Taking protectionism and nationalism to absurd levels, the Canadian media has now joined opposition parties to pressure the government to stop sale of Nortel assets to Ericsson. The Swedish telecom major acquired Toronto-based Nortel's wireless business for $1.3 billion at a court-supervised auction in New York Friday.
The 127-year-old telecom equipment maker Nortel is selling its businesses to pay its creditors after posting losses of $5 billion last year.
However, opposition parties want to the government annul the sale to keep Nortel's next-generation wireless technology in Canadian hands.
The Toronto Star, the biggest daily newspaper, also threw its weight behind the campaign Wednesday to stop Nortel's sale to the Swedish company. The most left-wing newspaper in North America said: "The government should not hesitate to intervene again to keep Nortel's assets in Canadian hands.''
In an editorial titled 'Nortel's priceless assets', the newspaper said: "Yes, the Swedes and Finns and Germans and Americans - all of whom want pieces of Nortel - would squawk. But does anyone believe for a moment that, if the roles were reversed, any of them would hesitate to intervene?''
The newspaper, which also advocates freedom for Al-Jazeera to operate from Canadian soil, said that despite courts in Canada and the US approving the Nortel sale Tuesday, the government should use the Investment Canada Act to stop the deal.
Nationalism entered the Nortel sale last week after the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) was shut out of the bidding process for refusing to sign non-disclosure agreements with Nortel.
BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie turned it into a nationalist issue, saying that the sale of Nortel's the next-generation wireless technolgy - called Long Term Evolution or LTE - to foreigners was not in the national interest.
Praising him, the Toronto Star said, "Give Jim Balsillie credit. The BlackBerry billionaire has certainly caught the attention of the politicians."