Dear Ian Scott, beers?

The CRTC wants to conduct regulatory business at the bar — so be it. But the days of having a beer with just one side of the debate are over.

News broke recently that CRTC Chair Ian Scott is not just uncomfortably cozy with Big Telecom lobbyists — he even held a 1:1 lobbying meeting with the CEO of Bell over beers at an Ottawa pub!1

This was only days after Bell filed its appeal about the CRTC’s decision to lower Internet wholesale rates, which would have led to more affordable Internet across Canada. And guess what? Bell got their way!2,3

It’s unfair and ridiculous — but if heading to the pub is the only way to get our voices heard at the CRTC, then we’re game. 

Here’s our proposal for Chair Scott: Meet us and a handful of OpenMedia community members for a beer, and hear directly from the folks he’s been screwing over with the CRTC’s recent decisions. Seem more than fair to you? Send the invitation to CRTC Chair Ian Scott right now: Will he meet OpenMedia and 3 members of our community for regulatory beers on the patio?

Send your invite RIGHT NOW!

P.S. If you're personally interested in meeting Ian Scott for beers (or beverage of your choice), make sure you tick the box when you send the invite!

An invite for Ian Scott:

Subject line: Chair Ian Scott, did you get our invite for beers? Please RSVP!

What: Beers on the patio

With who: OpenMedia staff and three members of the OpenMedia community

When: At your earliest convenience

Where: At the location of your choosing (health regulation compliant)

Why: If you wish to conduct regulatory business at the bar, then so be it — but you’re going to have to meet with us, too.

[Click here to read the full invite]

Subject line:Chair Ian Scott, did you get our invite for beers? Please RSVP!

Message:
Dear CRTC Chair Ian Scott,
As a member of the OpenMedia community, it is my pleasure to invite you to be the guest of honour at the following engagement:

What: Beers on the patio
With who: OpenMedia staff and three members of the OpenMedia community
When: At your earliest convenience
Where: At the location of your choosing (health regulation compliant)
Why: If you wish to conduct regulatory business at the bar, then so be it — but you’re going to have to meet with us, too.

When we heard about you sitting down with Bell CEO Mirko Bibic for a private lobbying meeting over beers, disturbing, appalling, and downright shady were some of the first adjectives that came to mind. In many jurisdictions, a regulator flaunting its close relationship with industry like this would be grounds for a federal investigation — at minimum.

But special treatment for Big Telecom wouldn’t seem so special if the same treatment applied to all of the other interested parties impacted by the CRTC’s decisions. That is why the OpenMedia community is requesting that you even out the scales, and extend to us the same opportunity you gave to Bell, by having a patio beer with OpenMedia staff and 3 members of our community. We are asking for the chance to meet with you in person for a beer — in compliance with any standing health orders — to discuss the needs of Internet users in Canada, and how CRTC policy can better follow the public interest-oriented policy direction set out by the government. We think that’s more than fair.

Please RSVP by emailing contact@openmedia.org. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
[Your name will go here]

Chair
Ian
Scott
CRTC

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Need more context? Here it is:

Just when we thought the CRTC’s Big Telecom scandal couldn’t get any more outrageous, it did. 

On June 12, the Toronto Star reported that Big Telecom has met with Industry, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada over 250 times since the CRTC’s 2019 wholesale rates ruling — and a DOZEN times just with CRTC Chair Ian Scott himself. In contrast, indie ISPs met with the same groups just 19 times in the same timeframe, while OpenMedia met with ISED just 4 times during that period, and not once with the CRTC.4

But one meeting between Chair Ian Scott and Big Telecom absolutely takes the cake: At an Ottawa pub in broad daylight, Scott sat down for beers with Bell CEO Mirko Bibic — an official, registered lobbying meeting — just weeks after Bell filed its appeal of the CRTC’s 2019 wholesale rates.5

Shady lobbying like this private Bell/Ian Scott cocktail hour have led to anti-consumer decisions that are already costing Canadians dearly. Since Scott’s beer with Bell, the CRTC has thrown out its own calculations on fair wholesale rates, ignoring its own analysis that Big Telecom dominates the market and extracts monopoly profits in Canada, and even ignored Cabinet’s policy direction that the CRTC must prioritize affordability. Incredibly, they’ve refused to even calculate new wholesale rates for fair Internet pricing, defaulting instead to the higher 2016 rates. The ruling was straight out of Big Telecom’s fantasy policy wishlist — so much so that many experts, including a past CRTC chair, expressed their astonishment at the ridiculousness of the decision.6-9

Coincidence? We think not.

But if that’s the way the game is going to be played, we think it’s time to even the playing field! If the CRTC Chair wants to conduct business over beers, then he needs to include Internet users and advocates too — NOT just Big Telecom. All Ian Scott needs to do is tell us when and where, and OpenMedia and 3 community members will be there to meet him (while abiding by standing health orders, of course). Email Chair Ian Scott with an invitation right now: Will he meet OpenMedia and 3 members of the community for regulatory beers on the patio?


Sources

  1. Is the CRTC getting too cosy with big telecom? Star analysis finds major telecoms met with government and CRTC officials hundreds of times prior to reversal on wholesale internet rates - The Star
  2. See 1
  3. Press Release: Today’s CRTC ruling on wholesale Internet rates most anti-consumer decision on record - OpenMedia
  4. See 1
  5. See 1
  6. Telecom Decision CRTC 2021-18 - Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  7. See 3
  8. This is Who the Canadian Government Wants to Regulate the Internet - Michael Geist
  9. The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 91: “This is No Way to Regulate” – Former CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein Speaks Out on the CRTC and Bill C-10 - Michael Geist

Photo by Pixabay and modified by OpenMedia


 

Press: Laura Tribe | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0  | laura@openmedia.org