Boilerplate

Dear Mr. Minister,

Thank you for responding to my concerns regarding usage-based billing. I’m pleased that in spite of your party’s tendency to favour corporate interests, you have duly responded to the concerns of everyday citizens about the practices of the major players in the Canadian telecommunications industry in regards to this issue.

That being said, I find it rather amusing that your response to my initial feedback on this issue (which was delivered in early February) comes almost two months later—the day after the opposition defeated your party and its “leadership” in an overwhelming vote of non-confidence. I can’t help but feel as though your e-mail was designed to garner my support of the Conservative party in the coming election.

Please be assured that it has not done so. No governing party in their right minds would have upheld the CRTC’s decision on usage-based billing. The fact that you spoke out against it only tells me that you are (somewhat) politically astute— it does nothing to assure me that your party represents the interests of Canadians in any substantive way. The rebranding efforts of the Prime Minister’s office and the duplicitous actions of the Minister for International Co-operation have already disabused me of that idea.

As a new resident of Montréal (formerly of Halifax, Nova Scotia) I have some fresh considerations to make while casting my ballot in the coming election. Let me assure you that voting Conservative will not be one of them.

Sincerely,

Theodor (Ned) Zimmerman

P.S. I don’t want to be rude, but you ought to have written “the government’s Digital Economy Strategy” — not “governments” (it’s a possessive).

On Friday, March 25, 2011 at 6:12 PM, Minister.Industry@ic.gc.ca wrote:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you for expressing your concerns regarding usage-based billing (UBB) for Internet services. It is essential that I hear the views of Canadians on the issues that matter. Prime Minister Harper and I have been clear that we cannot support imposing a UBB business model on wholesale Internet service providers.

Our government recognizes that the Internet and digital technologies are an increasingly important part of everyday life—including driving innovation, commerce and social interaction. As the government develops Canada’s first comprehensive Digital Economy Strategy, we need to look carefully at how issues like UBB affect the big picture. We will be guided by our long-standing policies of encouraging competition and investment, increasing consumer choice, minimizing regulation and allowing market forces to prevail.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has chosen to examine these concerns that the government shares with a large number of Canadians. Details of the CRTC consultation are available at www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2011/r110208.htm.

When the CRTC reaches a final decision following its consultations, the government will carefully assess the CRTC position to ensure that it is in line with the best interests of Canadian consumers and encourages competition among internet service providers. I will be recommending that any decision counter to these foundational principles be reversed.

You can find the latest news on the governments Digital Economy Strategy and related issues at www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ic1.nsf/eng/h_00008.html.

Once again, thank you for writing. I trust that this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Clement