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    NDP Calls It: Bill C-56 is "ACTA Through the Backdoor"

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    Wednesday March 06, 2013

    The government is characterizing its Bill C-56 as an anti-counterfeiting bill, yet this week NDP MP Charmaine Borg framed it more accurately as "ACTA through the backdoor." During Question Period on Monday, Borg asked Industry Minister Christian Paradis directly if the bill paves the way for ratification of the discredited treaty:

    Mr. Speaker, last July the European Parliament rejected the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement over serious concerns about the regressive changes it would impose on intellectual property in the digital age. Yet on Friday, the Conservatives introduced a bill in the House that would pave the way for the ACTA without question. Canadians have concerns about goods being seized or destroyed without any oversight by the courts. Will the minister now be clear with Canadians? Are the Conservatives planning to ratify ACTA, yes or no?

    Paradis refused to respond to the ACTA ratification question:


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    NDP MP Charmaine Borg Raises Concerns Over Watered Down Anti-Spam Regulations

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    Wednesday February 13, 2013
    NDP MP Charmaine Borg, the party's digital issues critic, has written to Industry Minister Christian Paradis to express concern over the draft anti-spam regulations, noting that they appear to circumvent the will of Parliament. The letter cites testimony from Industry Canada officials in 2010, who told the Industry Committee "what the legislation is trying to do is not allow a third party to give express or implied consent on behalf of another person."  Yet despite that position, the department has now proposed a third party referral exception.  Borg notes:

    After defending their decision to exclude a third party referral exception from the bill, Industry Canada officials, two-years later, introduced the very same exception into the regulations. Yet it was the text of Bill C-28 - explicitly excluding a third-party referral exception - that received multi-partisan support in the House, Industry Committee and the Senate.  It appears that in the intervening two years since Bill C-28 received Royal Assent, Industry Canada has decided to regulate around the will of Parliament.


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    NDP Calls for Removal of Patent Provisions from CETA

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    Friday August 24, 2012
    The NDP has called on the government to remove the patent reform provisions from the Canada - EU Trade Agreement, noting the provisions could add billions in additional health care costs. Earlier this month, I wrote about the concerns with the CETA patent provisions.
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    The Results are In: Online Voting Still Too Risky

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    Tuesday April 03, 2012
    The recent New Democratic Party convention in Toronto may have done more than just select Thomas Mulcair as the party's new leader.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that it may have also buried the prospect of online voting in Canada for the foreseeable future. While Internet-based voting supporters have consistently maintained that the technology is safe and secure, the NDP's experience - in which a denial of service attack resulted in long delays and inaccessible websites - demonstrates that turning to Internet voting in an election involving millions of voters would be irresponsible and risky.

    As voter turnout has steadily declined in recent years, Elections Canada has focused on increasing participation by studying Internet-based voting alternatives. The appeal of online voting is obvious. Canadians bank online, take education courses online, watch movies online, share their life experiences through social networks online, and access government information and services online. Given the integral role the Internet plays in our daily lives, why not vote online as well?

    The NDP experience provides a compelling answer.


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