Government Official Decries Lack of Support for Nortel

A high-ranking official in Ontario is calling out Canada’s federal government for failing to give bankrupt Nortel Networks the same support it’s given to help the auto industry.

Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson told the Ottawa Citizen: “All levels of government were much more proactive on the auto file, and I’d like to see the same synergy with Nortel. I’d like to see the federal government more engaged.”

There was simply no sense of urgency, Watson said in the interview. He said federal and provincial governments should be doing everything they can – including retraining and financial help – to assist Nortel in becoming the company it once was.

Saving the bankrupt giant seems unlikely at this point, however, as Nokia Siemens Networks appears to be the frontrunner to buy Nortel’s wireless unit at an auction next week. That would begin the dismantling of the company into pieces.

Watson said Nortel is “too important a company to lose,” and added that the loss of workers with a high-skill set will be very detrimental to Canada, and especially Ontario, where Nortel’s headquarters is located.

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