Protect neutrality or corporations will control the Internet

James Clancy sounds a warning at Parliament Hill rally to protect the Internet for all Canadians


Ottawa (27 May 2008) - All Canadians have a stake in the emerging issue of Internet neutrality and should fight for it now before it is too late, says the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

"Do any of us think that we should just trust Bell or Rogers – who have already admitted to violating net neutrality by throttling Internet traffic – not to block opinions that conflict with their ability to make a huge profit?" asks NUPGE president James Clancy.

James Clancy at 'Rally for Net Neutrality' on Parliament Hill
NDP MPs Irene Mathyssen, Charlie Angus and Bill Siksay

"Who should be concerned about net neutrality? Unions, public-interest groups, NGOs, small businesses, new-media businesses and everyday citizens – in short all of us. Net neutrality is a vital component of democracy in the 21st Century," he says.

Clancy was one of several speakers participating in a unique "rally for net neutrality" held Tuesday on Parliament Hill.

He argues that an open and accessible Internet is critical for dissenting voices in society who seek to promote issues vital to the environment, social justice, workers and independent media. Yet big corporations are already blocking access to content they feel is counter to their corporate interests, he notes.

In particular, he draws attention to the infamous 2005 case in which Telus blocked access to a website called Voices for Change sympathetic to striking Telus workers and the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU). In the process, the company cut access to 766 unrelated websites hosted on the same Florida-based server.

Unless the Internet is protected, Canadians' access will soon be almost entirely controlled by a handful of extremely large corporations, Clancy adds.

"These mega-corporations have already benefited from massive public investment from our tax dollars. They take our tax money but ignore our demands for high quality accessible Internet services. That’s why all of us must take up the challenge to Save Our Net!"

Others speaking at the rally included NDP MP Charlie Angus, Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, Meera Karunananthan of the Council of Canadians, Philippa Lawson of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Tom Copeland of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) and Steve Anderson of the Campaign For Democratic Media (CDM). NUPGE

More information:

National Union and Net Neutrality
Stop the Throttler
Campaign for Democratic Media
Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
Council of Canadians
National Capital FreeNet
TekSavvy Solutions

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