Mark Goldberg


www.mhgoldberg.com





Fox Group Dispatch

A mandate letter for the new CRTC Chair

The Minister of Heritage has appointed Judith Larocque as interim Chair to “ensure the continuous and efficient operation of the CRTC.” The 4-month appointment will give the government a little more time to fill the increasing number of vacancies on the Commission and perhaps prepare a new mandate letter for the new Chair.

To assist in that process, I have blacklined the mandate letter that was given to the previous chair, underline indicates new text, strikethrough indicates deletions. I encourage you to add your comments to assist in crowd-sourcing the direction from the government to the new Chair.

The government is currently recruiting 4 positions to fill vacancies at Chair and among Commissioner positions at the CRTC. The government may want to refer to the CRTC’s website to see when the terms are expiring for a number of other Commissioners, in order to start the recruitment process a little earlier next time around.

DRAFT

Chairperson
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
1 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec
J8X 4B1

Dear Mr Chair

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the position of Chairperson of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). You are appointed at a challenging time for the Commission. Thank you for your willingness to serve in this capacity. I am confident that your skills and experience have prepared you for the struggles ahead.

As you are aware, the CRTC is an independent regulator that operates at an arm’s length from Government. Within these boundaries, I hope that we can work together on issues of mutual interest, while maintaining an appropriate level of distance between our two organizations. Likewise, I want to let you know that my office door is always open should you wish to discuss any intersecting issues.

Conversely, please do not hesitate to push back when you detect political interference in areas that are clearly CRTC jurisdiction. I trust you will not wait until the end of your term to protest matters that can be dealt with in a more timely manner. In particular, if we cross the line, feel free to chirp back a reply message to “STFU.”

Over the years, I have watched the broadcasting activities of the CRTC and believe that the Commission could do a better job to ensure consumer participation and focus on its core duties. I would like to see the Commission comprehensively address consumer affordability and service complaints, ensure consumers are aware of and able to participate in broadcasting proceedings, and regulate broadcasting undertakings only to the extent necessary.

Please do not confuse click-tivist special interest groups with the broader consumer interest. Perhaps some of your social media promotional budget could be re-allocated to measure broader consumer sentiment.

Consumers should have access to more programming choices and affordable choices across all distribution platforms, including radio, television, broadband networks and mobile devices, as well as avenues for recourse. Consistent with the Broadcasting Act, the CRTC should ensure that regulation is targeted and transparent, and that alternatives to regulation are considered. In implementing the Act, the Commission should be mindful of the original intention of legislators.

With respect to telecommunications, the Government’s objectives are to promote competition, investment, innovation and consumer choice. Consistent with the Policy Direction and the focus on consumers through the establishment of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), a light approach to regulation should be taken to achieve these objectives, with continued attention to consumer protection and participation. I really mean it: if we wanted the CRTC to ignore the Policy Direction, we would rescind it.

As you know, the Government recently tabled its Economic Action Plan 2012 which remains focused on an agenda that will deliver high-quality jobs, economic growth and sound public finances. All over government we have been reducing expenses. As you know, the Government recently tabled its Innovation Agenda which remains focused on plan to create good quality, high-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it. In your administration of the CRTC I would like to see a strong commitment to look at expenses, set priorities and make choices resulting in greater efficiencies.

Please keep in mind the CRTC is a body of Commissioners, each of whom have been selected for their positions by the Governor-in-Council because of the perspectives and expertise they bring. I trust you will create an environment that fosters vigourous debate of issues within a climate of respect for all viewpoints, establishing a workplace celebrating the diverse mosaic that defines Canada.

I look forward to working with you in your new capacity.

Sincerely,

It is remarkable how much of the previous mandate letter continues to apply.

What else would you add?

Original Mandate letter to JP Blais from Heritage Minister James Moore

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