CRTC chair Ian Scott speaks on controversial meeting with Bell CEO for the first time

Scott spoke exclusively with The Star about the December 2019 event

Calls to resign have inundated Ian Scott for years. They intensified when he met with Bell Media CEO Mirko Bibic at an Ottawa pub in December 2019.

The meeting came months after the August 2019 decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), chaired by Scott, that internet rates were high and had to go down. But soon after, the CRTC backtracked after receiving appeals from larger telecom companies. This led many to accuse the broadcast and communications watchdog of bias.

Scott’s meeting with Bibic, who was the company’s chief operating officer at the time, only added fuel to the fire.

TekSavvy and VMedia were two companies that called on Scott to resign, citing Scott’s bias. They pointed out Scott previously worked as a lobbyist for Telus.

More than two years after the meeting, Scott has spoken out defending his actions.

“The simple answer is that nothing inappropriate was done,” he told the Toronto Star in an interview. “I went for a beer with someone I have known for years….And it ended up he chose to address a broadcasting issue a little of what Bell might be doing in the future.”

Scott told the publication Bibic recorded the conversation in the lobbyist registration because the two talked about business, and it remained on his agenda. “No rule was ever broken.”

Speaking on the CRTC’s decision to reverse the ruling on wholesale rates, Scott said he was just one of nine votes on the panel, and he holds no additional weight as the chair.

“We have a process that allows parties who believe we have made a mistake to apply for a review. That’s what happened. They said we got it wrong. We went back and redid our analysis, and we found errors. We corrected the errors, which resulted in different rates,” Scott told The Star.

The ruling, which means smaller providers have to pay millions to larger telecom companies to access their network, is currently being appealed.

Source: Toronto Star