This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #42 for Industry, Science and Technology in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was competition.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jean Brazeau  Vice-President, Telecommunications, Shaw Communications Inc.
Yves Mayrand  Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, COGECO Inc.
Kenneth Engelhart  Vice-President, Regulatory, Rogers Communications Inc.
Luc Lavoie  Executive Vice-President , Corporate Affairs, Quebecor Inc., Vidéotron Ltée
Ted Chislett  President and Chief Operating Officer, Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.
Chris Peirce  Chief Regulatory Officer, MTS Allstream Inc.
Joe Parent  Vice-President, Marketing and Business Development, Vonage Canada Corp.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Order.

Okay, that will be the last question we have time for.

5:25 p.m.

Independent

André Arthur Independent Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Did I say something wrong?

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

No, we're just out of time.

But I would like you to answer this, Mr. Parent.

5:25 p.m.

Vice-President, Marketing and Business Development, Vonage Canada Corp.

Joe Parent

I don't believe there are stupid customers. I believe there are customers who simply act in their own best interests. What we need to do is make sure the rules of the market are such that they cannot be skewed and make it possible for there to be an unlevel playing field. I need to be able to compete on a fair level with much larger competitors.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you.

Monsieur Crête.

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Are you giving the floor to a Bloc member? According to my list, it is now the turn of a member from the Liberal Party of Canada.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

You have the spot if you want it. If you do not want the spot, I can move on.

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

I will take it.

Do you think it is important that the minister wait until the committee has completed its consultations and made its recommendations before deciding how to deregulate, either by using his authority to issue directives or by making a more comprehensive recommendation to amend the statute if necessary, or do you quite simply believe that the best idea would be to maintain the status quo?

5:25 p.m.

President and Chief Operating Officer, Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.

Ted Chislett

In the areas we talked about, the forbearance proposal certainly needs more work in terms of ongoing oversight afterwards. That's certainly a shortcoming, more to the CRTC side of things.

Because the proposal from the governing council is basically to amend that, it has the same shortcomings with it. It would be worthwhile to look at that and to see what the consequences of what we're doing are.

We don't know what the right answer is supposed to be to forbearers. We'd better have a way of monitoring this afterwards to make sure we're getting what we expect and so that we're able to intervene and know what's happening. It's worthwhile to look at that area. I don't think enough study has been done to see what the consequences are and what the possibilities afterwards are.

I'm less concerned about what the threshold is. I'm more concerned about what monitoring you're doing afterwards to make sure the objectives are followed.

5:25 p.m.

Chief Regulatory Officer, MTS Allstream Inc.

Chris Peirce

Certainly in terms of the proposed order, we would recommend that the order of forbearance needs more work.

In terms of the broader issue, I'd presume that if the minister decides to table legislation, that will certainly give the committee a chance to get more broadly into the issue of how telecommunications should be legislated in Canada.

5:25 p.m.

Vice-President, Marketing and Business Development, Vonage Canada Corp.

Joe Parent

To be brief, yes, it would be a good idea to give the committee some extra time. We feel things are moving quickly, at a pace at which the implications in the market and the players and competition, specifically on Canadians' ability to take advantage of the benefits of competition, are at risk of not being captured as part of this, so I would agree with that.

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Am I to understand that you would have preferred a proposal that considers all of the recommendations made by the task force looking into the telecommunications regulatory framework, rather than the ad hoc interventions made by the minister, such as the one we witnessed whereby it was the Competition Bureau that imposed fines rather than the CRTC, as provided for in the strategic framework?

5:25 p.m.

Chief Regulatory Officer, MTS Allstream Inc.

Chris Peirce

Yes, in terms of the AMPs, the fines, we've communicated to the minister's office and publicly that we think the incentive to quality of service approach is going to work far better than penalties, and that you need again a more embracing amendment of the Competition Act to make it useful in telecommunications.

If we are going forward with the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel recommendations, then yes, we need to do it on a more holistic basis and not on some sort of one-off that seems to favour deregulation of the former monopolies above all else.

5:25 p.m.

President and Chief Operating Officer, Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.

Ted Chislett

Certainly from a policy direction perspective, we think that should proceed, and that is consistent with the telecom policy review as well. Certainly that makes sense. We can certainly look at the broader scope, try to do more study, and take all the different recommendations into consideration.

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Thank you.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you very much for appearing with us today. Again, it's a short time period for some very big issues, but we appreciate your time today.

Members, we will finish the official formal meeting now, and then we will ask all those except for members and their staff to depart the room. We will then have an in camera meeting beginning at 5:30, hopefully finishing sometime before 6 o'clock.

The meeting is suspended for a few minutes. Thank you.

[Proceedings continue in camera]