Thursday, July 31, 2008


There's a report in today's Ottawa Citizen that 60% of the CRTC's staff are considering quitting their jobs. On top of that, one in seven feel the Commission is discriminating against them and has adversely affected their career progression and one in three claim there's nothing the CRTC could do to entice them to stay.

My first reaction was, "Wow! The CRTC treats its staff as bad as it treats those of us working in the industries they regulate." My second reaction was more pro-active, "Hey, why don't you guys do yourselves and the rest of us a favor and get out now?"

Think about it! The next time Konrad Von Finkenstien walks down the hall, he's going to know that every other face peeking up from a cubicle would rather be somewhere else. And given that he likes to surround himself with "The right people" (which already doesn't include anybody who actually works in or watches television, overpays for a cell phone and now apparently toils in his office) then what makes you think he isn't already figuring out some way to turf the lot of you?

I mean, let's be honest. He knows you people told the survey company that you felt the CRTC:

1. Had a lack of vision.

2. Saddled you with repetitive tasks.


3. Didn't sufficiently challenge you.

Almost anybody working in Canadian television or who pays way more than the rest of the world for mobile phone services has known those things for years. Those who are in favor of net neutrality or opposed to traffic throttling seem to be waking up to the reality of how CRTC regulation really works as well.

But let's take each of those issues you have in turn...


This really isn't Konrad's fault. He, like the Commissioners before him, gets his marching orders from the broadcasters and telecom companies. So he doesn't know where you're going until he gets told.

I know you guys spend endless hours setting up hearings and symposiums, but seriously, have you seen even one of them result in a ruling that didn't give the big money exactly what it wanted, no matter how logical or ultimately proven correct the arguments were from their detractors?

I'm sure you, like the rest of us, thought the appointment of a highly respected Federal Judge to the position of Head Honcho might mean a fresh breeze was going to blow through Gatineau. But it didn't happen, did it? In fact it seems to have gotten worse.

I'm sure it's difficult for a man of Konrad's standing to have fallen from such heights to being little more than a pimp for the broadcasters and telecoms but that's his problem. What you kids need to think about is -- there's a name for people who work for a pimp, isn't there?


Okay, so we already covered the pointless hearings you set up. And I'm sure none of you enjoy photocopying and translating all those binders of interventions you know none of the Commissioners even bother to read or will make any difference to their decisions if they do.

But you also must be asking yourself what the point is of your own in-house studies and reports when nothing happens with them either.

A year ago, two of the lawyers who work in your building, Lawrence Dunbar and Christian LeBlanc, published an astonishingly insightful report firmly opposed to simultaneous transmission and genre protection of specialty channels while supporting prime time content quotas and consumer choice in purchasing channels.

Were any of you asked to help institute any of those initiatives? No! And you won't be because those policies might revolutionize Canadian television and make it better. The Broadcasters can't let that happen. So even if you're a lawyer for the CRTC, the work you do is pointless.

God, get out now and take a job selling Beavertails on Bank Street! At the very least, you'll increase your chances of getting laid. And you won't be an accessory to the continued destruction of the Canadian film and television industries.

I'm serious! It's the end of the month, so you just got paid. It's summer, the perfect time to kick back and consider your options. And -- quite frankly -- the way things in the industries you pretend to regulate are going, you'll get a head start on finding a new job while the co-workers who stick around go down with the ship.


Now, I think we both know the reasons for this but, for the sake of argument, let me ask you dissatisfied staffers a couple of questions.

First, how come none of you have phoned Bell, Rogers or Telus and told them to stop telling customers the network service fees they are charging isn't "A CRTC REQUIREMENT" even though that's what they've been claiming for years?

I'm betting it's because you've been told not to since it would force Rogers, Bell and Telus to rebate BILLIONS OF DOLLARS they probably don't have.

So, let's be frank here. Being insufficiently challenged on a job is as much your fault as it is the CRTC's. Maybe before you pack up your McDonald's Happy Meal Figures and walk the Green Mile, you might think of making those calls. At the very least, you could get in touch with Tony Merchant and let him know who told you not to smackdown the telecoms. It would really help him with his class action suit on behalf of the Canadian mobile consumers you guys were hired (and paid by) to protect.

On a similar note, how come none of you have been in touch with History Television to let them know that rebroadcasting "JAG" and "NCIS" is as bogus as the broadcasts of "CSI:NY" you forced them to cancel last year?

Being consistent might not seem sufficiently challenging to some of you. But doing so might make the rest of us believe that regulating the industry you're mandated to regulate wasn't too much of a challenge in the first place.

Finally, I want to address the 14% of you (or 25% of those who are French) who feel you're being discriminated against at work. Because this really confuses me.

You see, as a Canadian producer, I am required to sign a pledge prior to receiving CTF Funding (the terms of which you folks regulate) to apply diversity to all aspects of staffing my productions. Furthermore, the CRTC has mandated any number of diversity programs in the production community not to mention embedding them in the licensing requirements of our broadcasters.

Are you telling me that doesn't apply within the Commission, that there's one rule for the CRTC and another for the rest of us?

If that's the case, it gives an even darker hue to Konrad's constant reference to decisions only being made by "the right people". And you have a responsibility to yourself, your profession and the Canadian people to not only quit right now but to make the details of that discrimination public.

Feel free to send your information directly to me: The PM may have reneged on his promise to protect government whistleblowers, but I'll definitely get the details out as well as cover your back.

Hey, I know this is a tough situation for all of you. Like most Canadians, you probably thought the CRTC was set up to look out for your interests and not those of a monied elite. I understand that you feel betrayed if not completely fucked over. There's barely a creative artist in this country's film and TV industries who doesn't share your pain and frustration.

Please don't let the situation fester and poison your life. Moreover, don't continue giving your energies to a system that is destroying the ability of Canadian artists to turn things around. Don't wait! Get out now!

1 comment:

Cunningham said...

Jim shoots and....he scores!