Net Neutrality Raised During Question Period

NDP MP Charlie Angus posed a pair of questions about net neutrality to Industry Minister Jim Prentice during Question Period yesterday.  Prentice responded with a "we don't regulate the Internet" issue.  The Globe covers the exchange, oddly referring to the issue as "throddling."

Update: Additional coverage from Canwest


  1. Wow, I can’t believe Jim Prentice is turning a blind eye like that. Perhaps he doesn’t understand how resellers are suffering from this, and how much control Bell has over them.

    “We have a well advanced Internet system in this country.” By what standards? The late 80s? I’d like to see Canada following in the footsteps of other countries, and open up the telco exchanges for third party providers to install their own equipment.

  2. “At this point in time we will continue to leave the matter between consumers on the one hand and Internet service providers on the other,”

    the isps who have all the power.. and the consumer who cant get anyone to do anything.

    Not only does this break the contract my isp (look) has with bell, but it actually breaks the contract that I have with look. This is rudiculous. I work with video for a living, and need to be able to use bittorrent to transfer my work, not only to my co-workers, but to our clients as well, something that is horribly slow to do now. This has also, made my life playing online games hell. Its completely destroyed my ability to play certains games, that use p2p protocols between 4pm and 2 am (oddly enough the time that i get home from work and sleep) So why am I paying for a service that never works as im told it will between the only hours that are available to me? And what can I do? I talk to look and they say they\’re trying to get bell to honour theyre contract.. It talk to bell and they say they have the right. and now the government says that nothing is wrong. that the internet in canada is not regulated? Great… just great….. good to know harpers camp has me in mind…. sure fire way to get my vote….

  3. Absurd. I honestly believe he doesn’t understand the issue, or he’s too old to care about us young whippersnappers and our new-fangled Internet. This is obvious from the transcript, in which he states that this is an issue “between the consumer and internet service providers.”

    This is not an issue between consumers and ISPs, but rather between ISPs and Bell Canada. The consumer is just another victim in this. Without any doubt, this is a move by Bell to squeeze out all the smaller providers (especially in light of the recent story in which they state they’d like to stop allowing other ISPs to use any part of their network).

    They’re jealous of the competitive advantages that these ISPs have — but at the same time, they’re the ones who gave up said advantages. They make it truly miserable to be a Sympatico customer (cheesy router/modem combos, caps, throttling, bad mail servers, etc) and wonder why the competition is gaining ground.

    Bell can argue all they like that P2P users are using up too much bandwidth. They can argue we should all just surf the web lightly and go to bed early. My counter argument is that their network engineers did a shoddy job of anticipating future demand leaving their network ill-equipped to handle the traffic. We consumers will now suffer for their incompetence.

  4. Ben Lucier says:

    There needs to be a lot more noise from
    A friend just forwarded me the link to the video. Well done by Charlie Angus. Not so well done by Jim Prentice. Like I said on my blog at [ link ] , citizens are going to have to start becoming more vocal if they expect to see any change. In the end, change may not come from government regulation, but it will come from somewhere.

  5. Ben Lucier says:

    There needs to be a lot more noise from
    A friend just forwarded me the link to the video. Well done by Charlie Angus. Not so well done by Jim Prentice. Like I said on my blog at [ link ] , citizens are going to have to start becoming more vocal if they expect to see any change. In the end, change may not come from government regulation, but it will come from somewhere.

  6. With a Conservative majority coming next election, expect less from the party. Even as a minority they barely listen to us. Imagine them in a majority.

    US: Jim, there are problems.
    JIM: Not from where I sit.
    US: Awwww!

  7. I am shocked
    What is really going on here? I’ll start by suggesting that people in power often have the same foibles, inadequacies, and mental problems as the man in the street. It is clear that Prentice is being defensive here. He is unable to answer the questions directly and honestly and that is a normal reaction for someone who is in over his head. It’s embarrassing and I feel sorry for him. However, it is also a common reaction for someone who is being dishonest. I hope that is not the case. Either way, it is not acceptable for a man in his position.

  8. He clearly has no idea what he is talking about… Its like that guy from the states saying the internet is a series of tubes… His sad attempts to try make a joke at the NDP instead of addressing the issue merely make the PC look more and more incompetent for having a BROWNIE appointed to minster of industry…

  9. M. Herink says:

    At what point in time did regulation of equal accessibility to content become “regulation of the internet”?

    Mr. Prentice certainly has some funny ideas regarding government intervention, but then again, government has never been particularly interested in telling corporations what not to do, that privilege reserved for the Entrepreneur.

  10. Who exactly will be representing the customers if it isn’t government?

    As individuals, we can normally take our business elsewhere but that appears to be getting more and more difficult as the major ISPs impose the same restrictions on their competition’s clients as they do on their own clients. If we can’t walk away, we have no power there and it would appear that the good old days of monopoly telecoms are back (thanks Harper!). Apparently our government will do nothing about it, what other recourse do we have?

  11. Too bad for Jim. I know who I’m voting for next election 🙂

  12. This is clearly a matter between powerless consumers and the reigning telecommunications duopolies.

    Why should the government get involved in a situation like that?

  13. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services believes that I am essentially up shit creek without a paddle when it comes to getting out of my contract with my ISP, even though the service is unreliable and often completely unusable; There is simply no legal basis for me to stop paying the ISP or for me to leave the contract. Each time I have contacted the ISP, they have said that they will be upgrading their network “soon”. I have waited over a year and in my mind, a commercially reasonable “soon” has already come and gone yet the issues persist. Still, there is nothing I can do, but keep paying the bill for the remainder of the three year contract – whether the service works or not.

    It’s sure a great thing for this consumer that the issue is with the consumers on one hand and the ISPs on the other, with the government staying out the issue.

    We are in desperate need of laws regulating the delivery of the Internet to consumers, as we consumers are completely at the mercy of ISPs who honestly couldn’t care less about anything beyond making money. That is, after all, why they are in business…

  14. Darrell Wright says:

    The Minister completely missed the point. This issue is not between the consumer and the IPS’s but between the IPS’s and the Utility. Bell is a utility and owns the infrastructure in public trust from the homes to the telco. These IPS’s are using that infrastructure. It is in the public interest to allow competition on this part of the network that Bell owns because we do not need or want more than one phone company managing a physical phone line to each home. There is no way a small company could ever get the wiring in, even if you could have more than one going to each home. It would be a mess and there is no room for the poles.

    This is regulated and Bell has no business between the consumer and a third party using this part of the system. Bell is just the caretaker. If they don’t like it, they can get out.

  15. John in Ottawa says:

    The Internet market in Canada is a oligopoly. If it wasn’t for this, we could have had 100 Mbps, just like Sweden, South Korea and Japan. But we’re paying just as much as them, but get a lousy 5-6 Mbps. And blaming it on the distances here in Canada is just ridiculous… most people here are urbanized, so the distances between the customers aren’t that big.

  16. generic_idea_machine says:

    Minister’s comments seem to be at odds, in comparison to the statements coming out of his office.

    More than a couple of people have reached the Office of Mr. Prentice regarding this issue and they have been assured that the issue will be investigated.

    Now for the Minister to appear on the question hour and state that there is quote “no traffic shaping” is clearly indicative of a communications breakdown within the Honourable’s Minister’s office.

    [ link ]

  17. Bill 1
    Prentice is being lobbied/bought by Bell . That obvious by the sheepish grin on his face . The less he says the more Bell will pay . Look Gov dont care for the people that ellected them , they pander too the corporations that pay them .

  18. thoughts
    Some interesting thoughtful comments here but you know I am surprised how many people are going easy on the minister.

    Honorable? hardly!
    I have another word for him like Orwellian.

    Does anyone really believe that anyone seeking government office is anything more than persons, individually or collectively only looking to further their own interests?

    Anyone take a look at Steven Harper lately – the man is so emotionally uptight he looks shrink wrapped.


    Wake up its time for a revolution!

    [ link ]

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    Oh something else that might interest some of you out there…..
    Just another perspective…..

    [ link ]


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