We’re Still Standing
P.S. Knight Co. generates pre-tax revenue of about a quarter million dollars per year. The CSA, on the other hand, enjoys revenues from a variety of questionable sources totalling over a third of a billion dollars annually (in 2017). For every dollar we spend defending our business, CSA can spend one thousand, three hundred dollars trying to destroy us. It doesn’t bode well. It’s also become pretty clear that their preferred strategy in this battle is to bleed us financially. Our legal experience over the last year has been one of expensive delays, CSA engineered time-wasting of our lawyers, and generalized and expensive obstructionism. If we play to their strategy we will lose.
Losing isn’t friendly. The CSA has made it clear that they intend to eliminate Electrical Code Simplified (“ECS”) competition to their version of our book, so their understandings of any “resolution” tend to include our destruction. Moreover, they have also indicated their intention to expand their commercial activities into CSA branded residential wiring books. As these are the last product line of P.S. Knight Co., it’s safe to conclude that the whole of ECS will cease to exist if they win. As for Peter Knight and his son and current owner, Gordon Knight, CSA advised in their legal filings that they intend to extract what they consider ill-gotten gains and what we call income. Cumulatively, the sums involved would be devastating to both persons.
The industry will be hurting too. Right now, CSA’s version of ECS sells for $130 whereas the ECS itself sells for $127. Our prices are holding theirs down. If we lose, the CSA won’t have any publication competition at all, they can make their prices as high as they like and all of us in the industry will have to pay. The CSA will be able to choose how much of our money they want and we’ll have no alternative but to pay them whatever they’re demanding. And with nothing holding CSA back, the conflicts of interest between their regulatory and commercial activities will become more commonplace; everyone will start experiencing them. For inspectors in particular, the independence and objectivity of their role will be increasingly undermined. It won’t be pleasant.
The attitude of CSA toward the rule of law is also worrying. We consider dangerous the notion that private companies can own the laws that the rest of us have to adhere to. We consider it highly suspect that CSA is charging provincial governments a royalty to access the laws that these same provinces have already paid to develop. With regard to CSA memberships, we consider the practice of trading money for influence over the law as entirely incompatible with democratic government. We consider illegitimate and unethical the belief that regulatory entities can compete commercially within the same market that they are regulating. We maintain that the expansion of commercial interests through the abuse of regulatory position and the consequential constriction of competitor’s interests amounts to cartel behaviour in Canada. We believe that we are dealing with a rogue regulator. For all these reasons, we need to win.
We paused our US expansion and the planned 2012 release of the Canadian Electrical Code was delayed until 2015. Our main publications, being the Electrical Code Simplified books, remain available throughout litigation.
In 2013, P.S. Knight Co. Ltd. started pushing federally for mandated reforms of the CSA organization to rectify the above noted difficulties. Simultaneously, we were fighting CSA’s harassment lawsuit on copyright issues. In the interim, we worked hard to maintain our business while under siege.
Also in 2013, we launched this website. That’s when things got interesting.