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Tony Clement apparently values the wireless telephone companies concerns over consumers.

That seem to be the logical conclusion, after reading this story from Professor Micheal Geist in the Star today, about Clement killing an online calculator tool designed to help consumers find the best cellphone plan for them, because of lobbying from Canada’s cellphone companies over their fears that it may actually help people pick cell-phone plans that would cost less to them, but not bring in more profit to the phone companies:

After spending tens of thousands of dollars creating and testing an online calculator designed to help consumers select their ideal wireless plan, Industry Minister Tony Clement killed the project weeks before it was scheduled to launch. Government records suggest intense lobbying this spring by Canada’s wireless companies, who feared the service would promote lower-cost plans, played a key role in the decision.

The calculator asked consumers for detailed information about their current or anticipated cellphone use and provided them with a detailed list of suitable plans from Canadian providers..Yet just as Industry Canada was set to launch the tool, the major wireless carriers began lobbying against it. According to lobbyist registration records, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and Bell Canada met with officials from Clement’s office on April 8, with the association listing telecommunications regulation and consumer issues as the topics of discussion. Two weeks later, Telus also met with the same officials to discuss consumer issues. The carriers were apparently concerned that the tool only covered voice services and was geared toward lower-priced plans.

Sensing that Clement was facing pressure to block the calculator, Canadian consumer groups wrote to the minister, urging him to stick with it. Despite months of preparation, thousands of dollars in taxpayer expense, the creation of an effective tool and the obvious benefits for lower-income Canadians, Clement nevertheless killed the project.

Tony Clement apparently likes standing up for Corporate Canada, but not regular Canadians. Keep that in mind with the current debate on Copyright reform that is going on, and add your voice to the debate, if you want fair copyright for Canadians, not just one tilted towards the music industry.

UPDATE @ 2:57 pm: The Liberals think this to be an issue worthy of a press release:

The Harper government is standing against transparency and against the interests of consumers by scrapping a web-based cell phone fee calculator, Liberal Consumer Affairs Critic Dan McTeague said today. “This project was designed to help Canadians find the most affordable cell phone plans in a country that already faces some of the highest rates in the world,” said Mr. McTeague. “Rather than stand strong for Canadian consumers, the Harper Conservatives scrapped the project.”

5 comments to Tony Clement apparently values the wireless telephone companies concerns over consumers.

  • Alison S

    Awfully strange how the Reformatories are so keen on canceling technology projects. Why,one might almost think they were Luddites. I guess that this is just one more example of backward-looking corporate ass-sucking.

  • kwittet

    Very sad indeed. But it doesn’t really affect me as at all..after years of being tied into contracts I re-evaluated whether or not it was a necessity in my life and decided it wasn’t and none of those vultures get my money anymore. I don’t really work to far from home and for the most part help is not far away so to me it is a useless and expensive status symbol

    • Frank

      @kwittet,

      After about 14+ years with Bell Mobility my last contract expired today, and after spending the evening comparing packages and user’s comments on online forums I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to use a cell phone anymore either.

      I disagree with your comment that cell phones are “status symbols”. They stopped having any merit as status symbols about 8 or 9 years ago, at about the time pimply kids started carrying them to call other pimply kids to plan their pimply kid barfing parties (and the like). 🙂

      • kwittet

        @Frank, Frank..very true. Now it is the blackberry’s that are the status symbols. The thing is that half of the people dont really need them case in point. My neighbor who is on un-employment insurance and is sitting on his duff all day doing nothing to find a job..his wife who works five minutes from home and the kids have one each too(kids 8 and ten). they have major money issues and have admitted that they can hardley afford food but they have to be able to look like hot shots? what the hell for. i have seen him call his wife from the front lawn when she is in the back yard? i love how these companies promote it as a necessity yet for the last year I have gotten along fine without one. they have some people so sucked in with this crap it is sickening. I used to have bell for everything including mobile and they still call me to this day bugging me to come back to them. I told the last guy to call that I would switch back if i could have unlimited free cell use for a year!
        I am still with rogers.

  • Christina Monroe

    First thing that comes to mind is wow.

    Finding the best price has never been a real concern for me, seeing as I live in Canada’s wasteland of monopolies. AKA Northern Canada. We have one provider for just about everything, and you pay the price or you do not get service. Then again you pay and you still get poor service. We in the NWT, get Bell for cell phone service, and Bell owns our local telephone service, so although it says Northwestel, it is still Bell’s money.

    I must tell you there is nothing funnier than watching politicians, staffers, and federal government employees out for coffee or food in Yellowknife doing the BB twitch, before they ask if their BB works here. Ummm you have Rogers or Telus? No. Your phone does not work here. We have crappy 1X service, and it does not work out 20 minutes out of town, nor anywhere on the highway south till close to High Level, Alberta.

    It will be years before trying to find the best cell provider for my usage would be a concern for me. Although I have decided that if the winds turn in Ontario, that I might like to move after 10 years in the North. I would like to think when I got there I might have help to figure out this thing call “competition” and have a service to point me in the right direction for a cell phone provider that is in line with my needs.

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