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Harper names new CRTC boss

Jessica Murphy, Parliamentary Bureau
Stephen Harper. (File Photo)

Stephen Harper. (File Photo)

Canada's broadcast regulator has a new boss.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday the appointment of long-time civil servant Jean-Pierre Blais as new chairperson of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The agency regulates and supervises Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications systems.

"He 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," Harper said in a statement.

"I wish him all the best as he takes on the challenges of his new role."

The five-year term is effective June 18, 2012.

Blais will replace current acting chair Leonard Katz.

In a speech this week, Katz said the two top issues facing the federal watchdog are assisting with the roll-out of Canada's "digital economy" and ensuring Canadian consumers get good value for the money they spend on telecommunications.

The former CRTC chair, Konrad von Finckenstein, wrapped up his term earlier this year.

Von Finckenstein clashed with the Harper government during his tenure over the regulator's decisions on foreign ownership rules and on how Internet companies can bill their customers.

Blais brings a wealth of federal experience to the role, with a background in legislation, policies and programs relating to copyright, broadcasting, cultural industries and arts.

It'll be his second time around at the CRTC, where he previously served as executive director of broadcasting.

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