Jean-Pierre Blais Named New Canadian TV Czar

The veteran Ottawa insider becomes chairman of the CRTC, the country's broadcast and phone regulator, replacing Konrad von Finckenstein.

TORONTO – The Canadian government has named long-time Ottawa mandarin Jean-Pierre Blais as the new chair of the CRTC, the country’s TV and telecom regulator, replacing Konrad von Finckenstein.

“He (Blais) brings a strong legal background and a comprehensive understanding of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors and the role of the CRTC, having held high-level positions at the treasury board secretariat, the department of Canadian heritage and the CRTC,” prime minister Stephen Harper said Friday in a statement, after the market close.

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The long-time Parliamentary insider will take control of a broadcast regulator just as the federal government considers opening up the Canadian airwaves to first-time majority foreign control, and as domestic broadcasters and cable operators fend off stepped-up competition from Netflix Canada and other U.S. digital platforms.

Blais is installed for a five-year term.