Post Tagged with: "conservatives"

Tory Majority Gives Ottawa A Crack At Breaking The Digital Logjam

Appeared in the Toronto Star on May 8, 2011 as Tory Majority Gives Ottawa A Crack At Breaking The Digital Logjam The election of a majority Conservative government has generated much speculation about the future of digital policies in Canada. It is hard to project precisely what will happen; given […]

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May 9, 2011 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

The Conservative Majority: What Next for Digital Policies?

Last night’s election results have left many online speculating about the future of digital policies in Canada. I think it is hard to project precisely what will happen – we don’t even know for certain whether Tony Clement and James Moore will remain in their portfolios or move elsewhere (there are a fair number of open cabinet positions which could mean changes). Assuming they stay the course, however, the Conservative positions on digital policies are strong in a number of areas.

For example, a majority may pave the way for opening up the Canadian telecom market, which would be a welcome change. The Conservatives have focused consistently on improving Canadian competition and opening the market is the right place to start to address both Internet access (including UBB) and wireless services. The Conservatives have a chance to jump on some other issues such as following through on the digital economy strategy and ending the Election Act rules that resulted in the Twitter ban last night. They are also solidly against a number of really bad proposals – an iPod tax, new regulation of Internet video providers such as Netflix – and their majority government should put an end to those issues for the foreseeable future.

On copyright and privacy, it is more of a mixed bag.

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May 3, 2011 45 comments News

The Conservatives Commitment to Internet Surveillance

This post, which focuses on the Conservatives commitment to pass lawful access legislation that would fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada within the new Parliament’s first 100 days if it wins a majority, requires two caveats. The first is to emphasize that I believe digital policies are not a partisan issue. Developing a digital economy strategy, introducing balanced copyright, addressing cybercrime while preserving privacy is not a left or right, Liberal or Conservative, issue.

The second is to note that all the major parties have strong and weak points on digital issues:

  • the Conservatives passed anti-spam legislation, defended fair dealing reform on C-32, and pressured the CRTC on the usage based billing issue (they also failed to strike a balance on digital locks and include a digital economy strategy in their platform)
  • the Liberals made a strong commitment on digital policies in their platform, were the first to focus on open government, and called for changes to the digital lock rules (they also failed to take a stand on foreign investment in telecommunications and had MP Dan McTeague openly working with CRIA on an anti-consumer copyright policy)
  • the NDP were the first to draw attention to consumer issues on copyright, to commit to net neutrality, and to take a stand on UBB (they also are strong supporters of an iPod levy).

While there are good and bad with each party, the Conservatives new commitment to lawful access – new laws that would establish massive Internet surveillance requirements and the potential disclosure of personal information without court oversight – is incredibly problematic for the Internet, privacy, and online freedoms. It requires real debate yet seems likely to slip under the public radar.

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April 9, 2011 70 comments News

Conservatives on their Digital Economy Strategy: Wait Until After the Election

The Conservatives released their policy platform this morning and for those hoping to compare their digital economy strategy with the one promoted by the Liberals, they will have to wait. The platform devotes one page to the digital economy strategy, but it primarily re-iterates previously announced policy goals. These include […]

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April 8, 2011 23 comments News

Copyright and Canada’s Trade Agreements: Point of Disagreement Between the Parties?

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Conservatives will announce their commitment to completing new trade agreements with the European Union and India at an event this morning in Halifax. The focus on the EU deal – CETA – is noteworthy because there may be a divide between the […]

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March 31, 2011 4 comments News