

The government of Manitoba bought Bell Canada's Manitoba operations in 1908 and formed it into a publicly owned Crown corporation that eventually became Manitoba Telephone System (MTS). Saskatchewan followed a year later in 1909 by buying the operations of Bell Canada and other private telephone companies in the province into a publicly owned operation that became SaskTel. Both eventually bought up all the private telephone operators in their provinces.Both provinces operated successful parallel publicly owned telephone systems in their respective provinces for almost 90 years until 1997. That was the year former Manitoba Progressive Conservative Premier Gary Filmon broke previous promises and privatized MTS, claiming that a private company would be more innovative. (Some of the sordid details that led to the privatization of MTS was detailed in an article in Canadian Dimension by Errol Black and Paula Mallea at that time). Meanwhile next door, SaskTel has remained the only government-owned telecommunications company, even after eight years of provincial rule under the conservative Saskatchewan Party.

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Unionist

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Unionist wrote:
Sorry, just noticed this linked article...

How pathetic. Defending "Manitoba jobs and Manitoba customers". By pushing for increased competition between private companies. Which she calls an "advantage". In a sector that used to be a publicly-owned monopoly.

Why yes. How dare a representative of a party of the working class argue on behalf of preserving jobs for working people.

You stopped reading when you got to "jobs"? That's not the part that bothered me (if you read my post). Her defence of "Manitoba jobs and Manitoba customers" is pure empty rhetoric. But her appeal to "competition" between private providers - to save jobs and keep rates low - is a pure neoliberal non-solution. She should be extremely ashamed of herself.

While we're at it, perhaps you could explain how Manitoba jobs are threatened by such a move? She didn't, nor did Brian Masse. What precisely is the fear? Which jobs are at risk?

Unionist

laine lowe wrote:

I am more concerned with what the NDP provincially and federally is going to say about Pallister's changes to Manitoba Hydro. Ashton would be better served to call out an alarm or warning on this front.

As for lack of competition, the Bell purchase is not in essence limiting choices in Manitoba since Bell never operated here. In fact, part of the deal is to release 1/3 of cell phone customers to Telus, making that a new entry in the cell phone market (although I don't fully understand their connection to Rogers). Supposedly Virgin Mobility offers services here too.

Thanks for the reality check, laine.

Likewise, epaulo!

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
But her appeal to "competition" between private providers - to save jobs and keep rates low - is a pure neoliberal non-solution. She should be extremely ashamed of herself.

That may be the case, but again, the CRTC has rules about competition and maintaining competition. It's the CRTC that must approve or disapprove the sale, and it will be by the CRTC's rules that this decision will be made. I'll also note that where it's only Bell, data plans are more expensive, so more money out of the pockets of consumers and into the hands of corporations.

Unionist wrote:
While we're at it, perhaps you could explain how Manitoba jobs are threatened by such a move? She didn't, nor did Brian Masse. What precisely is the fear? Which jobs are at risk?

For starters, well-paying customer service call centre jobs may be moved out of province if call centres are downsized or even closed down.