Canada's new Liberal majority: better than the Tories, still terrible for the Internet

Justin Trudeau is certainly an improvement on outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He's unlikely to go on burning Canada's archives and warring on its scientists, and he'll probably stop ignoring the murder of hundreds of aboriginal women and girls, and he's not a racist asshole who plays to other racist assholes to keep power.

But when it comes to Internet policy, Trudeau's Liberals are a nightmare.

Start with Canada's DMCA, which was ultimately passed by Harper's Tories: the legislation was originally drafted by Liberal MP Sam Bulte, who financed her campaign with Hollywood money, threatened to sue whistleblowers, literally copy-pasted from Hollywood lobbyists in her editorials, and refused to meet with Canadian artists and entertainment companies, reserving her calendar exclusively for representatives from American entertainment giants and the US trade representative.

Bill C-11 prohibits weakening digital locks, even for legitimate purposes. It's directly analogous to America's DMCA 1201, the same law that stops researchers from telling you about flaws in everything from Volkswagen diesels to voting machines to insulin pumps.

Then there's bill C-51, the mass surveillance bill, which was passed through Harper's Parliament with key support from Trudeau's Liberals. This bill requires service providers to log all your online clicks, keystrokes and interactions, and gives the government and its designated reps to search that data without court orders. Trudeau supported the bill and told his caucus to vote for it because, he said, opposing it would give the Tories a stick to beat them with during the election. He's promised to make nonspecific amendments to it at some point, but if you oppose legislation, rule one is don't vote for it.

(Remember, Justin Trudeau's father once placed Canada under Martial Law)

Finally, there's TPP, which requires countries to give judges to power to order seizure and destruction of tools used to break digital locks, including security researchers' tools. It also destroys the principle of domain privacy, subjecting political speech to reprisals from repressive governments. Trudeau endorsed TPP, though again, he says that there are nonspecific parts of it that he'll try to change, a promise that is undoubtably impossible to keep, since the negotiations have concluded and countries are now faced with a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

Having the Tories out of office is a blessing for Canada, and the Liberals are substantially preferable to the Tories on any metric. But if you voted Liberal in the last election, remember that this government is accountable to you. Keep an eye on them. Go to your lawmaker's constituency office when she's entertaining visitors and tell her about your feelings on Internet freedom.

(Image: Justin Trudeau supporting Gerard Kennedy 2, ycanada_news, CC-BY)

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