The CRTC in 2017: "They Trust us to Defend their Interests as Citizens, as Creators & as Consumers"
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Tuesday October 30, 2012
Blais provided a vision that hits on many issues that should form part of Canada's long missing digital economy strategy. CRTC activity includes:
In our decision, we noted that consumers increasingly expect to be in control of what they watch. It makes sense that consumers and the distributors who serve them should have more flexibility in packaging choices. While we acknowledged the value of predictable revenues to the programming services, we decided that the days of guaranteed wholesale rates are over. Programming services cannot expect to remain completely insulated from the growing demand for greater choice by Canadians.
Blais added that the CRTC "won't hesitate to intervene when there's market failure or a need to protect Canadians" and made it clear that he welcomes greater public participation in the policy process:
We also have to ensure that Canadians become more involved in our decision-making process.
A few weeks ago I appeared before a Parliamentary committee. I told them that we cannot serve the public interest unless the public takes part in our work. We're going to be more welcoming in our public proceedings and public hearings.
I don't think our proceedings should be attended only by people who are paid to be there in their official capacity. Let's level the playing field. Next month we'll be holding a licence renewal hearing for CBC/Radio-Canada, and we've offered evening sessions to make it easier for Canadians to come and share their views. The sessions will be set up in a less formal way in order to encourage a more open dialogue.
At those hearings, we'll also use audio-visual technologies to allow people to take part from other locations, including official language minority communities. By the way, these minority communities deserve to get the best possible programming services in their own language. That is a matter of citizenship. We continue to engage the public in online consultations on our website. This will facilitate a broader nationwide discussion. It enriches our public record and helps us make more informed decisions.
While there remain skeptics about the CRTC shift, it is hard to see what else the Commission could say to convince the public of a change in perspective and approach. Blais has set out an ambitious agenda for the coming five years with the goal of reshaping the public view of the CRTC and its role in crafting communication policy.
Tuesday October 30, 2012