The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the organization that manages the dot-ca domain, launched its annual board of director election earlier today. The week-long vote is open to all registered members (anyone with a dot-ca domain registration can become a registered member for free, but must have become a member before the start of the election in order to vote). I was voted onto the board in 2012 and have been nominated to serve as another term by the nominating committee. I need your support as I find myself on the ballot alongside some excellent candidates this year, including former CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein, former Industry Canada executive Helen McDonald, community organizer Marita Moll, and current board members such as CNOC’s Bill Sandiford and Bill Gibson.
I hope that all dot-ca members will take the time to vote since the CIRA board plays an important role on a wide range of digital policy issues, including Internet governance. When I ran for the CIRA board in 2012, I made my primary goal very clear: CIRA generates considerable revenues, has a public interest mandate, and should actively engage the Canadian public in fulfillment of that mandate.
In my first year, I worked with board and management to create a new community investment program to support Internet-related research, education, infrastructure, and community programming. The initiative was the source of significant discussion and debate, ultimately arriving at an annual commitment of $1 million per year for funding projects. Over the past two years, CIRA has allocated over $2.2 million in funding for more than 50 projects from coast to coast to coast. The program has exemplified CIRA’s ability to leverage its unique financial position to benefit the Internet in Canada. It has generated well deserved publicity, raising awareness of CIRA and its mandate throughout the country.
The success of community investment program is only the beginning. If re-elected, I will continue to work toward ensuring that CIRA is an active, important contributor to the Internet in Canada. I believe that CIRA should support Internet policy development in Canada in five key ways. First, it should continue to support the community investment program, with consideration for increased funding as CIRA revenues increase.
Second, it should also continue to run the Canadian Internet Governance Forum, a unique and important event on the Canadian Internet calendar.
Third, it should maintain initiatives such as support for Internet exchanges and independent Internet speed tests. These programs improve efficiencies within the Canadian Internet, empower Internet users, and bring valuable fact-based data to policy development.
Fourth, it should provide resources to independent, non-partisan organizations that can assist Canadians to bring their views on Internet and digital policy issues to policy makers and regulators. This approach will allow CIRA to maintain its neutrality, while ensuring that its members and the broader Internet community have their views represented at the policy table.
Fifth, CIRA can play a more effective role in policy issues related to the Internet in Canada. Over the past few years, CIRA has inched toward public involvement on issues such as net neutrality, surveillance, and lawful access. I believe it can be more active, by adopting an expert, non-partisan approach to domestic Internet policy.
You can learn more about my CIRA positions here. If you are eligible to vote, please take the time to fill out your ballot before the polls close next week.