Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Former CRTC Chairwoman Comes Out.

By Norm Richards


Today, I read a CP report by Jennifer Ditchburn that former Chairwoman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Francoise Bertrand has come out in support of the CRTC in the wake of the government demanding usage-based Internet billing (UBB) be removed from a regulatory decision to make it legal. She asserts the CRTC must be left alone to make decisions without government intervention. I have news for Madame Bertrand. If the public cannot appeal to government with good data that it’s unfair and damaging to allow UBB, then what is left to us (public) if we don’t agree with CRTC decisions?

No, simply doing interventions at public hearings is too bureaucratic and is seen that way by most people. The so called due process must be overstepped every once and awhile, in the greater interest of the people. For Bertrand to support the CRTC by saying “ What it means for business is that there is no longer predictability in the system,” is taking a side I don't agree with but, she is predictable in this report.

I’m glad for one thing that business is not able to ramrod billing methods through the CRTC which works against internet usage in the long term. I for one, in another story on this Blog, wrote we pay no fees at all. How about them apples? I don’t firmly hold to that but I would like see what is possible and what the “system” is recommending before we are forced to pay.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Manitoba Flood Threat 2011

By Norm Richards

It's early February 2011. Perhaps self preservation comes first but Fargo, North Dakota has begun creating sandbags against possible flood. This action will create a funnel to move water faster up the Red River toward Winnipeg where a half million people live. Although in 1997, the city did not flood, the city was on alert. As a caution I moved my mom north to our hometown of The Pas. She lived in a seniors home in south east Winnipeg. It turned out, it wasn't far from where flood struck.

Then, I was a member of the television production team to cover the flood threat. We knew before anyone else where and when flood was impacting life in the south region.
I remember, though we got the stories on screen quick, residents constantly phoned the studio seeking inside track news. I learned, I was responsible to remain calm and give people assurance not to panic. At the same time, we constantly kept in touch with stories coming in that reflected a change in the threat. Since I had experience as a writer / producer, I volunteered to produce stories for the emergency broadcast. I was otherwise at home developing a movie script on my own time and in charge of my life as I knew it at the time. I could dedicate time to help my community.

Calls to get involved and help in any way grew. There were calls for people to go sandbagging. I knew helping a television broadcast on the threat would be more effective for me. A meeting was called for experienced people and even those just interested in being a part of it. The community cable channels combined efforts overnight and teamed up together to create a cablecast team second to none. Experienced people were quickly adopted as leads on the production. I became a producer and found myself thrown into action. Although fun and challenging at the same time, I could not help but think I was on the front line for a whole city.

Those phone calls reminded me, if it had rained for two days or more as the river’s crest approached, Winnipeg would have suffered substantial flooding. I knew that but could not have shared that openly at the time. We learned our story telling was number one around the world in TV ratings for a brief number of days. That felt good.