Canada's telecoms to change tack in anti-Verizon crusade -sources

Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:54pm EDT
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* Rogers, BCE and Telus to point to privacy concerns after NSA leaks

* Campaign for 'fairness' so far fallen on deaf ears

* Canadian government says won't change its telecom policy

By Alastair Sharp and Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canada's three biggest wireless companies plan to attack Verizon Communications Inc's role in the U.S. government's electronic spying scandal, as they scramble to force Ottawa to rethink rules that encourage Verizon to set up in Canada, according to four sources.

The Canadian government has so far spurned an intense lobbying effort from the trio - Rogers Communications, BCE Inc and Telus Corp - by insisting its policies will cut Canadians' wireless bills.

The planned campaign, which has yet to get a final green light, will focus on how Verizon's entry into Canada could open the door to overreaching surveillance and a loss of privacy for Canadians, said the sources, who declined to be named as the plans are not yet public.

If the companies sign off on the proposals, the ads will start appearing in newspapers, online and on radio next week in the hope that they will swing public opinion behind the three players and persuade the government to change its mind.

Telus, BCE and Rogers declined to comment on any changes to the campaign.   Continued...