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geist & canada on net neutraliy

Michael Geist has a nice long bit on Canada’s take on Net Neutraity, and here he summarizes the Conservative position:

We think blocking or prioritizing content may be acceptable, we recognize it is inconsistent with the recommendations of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel, and we don’t care because we plan to the leave the issue to the dominant telecommunications providers. This is not – as some suggest – about letting freedom reign. It is about leaving Canadian consumers and the Canadian Internet vulnerable to a two-tier Internet and providing tacit approval to those telecommunications companies that actively engage in network discrimination.

Some time ago I sent out emails asking about positions on net neutrality to the Conservatives, Liberals (federal), Bloc, NDP, Liberals (provincial), and PQ. Here are responses I got:


Dear Mr. McGuire:

The Office of the Prime Minister, has forwarded your electronic correspondence of November 9, 2006, concerning net neutrality to the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry. I am pleased to reply on behalf of the Minister and I regret the delay in relying to you.

The Minister of Industry is responsible for the Telecommunications Act, which sets out the objectives of Canadian telecommunications policy, while the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), an independent public authority, is charged with implementing these objectives through its regulation of the telecommunications industry.

The CRTC determined that the market for retail Internet access was sufficiently competitive to forgo economic price regulation. Nonetheless, the Commission has residual authority to address some issues of discriminatory and anti-competitive behaviour with respect to such Internet services should they arise.

The issue of net neutrality is also being deliberated in other countries. Industry Canada is monitoring domestic and international developments to determine the need for future domestic policy initiatives.

I appreciate your having taken the time to bring this important matter to our attention.

Yours very truly,

Leonard St-Aubin
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch


Monsieur McGuire,

Au nom du chef de l’opposition officielle, je confirme que nous avons bien reçu votre message. Je vous en remercie.

Je me permets de le transmettre à Monsieur Daniel Turp, porte-parole de l’opposition officielle en matière de culture et de communications, afin qu’il en prenne connaissance.

Je vous souhaite une agréable fin de journée.

Mélanie Malenfant
Conseillère politique
Cabinet du chef de l’opposition officielle
Assemblée nationale

The other parties (NDP, Liberal-fed, Bloc, Liberal-provincial) did not answer. Which tells you how high this issue is on their priority list.

(tip to patrick)