Press release

Government’s digital strategy props up Big Telecom giants at expense of rural Canadians

In response to this morning’s announcement by Industry Minister James Moore regarding funding for Internet service providers (ISPs) looking to expand broadband services into rural and remote parts of Canada, OpenMedia.ca Campaigns Coordinator, Josh Tabish, said:

“While we welcome any measure that would improve Internet service for rural Canadians who have long suffered from poor service and sky-high prices, we are sad to see public funds continue to prop up Big Telecom providers who have been under-serving and over-charging Canadians for years. Simply handing over taxpayer money to these giants won’t solve our national digital deficit. The Big Three have a terrible track record of mismanaging funds that have been explicitly collected to improve Internet services for rural and remote communities. This past June, the CRTC wrote a letter expressing concern over Big Telecom’s failure to deliver high speed Internet to nearly 40% of the 272 communities that they were mandated to serve.”

Tabish continued, “These giants have been coddled by government for too long, and these services are too important to leave in their hands. What’s worse: our government's digital strategy has been unambitious from the start. First, they back-paddled on a CRTC commitment that would have ensured 100% of Canadians had high-speed access by 2015 – instead, pushing those numbers to 98% in 2019. Second, their goal of 5Mbps is embarrassing when compared with our global counterparts. Consider Australia, where most residents will have access to 25 Mbps speeds by 2016. Every Canadian should be able to access reliable, affordable broadband Internet, but simply handling public money over to the Big Three is not the way to do it.” Read more »


Global study finds citizens want balanced copyright rules that respect creators, prioritize free expression, and reject Internet censorship

OpenMedia launches report crowdsourced from over 300,000 people in 155 countries worldwide. The findings are a direct challenge to the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership where extreme proposals to censor the Internet are being created in near-total secrecy

October 15, 2014 – Citizens from across the globe want balanced copyright rules that are shaped democratically, respect creators, and prioritize free expression. That’s the message of Our Digital Future: A Crowdsourced Agenda for Free Expression, a new report launched today by community-based OpenMedia. The overall consultation process took place over 2 years engaging 300,000 people from Australia to Vietnam.

The report is being launched just days before a crucial round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks take place in Australia. The findings come as a significant blow to Big Media lobbyists, who have been using the secretive TPP talks to ram through extreme proposals that would censor the Internet and criminalize many everyday online activities. The report finds that over 72% of respondents want copyright rules to be created through “a participatory multi-stakeholder process” in contrast to closed-door TPP meetings from which citizens are completely excluded. Read more »


Every Canadian should benefit from sensible copyright rules, not just political parties

Responding to the government's proposal to carve our copyright exemptions for political parties, OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson said:

“Copyright laws should never be used to stifle free political expression. However, this government is shamefully trying to carve out a self-serving, narrow exception that would only benefit political parties, while excluding the free expression rights of everyday citizens. Every Canadian should benefit from sensible fair use rules that enable us to express our views freely.”

“It is also deeply hypocritical for the government to oppose copyright laws that undermine their narrow political interests, while at the same time pushing forward extreme copyright rules in secret Trans-Pacific Partnership talks - rules that could censor the Internet and criminalize everyday sharing and collaboration online.” Read more »


Canadians call on decision-makers at crucial public hearing to fix our broken wireless market and Unblock Canada

Tired of high wireless bills, Canadians want action from regulators to stop the Big Three blocking more affordable, independent wireless services

October 2, 2014 – Following official confirmation that the Big Three are keeping wireless prices artificially high, Canadians are pushing back against sky high wireless bills and want unfettered access to affordable alternatives. On Monday, the Competition Bureau told regulators that the Big Three cell phone giants are overcharging their independent rivals and using market power to distort prices. Telus responded by saying more choice and lower prices would be bad for cell phone customers and suggested they might reduce service quality if the Big Three are not permitted to control over 90% of the market as they do now.

Canadians are responding to Competition Bureau revelations and Telus’ outrageous claims by calling on decision makers to Unblock Canada. The campaign by community-based OpenMedia.ca aims to amplify Canadians’ voices against the backdrop of a crucial CRTC hearing on rules that could spur more choice in the wireless market. This week’s hearing could prevent the Big Three from blocking Canadians from accessing more affordable, independent wireless services such as Wind and Ting. Read more »

Topics: Affordability

BREAKING: Government shamelessly moves to cut short debate on Peter MacKay’s unpopular and unconstitutional Online Spying Bill C-13

Radio ads set to air in MacKay’s riding, as Gov’t prepares to ram Bill C-13 through House of Commons, despite opposition from tens of thousands of Canadians and a Supreme Court ruling that warrantless disclosures are unconstitutional

September 30, 2014 – The government looks set to ram Peter MacKay’s highly unpopular Online Spying Bill C-13 through the House of Commons tomorrow. MPs are set to debate the Bill shortly after 3pm EST. The government has moved a time allocation motion that would cut short debate and deny MPs the ability to fully discuss the implications of the Supreme Court’s recent landmark R. v. Spencer ruling that C-13’s controversial warrantless spying provisions are unconstitutional. OpenMedia is now preparing to run radio ads to rally opposition to the bill in Peter MacKay’s Central Nova riding.

Tomorrow is the first opportunity MPs have had to debate the bill since the unanimous Supreme Court ruling in June. If the government gets its way, C-13 will next proceed to the Senate. MPs would have no further chance to debate the implications of passing an unconstitutional piece of legislation that would almost certainly be subject to immediate court challenge, potentially costing taxpayers millions in legal fees. The government’s own nominee for Privacy Commissioner has also called for the online spying provisions in C-13 to be removed. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald to debate privacy and CSEC spying at Ottawa event sponsored by OpenMedia.ca

Greenwald has worked extensively with whistleblower Edward Snowden to report on how spy agencies like Canada’s CSEC and the U.S. NSA are monitoring the private lives of law-abiding citizens on a massive scale

September 22, 2014 – Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald is coming to Canada. He will speak about privacy, state surveillance, and its impact on Canadians at an event in Ottawa on October 25. The Glenn Greenwald Speaks event is sponsored by OpenMedia.ca, which is leading a large non-partisan coalition to safeguard the privacy rights of Canadians. The discussion will be moderated by independent journalist Jesse Brown, the host of the Canadaland podcast. The event has been organized by Bill Owen of Eyestir Communications and tickets are now available online.

Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist, lawyer, and author, who is best known for his extensive reporting on the Edward Snowden NSA documents. His reporting exposed how spy agencies like Canada’s CSEC and the U.S. NSA are conducting invasive surveillance of law-abiding citizens on a massive scale. Greenwald has worked with the CBC to reveal how CSEC monitored thousands of innocent Canadian air travellers, spied on Brazil’s mining ministry, and facilitated a large U.S. spying operation on Canadian soil. OpenMedia and other pro-privacy groups have today launched a video about how CSEC spies on Canadians. Read more »

Topics: Online Spying

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