CRTC Chair Von Finckenstein stepping down in 2012

Laid low with some kind of vicious viral crud for the last 2 weeks, I missed this story.  But I think it’s worth commenting on, if only because one teeny-weeny year ago there was so much gnashing of teeth over the possibility that the thuggish Steveoid Government would immediately jackboot von Finckenstein’s ass out of the Big Chair at the CRTC and replace him with a brainless Harper-fellating rubber-stamper who’d facilitate full-metal, 24/7 Hate! from conservative science project Sun TV, affectionately known as “Fox News North”.

Now that time is finally looming in the not-too-distant future… minus the jackboots and thuggery, with barely a whimper, not a bang, von Finckenstein’s tenure as CRTC Chair looks to be coming to the end that so many feared.  Despite his reported wish to stay on, the government has let it be known that they’re in no mood to put up with independent thinking and are in the process of finding a replacement for The Fink, who won’t be re-appointed — no CRTC chair for you!  NEXT!!:

Konrad von Finckenstein’s contentious term as chairman of the federal broadcast and telecom regulator is coming to an end, after five years characterized by clashes with the Tory government and a series of landmark decisions about the future of the industries it oversees.

Mr. von Finckenstein had been seeking an extension to his term as head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, according to people with knowledge of the matter. In an internal memo sent early Tuesday afternoon, Mr. von Finckenstein informed his staff that the government will soon be evaluating candidates to take over his job.

“Contentious term”?  Some would offer this translation:  von Finckenstein refused to grant Sun TV the license it wanted, instead granting it the license it actually qualified for.

Actually, the government’s decision probably has a lot less to do with Sun TV than it does with von Finckenstein’s independence, something considered a bug, not a feature, by the Harper Conservatives.  In spite of being appointed by Harper, they’ve clashed on a few different issues, and to a government in which Obedience is Everything, going out of lockstep on anything is reason enough to get shuffled out the door.

But we’ll see.  Von Finckenstein’s term ends in January, just 3 months from now.  Before that we’ll know who will succeed him (Luc Lavoie?!), and shortly thereafter, how (or if) it affects our cable TV packages and that goofy little channel up the dial.

Not that it really matters, and this time around I’m obviously not the only one who isn’t too frantic about it.  Could it be because by now everyone’s seen the actual Sun TV product and realizes it’ll be a Jumbo Snooze-a-Rama no matter where it sits on the dial?

Master of his (News) Domain

7 Responses to “CRTC Chair Von Finckenstein stepping down in 2012”


  1. 1 ck Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    If I were a gambling woman, I’d bet it would be Luc Lavoie. He strikes me as the perfect ‘yes’ man.

  2. 2 JJ Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    You could be right. I think the TVB has a point that he’s too hot politically, but Harpie may not care.

    Time will tell!

  3. 3 Dave Friday, October 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Canada’s TV became a parody of itself as
    soon as the CRTC allowed cable companies to
    own cable channels. Rampant fox in the hen house debauchery going on now. We have a local channel owned by employees and they choose to broadcast 12 hrs a day of infomercials and repeats of newscasts and only 4 hrs of actual programming per day. And they’re spot is on channel 6!!! Radio is a desert. So much for
    Canadian creativity. CBC and CTV plays all it’s programming on it’s sub channels and we end up having to watch stuff from five years ago?
    Embarrassing our selection of channels and never mind having to pay over a hundred dollars
    a month for it. Thanks Konrad von Finckenstein-
    for nothing. Hope you and your mega support staff had alotta parties and live high on the hog with your pension at our expense!!!

  4. 4 JJ Friday, October 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Channel 6! Are you in Vancouver? Isn’t that CHEK TV? I haven’t watched CHEK in ages, so I have no idea what it’s like now. But that’s a pretty choice spot on the dial for 20hours of infomercials. Yikes!

    One thing I will say for von Finckenstein is that he refused to be bullied into giving any special treatment to Sun TV, and many expected he’d just cave. But I suppose the result of that is that his tenure is ending.

  5. 5 fhg1893 Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I think it’s a big mistake to assume that Sun TV had anything to do with firing Von Finkenstein.

    If the Conservatives are free-market capitalists as they claim to be, then they wouldn’t want Sun TV to have been “gifted” a must-carry license by the CRTC.

    Now, I don’t expect anyone suffering a chronic case of Harper derangement syndrome to understand, but this seems to have a lot more to do with Von Finkenstein’s little dust-ups with Cabinet about some other issues.

    Remember this?
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/02/03/crtc-internet-clement.html
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/crtc-will-rescind-unlimited-use-internet-decision-or-ottawa-will-overturn-it/article1892522/

    And this?
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/cabinet-had-right-to-overrule-crtc-on-wind-mobile-court-told/article2026560/

    From what I understand, there was at least one more incident, but I can’t find it.

    It seemed to me that the Conservatives have become fed-up with Bell’s monopoly over the telecommunications market, and it’s well-known that the CRTC is stacked with former Bell executives, and that includes I believe Von Finkenstien. For all their flaws, I for one will not miss Von Finkenstien.

  6. 6 JJ Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Yes, I remember that.
    Frankly I don’t think the end of von Finckenstein’s tenure has anything to do with Sun TV — a very small issue in the overall scheme of things. In the end, Sun got the license it qualified for.

    I think it has more to do with him not playing ball on a host of other issues such as those you point (and there are more, but I can’t recall off the top of my head what they were). I am not afflicted with Harper Derangement Syndrome 😆 but I do know that Steve likes people to co-operate with him, and those who do not are generally doomed

  7. 7 fhg1893 Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    JJ – I know. 🙂 My comment concerning HDS was aimed at CK, who’d be more likely to argue that Fink’s departure is surely a secret Conservative conspiracy to stack the CRTC with Conservative yes-men and ultimately replace every news station with Sun TV!

    Yes, it’s true that some who haven’t played ball have been handed their walking walking papers. In a system dominated by Liberals for so long, I’m afraid that while some were certainly not deserved, I can understand why the government has been quick, and sometimes a little too quick to pull the trigger. When they first took power, they were quite afraid of the civil service because so many of the assistant deputy ministers were stacked with Liberal political appointees. Sadly, some in the civil service were surely quite willing to toss their political neutrality out the window when Harper first took over. Fortunately, they seem to have become calmer, and more patient in the intervening years, as the vast majority of the civil service is willing to check their bias at the door.


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