Maxime Bernier calls for the deregulation of the Telecom Industry as well as a full opening to foreign investments to foster competition
June 7, 2016
For Immediate Release
Toronto – Maxime Bernier, leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, today criticized policies promoting “artificial competition” imposed by the CRTC on the telecommunications industry, and called for various reforms that would increase real competition.
During a keynote speech at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, Mr. Bernier recalled the decisions he took a decade ago as Industry minister to deregulate the telecommunications industry, including the adoption of a Policy Direction to the CRTC to direct it to rely on market forces to the maximum extent feasible.
“The CRTC seemed to take the Policy Direction seriously for a few years. And then it reverted back to its old ways,” deplored Mr. Bernier.
The MP for Beauce denounced various CRTC rulings ostensibly aimed at increasing competition in the sector, but that actually have the effect of discouraging investments and harming consumers. These include decisions to force some providers to share their advanced fibre networks with competitors, as well as potential CRTC plans to tax and regulate the industry as a way to ensure that all Canadians have access to broadband Internet.
He accused the regulator of being “behind the curve.” “While the CRTC is studying the matter, the industry is investing billions of dollars deploying even more efficient networks. This is happening because there is real competition in this sector, not because of CRTC regulations. Canadian consumers are best served when telecom providers are free to compete and invest, not when bureaucrats tell them what to do.”
Maxime Bernier also criticized his Conservative successors at Industry Canada for adopting the same type of policies promoting artificial competition in the wireless sector. He said that this led to spectrum being misallocated, underused or unused for many years, a situation which did not benefit consumers.
Mr. Bernier made a series of proposals to increase “real competition” in the industry, including the phasing-out of the CRTC in its role as telecom regulator, as well as a full opening of the industry to foreign investments. “The telecom industry is a mature, competitive and normal industry, and it should be treated as such. It’s not a playground for bureaucrats,” he said.
Maxime Bernier’s speech did not cover the various questions related to the CRTC’s role as broadcasting regulator, a topic he plans to address later.
The full text of the speech can be found at MaximeBernier.com.
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