February 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
In the wake of over 265,000 signatures collected by Open Media as of today (with the count still rising), Canada’s Conservative minority government finally spoke. The verdict: the recent ruling by CRTC to allow usage-based billing for internet services in Canada will be carefully reviewed. Both the Liberal and NDP parties have spoken out against the ruling and have urged the Conservative government to overturn the ruling.
A point of interest is that, as the Globe and Mail reports:
The government review of the decision comes about one year after Mr. Clement overturned a CRTC decision ruling that Globalive, which now operates the Wind Mobile cellphone brand, violated foreign ownership rules and couldn’t launch service. It also comes during the run-up to a looming wireless licence auction in which established and new providers will bid billions of dollars for slices of the airwaves.
Perhaps that’s cause for some hope, as the review takes place. Regardless, this is a fantastic step in the right direction. Let’s keep on pushing!
If you haven’t already, you can still sign the petition against usage-based internet billing at StoptheMeter.ca.
January 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
Last Tuesday, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) ruled in favour of usage-based billing for internet services in Canada. What this means is that internet providers have received the green light to start charging Canadians for the internet bandwidth they use, similar to how users are currently billed for their cell phone useage. The ruling has been hotly contested by user internet advocacy groups, such as Open Media, which has since started a petition that has been signed by over 107,000 people as of today.
What’s troubling about the ruling is that the CRTC is intended to be an independent, government-sanctioned regulatory body. It’s mandate is to “ensure that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public”, using the “objectives in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act to guide its policy decisions”. In this case, it’s really the Telecommunications Act that is the relevant Act, and if you review the objectives outlined within the Act itself (I’ve taken the liberty of including the pertinent ones below), you’ll notice the Act isn’t exactly vague about what CRTC’s telecommunications policies should support.
It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives
- to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions;
- to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;
- to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness, at the national and international levels, of Canadian telecommunications;
- to foster increased reliance on market forces for the provision of telecommunications services and to ensure that regulation, where required, is efficient and effective;
- to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services;
July 2, 2010 § 1 Comment
Yesterday was Canada’s 143rd birthday. As my mom was visiting from out of town, we had the brilliant idea of taking her to Niagara Falls for the celebration. It seemed that our brilliant idea was shared by the entire region of Southwestern Ontario, as we entered the gridlock that was Queen Elizabeth Way – the highway to the beautiful Niagara Falls. Inch by inch, we made our way towards the Falls – escaping eventually for a pitstop at one of the many wineries on the way. Some pitstop: perched comfortably on stools, sipping back a selection of aromatic Ontario wines, overlooking the swaying vines of the Niagara Region. Beautiful. If ever there were a pitstop I wouldn’t mind doing more often, it’s that one. Highly recommend.
After a few more hours, and a stop-over in the picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, we arrived. As expected, Niagara Falls was packed with people sharing our Canada Day vision. I’m not a big one for crowds – all of the pushing, bumping, and fighting to carve a path through to a vague notion of “over there”. But for Canada Day, I was willing to make an exception. As the night fell everyone thankfully started to slow down. The clammoring was more about settling in for a spot to see the fireworks than moving to a more advantageous viewing point of the Falls. Luckily, the sky above is more spacious than the physical space on the ground, and when it came time for the first whistling firework to be launched, no one was fighting for space… or at least, no one needed to. A spectacular display overhead brought a rucus of Oooo’s and Ahhhh’s over the illuminated Falls, and also served as a good reminder of why we had all come in the first place.
Happy birthday, Canada!
March 20, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Sometimes the best travel spots are right in our backyard, only we are so accustomed to them, we forget how fantastic they are.
I grew up in Alberta, Canada and frequently felt the call of other destinations. That said, one of the things I could never get my fill of was that nature was our backyard. The landscape opens up to a vast blue sky, the air is clean, and in all my travels, I’ve yet to see a sunset that takes my breath away like those we get in my hometown of Edmonton.
If you’re ever in the area, some of the obvious places to go to are Banff, Kananaskis, and Jasper. These are fabulous destinations that you should definitely not miss out on. But if you want to go back in time, and get a small taste of what the plains must have been like before our cities grew and became more established, visit Elk Island National Park. It’s a national park reserve for wild bison, elk and other native animals in the area. Whenever I go, I feel so small in comparison to these grand, regal creatures.
And, if you’re able to stay till dusk – and can find a spot along the lake – the sunsets are still the best I’ve seen.