CRTC Chair on Drinking in Pub with Bell Exec: Just Beer with a Friend
Image via OpenMedia
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chair Ian Scott has been under fire from critics in the past, over recent revelations of his one-on-one meetings with telecom executives, including one with a high-ranking official from Bell.
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Ian Scott commented for the first time about being spotted drinking beer in a pub with Bell executive Mirko Bibic, prior to the latter taking on his current CEO position.
“The simple answer is that nothing inappropriate was done,” said Scott to the Toronto Star.
Regarding his December 2019 meeting at an Ottawa pub with Bibic, Scott said that the meeting between the two had nothing to do with business.
“I went for a beer with someone I have known for many years …. And it ended up he chose to address a broadcasting issue a little of what Bell might be doing in the future,” said Scott in his interview.
The time of the meeting between Scott and Bibic did not look good, given the fact it took place one week after Bell had filed to appeal the CRTC’s 2019 wholesale internet rates decision, with the latter made to increase competition.
Back in May 2021, the CRTC reverted its wholesale rates back to 2016, seen a win for major telecom providers, after protests from big telcos both in the courtroom and lobbying federal government officials.
The whiplash at the CRTC is incredible. From a pro-consumer, pro-competition chair in Jean-Pierre Blais to possibly the most anti-consumer CRTC chair in its history in Ian Scott. https://t.co/PrIXul2hgK
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) May 27, 2021
“However, because we talked about business he (Bibic) properly recorded this as required by the lobbyist registration,” said the CRTC chair. “It was in my agenda and left in my agenda. I didn’t hide the fact it took place,” he added.
Say, "captured!" 📸 Pictured below are Bell CEO Mirko Bibic & @CRTCeng Chair Ian Scott out for beers in Ottawa in Dec '19, just a week after Bell filed its appeal of the CRTC's 2019 wholesale rates.🙃 #CRTCbeers #cdnpoli
Source: @LeDevoir/@TekSavvyBuzz – https://t.co/AfiNLuiMwq pic.twitter.com/tD1yy2VprO
— OpenMedia (@OpenMediaOrg) June 29, 2021
“At no time did I have a discussion with Bell about a file I have in front of us. I don’t. I never have. And I never will,” emphasized Scott. “No rule was ever broken.”
As for the characterization of the CRTC chair as being too cozy with major telecoms, based on the fact he previously worked at Telus? Scott says it’s a “smear” campaign.
“I’ve had multiple requests to tell my side of the story. And I have not spoken about it. I’ve taken the high road and tried not to dignify it,” he said.
You can read the rest of Scott’s interview with The Star here.