Canadian Feds to Appeal Globalive Court Decision

The federal government will appeal court ruling on Egyptian phone giant's eligibility to remain in Canadian market.

TORONTO – Seeing its push to relax foreign ownership restrictions on Canadian entertainment companies stalled, the federal government on Tuesday said it will appeal a federal court ruling that strikes down the licensing of Egyptian-owned mobile carrier Globalive Communications.

“Globalive is a Canadian company and meets the Canadian ownership and control requirements under the Telecommunications Act,” industry minister Tony Clement told reporters.

“Globalive should therefore be able to continue to offer service in the wireless telecommunications market,” he added.

The Federal Court of Canada on Feb. 7 ruled Clement’s Conservative government made two key errors when it overruled in 2009 a decision by the CRTC to bar Globalive from entering the Canadian market because it is majority-financed by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris's Orascom empire.

Current Canadian foreign ownership rules demand that operational control of domestic broadcasters, phone companies, cable and satellite TV operators reside in Canadian hands.

Ottawa overruling the CRTC and okaying the entry of upstart Globalive into Canada’s mobile phone market was widely seen as part of a phased liberalization of foreign ownership rules for domestic telecom and satellite companies that in turn will have a knock-on impact on Canadian cable and broadcast players.

Globalive court permission to continue operating in the Canadian market while the federal government’s appeal is heard.

Should that appeal of the Feb. 7 court ruling fail, Globalive may need to merge with a Canadian mobile phone carrier to remain in the Canadian market.