There. We have said it. Harold Ballard of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey fame can rest easy. Fans now know who to blame for those awful Leafs who have not won a Stanley Cup since Christ was a Corporal. And remember, Harold—God rot his soul—cared. Bell Canada executives hardly give a damn. Even the Toronto-centric Rogers executives are bottom-liners and could hardly give a damn about the fans—unless they all stopped buying tickets to games at the Air Canada Centre.
The news that Bell Canada and Rogers have jointly borrowed enough money from Canadian banks to buy the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund portion of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is a tragedy. Even if you are not a sports fan, you should be aware of the perfidy involved. The confluence of cupidity has been years in the making. We can start by blaming Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his friendly appointees to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission. The CRTC has had the ball rolling in this direction for years.
Jean Monte of Bell had a vision of a confluence of telecommunications and television that went far beyond the understanding of the small town CRTC commissioners. Jean Monte wanted it all and his Bell Canada came through. The vision was so big, in creating the monster that is now ruling Canada’s telecom and television empire, Monte’s successors had to let the Rogers organization in on the game. Canada is now ruled by an unlikely triumvirate named Stephen Harper, George Cope and Nadir Mohamed and the CRTC made it happen.
All the CRTC needed to do was to refute its purpose. It turned from serving the Canadian public to serving the industry it was supposed to regulate. The commissioners first had to learn that Prime Minister Harper—minority Prime Minister or not—did not want the industry regulated. He wanted the television networks to be given free rein as long as they supported him and his party.
In an unregulated world, television networks were allowed to buy newspapers. Telecommunications firms were allowed to buy television networks. Cable and satellite television firms could charge as they wished. Telephone companies could charge as they wished. Complaints from the public were being ignored. It has become a dog-eat-dog world and the dogs are hungry.
Rogers and Bell Canada now have a lock on sports news in Eastern Canada. If you want the scores faster, there is an app for that. We only wish it mattered.
Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry
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