The CRTC remains shrouded in mystery

Open up about decisions made on the communications tools people use, the content they consume and the price they pay for it

The CRTC remains shrouded in mysteryMany years ago, after a particularly chaotic day in a newsroom, a couple of colleagues and I shared a deep breath, a relieved laugh and shook our heads in dismay. “If only they knew,” one of us said of the readers we sought to serve, “… if only they knew.” I decided then that If…

Search for the just and the reasonable is not a beauty pageant

Canada's public institution boards may not be democracy in action, but ultimately they’re obliged to heed the public and their political masters

Search for the just and the reasonable is not a beauty pageantIn the wake of the latest twist in the fight for lower mobile phone rates, there were cries last week for more democracy within Canada’s public institutions. But here’s the deal: no matter how hard you close your eyes, clench your fists, squeeze your knees together and wish it were so, there is little if…

Wasting money propping up untenable news operations

Billions are spent on the CBC, hundreds of millions are redirected by the CRTC to ensure we’re informed. Is more federal funding for local news justified?

Wasting money propping up untenable news operationsThe smartest thing the federal government could have done to answer pleas for subsidy from the nation’s newspaper publishers is nothing. The next smartest thing it could have done is what I suggested it do last August – get the CBC out of the domestic advertising business and make all of its news content available…

Machinations of mandarins greatest threat to government action

There always will be those few political appointees who aspire to little more than their entitlements, but most desire to be useful and effective

Machinations of mandarins greatest threat to government actionCommentators who dismiss the people governing Canada’s institutions as “patronage” or “fat-cat political” appointees aren’t wrong all the time but are wrong most of the time. In my 10 years as – and let’s go with the full pejorative title here – “a fat-cat political patronage appointee,” I worked with people appointed by the government…

Avast ye swabbies: CRTC asked to crack down on Internet pirates

How do you crack down on internet piracy while preserving net neutrality, the cherished principle of a free and open web?

Avast ye swabbies: CRTC asked to crack down on Internet piratesLast weekend while the National Hockey League all-star extravaganza was taking place in Tampa Bay, hundreds of thousands of people there with no interest whatsoever in hockey partied hard at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. It doesn’t really matter that throughout history, high seas pirates – who continue to flourish – are most often psychopathic mass…

On the run from tsunamis, missiles … and false alarms

Alert systems like the text project that will soon be introduced across Canada can be extremely valuable, if they're structured and managed properly

On the run from tsunamis, missiles … and false alarmsThis week’s efficient Pacific coast tsunami warning may have reinforced trust in emergency notification systems just in time for Canada’s launch of text alerts. People along the B.C. coast were awakened, and some evacuated, early Tuesday following a magnitude-7.9 earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska. Within a few hours they returned, sleepy but none the worse…

The enduring legacy of maverick media baron Jim Shaw

A hard-nosed businessman, he made a brilliant cable territory swap, competed ferociously with Telus and pulled Global television from the Canwest inferno

The enduring legacy of maverick media baron Jim ShawFew occasions better illustrated the cultural divide between the world of the western bottom-up entrepreneur and that of Ottawa’s top-down public service bureaucracy than when Jim Shaw and Konrad von Finckenstein crossed swords in a hearing room. There, front and centre of the raised platform bearing commissioners, would be the multilingual Von Finckenstein, a six-foot-something-awesome…

Netflix next battleground in “protection” of Quebec culture

The protection of Quebec's language and identity is so deeply ingrained in every francophone that nothing as petty as a technology revolution can deter its instincts

Netflix next battleground in “protection” of Quebec cultureAll you need to know about why your Netflix bill will go up sometime in the next couple of years is contained in this paragraph from a recent report in Cartt.ca: “A Quebecor-led coalition of Quebec artists, festivals, production companies, unions, funding agencies and executives at companies including Bell, Cogeco, V, Stingray, Télé-Québec and TV5,…

The American net neutrality shell game is a threat to unfettered access

Deregulating the rules that apply to the companies that provide the Internet’s infrastructure will allow them to monkey with it for their own gain

The American net neutrality shell game is a threat to unfettered accessThe chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an intelligent, articulate man who, in the name of liberty, appears determined to destroy freedom of access to an unbiased Internet in the United States and, inevitably, Canada. I met with Ajit Pai once or twice when he was an FCC commissioner and felt we shared…

Protect the integrity of the Internet, protect free thought

The disruption initiated by the web was always going to result in some chaos. But now the barbarians may be the gatekeepers

Protect the integrity of the Internet, protect free thoughtMany of my generation wring their hands, dab the sweat off their upper lips and otherwise fuss – in the manner older generations do – about millennials. They live at home until 30, ooze entitlement, have the attention span of a housefly and, because their parents’ generation mortgaged their future, are more focused on fun…