Blacklisting Collusion

June 4th, 2018

A couple of years ago, a businessman of some repute invited me for coffee.  He picked a place not known for business meetings, a perfect place to meet when one doesn’t want to be seen meeting.

We discretely wrote about it.  The businessman “was complaining bitterly of CSA’s extortionate conduct in his market.  This man had a large operation, he employed people across several countries, he’s actually a pretty big deal.”

The CSA had approached him demanding protection money.  It was the usual CSA pitch; give us what we want or we’ll harm you. 

With his operations internationally, the CSA had the power to harm his company all over the place.  There’s nowhere to run your business, when its the government that’s after you.  “Recall that CSA is still a crown Agency,” we wrote, “and, as such, it has influence with foreign governments and CSA’s been known to use that influence to it’s own profit.”

You may recall CSA being caught in secret meetings with the BC Government’s safety authority?  It happened last month.  You may recall that CSA was using it’s relationship with the BC Government to threaten action against anyone using our books?  If not, here’s the refresher.

Well, on the Technical Safety BC website (TSBC), you’ll now find that our publications have been blacklisted. 

That’s worrying because TSBC is empowered by the Provincial Government with authority over certifications and licensing of electricians in BC.  They regulate course content, materials, exams, etc.  And now the TSBC is specifically precluding our publications from use in each of these areas.

Blacklisting us doesn’t lock us out of the trade, it delegitimizes us throughout the trade.  If Government bans use of our products by electrical inspectors, instructors, and Government officials, and as they’re targeting those who do use them, the Government’s actions significantly impede our access to the market.

Here’s how the TSBC website now reads;

“The official publication for use in British Columbia is the CSA standard”. 

Actually, BC doesn’t enforce standards as such, they enforce Provincial laws.  The standard is passed into law, not vice versa.  Regardless, TSBC continues….

“- Course instructors are not to use copies or reproductions of the CSA c22.1 standard as part of recognized courses, unless express permission has been obtained from CSA.
- Recognition of courses may be revoked if Technical Safety BC becomes aware that a course instructor is using unauthorized copies or reproductions of copyrighted materials.
- Only the CSA C22.1; Canadian Electrical Code, Part I shall be permitted for use during FSR examination.”

This is the CSA fallback if things don’t go their way in Court.  They’ll try winning by bullying if they lose at law.

It is incredible that a Provincial Government Agency is defying their own Queen’s Printer law, the Federal Competition Law, (and others) in protecting such a crooked racket.  Yet, the civil service is nothing if not consistent. 

The first loyalty of the civil service is to the civil service. 

So what are we going to do about this?  Well, nothing right now.  We’re still waiting for the Federal Court of Appeal Ruling on whether CSA, or anyone else who lobbies governments for changes to law, actually owns the legislation that results from that lobbying. 

If the Court should Rule that public law exists, then the CSA, and their friends at TSBC, are actually in quite a bit of trouble.

In the context of such a Ruling, our position is that TSBC is colluding with CSA in demanding payments for access to public information (effectively a kickback scheme to benefit CSA), and in price-fixing of publications, and in conspiring to prevent a competitor from access to market.

The coffeeing businessman was right.  The CSA does use it’s influence in other governments, approaching them as fellow civil servants. 

Another source said it well;  “In my eyes they are a corrupt, divisive bully, existing far outside their mandate.”

We hope for a public law Ruling.  We wait for that Ruling.  Then we act upon it.