From “Michael Ignatieff”

I recently took the time to sign my name to an online campaign to give a wake up call to politicians and anyone else who might care about a recent CRTC ruling that will allow big communication companies to charge each of us for the amount of Internet we use. I don’t know lots and lots about it, but the way I understand it, the way we pay for our online communication is radically going to change if we forgo a monthly plan for a pay-per-byte plan. (Think of how much you’ll be paying for your iTune purchases, those funny YouTube videos your dad sends you, or the Ikea catalogue, for goodness sake!)  And those who are going to make out like bandits are the big boys who are feeling the weight of their pockets lightening ever so much as the rest of us realize their are options in how we communicate with one another.

Anyhoo, to the point of my post, and I want to make it quick because it’s close to shutting down time and I have a margarita waiting for me…

Two days after signing the petition, and ready to close down my email to have said margarita, I open my account one last time to find a note from “Michael Ignatieff”. “Hmm, that’s interesting,” I say to myself. I’m not a registered party member in Canada and I’m  a registered Democrat in the US. “How’d I get on this list?” I wondered as I opened the message. I should have read the subject line. It was right there. By signing my name to the campaign, I sent a note with my address to a variety of politicians. I guess they have every right to mail something back to me, and to put me on a list. I even wonder if one of our students isn’t behind this. Plus, the campaign seems to be working. So why does the Liberal bumf bug me so much? I’m not sure, maybe because I think the Liberals should have done something before they saw a bandwagon to hop onto; maybe it’s because I’m sick of the peeing contests “Michael” and “Stephen” keep having at Canadians’ expenses; maybe I’m just grumpy (I didn’t get to go for my swim today). Still, I’d like to hear what you think. Here’s the note in its entirety:

Denel — [Someone should point out to him/her/them that I cap my “N”]

It’s another step towards an open and competitive internet in Canada, and it’s thanks to you.

Late last night, news broke that Tony Clement will ask the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reverse their decision on usage-based internet billing – a decision that allows internet service providers to impose download limits and new fees.

Our work is not yet done. We need to keep up the pressure until the CRTC’s decision is reversed once and for all.

Canadian families and businesses need open, affordable, unlimited internet access. The future of our economy depends on it. The Conservative government should have known that from the start.

When messages like yours reached us this past weekend – on Twitter and Facebook, by email, phone and fax – my Liberal colleagues and I knew what we had to do.

On Tuesday morning, we sided with you against the CRTC’s decision. By the end of the day, Liberal MPs on the Industry Committee had already begun an investigation. Then, yesterday, we kept the pressure on the Conservative government during Question Period in the House of Commons. At tonight’s meeting of the Industry Committee, Liberal MPs will tell CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein to reverse course.

This isn’t the first time that you’ve stared down the Conservatives over an open internet — and that’s why tens of thousands of you visited our action page at http://www.liberal.ca/ubb/, to join our digital policy email list and help carry the fight into Parliament.

This is your movement. You rallied on Twitter. You wrote emails and called Tony Clement’s office. You made the difference.

We all know that there are wider issues at stake here. After five years of Stephen Harper, Canada still has no digital plan. The Conservatives’ proposed copyright bill contains unfair digital lock provisions. Canadians are less connected and face higher internet costs than citizens of other OECD countries. And don’t even get me started on the long-form census.

Liberals have been engaged on these issues. In 2009, we worked with the Openmedia.ca / Save Our Net Coalition on Net Neutrality, a position that we support wholeheartedly. Last fall, we announced our Open Government Initiative, which will make government data accessible to all Canadians.

At the heart of our digital policy is a core Liberal value: we must make Canada more competitive and more innovative. That means expanding high-speed internet access to every region of the country, fair and equitable wholesale access, and transparent pricing.

We must build a digital strategy for Canada that embraces the energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovative creativity of consumers, businesses and digital influencers like you.

We’ll keep the pressure on the Conservatives in Parliament to make sure they follow through and reverse the CRTC’s decision on usage-based billing. This victory is just a taste of what we can accomplish, if we continue this fight together.

I hope you’ll join the Liberal Party’s digital policy email list at http://www.liberal.ca/ubb/. Let’s build a more open, more competitive future for Canada.

Thank you for being engaged.

Michael Ignatieff

And thank you, dear readers, for letting me vent.

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