Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spectrum Auction: urgent policy action item for Canadians

According to Michael Geist in the Toronto Star this morning, a consultation process on the Spectrum Auction of 2008 recently closed, with 50 industry submissions and only 4 from ordinary Canadians. This is in contrast with over a quarter million submissions by Americans on a similar, recent, consultation.

The underlying issue - whether the internet will remain free, open, and affordable, empowering education, research, and community collaboration - or a medium to provide commercial services and content - is, arguably, one of the most important policy issues of our times.

Canadians: please let your MP and Minister of Industry Maxime Berner (e-mail Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca) know that ordinary Canadian citizens need an opportunity to learn about the consultation, and prepare responses. A fall deadline would be appropriate at this point. If you belong to an organization that can speak to this issue, please ask your organization to speak as well.

Our government also needs to take steps to ensure that citizens are informed about important policy discussions, and have ample opportunity to learn about the issues and contribute to the discussion. That is what democracy is all about.

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