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Court rebuffs cabinet, rules WIND Mobile ‘foreign’

(The Globe and Mail) A federal court rebuked the government's 2009 decision to let cellphone company WIND Mobile operate in Canada on Friday. The court ruled that the government violated the country's foreign ownership laws by letting an Egyptian-controlled company enter the Canadian market. The Telecommunications Act introduced in 1993 forbids foreign ownership or control of telecom companies in Canada. In 2009, the cabinet overruled the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and permitted WIND Mobile to operate in Canada. The CRTC decided to restrict WIND Mobile from coming to Canada after it found that parent company, Globalive, was controlled by Orascom, a company based in Cairo, Egypt. Globalive is planning to appeal the court decision, which was stayed by the judge for 45 days. The federal government vowed to remove foreign ownership restrictions in the 2010 budget, but has yet to say when. WIND Mobile has more than 200,000 wireless customers in Canada.

1.

Judge quashes government ruling

Federal court ruling on Scribd
This is the federal court ruling that voided the government's decision to allow WIND Mobile to operate in Canada. The ruling stated that the government decision was "based on errors of law and must be quashed." The verdict was released on Friday by Justice Roger Hughes in response to an application by Public Mobile Inc., a small Canadian wireless company, that challenged WIND Mobile's eligibility. Public Mobile cited the Telecommunications Act, which states telecommunications companies must be "Canadian owned and controlled," in order to operate in Canada. Justice Hughes agreed to stay the decision for 45 days.

2.

Globalive vows to fight court finding

Globalive
This is Globalive's response to the federal court ruling that says they are not entitled to operate in Canada. Globalive is the parent company of WIND Mobile, which has attracted more than 200,000 Canadian wireless customers since launching in 2009. The press release on Globalive's website expresses the company's disappointment with the ruling and states that the company is "proudly Canadian," and will not back down. The company says it will use the 45-day stay granted by the court to consult with advisers and form a plan to remain in Canada.

3.

CRTC refuses ‘foreign-owned’ Globalive

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
This is the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decision to deny Globalive's application to operate in Canada in October 2009. The CRTC ruled that Globalive was controlled by a foreign company, Orascom, and thus violates section 16 of 1993's Telecommunications Act. The commission found that Egyptian-based Orascom had the "ongoing ability to determine Globalive's strategic decision-making activities," because it holds two-thirds of Globalive's equity. However, the federal cabinet overruled the commission two months later and allowed the wireless company to enter the Canadian market.

4.

Cabinet rebukes CRTC, says Globalive is Canadian

Federal cabinet's decision to overrule the CRTC
This is the federal cabinet's decision to overturn the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's ruling, which stated Globalive was controlled by Egyptian-based company Orascom. The cabinet decided that Globalive had made sufficient changes to its corporate structure so that Orascom will not oversee day-to-day operations. While the government acknowledged Orascom represents "the vast majority of Globalive's financing," it concluded that the shareholders have enough power to keep Orascom from becoming the primary decision-maker.

5.

Government to axe limits on telecom sector

Government report on foreign ownership in telecommunications sector
This is the Conservative government's report on the foreign ownership laws governing Canada's telecommunications industry. It calls for a loosening of restrictions on telecommunications companies to enable more foreign investment in Canada and to encourage more competition. The report, released last June, was conducted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, chaired by Conservative Party MP Michael Chong. The review was triggered by the Globalive dispute, but took a broad look at foreign ownership laws in telecommunications. It includes brief summaries of the Liberal Party's and the New Democratic Party's positions at the end of the document; both parties caution against removing restrictions.

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