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The line between Manitoba and Trump is short indeed

Failure of federal institutions to do their jobs is what led to the U.S. powder keg.

mts, manitoba

Manitoba and Trump:

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Manitoba and Donald Trump. Let’s draw a line between the two, shall we?

On Wednesday, Bell’s takeover of Manitoba Telecom Services received approval from the Competition Bureau, as well as a rubber stamp from the federal Liberal government.

The Competition Bureau took longer than usual to review the $3.1 billion acquisition, mainly because it was concerned with a lessening of competition – especially in wireless.

Manitobans have for years enjoyed lower wireless prices than the rest of Canada thanks to MTS, which has served as a legit fourth rival to the Big Three of Bell, Rogers and Telus. It has even come to the point where black marketeers are selling Manitoba-based plans to Canadians living in other provinces.

So what did the bureau do? It went ahead and approved the deal anyway, with a few minor conditions thrown in to help it save face. Bell will carve off a six MTS retail stores, a mere 24,700 wireless subscribers and some wireless spectrum to satellite internet provider Xplornet, plus a quarter of subscribers and 13 stores going to Telus.

Once the cattle trading is done – with no input from the affected customers, mind you – Manitoba’s market share will look like so: Bell at 44 per cent, Rogers at 36 per cent, Telus at 18 per cent and Xplornet at 2 per cent.

The Competition Bureau somehow thinks it did its job. Markham, Ont.-based Xplornet, with a mere 300,000 internet customers across the country, no experience in wireless and piddly resources compared to the Big Three or even MTS, is now expected to be a viable fourth option.

Uh, yeah. Good luck with that. The Vegas odds are already pretty high on the company selling its crumbs to one of the Big Three a few years from now.

More exasperating than the so-called “Competition Bureau” – there’s our first Trump link – failing to do its job is the government’s response:

That’s double-talk that would make the U.S. President and his administration – our second Trump link – very proud. Manitoba is unequivocally going from four providers to three, or maybe 3.25 if we’re being charitable. Alternative facts indeed.

The line to Trump really becomes apparent when you consider a survey ironically released yesterday that found Canadians are on the cusp of a trust crisis. According to the poll from public relations firm Edelman, almost half the population finds itself distrusting key institutions, including businesses, government and, yes, media.

As the survey notes, these are exactly the same conditions that Trump preyed on and that led to his election. Same goes for Brexit and other anti-rationalist populist movements around the world.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently screwed over many of his supporters by opting against reforming the electoral process. Whatever his justifications, there’s no getting around the fact that he broke one of his main campaign promises. It’s exactly the sort of thing that fuels the growing distrust revealed by the Edelman survey.

There’s little doubt telecom prices will now go up steadily in Manitoba – one analyst tells The Globe and Mail that “the Big Three should be able to increase their wireless revenue in the province ‘over the longer term.’” There goes Trudeau and his camp chipping away at another campaign promise, to help the middle-class.

The powder keg that is the U.S. now is the clear result of decades of failures of government and federal institutions to do their jobs, to look out for citizens and to keep their promises. Never mind higher wireless prices – that’s the same mess we’re heading for.

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