Obviously, the case of long-term systemic corruption at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that I have recently brought to the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not always long-term in nature - it had a starting point.
In fact, it is fair to state that this particular case of corruption started exactly 21 years ago today.
On 29 March 1995, I conducted a non-partisan press conference on Parliament Hill with three members of Parliament from different political parties, my two lawyers (Christopher K. Leafloor and Neil Milton) and Duff Conacher from Democracy Watch to address cable television subscribers being overcharged to finance other initiatives, including the development of the so-called "information highway".
Journalists attending the our press conference at the Charles Lynch Press Gallery (Centre Block) were provided with written legal opinions by Mr Leafloor and Mr Milton that the CRTC scheme was probably unlawful on multiple fronts. The lawyers also explained the key legal issues to those in attendance.
Simon de Jong (NDP MP, Critic Canadian Heritage), Jan Brown (Reform MP, Critic Canadian Heritage), Dan McTeague (Liberal MP, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage) and I each addressed the consumer overcharge scheme and jointly called on the Chrétien Government to investigate the matter.
Shortly after the conclusion of our press conference, a press release was issued by the CRTC containing false and misleading information in relation to the scheme ("CRTC STATEMENT ON ALLEGATIONS OF HIDDEN TAX").
The false and misleading information provided by the CRTC at that time is addressed in detail in the One Media Law case study posted on onemedialaw.com.
As a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal with extensive state authority, citizens are entitled to expect that individuals appointed by Canada's prime minister to the CRTC act with integrity and honesty at all times. The decision by federal regulators at the agency to distribute false and misleading information that day, serving to protect corporate executives and themselves from public accountability for the consumer overcharge scheme, effectively signalled the start of the case of long-term systemic corruption that continues today. A case of corruption that has exploited millions of citizens and forced them to subsidize private corporations for more than two decades without the knowledge of the ratepayers.
Copies of the legal opinions and the CRTC press release distributed 21 years ago today are available on the document archive on onemedialaw.com.