The decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to revoke the licence of Quebec city radio station CHOI has now become a political issue in Canada. On Monday, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, when asked whether he believes it is still possible for CHOI-FM to remain on the air beyond the Aug 31 deadline the CRTC has set for the Quebec City radio station to close, replied “Mme Frulla has that answer.” That was a reference to the federal heritage minister Liza Frulla.
Yesterday, her spokesman Donald Boulanger responded by saying that “the minister is surprised by Mr. Charest’s comments when he says CHOI’s future is in her hands. Mr Charest is entitled to his opinions but when Mme Frulla spoke to him last weekend, she reminded him the CRTC is an independent and non-political body.”
Frulla has asked for legal advice on whether the federal cabinet can intervene in the case. “But it’s far from clear at the moment whether we can overturn the CRTC decision,” Boulanger added.
However, Charet has reiterated his position. “I think the penalty imposed on CHOI-FM, which is the most extreme penalty, is a penalty that goes too far,” he said. “Between the most extreme penalty and other penalties, there is a lot of space there for a sanction that would be appropriate.” The owner of CHOI-FM, Genex, is appealing the CRTC decision to the Federal Court of Canada.