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one hand washes the other and stabs you in the back

it's bad enough that the crtc is in bed with big telecoms, backing their demands to limit internet usage for no logical reason (other than wanting to be able to bill canadian consumers more and put a choke hold on smaller competitors at the same time) but now it turns out they're both having a three-way with the cbc? send help.

the cbc is supposed to serve the public interest (then again, so is the crtc), although its role as a public watchdog isn't nearly so entrenched here as it is in countries such as sweden or holland. still, you'd like to think that they are at least dedicated to presenting a comprehensive and multifaceted debate on issues of importance to the canadian populace. but, as it turns out, they're a little reluctant.



this past week, the current, one of their flagship current events shows, aired a discussion and debate on the subject of the crtc's decision (informed by private, for-profit entities like my bete-noire bell canada) to allow telecommunications providers to cap internet usage and bill consumers when they exceed their monthly ration. after being publicly embarrassed by protest and rebuked by the government, the crtc has put the decision under review. so the cbc rightly thought this would be a good time to let canadians hear the different points of view on the debate.

invited to participate were leonard waverman, a business school professor representing the perspective of the telco giants, steve anderson of openmedia.ca, the site that started the petition to have the decision revisited and andrew wright from halifax's chebucto community net, the country's second oldest freenet (well, almost free, since circumstances force them to charge a nominal amount for the service that they provide). the idea, one assumes, was to present opinions from the points of view of corporate interests, those who are angered by the specific decision and that of the larger public. The three were invited to present their arguments, after which they would engage in a debate.

although i didn't hear the original broadcast, i'm told that wright stood his ground and pointed out errors in the statistics presented by waverman in support of the telcos arguments. apparently, calling your opponents out on their presentation is a big no-no, since wright was told afterward that he wouldn't be needed for the debate portion of the show. that's too bad, because this is someone with a lot of experience in the area of public access, beyond the issues surrounding this decision.

normally in these circumstances, i'd just listen to the show on line and see what he said to get himself uninvited to the debate party, but unfortunately, i can't do that, because the cbc chose to expunge his contribution from the portion of the show that they made available on line. so the debate that one can listen to now is free of the voice that challenged the corporate representative on his facts. way to go, cbc. for an organisation tasked with representing the public interest, you're doing a great impression of playing on the side of corporate power.

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