Posts Tagged ‘CRTC’

The lingering death of CTV.

Thursday, February 4th, 2021

There are some flash drives littering my desk behind this computer. Those memory sticks date from my last three computers. I started to search in them earlier and wasted hours in nostalgia.  What I was looking for, was not found. It was the presentation I made to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) 13 years ago. It was when Bell Canada was seeking approval to buy CTV and its holdings.

I said in very clear terms to the commissioners that Bell Canada knew nothing about television or radio, its production needs or programming. When the future of the industry was in question, CTV was unloading an albatross on the suckers at Bell. Time is proving me right. The news today of another 200 staff cuts in CTV in Toronto area alone tell the tale. Based on their presentations to the commission, I think the commissioners believed that the two giant concerns deserved each other.

I walked away from that CRTC meeting, never to return.

It was part of the disappointment. I had been in on the conception of the CRTC and at the turn of the century, my late friend The Right Honourable Herb Gray, who spent 40 years in parliament, asked me if I would like to sit on the Commission, I helped create.

The involvement started in the 1960s with prime minister Lester Pearson telling Jack Pickersgill, then minister of transport, to get down to the party policy meeting at the Chateau Laurier, where some young Turks in the party were tearing apart his Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

What Pickersgill found was that we were simply asking for the separation of the CBC from the Board of Broadcast Governors. We were convinced that, at the time, the arrangement was strangling growth for both the CBC and the Canadian television industry. We won the battle and the CRTC was created by Pierre Trudeau’s government under the first minister of communications for Canada, my, then member of parliament, Robert Stanbury.

But that right-wing jerk John Manley, was political minister for Ontario over 30 years later when Herb Gray suggested me for the CRTC and Manley shot down my appointment without any consideration.


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