Pallister government continues to endorse Bell-MTS deal, siding with big business over regular Manitobans

In Question Period today, Premier Brian Pallister continued to throw his support behind the Bell-MTS deal, despite the fact that it will almost certainly mean higher prices for regular Manitobans, said Jim Maloway, MLA for Elmwood.

“The Premier himself said he wouldn’t be surprised if cell phone prices go up, but is supporting the deal anyway,” said Maloway. “He’s become an advocate for selling off MTS—again—before the Competition Bureau, the CRTC and Manitobans themselves have had their say.”

Premier Pallister has justified throwing his support behind the deal because of Bell Canada’s proposed levels of investment. However, a review of MTS financial reports reveals that between 2011 and 2015, MTS invested more than what Bell has pledged.

“According to their 2015 annual report, MTS has already invested $1.02 billion over the past five years in capital investments to help expand cell service coverage in our province,” said Maloway. “Premier Pallister has thrown his support behind this deal without making sure it means higher investment or more jobs for Manitoba. Instead, the Pallister team will allow cell phone rates to skyrocket for regular families, without bigger investments across Manitoba, including in rural and Northern Manitoba.”

The Manitoba NDP Caucus calls on the provincial government to intervene with regulators to stop the proposed sale.

Manitobans are encouraged to contact the Competition Bureau to voice their opposition, as the sale still needs the approval of the CRTC and the Competition Bureau before it can go through.