Revealed: Which party gets the worst grade for digital policies on affordable access, online privacy, and free expression?

As digital rights issues including the TPP and Bill C-51 continue to play major election role, OpenMedia publishes crowdsourced report card assessing the leading parties on policy priorities shaped by over 250,000 Canadians

October 8, 2015 – Days after the announcement of a major Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, and with Bill C-51 and mass surveillance continuing to spark controversy, many Canadians are asking which party is best placed to secure Canada’s digital future. The non-partisan digital rights group OpenMedia set out to answer that question, by assessing how the parties measure up against policy priorities crowdsourced, with the help of experts, from over 250,000 people.

In a crowdsourced report card published today, each party is assigned grades across a range of priorities, spanning affordable access, privacy, and online free expression. The Green Party and the NDP came top of class, while the Liberal Party had a mixed performance, receiving a ‘C’ grade overall. The Conservatives came bottom of the class with an overall ‘D+’, although they received a stronger ‘C+’ grade for their policies on affordable Internet access. A detailed breakdown is available on OpenMedia’s election website.

“This election is a crossroads for Canada’s Internet,” said OpenMedia’s communications manager David Christopher. “There’s so much on the line: repealing C-51, ending mass surveillance, lowering our ridiculous Internet and cellphone bills, and protecting free expression. Today’s report card helps ensure Canadians know where the parties stand on these issues.”

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Rogers, Bell and Telus hike Internet speeds, prices with ‘gigabit’ service

Unbelievable. Big Telecom is charging $150 a month for ultra high speed fibre Internet.  Now wonder less than 5% of Canadian households have fibre connections, compared to nearly 70% in Japan. When fibre is affordable there’s no doubt that we’ll leap to the new technology the same way they did when we moved from dial-up to broadband. But until then, we can expect Big Telecom to continue holding our digital economy ransom with these outrageous prices and oppressive data caps.

Written by David Friend for The Star

Faster and more capable Internet services are headed your way from some of the country’s biggest telecommunications providers, but the chance you’ll need to jump on a “gigabit” service right away is highly unlikely.

That hasn’t stopped Rogers, Bell and Telus from launching the high-priced and cutting-edge service that offers the ability to download at speeds of up to one gigabit per second.

Topics: Affordability

How big is Big Telecom? Just how concentrated is the Canadian media landscape?

So, just how big is Big Telecom? 

Our friends at the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project, led by Carleton University Professor (and OpenMedia friend) Dwayne Winseck, have sought to answer exactly that question.

In a new blog post they ask:

Ever wonder who the main companies are that make up and shape the media, telecoms and internet landscape in Canada? Who owns what?

Where do Google, Facebook and Netflix – the new internet giants — fit alongside other companies that have long had a towering presence across key sectors of the media and telecoms industries in Canada: Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Telus and Quebecor?

The results may surprise you. Working together with a team of researchers, they've put together a gigantic infographic that shows the largest telecom, media, and Internet companies in the country and how much control they have over what we see and hear online. 

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NDP shows support for Canada’s Digital Future

This election, we’ve been focusing on the future of the Internet that Canadians need to build our digital economy. We crowdsourced our vision from over 250,000 Canadians, and have sent our platform, Canada’s Digital Future, to each of the party leaders.

OpenMedia has recently received a response from Thomas Mulcair on behalf of the NDP, supporting many of the aspects that we have highlighted in our plan.

Check out the NDP open letter responding to Canada’s Digital Future.

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Your feedback made this possible: stay tuned for our Election Report Cards next week!

Well, the calendar has just flipped over to October, which can only mean one thing: we’re just under three weeks from an election that’s going to be absolutely crucial for our digital future.

There’s no doubt this election represents a crossroads for Canada’s Internet. There’s so much on the line: repealing Bill C-51, ending mass surveillance, lowering our ridiculous cell phone and Internet bills, and standing up to TPP Internet censorship and copyright abuse.

That’s why, a few weeks back, we asked you, our community, to let us know how you think the parties are doing when it comes to our digital future.

We’ve received tons of feedback, through comments on our blog posts, and via Facebook, Twitter and email. Thanks so much for letting us know your thoughts - we couldn’t do what we do without you!

In true OpenMedia style, we’ve taken this wealth of feedback and used it to help determine grades assessing each of the main parties as to where they stand on the issues you told us matter most.

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Geist: Make universal, affordable broadband an election issue.

Less than 3 weeks away from the election, and still no mention of universal, affordable broadband Internet access...Why are political parties silent on this issue?

Article by Michael Geist for the Toronto Star

The long election campaign of 2015 has featured a myriad of daily policy announcements as the three largest political parties vie for attention and votes. From targeted tax cuts to new spending promises, political leaders have focused on education, child care, defence, the environment and more.

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