CIPPIC News Release - Major parties ignore internet issues in election run-up

News Release
Ottawa , ON
January 19, 2006

Major parties ignore internet issues in election run-up

It may be no surprise, but the four main campaigns in the upcoming federal election have largely ignored key internet issues involving individual privacy, free speech, and consumer rights, despite the fact that these issues will no doubt be on the legislative agenda in the coming year.

"We are disappointed", said Philippa Lawson, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), at the University of Ottawa 's Faculty of Law. "While we know that this election was prompted by the sponsorship scandal, and that Canadians are concerned first and foremost with issues such as health care and employment, we expected that all major parties would at least answer our questions. The issues we raised are all ones that Parliament will be addressing this year or next."

In early December, CIPPIC asked all registered parties for their positions on a number of issues including proposed reforms to copyright, privacy and telecommunications laws, as well as the need for legislated consumer protections against spam, spyware, and other harmful technologies.

"We received some clear and thoughtful responses from smaller parties, but very little from the major parties", said Lawson. "Neither the Conservatives nor the Bloc bothered to respond, while the Liberals provided only vague responses and the NDP didn't answer the questions we posed. Of the parties that stand a chance of electing MPs, the Greens were the only ones to set out clear positions on most of these important issues."

CIPPIC's questions, along with responses received, can be viewed at http://www.cippic.ca/en/projects-cases/election-2006/

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Contact:

Philippa Lawson
tel: 613-562-5800 x.2556
plawson -at- uottawa.ca