It’s a rare post that allows me to combine the three pillars of this blog – libraries, technology and politics. But today, the Canadian Library Association released their analysis of the various party platforms, identifying the areas which would be of specific interest or have an impact on libraries. (Now if they’d just included a cute picture of Pace, I’d have hit the Grand Slam of the Head Tale blog!)
CLA Member Bulletin – 2011 Federal Election Alert!
Party Platform Analysis
The Conservative Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, the Green Party of Canada, and the Bloc Québécois have all unveiled their official party platforms.
The following is a brief summary of key highlights and direct excerpts from each platform of what the library community should know as you head to the polls.
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.
The Liberal Party of Canada
Of interest to the library community, the Liberal Party’s platform highlights the importance of digital technology and its potential to “invigorate our democracy, our economy, and our culture”.
If elected, a Liberal government will develop and execute a targeted digital economy strategy, entitled Digital Canada, which is comprised of the following key factors:
- Access to Broadband for All Canadians. Liberals consider access to a high-speed broadband Internet connection essential infrastructure. A Liberal government will provide $500 million in support, allowing Canada to achieve basic high-speed Internet access for all Canadian households within three years. Closing the Digital Divide. A Liberal government will work with all partners to promote digital life skills and training, in particular for older Canadians and lower income families.
- Fair balance Between Creators and Consumers. The party reinforces its commitment to pass effective copyright legislation, recognizing that consumers should have freedom for personal use of digital content they rightfully possess.
- Flourishing Canadian Content, Culture and Identity in Digital Media. The party highlights that Canadians should continue to have access to ever more Canadian stories and Canadian content in the Digital Canada of the future, highlighting support for Radio Canada and the CBC.
- Competition in a Healthy Business Environment that Rewards Innovation. Consumers deserve choices and carriers that invest heavily in the advanced services and infrastructure of tomorrow deserve the chance to earn a fair return.
- Open Government. A Liberal government will commit to putting Statistics Canada and other government data online wherever possible, after meeting all privacy and other legal requirements, which will strengthen Canadian democracy, help create and disseminate knowledge and spur innovation.
- Protection from Digital Threats. A Liberal government will make security a priority in Digital Canada, working to advance it with the private sector and other governments at home and abroad.
An Open Internet. To ensure that the Internet continues to foster the uninhibited exchange that innovation requires, Canada’s Internet environment must remain open. It is noted that Internet traffic management must remain neutral, and maintain the open sharing of legitimate technologies, ideas and applications.
The New Democratic Party (NDP)
The NDP platform highlights that they are committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to broadband and a robust digital economy. If elected, an NDP Government will:
- 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.
The Green Party of Canada
The Green Party of Canada’s platform outlines the following priorities:
- Ensure that copyright policy allows students to properly conduct and create research in a manner that is consistent with a thriving information commons, fair dealing principles, and moral rights.
- Ensure network neutrality by supporting the principles of fair use, consumer information privacy, communications market competition, and rationalization of the statutory damages provision.
- Recognize that access to high-speed internet connections is now a critical aspect of infrastructure and work to expand access to address the digital divide.
The Bloc Québécois Platform highlights that the Copyright Act does not account for the impact of new technologies, particularly the arrival of the Internet, and must be amended as soon as possible.
The Bloc Québécois will ensure that the new Copyright Act is fair and does not put creators or consumers at a disadvantage. In particular, it will modernize the private copying system by applying reasonable redistribution royalties for artists to MP3 players and other digital media players, abolishing the education exemption from copyright payments, and immediately recognizing droit de suite for visual artists.