Earlier this year, I posted the results of an access to information request to George Brown College (GBC) that sought to explain how the college came to publicly support the FairPlay website blocking proposal at the CRTC. Much like similar documents from Brock University, the George Brown College documents showed a request from Mark Milliere, an executive at Bell-owned TSN, about a week before the deadline sparked the submission. The resulting letter, which came from GBC President Anne Sado, was cited by the Bell-led coalition in its reply letter to the CRTC.
More recently, I obtained some additional documents from GBC that were initially withheld due to a third party consultation. The documents indicated that the Bell lobbying of GBC actually started much earlier. In fact, nearly a month before Milliere email, Mike Fenton, the CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth – Toronto wrote to GBC President Anne Sado to urge her to discuss supporting the Bell initiative with Milliere. As this site reveals, Fenton and Milliere had worked together on GBC initiatives and they appear (along with Sado) at the Canadian Sport Business Awards.
The email notes that “as a long time supporter of GBC and the 5 To Watch Awards, as well as one of the key hiring companies of our Sport & Event Marketing graduates – Mark was looking for some input on behalf of the College.”
That request led to an email from Milliere the next day to Sado asking when she had time for a call. Several weeks later, Milliere followed up with the email reminding of the request for a submission and the College filed on behalf of the FairPlay coalition. At a time when public interest groups are facing intense criticism for seeking to galvanize broader participation in policy and regulatory matters, it is notable how the larger corporate organizations work to manufacture their support. More on those efforts with a look at the experience at Ryerson University in a post later this week.