What’s up with the CRTC and the PMO?

Two recent CRTC decisions smell of business interests trumping the public interest – allowing usage-based Internet billing and relaxing truth in broadcasting requirements. In this context, news that the prime minister and his ministers will work to overrule the UBB decision might seem like a welcome intervention on behalf of the little guy. But is this the relationship we want between the PMO and the CRTC?

It’s not the first time Harper’s government has overstepped the commission. On Feb. 6 a federal court judge took the government to task for allowing Globelive to provide wireless services, despite a CRTC ruling that the company didn’t pass foreign ownership restrictions. Although the Tories deny they’re trying to control the CRTC, rumours of stacking the deck have been swirling since August, gaining further steam this month with accusations of cronyism dogging the newly appointed vice-chair. Between a business-oriented CRTC and a media-control-freaking PMO who seem to be licking the stamps on a shotgun wedding announcement, where does the public interest lie these days? What can we expect of this relationship? Important questions, as the CRTC opens hearings into the country’s biggest media and communications merger