Albas: The concept of Internet neutrality

Local MP Dan Albas says online gambling blockage attempt by Quebec government being monitored closely by other provinces.

MP Dan Albas.

Internet censorship and net neutrality are not subjects that tend be top of mind for most citizens in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola. However, that does not mean they are not important concerns deserving of attention.

While most are familiar with the concept of internet censorship, the principle of net neutrality is one that some citizens are less familiar with.

The concept of net neutrality is that government and Internet service providers should make every reasonable effort to treat Internet data and related content in an equal matter free from arbitrary discrimination.

The reason I raise the subject of net neutrality is due to the fact that the province of Quebec has passed a law earlier this year that raises serious concerns. Bill 74 allows the Quebec government to force Canadian Internet service providers to attempt to block online gaming websites outside of Quebec from province residents.

The reason why I suggest the law attempts to block online gaming sites is due to technical concerns raised within the wireless industry that indicate in some cases it may not be technically possible to fully comply with this new legislation.

In spite of these concerns, Quebec has indicated they intend to proceed with these measures potentially in the near future.

Aside from increasing costs on the respective wireless and Internet service industries there is also the concern over jurisdiction. Currently communication related policy is under federal jurisdiction as mandated through the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and if one province can attempt to usurp this jurisdiction in an attempt to protect a provincial monopoly, in this case Lotto-Quebec, it is highly conceivable other provinces could follow suit.

In fact, the finance minister for Quebec confirmed at the legislative committee studying Bill 74 that he believed that other provinces would follow their lead of Quebec.

This would not only subject Canadians to a patchwork system of different rules but could compromise international agreements that Canada is a signatory to.

Up until this point, the federal government has ensured any censorship of the internet has been justified for public safety reasons such as shutting down terrorist recruitment websites via the Criminal Code and not for financial reasons as is the case of Quebec.

To date, I have been the only MP to raise this particular concern in the House of Commons and the response from the Liberal government was that the government supports net neutrality Still,  it is unclear beyond that what efforts, if any, will be undertaken to protect the online rights of Canadians against these practices.

My question for citizens today is what are your thoughts on net neutrality? Do you support net neutrality or do you think it is reasonable for a provincial government to create online restrictions in this area in an effort to continue to protect revenue sources.

If you have comments or concerns on this or any federal matter please do not hesitate to contact me via email at or toll free at 1 (800) 665-8711.

Just Posted

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Kelowna Art Gallery members’ exhibition offers variety of media

Encounters will be held from Dec. 2 to Feb. 3

Vehicle with dog inside stolen from Oliver gas station

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

PIGS bring Pink Floyd sound to Kelowna

Victoria band pays tribute to iconic British band on Feb. 10 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Letter: Another flagger dies; when will you slow down?

You have all seen our signs, trucks and my favorite our cones. Why don’t you slow down?

Kelowna-developed technology to be unveiled at Summerhill

Kelowna winery and tech company introduces new technology for phone or tablet

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

Most Read