Having once worked for Bell Canada, you find out very quickly why Bell is among the most hated of Canadian companies. It is the arrogance. Bell Canada shares its arrogant attitude with other telecoms and communications companies. Whether you are dealing with Rogers, Shaw, Telus, or Bell matters little. There is the same sense of privilege in all Canadian telecoms.
I remember a decade ago, at a Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing, Bell Canada was applying for permission to buy CTV. At the hearing in Gatineau, Quebec, I was sitting directly behind the Bell executive responsible for orchestrating the proceedings for Bell. his people where writing speeches for supporters and MPs who spoke to impress the commissioners. When it was my turn to speak as an intervenor, he left the room for probably an over-due washroom break. He would not have enjoyed what he knew I was there to say anyway.
I knew my intervention was a waste of time. I gave it my best shot. Even the chairman was congratulatory in a quiet discussion later as we both left the building. He knew then that the Harper conservatives would just overrule the decision if the commission did not bow to the Bell demands. It was another low point in the existence of the CRTC.
I had been there for the birth of the CRTC in the late 1960s. Some of us young Turks in the liberal party had taken on the challenge of swapping the old Board of Broadcast Governors (dominated by the CBC) for a more independent body.
And I will probably be there for the death of the CRTC the way it is going these days. They have let the fox in the henhouse by picking the former bureaucrat and former lobbyist for Telus, Ian Scott, as chair of the supposedly independent body. He stunned all knowledgeable Canadians by reversing the CRTC’s 2019 ruling on lower prices for wholesale Internet prices from major telecoms.
It came like a gift from heaven to people such as Bell that have been screwing consumers and smaller distributors alike for years. From personally pricing all the independents, I found that they could not give the consumer a break. Their prices worked out to the same as Bell’s—with poorer service.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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