Canada Veto Complicates Blackberry, Telecom Deal Making

Brazil slams Canada over new metadata spying allegations

(FFH), its largest shareholder, to take the handset-maker private. Under that pact, BlackBerry ( BBRY:US ) has until Nov. 4 to consider other proposals while Fairfax and a group of investors conduct due diligence and line up financing. Toronto-based Fairfax hasnt named any partners in its bid. Fairfax Bid BlackBerry accepted a tentative offer from Fairfax after years of losing market share to rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. The smartphone makers failure to capture consumer interest as Apple and Samsung broadened its array of smartphone apps and devices pushed BlackBerrys share of the global smartphone market down to 2.9 percent in June, according to research firm IDC. Leo de Bever, CEO of Alberta Investment Management, said Oct. 7 that all the usual suspects are speaking with Fairfax about investing in the Waterloo, Ontario-based company. Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, the countrys third-largest pension manager, held preliminary discussions with Fairfax about its bid for the company, two people familiar with the talks said last month. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa said Sept. 23 that the consortium of interested parties had a strong Canadian component. The fund is the third-largest holder of the companys stock among Canadas pension managers after Ontario Teachers and Public Sector Pension Investment Board, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Canada Pension, which manages the retirement savings for 18 million people in every province except for Quebec, would examine any investment based on the risk and return, rather than a sense of nationalism to keep BlackBerry in Canadian hands, Wiseman said.

(Food Network Canada, FOX) Cool news alert: “Top Chef Canada” winner Carl Heinrich and “MasterChef” winner Christine Ha are launching a new culinary series for the blind and visually impaired , and it’s all happening in Canada, reports TV Guide Canada. Called “Four Senses,” the 13-episode series will air on the Canadian network Accessible Media Inc., and will tape in Toronto. Promising to “focus on the broader discussion on disabilities and how people are breaking stereotypes,” something tells us that by creating this program in the first place, they’re taking a step in the right direction. Fans of “MasterChef” may remember that Ha is visually impaired herself, but more importantly, she won Season 3 of the series (which included a $250, 000 prize and a cookbook deal). That’s why “Four Senses” will work to obliterate stereotypes: Ha and Heinrich will describe and demonstrate ways to prepare dishes, talk to visually impaired triathletes and actors with macular degeneration, and stress the importance of getting accessible books into libraries — as well as the science behind our senses, so we can actually understand them. Obviously, this is terrific not only for the blind and visually-impaired, but also for other viewers. A series like “Four Senses” can educate those who don’t know what it’s like to rely primarily on only four senses, and in turn, we can advocate for proper books and programs because we can better understand (and respect) the challenges faced by those who struggle with their vision. From the description, “Four Senses” seems like a program that advocates strength, confidence, and embracing one’s abilities — which is necessary to winning both “Top Chef Canada” and “MasterChef,” and thus makes Ha and Heinrich prime hosts and creators. And by opening the show up to athletes and actors, not only do Ha and Heinrich show that cooking is for anybody, but that one is hardly alone in dealing with visual impairment. The only thing that would make it better? To broadcast on more networks than AMI. Here’s hoping another Canadian network gets wise and takes advantage of this unique, important program.

‘Top Chef Canada’ and ‘MasterChef’ winners launch culinary series for the visually impaired

Canada’s top telecom carriers – BCE Inc (BCE.TO), Telus Corp (T.TO) and Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO) – accused Ottawa of creating rules that favor foreign companies with preferential access to spectrum in an upcoming auction. The three also complained that the rules gave foreign companies more leeway in buying Canadian telecom start-ups, while they are essentially prohibited from striking such deals. After the rejection of the Allstream deal, MTS’s chief executive said the decisions to sell the network and to choose Naguib Sawiris’ Accelero as the buyer were influenced by Ottawa’s earlier efforts to encourage foreign investment. “We thought we were right in line with the government desire to bring more investment from foreign countries into Canada and into telecom,” Chief Executive Officer Pierre Blouin said in a phone interview. Sawiris was in charge of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom when it provided most of the initial financial backing for startup Wind Mobile, following a spectrum auction in 2008. Canada’s Conservative government fought a court battle against the country’s own telecom regulator and rival operators to ensure Wind could operate. It later loosened the rules so foreigners could fully own telecom companies, such as Wind, that had less than 10 percent market share. Even so, Ottawa dragged its feet on approving a change of control for Wind, after Sawiris’s Orascom Telecom was sold to Vimpelcom (VIP.O), whose top shareholder is Moscow-based Altimo, controlled by billionaire Mikhail Fridman. Norwegian operator Telenor ASA (TEL.OL) has a large minority stake. Although Wind has grown into the fourth-largest player in Canada and succeeded in lowering wireless prices in Canada, the carrier built its network on equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd HWT.UL, a decision that has displeased Ottawa, according to industry sources. The sources asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. Wind Mobile declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Minister of Industry James Moore was not immediately available to comment on possible government concerns about Wind’s relationship with Huawei.

Canada Pension Would Consider Joining Bid for BlackBerry (1)

“[We do not] comment on foreign intelligence gathering activities, said Lauri Sullivan, a spokesperson for the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC, the equivalent of the National Security Agency in the United States) when speaking with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Under the law, this organization cannot target Canadians. On Sunday, Brazilian television network TV Globo reported that the CSEC spied on e-mail and phone metadata collected from traffic to and from the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy. The network relied on documents shared by Glenn Greenwald, who received them as part of the massive trove of files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. CSEC is also part of the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing program between Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. In light of the news, the Canadian ambassador to Brazil has been summoned (Google Translate) to the Foreign Ministry in Brasilia. “This is unacceptable between countries that are supposed to be partners. We repudiate this cyber warfare,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff wrote on Twitter on Monday. However, the Globe and Mail , a major Canadian newspaper, spoke with a former high-ranking spy who dismissed the allegation, calling the documents a wargame scenario. Theres no smoking gun here, said Ray Boisvert, until last yeara deputy director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. “Its again more little snippets and snapshots from the Snowden revelations; they actually mislead more than they inform.” Still, the paper added that the impact for the Great White North could be grave: They come at a time when Brazil has become a top destination for Canadian exports, when a stream of delegations from the oil and gas industries are making pilgrimages to Rio de Janeiro to try to get a piece of the booming offshore oil industry, and when the Canadian government is eager to burnish ties with Brasilia. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Brazil in August and spoke repeatedly about the country as a critical partner for Canadian business. The CBC adds that: The country is Canada’s 11th largest trading partner with $2.6 billion in Canadian exports to Brazil, including fertilizers, mineral fuels and oils, machinery, and paper, according to the department. Brazil was also Canada’s seventh highest source of foreign direct investment in 2012, with nearly $16 billion in stocks. At a recent event at the United Nations General Assembly, Guilherme Patriota, the deputy permanent representative at the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations , told Ars how exasperated his government has become. “We are [part of the group of] Western countries friendly with the US, and nevertheless the e-mails of our president are being read by the NSA,” he said. “There’s simply no end to it.