The percentage of Canadians opposed to foreign control of domestic communications companies including telcos has increased slightly over the past 18 months, according to a new survey by Decima Research Inc. The latest research indicates that there has been a hardening of attitudes among those opposed. The results take on a greater significance since the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is scheduled to open hearings on foreign investment limits in the telecom sector later this month (NL, Dec. 16/02). A telephone survey conducted for Decima Publishing Inc. by affiliate Decima Research last month repeated questions from a Decima survey completed in June 2001 (NL, July 3/01). Overall, 72% of Canadians are now opposed to a change that would allow Canadian media and telecommunications companies to be majority owned by foreign companies, compared to 68% in June 2001. However, the proportion that is strongly opposed increased from 40% in 2001 to 45% in 2002. According to the latest research, 21% are in favour of foreign control of media and telecom companies, with only 7% strongly favouring the notion. The remaining respondents did not express an opinion either way. In 2001, 26% endorsed foreign control of media companies and telcos, with 5% strongly in favour of it, and the remaining respondents not expressing an opinion either way. The numbers remained constant on the question of outsiders taking over telcos, with 60% saying foreign ownership of tele-phone companies is unacceptable, up marginally from 59% in 2001. Another 36% said the idea was acceptable to them, down slightly from 37% a year earlier. Interesting demographic results from the December 2002 survey include: opposition to foreign control of media companies and telcos is highest in British Columbia where 55% are strongly opposed, and lowest in Quebec where 36% are strongly opposed; Canadians under the age of 35 are less opposed to foreign control, with 33% strongly opposed versus 51% for those who are over 35; and the percentage of Canadians strongly opposed to foreign control increases with the level of education, with 43% of people with high school or less education strongly opposed, compared to 50% of Canadians with some post secondary education strongly opposed. Among the reasons given by Canadians who opposed foreign control of media and telecom firms in the latest research were: losing control of important industries; loss of sovereignty; loss of Canadian identity/Canadian content; bad for the Canadian economy; too much foreign influence/ownership already; companies will move out of Canada; service will get worse; will lose research/development capabilities in Canada; and prices for services will go up. Canadians who endorsed foreign control defended their choice with such responses as good for the economy; will help Canada compete internationally; only way for Canadian companies to survive; globalization is happening/cannot be stopped; will mean less monopoly/more competition; will mean better/stronger companies; will result in better service and lower prices; will improve selection of services; better content; we need more capital; media should be open; prefer American content; too much regulation; stock prices of companies will go up; and one hardy soul who replied, "let someone else take care of it." The latest research shows that Canadians continue to oppose the takeover of cablecos and media outlets by foreign interests. More than half, 56%, found foreign majority ownership of cablecos unacceptable while only 39% supported the idea. In June 2001, 57% vetoed the notion with 37% endorsing it. The opposition to outside control of broadcasters also registered an increase. In 2001, 50% of respondents said foreign ownership of private TV broadcasters was unacceptable. That passed the halfway mark in the most recent survey, with 54% registering their discontent. Those who found the idea acceptable fell from 44% in 2001 to 40% in 2002. The figures for newspaper ownership remained constant over the past 18 months. In 2001, only 30% found the idea of foreign majority control of newspapers acceptable, a number that dipped slightly in December. Those opposed edged up marginally from 2001 to last year. When asked if they thought foreign investment in general in Canada had increased, decreased or stayed about the same in the past two to three years, 42% of Canadians in 2002 believed it had increased, down from the 49% who said that in 2001. The number of Canadians who thought it decreased was 15% in 2002, up from 9% in 2001, while 23% said it stayed the same, about the same as the 25% who said that in 2001. Both the 2002 and 2001 research was collected through the Decima Express, a national omnibus telephone survey conducted monthly by Decima Research. The 2002 survey was conducted between December 13 and December 22. Results of the survey are based on a sample of 2,017 adult Canadians. A survey of this size can be expected to provide results accurate to within +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The 2001 survey had a smaller sample of 1,174 adult Canadians. A survey of this size can be expected to provide results accurate to within +/- 2.8%, 19 times out of 20. For more in-depth survey results relating to foreign control of cable companies and broadcasters, see the upcoming edition of NL affiliate publication Canadian Communications Reports. For more information on the latest survey or to purchase an executive summary and/or the full research data, please contact Publisher Mario Mota at (613) 230-1984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.