Why I’m Running for a Place on the CIRA Board

Earlier this year, I wrote a column and post about proposed governance changes to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority in which I expressed concern that the plans would remove the ability for CIRA members to nominate their own candidates to the board. The Board decided to hold off on the governance changes, but the incident provided a timely reminder that CIRA is entering a new stage with millions in annual revenues and considerable debate about how organize itself and to best to spend its money.

I served on the CIRA board for five years during its initial formation and have now put my name forward to serve again. The 2012 CIRA election process is currently at the member nomination support stage. If you are a CIRA member, I would appreciate your support so that my name appears on the final ballot in September. If have a registered dot-ca domain and are not a CIRA member, register here.

My priorities are simple.  First, ensure that there is a public interest and consumer voice on the board.  Second, promote governance reform that will allow CIRA to play a more effective role in public policy related to the Internet in Canada. I believe this can be best achieved by following the InternetNZ model that separates the domain name functions from the public policy work.  By allocating a set percentage of revenues annually toward an independent public policy body, CIRA would create an organization able to more actively participate in critical Internet policy issues such as net neutrality and lawful access.  My full statement is posted at the elections site alongside the many other excellent candidates. The election will run from September 19 – 26, 2012.


  1. Neil Balchin says:


    Sadly I’m no longer a member of CIRA, my last .ca domain expired several years ago. But I wanted to say I would enthusiastically give you my vote if I still had one. I count myself among what I believe are thousands of readers that you perhaps never hear from. I’ve been programming computers and connected to the internet under it’s various forms for almost 30 years now and I can’t recall another individual that has made me rethink or simply think about the issues you deal with. Keep it up and thank you.

  2. Don
    Done the posting in your support. We need consumer reps.

  3. Thanks for running
    Thank you for running Mr. Geist. You will have my vote, as well as my deepest appreciation for your on-going dedication to consumers’ rights and providing us a legitimate voice!

  4. Guy Paquette says:

    Unfortunately I’m no longer a member of CIRA; however, I fully endorse Michael Geist as a candidate for the CIRA board.

    His depth and breadth of knowledge on matters pertaining to the law, digital technology and stakeholder rights is exceptional.

  5. Geoff Currier says:

    Host: Nighthawk. CJOB Radio, Winnipeg

    Good luck on your efforts to get on the CIRA board. Positions such as these require expertise and you have it in spades.

  6. I’m going to get my domain a .ca just so I can vote or you 😉

  7. Thank you for offering, but how far will you go?
    Now that the US government is seizing domain names for more than just copyright issues, it is clear that .ca domains must remain beyond the reach of government censorship.

    CIRA has led the world in shaping the net into a vehicle for free speech by making domain ownership anonymous by default.

    Perhaps we should now consider instituting one of the schemes proposed for propagating the .ca zone file in a distributed manner, which would be censorship-proof, such as how the freenet, or the trackerless bittorrent networks work?

    Michael, where do YOU stand on making our Internet censorship-proof one and for all?

  8. Zak Muscovitch says:

    good luck Michael!

  9. Good luck Mr. Geist!

  10. Ralph Mercer says:


    Best of luck to you on your quest to be elected. I am also running for the board and hope we can serve together, we share several concern.
    check out my post on why I’m running if you have a chance,

    Good Luck Ralph

  11. Clyde Beattie says:

    Delighted to see that you are running for CIRA board again. As you know from our discussions in the early years of CIRA, I have always been a proponent of the idea of funding an independent body to distribute the funds generated by the registry. Couldn’t be happier to see you are taking up this cause, it is an essential progression I wish we had been able to establish years ago. Good luck.

  12. Herostratus says:

    Hip Hip Hooray!!!
    Great news!!!! I hope you’ll be having some on campus campaign events!

  13. Rob McIntyre says:

    Just added my support.

  14. RONALD KAWCHUK says:

    Independent policy body / Shows of support
    As one who also has proudly served on CIRA’s board, I agree with Michael’s position regarding the creation of a separate independent policy body for critical Internet issues.

    I am also seeking your shows of support this year. Note that CIRA members can show support for 2 candidates. Please see:

  15. Bonne nouvelle ! Tu as mon appui.

  16. Antoine W. says:

    Great news
    Registered and voted just for you.

  17. And Done!
    Best of luck, we need you there..

  18. Great ideas!
    I’d vote for you; those ideas make a lot of sense! The CIRA regulating internet issues instead of the CRTC is brilliant – I would think the CIRA (including yourself) know far more about the internet and it’s issues, have technical knowledge, and aren’t tied to old-media interests (are un-biased). But, how does one agency take over responsibility from another?

  19. Show of Support
    Just added my Support for Michael. Looking forward to voting on Sept. 19th

  20. John Scott says:

    At last a good reason to register.

  21. I own 3 .ca domains
    Good luck, Professor!

    Please, see too that the CIRA actually enforces their own rules. It’s been a pet peeve of mine for a decade.

  22. I just registered
    and I will be voting!

  23. financial watcher says:

    CIRA has $20 Million in the bank
    I just looked at CIRA’s latest financials. They have $20M just sitting in the bank. Why? Each year CIRA makes a “profit” of about $2M. They always bring in more than they need to operate. CIRA now spends over $4M/year on “marketing”. Why? What are they “selling”? Much of CIRA’s annual income of about $17M/year goes to “deferred revenue”, i.e. it is put into savings accounts. Why? In fact it only costs a few million dollars a year (at most) to run the few servers that provide DNS lookups for .ca. What is the extra $14M/yr for?

  24. You won a place on the CIRA board
    and got the most votes of anyone… but the numbers are only in the few hundreds, so definitely we all make a difference in this election…

    Nomination Committee Slate:
    Bill Sandiford, 338 votes
    William Gibson, 301 votes
    Carole Mackaay, 266 votes

    Members’ Slate
    Michael Geist, 423 votes
    Kevin McArthur, 186 votes