The Conservatives reversed course on plans to water down Bill C-27 in an aborted clause-by-clause meeting today that promises another 48 hours of intense lobbying on the anti-spam bill. Parliamentary Secretary Mike Lake opened this afternoon's meeting by putting the Government's proposed changes into the public record. Most notably, the […]
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As the CRTC gears up for yet another round of hearings later this fall that will address the fee-for-carriage issue, the most recent batch of submitted comments contains what may constitute an interesting shift in policy by the Conservatives. Earlier this year, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage conducted extensive hearings on the future of local broadcasting. Fee-for-carriage (ie. a requirement for broadcast distributors such as cable and satellite to pay for retransmission of over-the-air signals) figured prominently in the discussion. The Conservative members of the committee issued a dissenting opinion in the final report and offered up the following:
this dissenting report must now indicate our most fervent and rigorous opposition to any potential fee for carriage system, either negotiated or imposed, that would have a detrimental effect on the consumer. We believe it is fundamentally unfair to expect Canadian consumers to pay new and substantial charges each month to their cable or satellite distributor to reflect such a system.
Fast forward several months later and Conservative MPs Ed Holder (London West), Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre), Bruce Stanton (Simcoe North), Patrick Brown (Barrie), Gord Brown (Leeds-Grenville), and Lois Brown (Newmarket-Aurora) have each submitted comments to the CRTC public hearing process on the issue. Each MP sent roughly the same letter, suggesting that they all come from the same playbook. The new message:
The Ottawa Citizen reports that the U.S. public affairs network C-SPAN has said that it will not sue the Conservatives over the use of its footage in the recent ads targeting Michael Ignatieff.