Current CRTC Chairman Ian Scott recently justified his decision to have a beer with a Bell executive (now the company’s current CEO, Mirko Bibic) in an Ottawa pub years ago, saying it was just a drink with a friend.
Scott told the Toronto Star earlier this month, “The simple answer is that nothing inappropriate was done”, adding “I went for a beer with someone I’ve known for many years…and he ended up choosing to fix a broadcast problem a bit of what Bell might be doing in the future.
“However, because we talked about business, he (Bibic) properly registered that, as lobbyist registration requires,” the CRTC chairman said. “It was in my diary and left in my diary. I made no secret of the fact that it happened,” Scott added.
“At no time have I had a discussion with Bell about a file that I have before us. I do not. I have never. And I never will,” Scott explained. “No rule has ever been broken.”
While Scott says his conduct was in the realm of doing everything by the rules, former CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, who recently made headlines by denouncing a recent Bell acquisition, has a completely different stance. on where and when to do business meetings.
Gerry Frappier, the former president of RDS for Bell Media, got into a war of words with Blais on LinkedIn, in comments where EXOX CEO Jean-Philippe Béïque detailed his resignation, following its acquisition by Bell. .
Blais first replied, “Very sad. Another example that the competitive environment in the telecommunications sector is failing hard-working Canadian men and women.
It was then that Frappier replied to Blais: “These big players who spend billions to create telecommunications infrastructures should be compensated, how Jean-Pierre? At some point, government policy can’t be about wanting butter and butter’s money,” the former Bell executive said.
“There are big players who don’t really compete on price and quality. Instead, they use their deep pockets to [crush] small players in court to delay competition. Or to buy competitors to remove them from the market. Or worse, having inappropriate meetings with regulators to always do as they please. Winning through lobbying is not a healthy market. You were part of the problem then [don’t] now claim to be part of the solution,” Blais retorted.
It was then that Frappier retorted: “Wow Jean-Pierre, that’s quite an answer! Regarding “inappropriate meetings with the regulator”, we’ll, you were the chief regulator, so I guess you had the option of opting out of the meetings or just hearing their positions and arguments and then choosing to consider them or not.
Frappier added: “It seems to me to be a healthy and honest process, recognizing that you / the CRTC had complete discretion over your ultimate decisions. I don’t see what’s “inappropriate” about that. As for telling me that I was part of the problem, well, I’m frankly a bit taken aback, but I won’t comment further on that. Have a nice week end.”
It was then that Blais replied, “I have never taken inappropriate private meetings without an agenda and without witnesses. I conducted business in places of business. Not in bars or restaurants. Your comment proves that you do not understand where the line is drawn under the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness.
In early February, Canada’s Competitive Network Operators (CNOC) filed an application asking Scott to recuse himself from internet competition proceedings and rulings or be removed by the commission. The application was denied by the CRTC.
The story of two CRTC presidents… pic.twitter.com/lQLLKglfNt
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) February 28, 2022
Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa spotted Blais’ latest response on LinkedIn, and share a screenshot of Scott’s recent “meeting at a bar” headline and the former president’s business practices, saying it was “the story of two CRTC chairmen.”