TekSavvy announced on Thursday it has filed additional evidence with the federal government in support of its recent May 28 Petition to the Governor in Council, related to the CRTC’s wholesales rates decision, which it says was arbitrarily made. The extra evidence submitted today is related to CRTC chair Ian Scott’s one-on-one meetings with telecom executives, including Bell, Rogers and Shaw.
Lobbying records show Scott “held at least 11 reported solo meetings with Bell, Rogers or Shaw during the course of the CRTC’s open and active file.”
The Star analyzed big telecom and independent service provider (ISP) meetings between Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the CRTC, from August 15, 2019 to June 1, 2021, hundreds of meetings took place.
Data shows Bell, Rogers, Telus, Cogeco, Quebecor and Shaw had far more meetings with ISED and the CRTC, compared to independent ISPs.
“In fact, Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Cogeco, Quebecor and Telus had more than 250 meetings with government officials in the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), plus a dozen meetings with Scott, one of which took place over a beer in a busy Ottawa bar,” reported The Star earlier this month.
That pub meeting took place on December 19, 2019, according to public records, with Scott having a one-on-one with Bell executive Mirko Bibic, who was the company’s chief operating officer at the time, and currently CEO.
Sources told The Star both men met at D’Arcy McGee’s on Sparks Street in Ottawa, a popular pub for public servants. The registered meeting in lobbyist records note the subject discussion was broadcasting.
“The meeting occurred just one week after the CRTC opened an active file to hear Bell’s application to reverse the 2019 Final Rates Order, which the regulator arbitrarily approved in Decision 2021-181,” detailed TekSavvy on Thursday, noting the meeting was problematic as no third party was there to witness the discussion.
Consumer groups such as OpenMedia are asking Canadians to email Scott to invite him for a patio beer, “just like he did with Bell.”
Who else got serious FOMO when @CRTCeng Chair Ian Scott met Bell's CEO for beers? 🙋 Say no to special treatment for Big Telecom! Email Ian Scott NOW inviting him for a patio beer with the @OpenMediaOrg community: https://t.co/TT2pW6mieV #CRTCbeers🍻 #CRTCscandal
— OpenMedia (@OpenMediaOrg) June 23, 2021
TekSavvy says it still wants Scott removed as CRTC chair due to his apparent bias. The company also recently announced it had scrapped its plans for a mobile service due to the CRTC wholesale rates reversal.
“The CRTC’s role is to be an independent arbiter. The 2019 Final Rates Order, which was based on years of process and mountains of evidence showed the CRTC had the independence and expertise to set proper wholesale rates,” said Andy Kaplan-Myrth, TekSavvy’s vice-president of Regulatory and Carrier Affairs, in an issued statement to iPhone in Canada.
“Now they’re having beers with Bell and making up numbers, while completely undermining this government’s promises to Canadians. It’s an outrage,” added Kaplan-Myrth.