May 25, 2011

What to expect from the new Harper government

Prior to the election the Canadian Library Association compiled a list of campaign promises from the various political parties. Here is a brief summary of key highlights and direct excerpts from the Conservative Party of Canada.
A re-elected Conservative Government will reintroduce and pass the Copyright Modernization Act, a key pillar in the party’s commitment to make Canada a leader in the global digital economy.

In spring 2011, the Conservatives will announce and begin implementing a Digital Economy Strategy, focused on the following five priorities:
Building world-class digital infrastructure;
Encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies;
Supporting digital skills development;
Fostering the growth of Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to global markets; and
Creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms, to bring Canada to the world. 

We hope too that Merv Tweed's Library Materials bill will be once again reintroduce and finally be passed into law.

The NDP, now the official opposition, stated prior to the election that they are committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to broadband and a robust digital economy. If elected, an NDP Government would:
  • Apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;
  • Expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
  • Rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
  • Enshrine "net neutrality" in law, end price gouging and "net throttling," with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
  • Prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs); and
  • Introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.
The platform also highlights, under the banner of investing in Canada’s shared cultural heritage, that the NDP will develop a digital on-line culture service to broaden access to Canadian content.
 Will promises be fulfilled? Both parties acknowledge the need for copyright reform but clearly differ on priorities and values.

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