Thursday, July 15, 2021 down for maintenance

 I have been running pages for my consulting business on the domain for many years.  The domain was allocated to separate from the volunteer work I was doing using the 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The pages are almost a decade out of date, as I've been employed elsewhere and not running the consulting business.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.


The 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'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.)