It was 22 years ago that Bell Canada spun off Nortel—the jewel in Canada’s communications crown. What Jean Monty of Bell Canada really did was to dismiss Canada’s world leadership in a company that was key to Bell Canada’s future and the future of telecommunications in Canada.
What started out as Northern Electric in 1895, that was a joint operation of Western Electric in the U.S. and Bell Canada and segued into Bell Northern Research and then Nortel Networks. It was the golden goose. Monty, as head of Bell Canada, cut its throat and then cut it adrift. A cornucopia of some 6000 active patents were feasted on by the world’s, mainly U.S., telecoms and computer companies for just $4.5 billion. Nortel Networks officially died in 2011.
What brings this to mind today was the announcement earlier in the week by Finland’s giant telecom equipment supplier Nokia of a $340 million research hub in Kanata, Ontario. And since politicians never learn from their mistakes, the federal, provincial and municipal governments are kicking in a gift of $72 million to get the project moving. And the excuse was that Nokia can provide fifth generation equipment across the networks.
Platitudes, of course, were proffered by the prime minister, the premier of Ontario and the mayor of Kanata. It all has something to do with deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland’s approach to only doing business with friends and allies who are democratic. It seems counter to the old chestnut that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Personally, I think Ms. Freeland is wrong. In present world conditions, I think we need to attempt to restore friendly relations with China. And when Russia gets rid of the foolish Mr. Putin and makes peace with the Ukraine, we should quickly restore our former relations with that country. Canada has proved its abilities in wars and it has proved its capabilities as a peacekeeper. We also need to prove to countries outside of the Americas that we can be a good friend.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to: