June 8, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Stanley J. Hovdebo

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stan J. Hovdebo (Saskatoon-Humboldt):

Mr. Speaker, sometimes it would appear that the term or the idea of public interest is a forgotten concept, particularly with governments that are rushing untrammelled to be competitive or to appear to be competitive. Consequently these two amendments are an attempt to allow the CRTC to take public interest into consideration when it decides whether or not it is going to regulate the industry or portions of the industry.
The first amendment would add that the public interest is a crucial factor in the decision not to regulate sections of the industry. The second amendment would allow the CRTC flexibility in choosing when not to forbear from regulating therefore giving further protection to the public interest. In both cases the basis under which decisions to regulate are made will be whether or not it is in the public interest to do so.
We all recognize that a considerable number of situations arise where competition is detrimental to the best operation of the industry. I can give a very simple example. If there is no requirement or regulation to provide communications to certain areas which are not profitable then there is a tendency for a government to say: "Do not bother".
We have grown up in a large country with fairly costly communications problems believing that every area of the country should have the right to adequate communications. Competition would not provide this kind of communication. Therefore it is required to establish some sort of regulations which do put into place a structure which enforces to some extent regulations to say that the industry must provide this communication over the whole of the country rather than only in those areas that are profitable.

Government Orders
That is the kind of public interest that needs to be taken into consideration and that is what these two amendments are intended to do. They will give the CRTC the right to make a choice to say that in the public interest regulation should be put into place or regulation should not be put into place. That is the basis of these two which would strengthen the ability of the CRTC to rule in the public interest.

Full View