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New Chair of the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunication Commission

- January 29, 2007 - 0 Comments

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA – Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment of Konrad von Finckenstein as Chair of the CRTC.Prior to being appointed by former Liberal PM Chretien as head of Canada’s Competition Bureau, Mr. von Finckenstein was a career justice department civil servant. After his stint at the Competition Bureau, he was subsequently appointed (again by Chretien) as a Federal Court Judge. While it might be sometime before he establishes a track record as Chair of the CRTC, he already possesses a solid reputation of being able to withstand intense pressure from industry, media, and elected officials. At the Competition bureau he blocked a number of high profile mergers including those in the media sector and another in the consumer gas market. Based on his record as the Competition Czar, Mr. von Finckenstein choice is interesting as he’s highly likely to discourage the concentration of media, broadcasting, and telecommunications sectors. This dovetails nicely with the government’s pro-competition strategy in the telecommunications arena. However, von Finckenstein’s resolve will be put to the test with two separate and recent media acquisitions that have yet to receive CRTC approval.Could his appointment be a precursor to the gov’t opening the $32B ($CDN) telecommunciations market to increased foreign competition? He should prove to be supportive of any government decision to do so, although a decision to open the market will only occur following a federal election and is dependant upon the Conservatives securing a majority government. Konrad von Finckenstein

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