Big Tech lobbyists and "open for business" Tories killed Ontario's Right-to-Repair legislation

In February, Liberal Party opposition MPP Michael Coteau introduced Right to Repair legislation after he was charged $400 to fix the cracked screen on his daughter's Samsung phone; that bill is now dead, as are dozens of Right to Repair bills introduced in US state houses, after Conservative MPs, heavily lobbied by US Big Tech firms, killed it before it could proceed to committee.

Coteau identified the murderers of his bill, as they weren't shy about it: the cause was led by the Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC), fronting for "Apple, Panasonic, and other major tech companies" and by senior lobbyists from Apple, Samsung and Panasonic directly representing their companies.

The companies fronted the same bad-faith, barely coherent arguments they'd made in the USA: independent repair is unsafe, a threat to "intellectual property", etc.

But the real reasons were on display for all to see: Conservative MPPs said that they wanted Ontario to be "open for business" and that meant big, offshore business, not Canadian repair shops that helped Canadian people get more out of their own property.

Remember: recycling a ton of electronics creates 15 low-skilled jobs and mountains of toxic e-waste, while repairing that same ton creates 200 high-waged, local jobs (no one sends their phone or fridge out of the country for repairs). That's money that stays in the community, too, because most repairs are undertaken by small businesspeople.

The Tories are not the party of jobs and they're not the party of business. They're the party of oligarchy.

Some PC members argued that the bill cut against the Ontario government's new "open for business" slogan by compromising US companies' intellectual property rights to the point that they would not sell their products in Ontario, a province that contains nearly half of Canada's total population. MPP Kaleed Rasheed claimed that the bill would force companies to hand their "codes" and "security stuff" to average consumers, though it only called for repair manuals, diagnostic tools, and parts. When it came to a vote, the bill was killed on the floor.

Right to Repair Bill Killed After Big Tech Lobbying In Ontario [Jordan Pearson/Motherboard]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: Sascha Pohflepp, CC-BY)