Recommendations from the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel to modernize Canada’s telecom regulatory and policy framework could find themselves shelved, analysts fear. Speaking at the TeleManagement Live 2005 conference in Toronto on October 18, the analysts noted that the political will isn’t there on the part of the federal government to push telecommunications issues higher up on the priority list.  Iain Grant, managing director of telecom consultancy the SeaBoard Group, said other issues such as the Gomery Commission report and a pending federal election will delay any developments with respect to the telecom policy review panel’s recommendations. "We won’t get back to having traction on this issue until September a year from now, at the earliest," he said.  Highlighting the differences between Canada and the United States with respect to telecommunications policy, Grant said that even U.S. president George Bush had an entire section of his campaign platform devoted to "why he thought telecommunications was important for the vision of America."  He also noted that John Kerry, loser to Bush in the last presidential election, believed that "communications was really important for the disadvantaged to bring them across the divide, to empower people." During the last Canadian election, "there was barely a mention, expect for (New Democratic Party leader) Jack Layton saying it was important in terms of education."  Lis Angus, principal at Angus Dortmans Associates, is interested in seeing what recommendations come out of the report, but is concerned about what will be done as a result. "I am very concerned that telecom is so low on the political agenda in Ottawa that if we have a wonderful report that not too much may happen out of it," she said.  "A few years ago, we had a clear recommendation from a Parliamentary committee to change foreign ownership rules and we’ve seen nothing yet. And I would not be surprised if we see another three years go by before we see significant action out of this report," she stated. "I think it would be a damn shame," Angus added.  Foreign investment rules in telecommunications were also a point of contention for Eamon Hoey, head of telecom consulting firm Hoey & Associates. He said the discussion about them has gone on far too long, noting that back in the early 1990s the elimination of foreign ownership rules was called for during the proceeding which led to the opening up of long-distance services to competition. "Instead what we got was a more formalized .  We’re not getting anywhere on that issue and I don’t see...any threat to Canada by permitting a foreigner to come in – a Verizon or an Orange from the UK – and compete. Actually it would smarten our fellows up," he said referring to the country’s telecommunications carriers.  Angus noted that based on submissions to the Telecom Policy Review Panel, there isn’t a great level of opposition to the lifting of foreign ownership rules for telecom companies. "There is pretty wide consensus now that there were reasons to protect our Canadian ," she said. This is a highly politicized issue, she added, highlighting the fact cable TV providers are regulated by Canadian Heritage, a government department opposed to a change in current foreign investment restrictions. Most cablecos want to have the same ownership rules as telecom carriers.