GATINEAU, Que. — The appointment of telecom industry insider Ian Scott as the next chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has sparked both concerns that the regulator could soon be taken in a less consumer friendly direction and hope for a new direction.
Heritage Minister Melanie Joly announced Scott’s appointment Tuesday, while also naming Caroline Simard as the CRTC’s vice-chairwoman, saying the two have a “deep understanding of what Canadians expect in their telecommunications and broadcasting systems.”
Advocacy group OpenMedia said former chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, who chose not to reapply for the job when his term came to an end earlier this year, did a lot to open the telecommunications marketplace to increased consumer choice and affordability.
“This is a concerning choice by the government,” said OpenMedia communications manager Meghan Sali, who also noted that, under Blais, the regulator declared broadband Internet a basic service in Canada.
“Canadians were hoping for somebody with a strong consumer rights background, and will undoubtedly be disheartened to see the Trudeau government place someone from industry into the top decision-making position.”
“We hope Mr. Scott and Ms. Simard can bring a new direction to the commission,” said ACTRA national executive director Stephen Waddell.
“A key part of the CRTC’s mandate is to ensure the vibrant expression of Canadian culture and identity. That has been ignored too often under the outgoing chair,” he said. “We welcome a change.”
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE AT THE NATIONAL POST WEBSITE