Federal Court of Appeal dismisses appeals of CRTC Ledcor decision  The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed appeals disputing the CRTC’s decision in the Ledcor case. By a 2-1 vote, the court found that the commission did not exceed its jurisdiction when it issued Telecom Decision 2001-23 in January of last year (NL Jan. 29/01)."The appellants’ main attack was directed at the CRTC’s findings on costs and compensation, two matters squarely falling within the board’s expertise," Justice Gilles Létourneau wrote on December 17. "Whether or not such findings were findings of law, of fact or of mixed law and fact, I cannot conclude that they were unreasonable, let alone patently unreasonable. In addition, no evidence was adduced to show that the CRTC exercised its discretion capriciously or arbitrarily." By a prior court order, five appeals – from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) (NL, Feb. 12/01), the City of Calgary, the Halifax Regional Municipality, the City of Vancouver, and a joint submission from the Cities of Ottawa and Toronto – were consolidated into one proceeding. Létourneau and his colleague Marc Nadon voted to dismiss all five. Admitting the federation is "disappointed" in the ruling, FCM legal counsel Christian Tacit tells Network Letter an appeal to the Supreme Court is a distinct possibility. "The FCM is considering its options and so are the other municipalities," the attorney with Ottawa’s Nelligan O’Brien Payne says. "It’s early now but we’re studying the decision and looking at what needs to be done." Létourneau chided Vancouver for its flip-flop on the jurisdictional issue. He notes that when the dispute over municipal rights-of-way began, the city and Ledcor Industries both agreed that the commission had the power to review and determine the conditions of a carrier’s access. "Of course, if the CRTC’s decision had been favourable to it and adverse to the carrier, I have every reason to believe, in light of the city’s previous position and demand to the CRTC to determine the terms and conditions of access, that the discourse would be different," Justice Létourneau noted. Justice Denis Pelletier dissented from certain sections of the ruling. Much of the appellants’ arguments centred on whether or not sections 42 and 44 and subsections 43(2) and (4) of the Telecommunications Act were constitutional. "I did not take the appellants’ concession that Parliament could validly legislate in relation to telecommunications to mean that every disposition of such a law was therefore valid," Pelletier wrote. "One can concede that Parliament can legislate in relation to criminal law without admitting that every section of the Criminal Code is validly enacted." That dissent gives hope to Tacit. "His view that the commission didn’t deal squarely with the compensation issues or didn’t deal sufficiently with the compensation issues I should say is helpful. It is something we would take into account in the event of an appeal."