Digital issues were expected to garner attention in the 2019 Canadian federal election campaign. Over the course of the past few weeks, all the main political parties have had something to say about the high cost of cellphone prices in Canada and the prospect of implementing new taxes on tech companies. Laura Tribe, the Executive Director of OpenMedia, joined the podcast to talk about election 2019 and digital policies in a conversation that focused on wireless services and Internet taxes as well as privacy, intermediary liability, trade, and copyright.
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 27: Digital Policy and Election 2019 – Laura Tribe of OpenMedia on Where the Parties Stand
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 26: There Is No Crisis – Dwayne Winseck on the State of Canadian Communications, Media and Cultural Policy
The future of Canadian communications law has emerged as political hot potato in recent weeks with political parties engaged in finger pointing over who is acting – or failing to act – on issues closely aligned to cultural policy. Just prior to the election call, Dwayne Winseck, a professor at Carleton who has been one of Canada’s most prominent experts on communications and cultural policy, joined the podcast to provide his take on the initial report from the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel, the tech-lash against companies such as Google and Facebook, and what the numbers tell us about the state of media and advertising in Canada.
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 25: The CRTC Decision on Competitive Internet Pricing – A Conversation With George Burger
Last month, Canada’s telecom regulator, the CRTC, issued its final decision in a lengthy battle over the rates that independent Internet providers pay for wholesale access to the broadband networks run by big incumbents such as Bell and Rogers. The Commission slashed previous rates and made its decision retroactive, an approach that sparked anger and lawsuits from the incumbents who are now in Canadian courts seeking to overturn the ruling and stop it from taking effect. Meanwhile, several Canadian independent ISPs wasted no time in responding to the decision, dropping their consumer prices and neatly illustrating the impact of lower rates and more competition. George Burger, one of the founders of vMedia and a frequent commentator on Canadian telecom issues, joined me on the podcast to discuss the decision and the state of competition for Canadian Internet services.
The first episode of the new season of the Lawbytes podcast is dedicated to my good friend and colleague Ian Kerr, a giant in the law and technology field, who passed away on August 27th after battling complications arising from cancer. Ian’s generosity, warmth, and good humour touched the lives of thousands of people. Whether national privacy commissioners or first-year law students, he made time for everyone, offering encouragement, insight, and a deeply held view that everyone had an opportunity and responsibility to help shape our collective digital future. The Faculty of Law plans to celebrate Ian in an event scheduled for Friday, September 27th at 11:30 am. There is also an Ian R. Kerr Memorial Fund that will support scholarships, fellowships, activities and initiatives honouring his legacy.
Telecom and broadcast policy figured prominently in season one of the Law Bytes podcast. With Canada currently studying potential reforms and cultural issues emerging as a possible electoral issue, there are no shortage of issues worth of discussion. Given its role as a telecom and broadcast regulator, the CRTC was the subject of several episodes: Monica Auer of FRPC talked about her extensive access to information work on the CRTC, while former CRTC Commissioner Peter Menzies joined the podcast to help sort through Cancon funding, Internet regulation, and the role of the Commission.