Please find this important story published earlier this week on The Tyee.
Canada Sleeps Through War to 'Save the Internet'
Pitched battle in U.S. over 'net neutrality' Digital democracy at risk if telecoms get their way say opponents.
By Bryan Zandberg
Published: January 17, 2007
At stake is nothing less than democratic speech in the Canadian modern era, says McArthur. "I mean this is The People vs. Larry Flint all over again, only this time it's digital."
In the United States it's the hot-button Internet issue of the day, a threat deemed so grave to free expression it gave rise to a stunning right-left coalition and galvanized celebrities and rock icons like REM with church groups, rights groups, academics, the CEOs of Google and Amazon, web pioneers Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee and the 1.5 million Americans who sent a petition to Congress. (Not to mention providing the raison d'Ítre for this hip short film primer on the topic.)
In Canada, on the other hand, the latest count on Kevin McArthur's online net neutrality petition clocks in at, well, a paltry 217 signatures.
It's not that the fight over net neutrality doesn't matter in Canada. At issue here, as in the United States, is whether telecom companies can favour some Internet sites over others by charging different rates to different customers and making some sites much easier to access than others. Critics say the practice threatens the Internet's level playing field and would stifle smaller independent voices on the web.