NDP, Conservatives, raise concerns on Rogers hiring of former federal minister

Navdeep Bains is Rogers' new Chief Corporate Affairs Officer

The NDP says it’s concerned about a new role taken by former Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) minister Navdeep Bains.

Rogers hired Bains to serve as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer last week. He served as the innovation minister in the Liberal government, responsible for the telecom file, between 2015 and 2021.

“It certainly looks like the Liberals are in the pockets of telecom giants, getting gravy jobs as their executives, instead of defending Canadians who are already paying a fortune for cell and internet bills,” NDP innovation critic Brian Masse told the National Post.

Masse said the move raises questions given the federal government’s approval of Rogers’ $26-billion takeover of Shaw.

Bains was also the minister behind the government’s last telecom policy direction, which current Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne replaced in February.

Rogers says the new hire won’t be speaking with the federal government on behalf of the telecom giant under the Lobbying Act, which averts former members of the government from lobbying in the capital. However, his role does focus on governmental affairs, the company confirmed.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Navdeep proactively reached out to the ethics and lobbying commissioners and was provided clearance to join Rogers.”

Concerns have also come from the Conservatives. “In the entire time Navdeep Bains was Minister responsible for cell phone prices, he never did anything to improve affordability for Canadians’ cell phone bills. Now he is joining the carrier with the highest cell phone rates in the world,” Rick Perkins, the innovation critic for Canada’s Offical Opposition party, told the publication.

Source: National Post