#NetNeutrality #ModernCopyrightLaw #ManilaPrinciples

I don't want to minimize the importance of equitable legislation that advocates for an open internet, advances and protects Canada's net neutrality, and brings common-sense to copyright law and intermediary liability. However, for the sake of providing a summary for electoral purposes, I've focused on providing an exposé of my thoughts on an open internet, and then highlighting the two major components that are facing imminent legislation, and how I intend to stand up for Canadians on these crucial matters.

An open internet for our global community

Equitable legislation that protects consumer freedoms, and allows private enterprise to innovate and advance technology.

China is known to censor and heavily regulate their internet. Theresa May made promises to introduce sweeping legislation and taxes on internet companies in 2017, thankfully only having a minority government, not all of these regulations got to see the light of day. Our own government has used heavy-handed statements that would induce obedience or face legislation, in what has been branded by opposition parties and pundits as censorship. All of these are well-known, and unfortunately too many people in my generation feel powerless to make any kind of impact on the legislation barreling down on what may be the most significant frontier of our lives: the internet.

We have centuries of law that defend our rights in almost everything we experience in our day-to-day lives. Some of these laws the majority of people would stand their ground and fight for, and have died for. One of the blessings of our society is that we have the law, and the law is our greatest equalizer. The law underlines our rights and most importantly, our freedoms. Most laws are there to provide guidance and protection, and although there have been numerous harmful and discriminatory laws passed throughout our history, the majority of laws are not oppressive, but truly humane. The basis of our laws should be about protecting the innocent, the hard-working, the average Canadian with no ulterior motive but to simply live, let live, and pursue happiness by whatever means fit their lifestyle without due harm to others. That should be the spirit of each of our laws.

Increasingly I've noticed that there's a growing sentiment that new legislation is quick to be written when an industry becomes successful, with the purpose of taxation and regulation, under the guise of protection. This sentiment may be justifiable in some cases, but if it becomes persistent, if people lose faith in their government, there is a tipping point that can undo all the good that's been done over the last century and a half. This terrifies me, that the leaders we have in government are not sufficiently managing expectations. We need to change this attitude, and I truly believe the only way to do so is by working diligently to write equitable legislation, and working with absolute transparency for our constituents.

What this looks like with respect to an open internet, is not letting companies run rampant without recourse, but not forcing taxation and regulation where there is no imminent need for it. If nothing else, I would advocate to keep the internet open and unregulated under any foreseeable circumstances. There are places for regulation and for laws, but to encourage or try and sustain the type of growth we've seen in even the last ten years, open and unregulated is my first reaction. Light regulation should only be imposed when there is strong public sentiment to do so, and should be applied individually, not broadly. Taxation should be done with terrifying caution, and I would recommend drastic fines for deliberate or repeat offenses rather than blanket taxation. However, aside from my views on an open internet, for the purposes of current legislative topics, I will focus on two issues: Net Neutrality and Intermediary Liability.

Net Neutrality

One of the first videos I released on Federal policy were my concerns about the legislation barreling down on the internet, and the generation of people that are drafting that legislation. Clarity and discourse on internet legislation should be a priority in the 2019 election. Now, let me be very clear about my goals: I truly believe the government must do everything it can to protect consumers rights and freedoms through defending net neutrality, and solidifying Canada’s commitment to an open Internet.

My hope is that people like you, and most importantly the constituents in our local electoral districts that vote for our lawmakers, are provided a platform where they can voice their opinions, concerns, and can help influence the legislation that is written surrounding net neutrality. I am concerned whenever I see party lawyers and corporate lobbyists writing legislation, then passing it as law to the majority of Canadians without proper discourse, simply because they held a majority government.

Ultimately what I’m striving for the road to net neutrality to look like, is competent legislation that protects consumer freedoms and allows private enterprise to innovate and advance technology. I have concerns that in numerous conversations surrounding our rights and freedoms on the internet, net neutrality is often brought up in the same vein as censorship. The conversation around net-neutrality is a separate avenue of law than censorship-by-proxy, freedom of expression and intermediary liability concerns, and that is how I’ve divided this page.

I’m ready to serve, to fight for all Canadians and to help other MPs rise above partisan politics to tackle one of the most significant legislative issues of our generation. To work in a strategic and concerted effort, the first task should be for our elected officials to rally support for, and pass 'BILL C-398, An Act to amend the Telecommunications Act (Internet neutrality)' into law. This sets the tone for future legislation and the conversation around net neutrality. The next task should be broad public consultation to discuss current and future protections for an open internet. We want Canadians to be well-informed of what their lawmakers are intending to do, and equipped to readily act, if a majority party attempts to force harmful legislation that is opposite to the will of Canadians.

Furthermore, I would advocate for the governing party to collaborate with the CRTC to provide more transparency and oversight to any changes to regulations surrounding the internet. Canadians should be made aware of any actions, or any intent to negatively impact our online, open internet experience. I cannot stress enough how important it is for Canada to be one of the leading countries, in one of the greatest known frontiers of our generation: the internet. Our legislative role, if restrictive, will significantly hurt our global position and future opportunities. Taxation and regulation now is an opportunity cost that isn't worth trading our future role in the growth of the internet for.

Censorship and Intermediary Liability

The reason why I constantly repeat the word censorship, is because I want people to see the legislation that’s being discussed, for what it actually is: censorship. Governments have constantly attempted throughout history to influence our thoughts, our conversations, and our lives. We happen to live in a beautiful time of freedom, technological advancement and unity, that I strongly believe in our ability to preserve our rights and freedoms, on the greatest frontier currently being exploited by people all across the globe: the internet. I simply do not believe that the small pockets of extremely vocal people, are strong enough to erase the centuries of civil rights and freedoms that we get to enjoy as a majority.

Of all people, I know that the achievements in society aren’t perfect, but I also know my father experienced far greater discrimination and apathy from society than I do, and I used to pray that it would be so rare for my children, that they would more read about the explicit abuses of power, than experience it. At this very moment, I am skeptical that things are getting better, and so am willing to serve and do everything in my power to help make the world a better place.

My concerns over censorship stem from “An Act to Ensure the Publication of Accurate News and Information” and how the purported justifications for a bill almost a hundred years old, has substantial similarities to the ulterior motives bequeathing the constant calls of “Fake News”, or a generation of lawmakers general confusion and bemusement of the spread of information over social media and the internet. Now I’m not discounting the reality of the spread of false information, not at all, but censorship is no substitute for intelligent, competent legislation. Learning from the past, I truly believe the majority of Canadians will agree that the government cannot repeal or restrict the rights of Canadians, to the benefit of free discussion through the press of the nation respecting policies and activities of government. Simply put, we cannot restrict free discussion because it goes against what we perceive as our virtuosity.

Ultimately and again, the spirit of the law is there to provide protections to Canadians and stem those with an intent to subvert our freedoms. Our legislative body in the House of Commons should be working tirelessly at this critical junction in society, to write comprehensive legislation that does just that: protect our freedoms on the internet, not control them. We should not allow those that wish to subvert our freedoms by proposing “Accurate News and Information” to sit in duly elected roles of Government and attempt to pass this type of legislation.

If elected as your Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, I will work with my peers in the House of Commons and rally Senate participation, in order to draft a bill based explicitly on the 'Manila Principles' to pass into law. This process will include broad public consultation, answer and addressing any and all concerns, and ensuring that Canadians are well-informed on their rights and protections with respect to the internet. This kind of equitable legislation will prevent the types of missteps that we've seen in the European Union and other governing bodies.

    The Manila Principles

  • Intermediaries should be shielded from liability for third-party content
  • Content must not be required to be restricted without an order by a judicial authority
  • Requests for restrictions of content must be clear, be unambiguous, and follow due process
  • Laws and content restriction orders and practices must comply with the tests of necessity and proportionality
  • Laws and content restriction policies and practices must respect due process
  • Transparency and accountability must be built into laws and content restriction policies and practices