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“Ongoing Concerns”: U.S. Objections to Canadian Digital Policies Spreads to the Senate

U.S. concerns with Canadian digital policy continues to mount with both the U.S. Administration and Senators from both parties raising fears of discrimination. U.S. pressure seems likely to grow as the issue emerges as a major irritant in the bi-lateral trade relationship with Canada’s most important trading partner. With U.S. President Joe Biden scheduled to visit Ottawa later this winter, it seems likely that digital policy – particularly a proposed digital services tax, Bill C-11, and Bill C-18 – will be on the agenda at the meeting.

The latest signals came last week at a bilateral meeting between U.S. and Canadian trade officials. The U.S. readout of the meeting states:

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January 31, 2023 1 comment News
West_Block_Temp_House_of_Commons,_2022 by Hutima, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:West_Block_Temp_House_of_Commons,_2022.jpg

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 154: The House is Back – A Preview of Canadian Digital Policy as Parliament Resumes

The House of Commons and Senate return from a lengthy break this week and will likely run until late June with the occasional week or two off. Digital policy may not attract top line attention, but it has emerged as one of the government’s most active issues. This week’s Law Bytes podcast provides a preview of the upcoming session, looking at what may lie ahead for issues such as telecom policy, privacy reform, Bills C-11 and C-18, copyright, and trade policy.

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January 30, 2023 1 comment Podcasts
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Champagne’s Choice

The Rogers-Shaw merger saga was always destined to end on the desk of Innovation, Science and Industry Ministry François-Philippe Champagne. The merger has followed a familiar pattern: the companies started with a plan to merge without any divestitures that never stood a serious chance of approval, followed by adopting the Bell-MTS playbook of divesting assets to the weakest possible competitor in Xplorenet. When that didn’t fly, Videotron marched in to scoop up the wireless assets at a discount, complete with a story about exporting Quebec competition to other provinces and a politically attractive narrative for a Quebec-based minister who is reported to harbour future leadership ambitions. 

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January 25, 2023 12 comments News
Telus & Rogers Setup Underground on Canada Line by Rebecca Bollwitt https://flic.kr/p/6HASwT (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 153: Jennifer Quaid on the Competition Bureau’s Appeal of the Rogers-Shaw Merger Decision

The battle over the Rogers – Shaw merger has continued to escalate in recent days with TekSavvy filing an application with the CRTC on the wholesale access implications of the deal, a campaign to urge ISED Minister François-Philippe Champagne to reject the transaction, and a forthcoming Industry committee hearing on the situation. The merger heads for what may be its final legal showdown this week as the Federal Court of Appeal conducts its hearing on the Competition Bureau’s appeal of a recent decision from the Competition Tribunal that rejected its opposition to the proposed merger. 

Jennifer Quaid is an Associate Professor and Vice-Dean Research in the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. She is an expert on competition law and has been vocal throughout the Rogers-Shaw merger drama. She joins me on the Law Bytes podcast to unpack the legal arguments in the case, provides her prognostication on a potential outcome at the Court of Appeal, and offers insights into potential future competition law reforms in Canada in light of a national consultation on the issue.

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January 23, 2023 2 comments Podcasts
Konrad Von Finckenstein - CRTC Chairman @ Banff World Media Festival 2011 by Kempton (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9Ticaw

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 152: Konrad von Finckenstein on the Challenges That Lie Ahead for the CRTC

The start of a new year often means a fresh start and for the CRTC, it meant welcoming a new chair, as Vicky Eatrides officially took over as chair a few days into 2023. Eatrides comes to the Commission at a particularly busy time with wireless competition concerns top of mind for many Canadians and the government set to ask the Commission to play a pivotal role in implementing Bills C-11 and C-18.

Konrad von Finckenstein is someone who knows quite a bit about the challenges faced by new CRTC chairs, having served in the role from 2007 to 2012. He was recently appointed to the Order of Canada for his many contributions to public life and he joins me on the Law Bytes podcast to reflect on those experiences in the context of the CRTC. Our conversation reflects on what is involved in launching entirely new programs, ensuring public engagement, and developing policies that enjoy both public support and can withstand potential legal challenges.

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January 16, 2023 3 comments Podcasts