NDP to propose net neutrality bill

NDP MP Charlie Angus is set to introduce a bill on net neutrality Wednesday just hours after hundreds of Canadian consumers descended on Parliament Hill in a rally for equal access to the Internet.

While addressing the crowd of about 400 protesters on Tuesday, Angus promised to introduce a private member’s bill that would put the principle of net neutrality into legislation and keep the Internet free of interference by service providers.

“You are citizens of the digital realm and you have rights,” Angus said at the rally.

The bill, he said, would protect Canadian consumers and wholesale ISPs from having their Internet connections slowed down by telecom giants like Bell and Rogers Communications Inc. The move comes on the heels of a open letter the NDP politician sent to Industry Minister Jim Prentice in March, which called for amendments to the Telecommunications Act.

“We think basic ground rules are needed to ensure the kind of explosive innovation of the Internet is able to continue,” Angus, who also serves as the NDP’s digital culture spokesperson, said in an interview with ComputerWorld Canada last month. “This innovation happened because of a certain series of factors that are in place to allow garage-style operations to compete with the biggest players on an even field. We want to make sure that innovation continues.”

During his speech at the rally, Angus also reiterated comments he made last month that criticized the federal Liberals from taking a stance on the issue.

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“The Liberals are playing catch-up and it really hasn’t been on their agenda,” he said last month. “Because they’ve been in government for so long they are probably into more business as usual with the telecoms. I don’t know if they’re doing a bit of an adjustment to their position or not, but they’ve been pretty much missing in action on the file.”

Liberal MP Mauril B

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