The election is over in Canada. Depending on where you stand, the results are a mixed bag. Personally, I think it was one of the more interesting (a real roller coaster ride) election nights I’ve experienced. Good on 61% of Canada for voting. It’s a slight improvement. But, we can do better.
During the Election, the CLA raised some issues that affect the LIS profession at the federal level, such as Internet access, net neutrality, and the digital economy. So, how does a Conservative victory affect these? The affable Michael Geist offers some insights.
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.
The copyright bill is – as I described at its introduction last June – flawed but fixable. I realize that it may be reintroduced unchanged (the Wikileaks cables are not encouraging), but with the strength of a majority, there is also the strength to modify some of the provisions including the digital lock rules. Clement spoke regularly about the willingness to consider amendments and the Conservative MPs on the Bill C-32 committee were very strong. If the U.S. has exceptions for unlocking DVDs and a full fair use provision, surely Canada can too…
While there will undoubtedly be wins and losses, the majority offers the opportunity to move away from years of policies driven by politics where little actually becomes law to one driven by policy that results in true legal reform. Given the last seven years of minority Liberal and Conservative governments that achieved so little on digital policies, the chance to get something done probably represents the biggest change of all.[read the full post]
I have an intense desire to be cautiously optimistic (one should not give way to dismay), but that optimism will be fettered to our readiness as citizens and professionals to hold the new government accountable on the issues that matter to libraries and to the people that rely on us.