Canada's House of Commons adopts motion to legally protect Net Neutrality

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

28 May 2018

Earlier this week, the House of Commons in Canada voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting a private member’s motion to legally recognize the country’s existing Net Neutrality protections.

John Oliver, the Liberal MP for Oakville, put forward Private Members’ Motion — M-168 (M-168), which argued that Canada’s existing and future net neutrality protections should be formally recognized.

277 of Canada’s 338 federal MPs voted in favour of adopting the motion, with 61 abstaining, meaning that the motion passed.

The full text of the motion reads:

That the House: (a) recognize that the Internet has thrived due to net neutrality principles of openness, transparency, freedom, and innovation; (b) recognize that Canada has strong net neutrality rules in place that are grounded in the Telecommunications Act and enforced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC); (c) recognize that preserving an open Internet and the free flow of information is vital for the freedom of expression and diversity, education, entrepreneurship, innovation, Canadian democracy, and the future economic and social prosperity of Canadians; (d) express its firm support for net neutrality and the continued preservation of an open Internet, free from unjust discrimination and interference; and (e) call on the government to include net neutrality as a guiding principle of the upcoming Telecommunications Act and Broadcasting Act reviews in order to explore opportunities to further enshrine in legislation the principles of neutrality in the provision and carriage of all telecommunications services.

However, before we get too excited, it’s important to note that this is NOT a formal bill.

The motion is intended to push forward the issue with lawmakers; it’s more like a statement of intent than a promise to create laws. Currently, there is no Canadian law that protects Net Neutrality.

With this motion, the House of Commons moves one step closer to enshrining Net Neutrality protections in law and hopefully committing to future protections too.

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