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Illustration of Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. (ANTHONY JENKINS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Illustration of Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. (ANTHONY JENKINS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

THE LUNCH

The CRTC’s Jean-Pierre Blais: The regulator who speaks truth to power Add to ...

“When you are spending four hours a day in a pool, it provides you with a lot of discipline in your life,” he says.

“We would leave home at five in the morning to swim in freezing cold water, then drive back to school and I’d have breakfast in the car. All day there, then they’d drive me for evening workouts. Another two hours there. Then home, supper and homework and then start over again. That meant every minute of the day, you didn’t waste.”

Time is a recurring theme in Mr. Blais’s life, and like the sketch of the Vasa, there’s a keepsake in his office to remind him of the commission’s multiyear plan under his leadership (which includes a deep review of the future of the television industry). He collects nutcrackers – he suspects he has more than 150 – and one dressed as the wizard Merlin sits close to his desk.

The legend holds that Merlin walked backward through time, already knowing how things ended up as he looked in on the struggles of man.

“Merlin is there to remind me of that vision for the five years because Merlin already knows how it turned out,” he says, slightly embarrassed as he admits his staff advise him against speaking about Merlin very much because it could make him seem like a crazy person.

“It’s just a reminder. I think that’s good, right?”

CURRICULUM VITAE

CAREER

2012: Chairman and chief executive officer, CRTC.

2011: Assistant secretary, government operations sector, Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada, National Capital Region.

2004: Assistant deputy minister of cultural affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage.

2002: Assistant deputy minister of international and intergovernmental affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage.

1999: Executive director of broadcasting, CRTC.

1998: General counsel, broadcasting, CRTC.

1994: Legal counsel, CRTC.

1993: Sessional lecturer, École des Hautes Études Commerciales.

1985: Attorney-at-law, Martineau Walker.

EDUCATION

1993: Master of laws, University of Melbourne.

1984: Bachelor of civil law, bachelor of common law, McGill University.

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