US Tech Workers Give It Up to Democrats. What about Canadians?

When reading an eWeek article by Roy Mark talking about political donations to US presidential candidates, I wondered what would be said in Canada. We don't have a separate executive branch, with our prime Minister simply being the leader of the party that receives the most seats, so an apples-to-apples comparison isn't possible.

When I am asked which political party in Canada is best on technology law issues, I try to direct people to focus on individual people in their ridings and not on political parties. While the Green Party has come out with specific policies on tech issues such as Open Source and Network Neutrality, other parties aren't so specific.

The NDP demonstrates most clearly what I say to people. When their Heritage critic was a playwrite without a background in technology, their policies in this area were harmful. When this MP retired and this portfolio was taken on by Charlie Angus (NDP, Timmins--James Bay), things radically changed. Mr. Angus is an independent musician, someone who understands new media and the Internet, etc.

While I have not yet ever voted NDP in either a provincial or federal election, I did make political donations to two NDP candidates the last election: to Charlie Angus to help him retain his seat, and to Peggy Nash (NDP, Parkdale - High Park) to help her kick Sam Bulte out of that seat.

That is not to say that every NDP MP "gets it" on technology law issues. We have Peter Stoffer (NDP, Sackville - Eastern Shore) continuously trying to step us backward a few decades in media decentralization by requiring licensing to be an "ISP". He alleges this is to reduce child pornography, a claim that the recording industry has made about its opposition to P2P -- both claims which have no merit. He is not alone in parliament, as other MPs have tabled the identical bill, and still others such as Hedy Fry (Liberal, Vancouver Center) have promoted the concept of ISP licensing a number of times.

I was a fan of Reg Alcock (Liberal, Winnipeg South), but he lost his seat in the most recent election.

There are some other Liberal MPs that I feel are open minded (my own MP in Ottawa South, and my past MP in Ottawa Vanier being examples), but then we have people like Dan Mcteague (Libral, Pickering - Scarborough East) and who seem to be stuck far in the past as far as understanding technology law issues. He seems to promote the positions of the old-economy intermediaries. Either he is unaware of, or uninterested in, the harm that these policies would cause to the majority of Canadian creators, or the benefits that new methods of production, distribution and funding bring to creators.

I've met with 3 Conservative MPs so far. All seemed open minded, with the most recent being James Rajotte (Conservative, Edmonton--Leduc).

I've never me with anyone from the Bloc, but that is understandable since I don't vote in the province of Quebec.

You can read more notes in this BLOGS about meetings I've had with MPs, but my main point is this: learn about the individuals and give them your support based on their own personal understanding of the issues. If technology law is what concerns you, please ignore the party banner that people are running under and focus on the individual.

We need every political party with seats in the next parliament to have people who understand these issues and can help direct the rest of parliament in a more sane direction.