Tuesday, November 25, 2003

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O.N. Telcom, Telus alliance being reviewed by province

Gord Young

Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 10:00

Local News - An alliance of O.N.Telcom and Telus Corp. could be quickly implemented if the deal is approved by the Liberal government, says Roy Hains.

Hains, the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission’s executive vice-president of operations and service improvement, said a possible alliance of the Crown corporation’s telecommunications division and Telus, one of Canada’s leading telecommunications companies, is included as an option in a three-year business plan recently submitted to the province for review.

“It could move ahead fairly quickly if the deal is approved,” Hains said in a recent interview.

Few details of the deal, negotiated over the past year, have been released. But both management and union officials have said it will benefit O.N.Telcom with the division remaining public while receiving support from a large company.

A Telus spokesman said Friday it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci said Tuesday he had not seen the business plan being reviewed by ministry staff.

The plan will be closely reviewed, Bartolucci said, acknowledging it was devised under a commission appointed by the former Tory government. He said the Liberals will honour a promise not to privatize the ONTC.

Hains, in an earlier interview, said there is no consideration in the plan of public or private ownership. He said the plan’s development was part of ONTC’s business planning process and includes input from customers and the Internal Solution Group.

Five of six unions at the North Bay-based operation endorsed the plan and requested a meeting with Bartolucci.

Bartolucci said he responded to the request and plans to meet with labour officials in the “very near future.”

ID- 49884

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