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Jean-Pierre Blais named new CRTC chief Add to ...

Ottawa insider and veteran public servant Jean-Pierre Blais hasbeen tapped to chair Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator.

The Harper government’s announcement comes today after marketclose.

The appointment is effective June 18.

Mr. Blais’s record suggests he would be a relatively cautioushand at the helm of the Canadian Radio-television and TelecommunicationsCommission, telecom industry sources say.

Unlike former chair Konrad von Finckenstein, telecom insidershave predicted Mr. Blais would be relatively compliant with Conservativegovernment policy leanings and endeavour to keep the CRTC out of the headlines.

Those who know Mr. Blais say he is more of a conciliation-mindedtype who would seek compromise on issues rather than strike out independentlywith bold initiatives.

Mr. Blais has a working relationship with Canadian HeritageMinister James Moore, one of the two Conservative ministers who oversee theCanadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Now posted with the federal Treasury Board Secretariat, Mr. Blaispreviously served in senior roles at the Department of Canadian Heritage,including assistant deputy minister, cultural affairs, where he was responsiblefor files including copyright and cultural industries.

Mr. Blais is said to have ambitions to be a deputy minister oneday and his appointment to Treasury Board last fall was seen as a steppingstone to that.

The CRTC chair is sometimes seed as an end-of-career post, andMr. Blais is far from retirement. But he has experience inside the CRTC thatwould make his appointment as chair a defensible choice. Mr. Blais, a lawyer bytraining, has served as executive director of broadcasting at the CRTC as wellas general counsel, broadcasting. Sources say he is nevertheless enforcementminded and would not hesitate to impose consequences for infractions of CRTCrules.

 

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