Listen: making sense of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a Canadian election perspective

The current Canadaland podcast (MP3) carefully parses out the implications of the Trans Pacific Partnership from the perspective of Internet freedom, censorship, free speech, business, and transparency.

I didn't know about Canadaland until yesterday, but now I'm hooked. It's the new podcast from Jesse Brown, creator of the seminal Search Engine podcast, which broadcast its last episode in 2012 and has been sorely missed ever since (here's the archives of the podcast's run at TVO — alas, the CBC shamefully disappeared their archive of the first seasons of Search Engine and they are seemingly lost forever).

This episode is something of an old home week for Jesse Brown, featuring Michael Geist, one of Canada's sharpest legal minds on issues related to the Internet. Geist even testified at a farcical hearing on TPP some years ago, in which the Tory ministers who'd seen the draft dismissed everything he said because the only text he'd seen of the treaty came from Wikileaks, and the ministers refused to verify those leaks' accuracy.

(They were accurate)

The TPP negotiations concluded just in time for the Canadian elections, but it's likely that the final draft's non-negotiable text will not be released until after the election, giving the Tories a double-edged sword — they can trumpet their success at having "successfully negotiated" TPP without their critics being able to see what that actually means; but the fact that no one will say what's in TPP is so damning in itself that it makes the Tories look like cartoon villains, at least when presented skilfully.

The Canadian TPP debate has been dominated so far by the implications for dairy farming and the auto-industry, but there are real, quantifiable, economic costs to Internet users that will be borne from the moment the treaty is ratified by Parliament, should such a dark day come to pass.

Geist and Brown's discussion is a must-listen for anyone who cares about the Internet, Canadian politics, privacy, copyright, transparency and the upcoming election

TPP: Spying, Blocking, and the Internet