"The government of Canada needs to take a stand in defense of the majority of internet users to maintain equal access to internet sites and services, and to support our new and developing industries by opposing the implementation of two-tiered access to internet services. In an interconnected world, allowing large companies to control internet access for the many is unacceptable." Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (27 Nov. 2017) — The President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), Larry Brown, has written to the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, to urge the government to defend the principle of net neutrality.
The letter was sent as the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announced that he intended to repeal the FCC's 2015 ruling on net neutrality that was enacted under the Obama administration. Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman appointed by President Trump, and further said that the regulator will prevent states and cities from adopting similar protections.
Communications policies important to all Canadians
In his letter, Brown pointed out that "Canada is a large country with incredible diversity in its geography and peoples. We have a few large urban centres and a wide range of small, and even remote, communities. In the context of such a large country with a geographically dispersed population, fast and accessible forms of communication are essential."
"Telecommunications policy affects almost every aspect of our society. This includes supporting the social fabric of our nation as well as our economic well-being," said Brown. "The introduction of the internet and broadband communications has connected Canadians with each other and the world in ways previously only ever dreamed of. The economic importance of the internet for Canadians cannot be overstated."
NUPGE has long taken a position in defense of network neutrality. The union argues that a level playing field for internet access is something that benefits all Canadians.
Canadian government has pledged to strengthen net neutrality rules in Canada - but more needed
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has said it will strengthen its commitment to net neutrality. This has been followed by similar statements from the Prime Minister and Minister of Innovation. However, with the US moving to undo net neutrality Brown feels that the federal government needs to do more.
"We strongly support your government’s April announcement to strengthen net neutrality rules in Canada," wrote Brown. "However, we are deeply concerned by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) announcement that they are intending to repeal their 2015 ruling on net neutrality, enacted under the Obama administration. This could have a significant impact on Canada’s telecommunications."
Brown points out that there is a strong and well-financed corporate lobby that is likely to increase their efforts following these developments in the US.
"This letter is to urge your government to resist this pressure. The government of Canada needs to take a stand in defense of the majority of internet users to maintain equal access to internet sites and services, and to support our new and developing industries by opposing the implementation of two-tiered access to internet services," said Brown. "I would also encourage you to raise Canada’s concerns with your U.S. counterparts about the FCC’s move to repeal net neutrality. In an interconnected world, allowing large companies to control internet access for the many is unacceptable."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE