Friday, November 5, 2021

"Music Theory", "Canadian Values" and the Department of Canadian Heritage

I am recommending a video discussing music theory, but I feel it should have a bit more Canadian context.

Remember the controversy when Kellie Leitch suggested having a screening of new immigrants for "Canadian Values"?  Some provinces and the federal government have related screening, so the suggestion being controversial is subjective.

While conceived of during the Brian Mulroney government, and formalized during the short Kim Campbell government, the Department of Canadian Heritage was fully formed during the Jean Chrétien government. The department's first Minister was Sheila Copps (1996-2003).

The following is an excerpt from the Department of Canadian Heritage Act.

 (1) The powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction, not by law assigned to any other department, board or agency of the Government of Canada, relating to Canadian identity and values, cultural development and heritage. (emphasis added)


While it shouldn't need saying, this continent isn't part of Europe. And yet it is two European languages and cultures (English and French) that are the primary focus of the Heritage Act, department, and parliamentary committee.


Let's think about "Music Theory".



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Why I trust Jody Wilson-Reybould, and never again Justin Trudeau

A few ideas are in my head.

Jody Wilson-Raybould is also known as Puglaas, a title she explains in the speech I link to below.  I knew she had written a second book in the spring when it was announced, a process that had already been underway for quite some time.

For those confused about the timing of this book that coincided with the election, it is important to recognize that books are not written and published in a few weeks, and the timing was decided months ago. Even the timing of his election to coincide with the planned launch of this book is Justin Trudeau's personal mistake.

When her first book came out, I didn't notice as I had not yet started my anti-racism journey, and had not leaned about Indigenous Canada or become engaged in leaning about, thinking about, and helping in any way I can to fight for Indigenous Rights.

The attention this election is on the second book, which is focused on her time as an MP, joining cabinet, and being forced because of Justin Trudeau's lack of ethics felt forced to resign from cabinet.

I feel like much of the partisan talk is missing the context that she can offer, and that is more visible in her first book which was organized as a collection of speaking notes.

I want to highlight and suggest everyone read the speech she ended her first book with: Each of Us, In Our Own Way, is a Hiligate. - Wilson-Raybould, Jody, 1971-. (2019, June 6). Feminists Deliver “Standing in Your Power, Using Your Voice” [O]. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0380803

 

This speech resonates the most with me as it summarizes what went wrong in cabinet.  She was trained from an extremely early age for a critical female role in her culture and nation, the Hiligate, which is one that "correct the Chief's path".

Unlike in Western European culture and worldviews where women weren't granted political rights and responsibilities (and only recently partially gained), Puglaas is from a much more mature culture where women have specifically allocated political roles (which colonialism attempted to strip).

What happened with her relationship with Justin Trudeau was that Puglas did her job: as an MP, as a member of cabinet, as Attorney General, as Hiligate, and as an Indigenous woman.

When I met Justin Trudeau in 2010 at his constituency office, I was also optimistic. He said all the right things, and as a technical person I thought it was amazing that a politician had a signed XKCD cartoon on his wall.

I think for much of the decade Canadians were enamored with Justin Trudeau.  He said all the right things.

Except, one by one, I think we all started to notice that his actions didn't match those words.

My previous article highlighted books by Arthur Manuel, which spoke about Justin Trudeau as well as his father.  What I read there about the Trudeau Prime Ministers has been confirmed from so many other sources.  While they speak progressive, including on Indigenous Rights, their actions are actually the opposite.


I have come to believe that, adjusted for the time period, Pierre Elliot Trudeau was more racist than Sir John Alexander Macdonald (I discuss why I believe that in the earlier article). Statues of John A are being removed, and I expect we will want to revisit a more honest version of the historical record of P.E. Trudeau.


Justin came into power in 2015 with an extremely large amount of political capital. Demonstrating what I have now come to believe is his extreme sense of entitlement and privilege, he burned through that political capital as if he thought it was infinite.

But.. the real world the rest of us live in has limits, and now Trudeau exist as an anchor pulling the Liberal party under. Much of the problems with the centralization of power into the leaders offices, including the Prime Ministers Office (PMO), is fallout of policy initiated by and deliberately not fixed by the Trudeau family.

While there are people talking about other types of strategic voting, such as trying to avoid vote splitting which is caused by the lack of ranked ballots, I consider all of this to be short term thinking.

Canada has some serious problems to deal with, and on all counts: whether it is Women's Rights (he is a fake feminist), Indigenous Rights (he is a fake ally), or Democratic Rights (he is a fake progressive) -- Justin Trudeau is in the way and must be removed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Arthur Manuel's books as a lens to the 2021 general election.

Some people are calling this the Seinfeld election -- an election about nothing. I don't see a significant change in the parties since the 2019 election, even if 2 of the parties with seats in the last parliament have changed leaders (Conservatives, Greens).

On the other hand, I have changed. I started self-directed anti-racism learning in 2020.  Some of what I had to say about the 2019 general election applies today, but I have a very different lens when looking at Canada.


While I have read several relevant books in the last 14 months, there are two written by Arthur Manuel which I believe are particularly relevant to this election.
 

Arthur Manual (1951 – January 11, 2017) wrote about some of the general history of colonialism against this continent, but focused on events he and his father George Manuel (February 21, 1921 – November 15, 1989) had personal experience with.

While many try to put colonialism and the genocide that inevitably comes from colonialism into some distant past, the real story starts in the Roaring Racist 1920's and continues to this day.

Liberal Party of Canada, and the Trudeau Family


I was born in 1968, and my father in 1936. Justin Trudeau was born in 1971 and his father in 1919. We and our fathers are of comparable generations, and thus could have had similar experiences. We didn't.


The second book includes a quote from Leo Tolstoy (From "What Then Must We Do?") that was included in the 1983 Penner Report (PDF) on Indian(sic) Self-government in Canada.

I sit on a man's back choking him and making him carry me and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all possible means -- except by getting off his back.


(Note: The picture of Trudeau on the back of a black boy was fake, but for obvious reasons given Trudeau's personality and continuous expressions of entitlement and White Privilege we all believed it was true)


Canadian governments were unilaterally imposed on this homeland by the British as an ongoing act of overt racism and white supremacy. Canada continues to push Indigenous peoples down so they can't built back their nations and economies.


I don't, however, believe that quote applies to all Canadian Prime Ministers and the governments they lead. Of all the Prime Ministers of Canada, with all the ephemeral parties with the word "Liberal" or "Conservative" (or sometimes both) in the party names, the above really only applies to recent Liberal PMs. Prior to that time no PM would claim to feel sorry for Indigenous peoples. They believed the only human right Indigenous Peoples should have is the right to be forcibly assimilated into European worldviews and governance systems (clear genocidal policies of "Kill the Indian, Save the Man", "Kill the Indian in the Child", stealing land and converting to European "Fee simple" property, etc, etc).


Much of these two books are dedicated to talking about P.E. Trudeau and Justin Trudeau. Each had a Trudeau Mania backing them and having them be considered "progressive", all the while they were actively carrying out overtly colonial and genocidal activities against Indigenous Peoples.

While Europeans like to believe their history is universal, European history is actually quite unique. Growing racism and related violations of human rights in the 1920's in Europe (between "world" wars and during the second) had serious implications on European colonies. This included European colonies in what the Europeans called the Americas (after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian "explorer" who claimed to have "discovered" the continents many thousands of years after Pacific Islanders are likely to have been doing trade with peoples from this continent).

In the 1940's, Europeans finally started to better understand some human rights concepts, and in the context of the United Nations (which the Europeans actively blocked Indigenous nations from joining) started to recognize that colonialism and the inevitable genocide that it causes must be considered crimes against humanity.

This brings us to Pierre Trudeau starting in 1968.  Europeans had been thinking about, started to adopt, and understand human rights in the 1950's and 1960's. We even saw a Civil Rights movement in the USA to try to gain equal rights for African Americans. Even with this context, Trudeau thought he would get away with a forced assimilation "final solution" to the alleged "Indian Problem" with the 1969 White Paper he launched along with then Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chrétien.

There has never been an "Indian problem", only a colonialism and genocide problem.

Also starting in the 1960's was movements towards so-called "Patriation" of the Canadian Constitution.  I suspect it was concern over a growing international movement against racism and colonialism that sparked these mostly Liberal Party leaders to seek to ensure that Britain could not make Canada less racist as they did when the British abolished slavery.

Prior to the passage of the Canada Act 1982 (Please read the actual text, not what Trudeau and others claimed it was about), the UK parliament had more authority over the laws of Canada than any governing body on this side of the Atlantic. While jurisdiction was divided between the federal government and provincial government in Canada, the UK could change any legislation including the constitution.

Arthur Manual discussed the Constitution Express, where Indigenous peoples fought against the "patriation" of the constitution and the exclusion of the rights of Indigenous people.  It was Trudeau yet again trying to wipe out any recognition of Indigenous rights.

It was with the lobbying in Canada and Britain that the British required a recognition of Indigenous Rights in the Canadian Constitution, and thus section 25 (Aboriginal rights and freedoms not affected by Charter), section 35 (Recognition of existing aboriginal and treaty rights), section 37 (Aboriginal peoples included in constitutional conference clarifying rights) were included in the Schedule B replacement of the Constitution.


If the Canada Act 1982 had not passed, the UK could have passed a single act of their parliament to incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law in the same way that the replacement Canadian Constitution including a Charter of Rights and Freedoms was a schedule of the Canada Act 1982. Unfortunately, since Britain made that step to try to absolve itself of any responsibility for its creation and maintenance of Canada, it is now much harder to force the federal and provincial governments to honor internationally recognized human rights and international law.

I may wish that Britain would rescind the Canada Act 1982, and fix some of the problems they created, but that is politically unlikely. Canada finally fully adopting UNDRIP will require a constitutional amendment, which is unlikely in the current overtly racist climate in Canada (especially in some of the provinces).

Arthur Manuel discussed Pierre more in the first book, and then sets the record strait on Justin Trudeau in the second book.

Not discussed as much as I would have liked is additional dishonesty about UNDRIP by Justin Trudeau. Given the Canada Act 1982, it wasn't possible for the federal government to directly pass UNDRIP into Canadian law as it wouldn't be compatible with the constitution, including the division of powers. The federal government and each provincial government must carry out a process to change all the existing human rights violating laws, as well as not pass any new rights violating laws. Solving even this problem in a more permanent way to disallow parliaments to pass human rights violating laws will require a constitutional amendment.

So passing a bill to force governments to change human rights violating laws is what was tabled multiple times in the federal parliament since 2008, and a version finally received royal assent last June in the form of Bill C-15.

In typical Liberal style, Justin Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on moving forward with TRC calls to action which included moving forward with UNDRIP.  This was clearly a lie. While he could have tabled a government bill immediately after the 2015 election based on Romeo Saganash's Bill C-469, he did nothing.  After waiting a year, Romeo Saganash re-tabled his bill which received the number C-262 and the Liberals deliberately delayed the passage of the bill in the House of Commons and Senate.  Then, again typical Liberal lies, they claimed that even though they had a majority government in the House of Commons and control of the Senate that somehow it was the Conservative party that delayed the bill.


"except by getting off his back"!


The only critique I have of either book is how statements made by then Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould about UNDRIP were interpreted.

Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities,


(See: Notes for an address given at an AFN meeting in July 2016, and page 72 of From Where I Stand)


Given the unfortunate passage of the Canada Act 1982, what Jody Wilson-Raybould was discussing is merely a statement of the legal situation within Canada. There is no mechanism by which the federal government could unilaterally pass a law that would allow Canada (which has multiple levels of government and a constitution) to immediately adopt UNDRIP.


These statements are sometimes merged with statements regularly repeated by Carolyn Bennett, then Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (Now Crown-Indigenous Relations), starting in May 2016.


The Honourable(sic) Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, today announced that Canada is now a full supporter, without qualification, of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Today’s announcement also reaffirms Canada’s commitment to adopt and implement the Declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.
So which is it -- are there no qualifications, or will they be attempting to implement the declaration only in accordance with the Canadian Constitution which is partly responsible for the ongoing violations of human rights?

The Canadian Government had been discussing for some time the concept of a "Canadian definition of UNDRIP", which is simply not possible. There is only one Declaration from the United Nations which is UNDRIP, and that is the text adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007.  Nothing written before or after is UNDRIP, no matter what anyone claims or attempts to declare.

Canada (or some activists groups) can pretend all it wants that something other than UNDRIP is UNDRIP, but it is up to the United Nations to evaluate that -- it is not up to Canada or anybody else.



If you take these two statements together as if the Liberal party is one happy family (and we know how happy things went for Jody Wilson-Raybould), you would think both were statements pushing back against UNDRIP. I disagree. All evidence suggests that Carolyn Bennett and Justin Trudeau are fully aware of their roles in deliberately delaying Canada coming into compliance with human rights and international law.  I do not see evidence this was the case for Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was simply discussing yet another aspect of the dishonesty of the Trudeau family and the pro-colonial/genocidal aspects of the so-called "Patriation" of the Canadian Constitution.


Now... just imagine if instead of Justin Trudeau as the Liberal Party leader that it was Jody Wilson-Raybould.  I know which one of these people I wish weren't running in this election, and which was. Without the fake-feminist, fake-anti-racist Trudeau barking commands from his colonial throne, we have no idea what this powerful Indigenous woman might have been able to accomplish.

I look forward to when the international embarrassment of Justin Trudeau being the Prime Minister of Canada is over.

Conservative Parties of Canada

Whether I agree or disagree with a conservative (or Conservative), they tend to believe in what they are saying and are far more honest than the Liberals. I know where they stand, and it is easier to work with (or against) them.

One of the mistakes I made in 2019 was to be too narrow in what history I was contemplating. I noticed in 2011 that many people who otherwise voted for the Bloc Québécois nominated candidate ended up voting for the NDP nominated candidate. I incorrectly put the Bloc in my discussion of left-wing parties.

Canadian conservatives have split many times since the first of 11 British North America Acts imposed the governments of Canada against the interests (or even awareness) of the majority of the population. The antiquated electoral system Canada uses which retains the concept of vote splitting forces them to regularly attempt to merge into a coalition party rather than more regularly being able to form coalition governments. Due to this I don't understand why they don't have ranked ballots as a priority reform, but what they consider priorities regularly don't make sense to me.


Western Canada has wanted to dominate Canadian politics for a long time. The Reform Party was a splinter group that formed in 1987 as a Western-Canadian protest movement, and while they separately had seats they continue to have success as it is more correct to say the Reform party took over what was previously the Progressive Conservative party than the claim they merged.

For my views on so-called Western Alienation, the basis of that protest movement, see:

Even if most of the Conservative party MPs aren't from Western Canada, this European Supremacist ideology as it relates to Indigenous peoples and this land and her resources dominates the party.

The Bloc Québécois was a splinter group of mostly Progressive Conservatives that crossed the floor to form a new party in 1991 after the failed Meech Lake Accord.


I have read Sovereign injustice: Forcible inclusion of the James Bay Crees and Cree territory into a sovereign Quebec which clarifies with considerable references the illegality of a provincial government separating from "Canada" and retaining a land base. I have done quite a bit of other anti-racism reading, and finally recognize the Quebec sovereignty movement for what it is:

Yet another White Nationalist movement.
 

According to international law, as well as Canadian law confirmed in Supreme Court rulings, the Government of Canada doesn't exclusively own title over the land it claims to.  This includes what was considered Lower Canada, part of the former colony of New France that was conquered by Britain in the Seven Years' War. The Government of Canada has even weaker title claim over the extensions it unilaterally made to Quebec in the Quebec Border extension Acts of 1898 and 1912 (or the extensions to Ontario including 1912, or the unilateral creation of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, etc).

The notion that part of this land would be allowed by the international community to be conquered by a newly separated European derived government in a modern example of colonialism is absurd. If the French colonists wanted to naturalize to this homeland as the Métis did it would be an entirely different story as Indigenous peoples have a right to self-determination separate from the colonialists. There is simply no method for the French colony of Quebec (with or without the border extensions) to separate. Any attempt to forcibly do so would be met with international peacekeeping, and likely a civil war.

In the context of Canada, British Canadians, Irish Canadians, Scottish Canadians, French Canadians, Somali Canadians (, etc) are all merely part of Canadian colonial multiculturalism.  I'm of Irish, Scottish and French descent, and all of these ancestors are multicultural settlers and colonists -- these groups have ancestral lands and nations in Europe, but not here.

I'm not fully convinced Canada is a legitimate nation, so obviously reject the notion that Quebec or any other colonial division can be considered a nation.  There are many legitimate nations on this homeland, but none of them are of European descent. This is not Europe, and it is far past time some Europeans took their second foot off the boat.


If Quebeckers are relying on good relationships with the right-holders to the land that the Quebec government currently occupies, they had better improve that relationship quickly.  The relationship thus far has been horrendous, and their government has been lying to them about it. They should not assume that if various Indigenous title holders (peoples, not individuals) are asked if they want to remain in Canada rather than be part of Quebec that they will side with Quebec and want to form treaties with French colonists.


There are other more recent conservative splinter groups running candidates in this election.

The People's Party of Canada formed after Maxime Bernier lost the 2017 leadership vote, and he embarrassed himself even further than he had when he was a Minister during the Harper Government years. He decided to form his own cult (Umm... Political party). It is hard to take anything relating to this party seriously, given candidates seem to be spending much of their campaign time protesting hospitals and the public health of fellow citizens. They seem to take memes likely originating from Russia or China as if they were fact.

The PPC platform on "Indigenous Issues", which they claim is a "New Relationship based on mutual respect", is simply a repeat of the illegal colonialist ideas expressed in P.E. Trudeau's 1969 White Paper.  It is sad that our "educational system" is so poor that there are any Canadians who are so confused as to think that P.E. Trudeau's racist ideas are new or useful. I don't know how long this "party" will last.


The Maverick Party was originally called Wexit Canada, and founded in 2020. An even sadder White Nationalist version of the Bloc Quebecois, there is no ability for unilaterally imposed western provincial governments to separate from Canada and retain any land base.  Without the protection of the Canadian Constitution, that land reverts to being part of the North West Territories -- which is already running a far more advanced governance system than Alberta or Saskatchewan.  I may agree with the idea of ending the 116 year failed foreign workers program and replacing those governments with something less racist, but that is clearly not what Maverick is intending. Given the similarities to the Bloc (other than the floor crossing and ability to immediately send their leader to debates), I won't be surprised if they gain seats in parliament.

New Democratic Party

What I said about the party and leader in 2019 still applies in 2021.

There are individual MPs and candidates that are worthy of taking notice and supporting.  Most notable in my mind are:

  • Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Center).  I've already maxed my federal donations to her. On twitter she calls herself "Proud Lakota", and has been an activist in this area of policy long before she considered becoming an MP.
  • Matthew Green (Hamilton Center)
  • Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay).  I've known him since he became an MP and caused the NDP to do a 180decree shift on Copyright policy (temporarily bringing the party into this millennium).  I have been very happy to see how well he does on Indigenous Rights, which I agree is more important.

As is typical with this mixed-bag party, I also noticed how Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona) spoke at the Heritage committee. She was strongly in support of granting the department responsible for colonial "Canadian identity and values" and its industry cheerleader CRTC more control over media than it does already.  As far as I'm concerned Bill C-10 will violate UNDRIP, but somehow Heather convinced her caucus to support this horrendous bill.

What needs to be said about the NDP is that when they are in government, as they have been in provinces such as BC, they don't act any different when it comes to the overt rejection of Indigenous Rights. Arthur Manual grew up on a reserve in the BC interior, and wrote about the BC provincial government throughout the books. It is an NDP government in BC that has been sending in the RCMP to forcibly and violently remove land defenders (IE: representatives of the rightful collective owners of the land - injunctions should be against the province and "developers"). As with the federal government, the NDP provincial government is trying to terminate Indigenous rights as a condition for land title negotiations.


Green Party

As a past supporter I have been sad to see the party failing. While the media has seized on the idea that the problems with the new leader relate to gender or race, it is the fact that the party has drifted even further from the Global Greens movement that is causing it problems.  I will be surprised if they have any seats left in parliament after this election.

The party could have learned from having a sitting MP with close ties to east coast indigenous peoples, but failures of the new leader forced Jenica Atwin (Fredericton) to cross the floor. Failures with the NDP (top-down party structure, currently disallowing floor crossing) meant that Jenica Atwin crossed to the Liberals which was not likely the most obvious choice.

Given we can't solve problems within the same mindset/worldviews that created them, I have come to believe that decolonization is a prerequisite to solving current environmental issues on this continent -- including our contribution to climate change. The Green Party has been extremely White over the years, and the party and movement in Canada has not done the work it needs to form good relations with Indigenous Peoples. Sometimes the ideas from conservationist types within the Green movement directly conflicts with the rights and longer-term experiences and sciences of Indigenous Peoples, and this was discussed by Arthur Manuel.


I believe the green movement in Canada must adopt decolonization as a core principle, and not be pushing European environmental notions, given it is European anthropocentrism which is the core of the problem.

When it comes to sustainable economies and democratic governance, the Indigenous peoples of this continent are centuries beyond where European thought is.

We should be following and supporting Indigenous peoples, not falsely suggesting we as peoples have the necessary experience to take the lead.


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Letter to Hill Times Re: Are political parties undermining democratic practices?

The following is the unedited version of the letter to the Hill Times editor that became: Canada’s electoral system needs to truly modernize, democratize: McOrmond

It was in reply to: Are political parties undermining democratic practices? which referenced a letter that Elizabeth May wrote.





I read Ms. May's letter, and I found it odd that while acknowledging what Ms. Wilson-Raybould had written, Ms. May decided to double-down on the problem.

Referencing her preference for an electoral system that optimizes for "party popular vote", she is promoting the very thinking that creates the hierarchy of unelected power.

Peoples of this homeland have had systems of democratic governance for longer than Europeans and their colonies have, and we should be looking more closely at those.

Party Representation, mislabeled Proportional Representation, is the opposite to what most Indigenous nations use.  In the diversity of Indigenous systems the leadership are spokespersons, and never treated as the CEO of a corporation (or Feudal Lords or Monarchies, to reference the relatively recent colonial history), or allowed to treat elected members of parliament as employees.  Granting seats in parliament merely based on party affiliation will only make these problems worse.

While there are electoral systems to move us away from the divisive system of First Past The Post, optimizing for "party popular vote" moves us in the opposite direction.

As an early start, we should be removing party names from ballots, disallowing party executives to manipulate the local nomination processes, and ensuring party leaders are elected by (and always accountable to) fellow caucus members.

While still based on a colonial constitutional monarchy, the governance systems used in Nunavut and Northwest Territories are far more advanced than used in the provinces or federal government.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Flora.ca down for maintenance

 I have been running pages for my consulting business on the flora.ca domain for many years.  The domain was allocated to separate from the volunteer work I was doing using the flora.org domain.

The pages are almost a decade out of date, as I've been employed elsewhere and not running the consulting business.  My plan is to use that domain for a new blog that will merge content from my other blogs in one place.

In the meantime, people will be redirected here.



Closing digital-copyright.ca

The digital-copyright.ca domain was set up for a specific campaign that started in the summer of 2001 as the Canada DMCA Opponents forum.

The last post was in 2015 when that election was called, and all the electoral district boundaries would be changing.

While I won't be publishing the archive any more, all the pages are on Archive.org's WayBack Machine.

Friday, July 2, 2021

What Bill C-10 is really about.

The letter to the editor I sent to the Hill times was too long, so Kate Malloy (Editor) did her magic and published:

 

The following is the unedited version with hyperlinks added.




I've been active in related areas of policy since the 1990's, so have watched the damage caused by the Department of Canadian Heritage (created in 1993 and given royal assent in 1995). This is a department whose Minister was granted jurisdiction over "Canadian identity and values, cultural development, heritage and areas of natural or historical significance to the nation" (from 4(1) of An Act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage).


The departmental mandate includes Official Colonial Languages. Given what I have finally learned since the start of 2020 about what the Governments of Canada continue to do to the Indigenous peoples of this homeland, this mandate has a very different meaning for me than it did previously.



Two areas of technology law where that mandate is in conflict are Copyright and Broadcasting, but these were incorrectly included in 4(2) of the Act. These are areas of policy that should always have been the jurisdiction of the department currently called Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), as transferred from the previous Department of Communications.

Sheila Copps set the tone as the first Minister of Canadian Heritage from 1996 through 2003. I met (and debated with her) in the context of Copyright law several times.


Ms. Copps saw intermediaries, such as broadcasters and collective societies, as proxies for creators. When discussing the 1996 WIPO treaties, and technological protection measures, she saw technology companies as one of those proxies. She believed that what was good for Apple, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft and Google would somehow be good for Canadian creators. It shouldn't be lost that the same Heritage thinkers claim to be so concerned with "Big Tech" given it was their flawed thinking which helped create that problem in the first place.

Ms. Copps and her Department of Canadian Heritage helped create a situation between Canadian creators and technology intermediaries that is not unlike Stockholm syndrome.

When the government of the day wouldn't provide an adequate budget for stable arts funding, Ms. Copps would create unaccountable and corrupt cross-subsidy schemes through the CRTC (Cable Production Fund, Canadian Television Fund, Canadian New Media Fund, Canadian Media Fund) and Copyright Board (Private Copying Levy, Access Copyright educational copying, and other compulsory or near-compulsory cross-subsidy schemes).

As technology changes, the department pushes to shift these cross-subsidy schemes into new sectors rather than finally recognizing the schemes were wrong from the beginning.


Once the tone was set, every Heritage minister since, Conservative or Liberal, and every Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC), has followed her lead.

When I was very active in copyright with what a decade later was passed in 2012 as Bill C-11, I would closely follow what was said from MPs from the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) committee and those from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC). It was my observation, including from meeting MPs in person, that the difference in views between an MP on INDU vs CHPC was far greater than the difference in views between a Conservative and NDP MP in the same committee.

During the 2019 review of the Copyright Act, INDU was forced to put out a press release reprimanding the CHPC for what for many people was yet another report from CHPC which read as if it were written by corporate lobbyists rather than a committee pretending to be concerned with the public interest.



The same is regularly said of the CRTC, which largely acts as a lobbyist for specific corporations rather than regulating in the public interest.


So, what is Bill C-10 really about?


In clause 1 it redefines "broadcasting" to include activities not related to broadcasting in order to yank jurisdiction away from ISED (INDU committee, and agencies such as the competition bureau, privacy commissioner, etc) toward Heritage and the CRTC.

It really is that simple. There is further discussion of cross-subsidy and other schemes, and some pennies to Indigenous languages and content to distract from the Heritage department's primary colonial mandate, but the core of the bill is a corrupt power grab between government departments and agencies.

While the Internet needs to be regulated, that regulation must be via a department and ministry, studied by a parliamentary committee, and managed by regulators that are looking at these issues from a lens that is the opposite of what Heritage and CRTC will offer.

  • We need to remove "Broadcasting" and "Copyright" from the Department of Canadian Heritage, and move those areas of policy to ISED where they always should have been. Only then should the policy in Bill C-10 be revisited with the appropriate lens.
  • We need to properly fund and empower the Competition Bureau, Privacy Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, and related agencies to handle a growing number of Internet issues.
  • We need to complete the digital transition, not continue to regulate digital technology as if it were still analog. (See letter from March 1, 2021, copied below)
  • We (including fellow creators) need more choice and competition in content distribution technologies, not less via central control.
  • We need to disallow content distribution intermediaries from controlling technology which they don't own, such as was allowed/enforced in "Copyright" under "technological protection measures".
  • We need creators to have more control over their own content distribution to maximize the benefits for themselves, rather than continuing to allow intermediaries to extract maximum benefits off the backs of creators.
  • We need to empower audiences to make their own choices of what creativity they access. While we need to regulate situations where the sender is the content programmer (as was the case with analog-era broadcasting), we should never be regulating scenarios such as on-demand content libraries where it is the audience doing their own programming. (Discoverability is a Competition policy issue, not a Cultural policy issue)
  • We must end unaccountable cross-subsidy schemes, especially never extracting money from services deemed essential during the pandemic to sectors which were not.



Russell McOrmond
Ottawa, Ont.
(The letter-writer is an internet consultant.)



Feds should complete digital transition as part of its response to COVID

March 1, 2021


Re: “Bell Canada’s cuts were a shoddy way to treat people,” (The Hill Times, Feb. 10, by Andrew Caddell). I would like to point policy-makers to my May 2020 submission to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. In it, I suggested that the government complete the digital transition as part of its response to COVID.

The summary is that the pandemic demonstrated that communications infrastructure is an essential service. While having vertical integration was required by analog technology given you couldn’t put both telephone and television signals on the same wires, this is no longer the case with digital technology.

With digital technology the obvious way to manage the physical layer within municipalities is as a utility, where municipalities own and manage the infrastructure as they do with all other infrastructure. A competitive private sector can then offer services “over the top,” as happens with other infrastructure including roads. With an actual digital transition, we no longer need to have an exception for this communications utility.

While Bell Canada was necessary when we needed a dedicated analog telephone system, this time is long past. Any laws granting analog-era, private-sector privileges to right-of-way or wireless spectrum, including the Bell Canada Act, should be phased out as part of completing the digital transition.


Russell McOrmond
Ottawa, Ont.
(The letter-writer is an internet consultant.)