Timothy M. Denton

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Joy and gladness at the CRTC

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The Globe reports today that Commissioner  Raj Shoan and the Chairman are at it again. If it were 1816 instead of 2016, they could have had a duel and settled it like gentlemen. Instead they have to go through the fussy mediation of lawyers and judges. The thought that one could die at dawn tomorrow in some lonely stretch of urban park for failure to apologize or for inability to endure a slight might concentrate the mind of each party wonderfully.

I can think of a former Chairman, since deceased, whom I would have gladly risked my life to shoot in a fair duel. In fact I can think of two of them, now gone from public life. Such is life in the upper levels of the CRTC, and, I suspect, the civil service. Some confuse their opinions with Holy Writ. If people had to face the imminence of their departure from the world for failure to be reasonable, and reasonably accommodating,  it might thin the ranks of the upper reaches of the federal bureaucracy in a useful way. Everybody would know the price for being insufferable could be death. It would be a refreshingly different sort of life, and might put an end to the feminization of the bureaucracy. (and then again, it might not)

The issues between Mssrs. Shoan and Blais might have been as usefully settled by a roaring argument in a bar as by the recondite reasoning of courts. Duelling has died out because of a change of sentiment and a gentling of manners. An armed society is a polite society, so they say. I grew up in a school where guys got punched out for being obnoxious, and we were not harmed by knowing that beneath the surface of manners lies the possibility of pain for failure to observe a decent regard for the feelings of others.

Now it is turned over to lawyers, who inflict a much slower and more expensive pain. To all who think this set of three legal cases began in face to face argument, I can say with certainty, it began in the avoidance of frank and face to face argument.

 

 

 

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Timothy Denton is a lawyer by training who practices principally in telecommunications and Internet policy and domain name issues, with a strong concentration on explaining what the technology is and what it means.

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Guest Tuesday, 12 November 2019
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