Decision will be made ‘in due course,’ says minister amid committee probe

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The federal government’s decision on whether to approve the $26 billion merger of Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. will focus on ensuring the deal will provide more competition and affordability for Canadians, Industries Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.

His comments on Wednesday came as the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology scrutinized the proposed deal.

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Speaking to reporters in Hamilton, Ontario, where the Liberal cabinet has gathered for a three-day retreat, Champagne said he wanted to understand why the federal Court of Appeal on Tuesday rejected the Competition Bureau’s bid to overturn the deal. Gave and will decide. In “due course” on the case.

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“I’m always working on behalf of Canadians to make sure we have more competition, more affordability and innovation in this sector,” said Champagne, who has final say on what the deal is.

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“And that’s going to guide my decision,” he said.

Champagne last year set new terms for Freedom Mobile for their approval regarding the sale and holding of wireless spectrum owned by Shaw, which would be transferred to Videotron under the terms of the deal. He said Wednesday he would weigh whether those conditions have been met to make a decision, but was also asked whether he was waiting for additional information from the companies.

“It’s not really about hearing from the company, but I want to understand the reasoning of the Federal Court of Appeal,” Champagne replied.

“I’m a lawyer. I want to look at these things and understand their reasoning as to why they came to this conclusion with respect to competition. And I will have a different verdict.”

Granthshala News’ parent company Shaw Communications and Corus Entertainment are owned by the Calgary-based Shaw family.

The Competition Tribunal ruled in favor of the Rogers-deal in December, stating that the merger of the two telecom companies would not result in materially higher prices.

The Competition Bureau appealed that approval but the Federal Court of Appeal on Tuesday rejected its bid to block the deal.

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At a House of Commons meeting on Wednesday, Competition Bureau officials expressed their disappointment at the appeals court’s decision and said the bureau would not be taking its case to the Supreme Court.

“We stand by the findings of our investigation and our decision to challenge the merger,” said Jean Pratt, senior deputy commissioner of the mergers and monopolistic practices branch.

“After conducting a detailed investigation, we disagree with the findings of the Tribunal and are deeply disappointed.”

The Competition Bureau has argued that the planned merger will lead to less competition in the telecommunications market, higher prices and worse service.

The Competition Bureau’s Pratt said that while they were concerned about the effect of the merger on all consumers, their investigation indicated that there would be a “disproportionate effect on low-income Canadians”.

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“We saw not only that consumers were going to be impacted, but that wealth transfers to low-income Canadians would be disproportionate,” he told lawmakers.

However, Rogers and Shaw argue that the deal would increase competition and be better for consumers.

Paul McAleese, president of Shaw Communications, insisted before the industry committee on Wednesday that the deal would result in a “more aggressive and effective competitor” for the Canadian market.

Rogers has also pushed back against claims that the deal would adversely affect low-income Canadians, pointing to the CRTC’s decision to approve the deal and noting that the regulator investigated whether the merger would affect low-income Canadians. How will it affect consumer interests including families, senior citizens. people with disabilities, before doing so.

The deal was originally scheduled to close by the end of 2022, but the deadline was extended to January 31, 2023.

With files from The Canadian Press

Decision will be made ‘in due course,’ says minister amid committee probe

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