MayDay 2011: Digital Platforms, Part II
This week, the Greens and NDP have released more details, of which I’ll share here.
As a side note, while the Cons and Liberals have the resources to leverage the digital space DURING this election, they may have their hands tied by the need to control message. Even the NDP may be limited in how much ‘grassroots’ activity they want to encourage.
With that in mind, if any party can make headway in this election by leveraging the tools of the Internet, it would be the Greens. They have the most to lose right now (ie. obscurity) and the most to gain (ie. a seat).
Also, as a reminder, the Liberal platform is specific enough with respect to actual policy, but doesn’t go as far as the NDP with respect to commitment to curb the appetites of our voracious media conglomerates. The Conservatives are plainly put draconian when it comes to their outlook on the digital economy. My perception is that they view concepts like ‘social’ and ‘sharing’ as communist ideas fostered by the UN trying to destroy the IMF. Crushing any new initiatives that liberated people’s ability to speak out seem to be their biggest priority.
That said, here’s an update on platforms and promises.
The Green Party has a claim to being the first party to demonstrate its support for OpenMedia and the Stop the Meter campaign. Details can be found here.
SAANICH, BC – The Green Party is the first political party to support a bold new OpenMedia.ca public engagement initiative. OpenMedia is inviting Canadians to bring political attention to the online communications crisis in Canada that has been largely ignored during the election campaign. The organization is asking political candidates to pledge their support for the Internet.
“The Greens are proud to be the first party to announce support for OpenMedia’s proposition,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “The internet is critical for modern day citizen engagement and an integral part of our economic competitiveness. The Greens pledge to adhere to OpenMedia’s Stop the Meter campaign on Internet access. We are committed to enhancing broadband access, competition, transparency and choice.”
A decade of neglecting the Internet regulatory issue is stifling Canada’s economy, global competitiveness, free expression and Canadians’ personal budgets.
“A vote for the Greens is also a vote in support of open and democratic Internet access in Canada” said Emma Jane Hogbin, the Green Party Science and Technology critic. “Vote Green – vote for the internet.”
Visit http://openmedia.ca/ to learn more about the initiative.
Other than this initiative, the Green Party doesn’t really seem to have much of a platform.
Despite the claims above by the Green Party, they may have been first to embrace the OpenMedia message, but they have not been leaders with progressive ideas related to the Internet. That prize would go to the NDP.
The NDP has been a leader when it comes to things like:
- Net neutrality: they were the first party on record to support net neutrality
- Fair use policies and prescriptions for solving copyright issues
- Open government, technology and source concepts
- We 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;
- We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
- We will 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;
- We will enshrine “net neutrality” in law, end price gouging and “net throttling,” with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
- We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
- We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.
As you can see above, the NDP are unique from all of the other parties because they are committed to prohibiting Usage-Based Billing (UBB) in any form, trumping the Green commitment to just support Open Media and other anti-UBB groups.
They are also going one step further by declaring that they will enshrine Net Neutrality in law, something the other parties have yet to commit to.
These are game-changing promises. In fact, the NDP should pressure the other parties to admit to their positions on these two issues alone or advertise that they are all about an open Internet whereas the other parties may not be.
Despite earlier promises to vote strategically, I think the NDP may have just locked up my vote because of these basic but forward-looking policies and promises.