Post Tagged with: "liberal"

What To Do About Usage Based Billing: NDP & Liberal Positions Take Shape

The controversy over usage based billing has unsurprisingly spilled over into the election campaign with the national parties starting to provide some insight into their positions. All the parties were on record as opposing the CRTC’s decision on wholesale UBB before the election (and Industry Minister Tony Clement said he was unimpressed with Bell’s AVP proposal). The bigger question is what are they prepared to do about the issue. The Conservatives have not said much on the issue of late, but the NDP and Liberals have adopted some noteworthy positions.

The NDP was the only party to address retail UBB directly within its platform. The party has promised to ban the practice at the both the wholesale and retail level – “We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs)“.

The Liberals revealed their support for “functional separation” in an online chat on Canada’s digital future yesterday (I participated as a commentator). Open Media’s Steve Anderson had the following exchange with Liberal Marc Garneau:

Read more ›

April 12, 2011 11 comments News

Liberal Online Discussion on Digital Policies

The Liberals will be hosting an online discussion their digital policies today at 2:00 pm ET. Industry critic Marc Garneau will host the discussion and they’ve invited me and Steve Anderson from to comment and post our own questions.

Read more ›

April 11, 2011 5 comments News

Reflecting on The Liberal Digital Economy Strategy

The Liberals released their election platform yesterday and for those anxious for digital issues to occupy part of the policy debate during the campaign (myself included), we got our wish. The document identifies the digital economy as one of its three key areas for economic growth and features eight principles that includes broadband for all, bridging the digital divide, copyright, and an Open Internet.

At the start of the campaign, I highlighted ten digital economy questions that need answers and the Liberals have taken a good step at answering many of them. There is still need for greater detail, but at least they’ve put forward something to debate. By contrast, Industry Minister Tony Clement quickly tweeted that the Liberal document “borrows” from his digital strategy, yet unless I missed a press release, no Conservative digital strategy has been made public. There has been a digital economy strategy consultation, the creation of a government department within Industry Canada, a speech on a strategy that provided preliminary views, and elements of what will likely form the strategy (ie. open government), but none of these are the strategy itself. If Clement believes it borrows from his unreleased strategy, that only emphasizes how the issue is non-partisan and should be prioritized by all parties.

With respect to the strategy itself, perhaps its most significant aspect was the promise to use the revenues from the forthcoming spectrum auction to facilitate broadband access in underserved areas. In fact, sources advise that the commitments to fund CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for digital content creation will also come from spectrum revenues. Given that the auction is expected to generate billions of dollars, this is very significant. The revenues from the last spectrum auction went to general revenues (critics argue it went to the automotive industry). A commitment to use the spectrum revenues for purposes directly related to connectivity, culture, and the digital economy is an important step forward and helps ensure that new initiatives need not come out of tax revenues. It will be interesting to see if the Conservatives and NDP make a similar commitment.

Read more ›

April 4, 2011 18 comments News

Liberal Party On Usage Based Billing

Liberal Industry Critic Marc Garneau has submitted a five page brief to the CRTC that outlines his party’s position on UBB. Garneau sides with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in calling for an expanded review of Internet services. It “fundamentally disagrees” with the CRTC’s claim that Internet service is analogous […]

Read more ›

March 7, 2011 26 comments News

Sorting Through The Spin: The Liberals and the iTax

The issue of Liberal support for an “iTax” hit a fever pitch this week with competing releases – the Liberals stating they are against it and the Conservatives releasing a radio ad that says the Liberals support such reforms.  That led some to ask for evidence to sort out the competing claims.  This post is an attempt to do that.

First, it is clear that the radio ad is factually wrong.  The Liberals now unequivocally state that they oppose an iPod levy.  The radio ad says of the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc “now they all back an iPod tax.”  There isn’t much room for interpretation here – the Liberals have stated their current policy and the Conservative ad says the opposite.

Second, even if the ad is wrong, some claim that the Liberals have flip-flopped on the issue.  For example, Stephen Taylor makes that case, pointing to their support for a motion on the private copying levy from earlier this year.  He adds that the press release says one thing, the vote another.

This position requires a more careful examination of the motion and the vote itself.  This saga begins with a motion in March at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage stating:

Read more ›

December 18, 2010 52 comments News