Canada Breaks the Internet

Justin Ling, the Globe and Mail:

Individually, all these ideas are bad. Taken together, they’re worse.

Mr. Trudeau’s plans amount to a Rube Goldberg machine, shaking down Silicon Valley companies for cash while subjecting them to a gauntlet of Ottawa-based Star Chambers every time the platform’s users act badly. In trying to Canadianize the internet, it will destroy what makes it incredible: Its neutrality, its supranationality, its chaos.

Much as I agree with the premise, it is Ling’s conclusion that leaves me feeling hollow — that the two opposition parties should collaborate and vote against legislation like Bill C–18. Those three parties are the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois, and the NDP. While members of the former overwhelmingly voted in opposition to C–18, the very concept of a link tax on media is part of their party platform. As for the latter two, they have more-or-less voted in agreement with the Liberal party.

These policies should absolutely be opposed. However, it is necessary for the Liberal party itself to recognize how damaging they will be to the open web and Canadians alike. We need principled internet policy which stands for an open web, and rejects attempts to compromise that. Canadian political parties may differ in the details, but they are aligned in internet outcomes.