Hurrah for Canadian outrage! The more than 3,000 complaints on the CRTC’s website about Amendment 2010-931 and the resulting media furor has produced results: the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations has decided to question its own almighty wisdom in forcing the CRTC to change the amendment.
CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein says he’s been stalling this going 10 years now, but recently caved due to increased pressure. He’s very happy to be shut of the whole deal:
“We never wanted to touch this thing. We put it forward because we were ordered to do it… I was perfectly happy with what it was before, and I’m sure at the next commission meeting, we will withdraw this attempt at rewriting.”
I’ve tried to corroborate this on the CRTC’s website, but it seems to be down. Perhaps it’s undergoing heavy load from others trying to verify this as well?
Frankly, it’s good to know that Canadians can still make their voices heard on issues like this. Especially since the timing of the whole proposed amendment is suspicious to say the least. Openmedia.ca has a good timeline of events available, which I’ll summarize here:
Since 2001 the Joint Committee, after consideration of a 1992 Supreme Court ruling (R. v. Zundel,  2 S.C.R. 731, regarding publishing false news and it’s Charter’s guarantee of freedom of expression) has been in communication about the regulation’s wording with the CRTC. Personally I am not certain that a corporation is legally entitled to the same rights as citizens, but that’s a separate issue. Aside from a brief letter in 2005, the matter seems to have lain quiet. Then in 2009 – the same time that Quebecor is forming Sun TV – there is a sudden flurry of activity between the Committee and the CRTC.
Finally in November 2010 the Committe orders the CRTC to adopt the regulation change. Oddly enough, this is almost on the same day that the Progressive Conservatives’ mouthpiece Fox News North – excuse me, Quebecor’s news channel Sun TV – was licensed. Basically the CRTC received a letter forcing the issue from the Committee.
Of course, it must be pure coincidence that after 9 years of the Committee basically ignoring it, the same time as Sun TV is being organized it is suddenly an urgent issue. Why, it would be silly to think that Harper’s PC Party would user American style tactics and shady techniques to push their own agenda! They’ve been a model of typical restrained Canadian politics! Except, of course, for those nasty PC attack ads. Oh, and Harper proroguing Parliament several times. And trying to adopt the failed US model of justice for minimum drug sentencing, and building enormous numbers of prisons. And Harper secretly signing border agreements with the US without public or legislative consultation. And Ministers such as Oda modifying documents, and then lying about it, and then lying about it AGAIN when caught. Hm… ok, perhaps there might be some basis to be suspicious. But only if you’re a paranoid loony leftist pinko commie! Er, I mean, a Liberal party member.