Shift in Canada’s digital agenda expected | SC Media
Legislation

Shift in Canada’s digital agenda expected

May 3, 2011
On his way to a decisive victory in the May 2 federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Canadians stability. Will that equate to a stabile, contemporary digital copyright infrastructure?

Throughout his campaign, Harper made it clear that he was running on the strength of the budget his government introduced in late March and the anti-crime, pro-defence bills that were before Parliament when his government was defeated in the House.

Based on those promises, Canadians should anticipate the return of Bill C-32 – the copyright legislation that included hefty fines for breaking the digital locks on music, movies and software, along with provisions to crack down on sites that support file sharing. With a strong majority, the new Conservative government can be expected to turn a deaf ear to organizations like the Canadian Association of University Teachers, which protested that restricting access to digital material online would limit research and innovation.

In addition to the reintroduction of the copyright legislation, the Harper government also ran on a commitment to grant extensive new powers to law enforcement agencies in the digital realm. It is expected that sweeping anti-spam and pornography laws will be included in the 12 criminal justice bills that Harper promised to introduce within the first 100 days of a new Parliament.

Leading internet law specialist Michael Geist has summarized Harper's agenda as a “subtle shift from digital economy issues to digital security concerns.”

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