The national office of the CEP today formally asked the government to review the purchase of Canwest newspapers by U.S. investors. The press release is below.

OTTAWA, Feb. 25 /CNW/ – The Harper government should immediately review the purchase of Canada’s largest newspaper chain by foreign investors, says Canada’s media union in a formal request to James Moore, Minister of Heritage.

U.S. investment companies own 92% of Postmedia shares and since their purchase of the Canwest papers last summer, 500 jobs are gone and work is being outsourced to the Dominican Republic and the Philippines.

“This is hardly of net benefit to Canadians, their communities or the critical flow of information in a democratic society,” says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President, Media, for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. The Postmedia papers include major Canadian dailies and weeklies across the country.

“The Investment Canada Act requires a foreign purchase of Canadian companies to meet the test of a ‘net benefit’ to Canada, but we fail to see how it helps Canada to see these papers damaged by foreign investors carrying heavy debt loads, particularly when there were Canadian companies ready to buy them.

“Surely the newspapers that keep millions of Canadians informed are as much strategic national assets as potash companies or the stock exchange.”

Murdoch pointed out that the current ownership structure of Postmedia fails to even meet the requirements for Canadian ownership under the Income Tax Act. He says the union fears further job losses and even closures may be on way unless the government takes action.