While the mangling of voter intention caused by our antiquated First Past the Post electoral system makes it hard to predict outcomes, I'm pretty confident about some districts. There are a number of specific districts I will be watching closely election night, with most (but not all) based on my interest in technology law.
- Saanich - Gulf Islands
- This is the riding where Green Party leader Elizabeth May is in a close race with incumbent Hon. Gary Lunn. I believe it would help our democracy to see history made and for Elizabeth May to win this seat.
- Ottawa South
- This is the riding I live in, and already voted in advanced polls. While I voted for a known person with Mr. McGuinty, I think it would be interesting to see Mr. Salibi win the seat for reasons relating to technology law. Mr. Salibi has a technical background and if elected might be directly involved in technology law issues. Would he help the caucus translate conservative values through real-world technology into technology policy? This is an unknown, which if he wins could make this riding a key one to watch in the future.
- Timmins - James Bay
- I would be very surprised to not see incumbent Charlie Angus retain his seat. While some have concerns about his possible support of levies on technology, I consider him a great ally to our community in the more critical areas such as non-owner digital locks, competition/interoperability and other such things.
- Port Moody - Westwood - Port Coquitlam
- Incumbent James Moore has been harmful to the interests of the technology community. While hopes were high because of his young age, it turned out he may have had too close an affinity for vendors like Apple who have been a driving force behind anti-competitive technology law. I could hope for a change here, but suspect he will retain his seat. I can still hope that he’ll be put into a different portfolio in a future parliament.
- Parry Sound--Muskoka
- Incumbent Tony Clement has been in the middle of many interesting things. He was the Minister who tabled Bill C-32, but has also been a Minister who has been very helpful to the technology sector through pro-competition policies on telecom ownership (Globalive) and telecom manipulation of Internet (UBB on last-mile data networks, etc). I will always be curious if his being the spokesperson for the idiotic long form census policy was intended to keep his leadership aspirations at bay. Even with those stumbles he is someone I would like to see kept within the Conservative caucus.
- Kitchener - Waterloo
- Incumbent Peter Braid won the seat with a small number of votes. While he was a member of the C-32 committee, he was one of the weakest members. I was in the riding last election giving a talk on Copyright, and have an affinity for the strong technology community there.
As the recent Wikileaks have shown, there is quite a bit of foreign pressure on Canadian law which will require strong politicians to fight against in order to enact good Canadian law. Mr. Braid isn’t a strong politician, so I hope to see a change in this riding.
- Pickering - Scarborough East
- Incumbent Dan McTeague has an unhealthy close relationship with the recording industry. Various Wikileaks cables have disclosed that CRIA has an unhealthy relationship with the US trade representatives, coordinating their pushing for harmful technology policy to be passed in Canada. Mr. McTeague won the riding last election with almost 50% of the vote, and I haven’t heard that the changing tide of the Liberals elsewhere in the country has impacted his riding. A weakened Liberal party could mean a weakened influence for Mr. McTeague, but it could also cause him to become the primary spokesperson for the party on technology law.
- Incumbent Marc Garneau was likely responsible for much of the more positive technology policy ideas coming from the Liberal caucus. Reports suggest he is in a close race with Joanne Corbeil of the NDP, with the NDP leading so far in the opinion polls. If Mr. Garneau doesn’t retain his seat, who will be the lead people in the Liberal caucus on technology policy?
- Incumbent Justin Trudeau seemed like an interesting young person to take on technology law issues when I met him, but he never took on that roll when legislation was tabled or in the relevant committees. Would he take the place of Marc Garneau? Not useful to speculate as it seems quite possible that Papineau will be another seat changing parties with the NDP surge in Quebec. In this riding the NDP surge would take from both the Bloc and Liberals, the first and second place in the last election: the Conservatives were and appear likely to remain in 4’th place, but this riding could become NDP, Liberal or Bloc.
- Incumbent Pablo Rodriguez has a technology law related portfolio in the Liberal caucus, but isn’t in my opinion a very strong or knowledgeable MP on these issues. This is a riding where I would like to see a change, but don’t expect to see any.
- Saint-Bruno - Saint-Hubert
- Incumbent Bloc MP Carole Lavallée may be one of those bumped by the surge of the NDP in Quebec. If she loses here seat, the Bloc will be looking for someone new to be their primary spokesperson on Copyright. It could be the same type of positive transition we saw with the NDP and Mr. Charlie Angus replacing Wendy Lill as representative for the NDP. I did have the same hopes in 2007 when Bloc MP and cultural critic Maka Kotto stepped down, so anything is possible.
- Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont
- I’ve written elsewhere already that I hope to see incumbent Mike Lake returned to the Conservative caucus as I believe he is a positive influence on technology policy.
- I have mixed feelings about incumbent Dean Del Mastro. He towed the party line when it came to C-32, and he appeared to believe that "digital locks" would somehow help (rather than harm) copyright holders and other creative/innovative industries.
He has been willing to think out loud about things which are hazardous for any politician to talk about, such as the CBC. He has discussed things that many in the technology community have also asked: should the government be providing incentives for the creation of Canadian content that would then be distribution platform neutral as an alternative to funding things such as the CBC television broadcast network? Does new-media make obsolete the historical tie between content and distribution platform? This isn’t how some people interpreted his speculation about the CBC, but is how I read it.
I expect to see him in the new parliament, but will still be watching his riding Monday night.
- Incumbent Ed Fast won his seat with 63% of vote in 2008, and there is little sign that the changes we are seeing in other districts will affect Abbotsford. I hope Mr. Fast will take the time over the summer to talk to the independent technology community so that he won’t remain a strong proponent for misunderstandings and misapplications of technology.