* Union looks for legal avenue to overturn gov’t decision
* Says decision violates Canadian law
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s biggest telecommunications union said on Monday it plans to take the federal government to court to force it to reverse its decision to allow foreign-backed cell phone company Globalive to operate a wireless service in this country.
The Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union said the government’s action violates Canadian-ownership rules for telecoms companies and threatens jobs. Union president Dave Coles said the union’s lawyers are working on finding a legal avenue to get Ottawa’s ruling, released last Friday, overturned.
“We are going to take them to court... We have a minority government that changes the very nature of the law that protects Canada from these global monsters because we are a small country,” Coles told Reuters.
Under Canadian federal regulations telecom companies must be majority-owned and controlled by Canadians.
In October, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the government's regulatory arm, ruled Globalive was effectively controlled by Egyptian-based financial backer Orascom Telecom Holding ORTE.CA and therefore ran afoul of foreign ownership rules.
The minority Conservative government overturned that ruling last week saying that Globalive Wireless Management Corp is a Canadian company that meets the country’s telecom ownership and control requirements laws.
Globalive said it will proceed with plans to launch a national mobile service in Canada. Service could be launched in Toronto and Calgary as early as this week, it said.
Coles said the government’s decision threatens Canadian jobs but also goes against Canadians’ desire to have their telecommunications and broadcast industry owned locally.
The union represents more than 30,000 workers in Canada's telecommunication sector, which is dominated by three companies, Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO, BCE Inc BCE.TO and Telus Corp T.TO. (Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Peter Galloway)
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