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Big Telecom's cringe-worthy PR: Weekly News Update from

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Big telecom company Bell announced this week that it'll be reattempting its highly unpopular takeover of Astral Media.

It's been just about a month since the CRTC listened to Canadians and blocked this deal, saying it would not be of benefit to the public. Bell's takeover would have meant that Canada's already-highly-concentrated media system would become even less competitive, and offer Canadians even less affordability and choice.

The CRTC Chair himself went so far as to say that if the takeover were to proceed, the CRTC "could not have ensured a robust Canadian broadcasting system without imposing extensive and intrusive safeguards".

Now, Bell has responded to all of this not by backing down and accepting the CRTC's public interest decision, but by launching a terribly disingenuous PR campaign that basically takes all our points and says the exact opposite. Their argument is that somehow, if they were able to takeover more of our media system, we would have more choice. It makes ..oh... no sense at all.

Bell has also been sure to actively ignore Canadians who spoke out against this deal through the petition at and other means, and to frame the controversy instead as an industry dispute. It's not just misleading; it's hugely disrespectful to all of us who made our voices heard.

It actually reminds me of a similar tactic used by big telecom company Rogers when it was trying to get the government to let them hoard crucial cell phone resources. Rogers created a fake grassroots campaign that tried to manipulate citizens into asking the Industry Minster to hand the future of wireless over to Big Telecom, and to squeeze independent providers out of the market. Cringe-worthy.

On the bright side, when Big Telecom sleazily tries to use our own strategies against us—to rally Canadians to speak out—it's one sure-fire way to tell our tactics work. And that makes it all the more important that you check out public interest campaigns like StopTheTakeover.caand take a stand for real competition, choice, and affordability in our media and telecom system.

Editor's note: to read or share your cell phone horror story(and almost everyone has been treated unfairly by a cell phone company), go to

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