Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We're very pleased to be here. We won't be speaking for ten minutes; it will perhaps be three to four minutes.
I'm here to speak for the CRTC.
Our new chairman, Konrad von Finckenstein, has asked me to communicate his regrets to the members of the committee. As you may be aware, he's been in office exactly one week. He's very busy getting up to speed on the commission and his new responsibilities.
He is looking forward to appearing before you at your convenience, once he has mastered the various issues which face the commission. And that will not be long because he works very hard.
We're very pleased to have the opportunity to join the committee for an hour to discuss the important issues in the turbulent environment of telecommunications. We know the debates you undertake are important in a democracy. In industrialized democracies, the function that we have of independent regulation, carried out within the laws and policies that are the product of responsible government, is also important.
We hope that today we'll be able to help you to frame the issues. As I said, the environment's been a rapidly changing turbulent one for the companies we regulate, for the consumers who use telecom services, for the various public interest groups, and for the CRTC itself.
It is our role to adapt as rapidly as possible to all forms of change, in pursuing the objectives of our act.
It's what we've been doing, and it's what we will continue to do.
The status of a quasi-judicial tribunal, which is ours, imposes a certain constraint on my candour today. It is incumbent on the commission, for example, to forswear a full participation in public debate. As much as we would like to express our views fully and freely, we can't always do so. I hope the members of the committee will understand that I can't always be as frank and as complete in my responses as you would wish.
The commission cannot, by the words of its members such as myself, bind itself with respect to issues that may subsequently come before it. For example, if I were to be asked my views on something the commission might have to implement or rule upon, I could not express myself in definitive fashion without creating an impression of bias.
However, I want to stress that I will remain available to provide as much information as possible in order to assist members of the committee and instruct them in their reflection.
We'll do our best today to overcome those limitations and to try to ensure they don't defeat your purposes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.