Conservative MP and former industry minister Maxime Bernier says the federal government plans to open the telecom industry to foreign investment, but Industry Minister Tony Clement's office says only he speaks for the government on those issues.
"We need more competition, and the way to have more competition is to open foreign investment, foreign ownership in the telecom [industry]," Bernier told Maritime Morning host Jordi Morgan on Halifax radio station News 95.7 Friday morning.
"I think Tony wants to bring legislation before the Parliament."
Clement said in an interview to air Saturday on CBC Radio's The House that Bernier was talking about two issues: direct foreign investment in current telecom providers and competition.
Clement said following consultations last fall, he decided the government couldn't rule on foreign investment until it had decided who gets to bid on wireless spectrum that will be auctioned in the next couple of years.
"On the issue of adding competition, [Bernier] is right, and that's what we've done over the last two years. As industry minister, I've been able to oversee the reserving of spectrum for new entrants," Clement said in the interview with host Kathleen Petty.
"That spectrum has been allocated to new entrants like Globalive, and like Mobility, and like Quebecor, and like Shaw, and they are entering the marketplace and competing head-to-head with the incumbent providers. That, I think, has been a success and quite frankly, I think we need to see more of this."
Clement said while it is good to have as much competition as possible it is a big decision to open the marketplace to foreign competition, and that he would make an announcement when he has something to announce.
"Max isn't making that announcement. Tony will be making that announcement," Clement said.