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In Historic Decision, Canada Declares Internet a Fundamental Right for All


In Historic Decision, Canada Declares Internet a Fundamental Right for All

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

In what is being described as a "historic" decision that will have a significant impact, particularly on the lives of those living in rural and First Nations communities, Canada's telecom agency on Wednesday issued a new rule declaring high-speed internet a basic service "necessary to the quality of life" of all Canadians.


"...all Canadians, from Quebec to Yukon..."?

I would have gone with "...all Canadians, from the Atlantic Provinces to British Columbia to Nunavut..." Y'know, so it'd be "from sea to sea to sea", as we like to say in these parts.

Bonus, you'd almost get 'from A to Z(ed)', eh.


"High quality and reliable digital connectivity is essential for the
quality of life of Canadians and Canada's economic prosperity."

Oh, well maybe here in Medieval USA, someday, decades from now, if the world lasts that long, the citizens of the USA just might have universal healthcare from the Empire, and they might even declare that health and medical care "is essential for the quality of life".


First of all, high speed internet access is not a fundamental human right. That's ridiculous. A fundamental human right is something any individual should be afforded no matter the circumstances or stage in human history. Examples would be the right to free speech, the right to private property, the right to be protected from physical harm from others, etc. In the 1400s, high speed internet access wasn't a fundamental human right...because the Internet didn't even exist! The concept makes no sense.

Based on whatever time period we are discussing in human history, there are things that we hope most people would have access to. For example, we could include in this list food, shelter, decent healthcare, etc. But even those aren't inalienable rights. As in, you could claim food as a fundamental human right (whatever that means), but that wouldn't guarantee that someone wouldn't go hungry. But we can always guarantee freedom of speech under the law.

The only way to make other enviable goods and services available to most people is through competition and markets. This is how new ideas and products are formed and how prices ultimately fall and supply rises so that goods that previously could only be afforded by the rich can now be afforded by most people.

Once you make something a "fundamental right" that can only be guaranteed by the use of force against others to supply it (taxation, for example), you will disrupt the process of competition and innovation, while rarely even guaranteeing whatever you are claiming is a right.

For example, in Venezuela and other socialist countries, food is a "fundamental right," while far more people starve in these places than evil America that simply allows markets to provide it.

By arbitrarily forcing the government to supply broadband instead of the market, Canada while stifle competition and innovation. Who knows what ultimately could've supplanted "broadband" and what bandwidth the majority of Canadians could've received over time due to competition. Now they'll be stuck with 50/10 mbps indefinitely, at best, while probably paying more through tax dollars indirectly than they would pay in monthly charges to private companies directly.

This is another example of why central planning always fails. Canada will soon fall behind the United States in providing cutting edge internet access...because only the government will be supplying it there.


A fundamental human right is what the people in a society declare that it is.

Your entire post is nonsense. There was no "right to private property" throughout all human history. There was no right to free speech through all of human history.

In the 1400s people did not have a right to private property, or to free speech or to protection from harm. These were added as societies evolved.

A more evolved society has the right to health care and to shelter and to water and yes to the internet.

Your claim that the "private market" will somehow provide these things more efficiently and at less cost is more nonsense as evidenced by the US health care system as opposed to others that deem access to the same a right. The US system is the most expensive in the world and bankrups familes that can not afford it. It has provides poorer health care outcomes then Countries with a universal system

Typical libertarian twaddle. Stop reading your Ayn Rand fairy tales . They were intended for peoples that just never grow up.


You misread what I was intending to say. Certainly, not until the 1700s and the Enlightenment, did standard concepts of fundamental, inalienable human rights begin to be applied. But what I meant was that an inalienable right should be able to span the test of time. People should have had the right to free speech and private property in the 1400s just as they do today. Those rights are universal and never ending. The right to one specific product or service cannot achieve this prerequisite if it has not even been invented.

Your logic entails that "society," as in majority rule, can arbitrarily decide whether anything at all is a fundamental right. So what if the majority decided that private airplanes are a fundamental right of all people? Could this goal actually be achieved? Or what if the right to space travel out of the galaxy was voted to be a fundamental right? We don't even have the technology to provide this service, akin to someone from the 1400s claiming that 50 mbps broadband internet is a fundamental right. The logic is flawed.

The point is that certain rights can be universal and don't entail the use of force to protect them, like the right to free speech. Others are arbitrary and must result in force to provide, like the government of Canada spending a minimum of $750 million in taxpayer money to (hopefully) provide broadband internet for everyone (and we'll cross our fingers that a major bureaucracy can even do such a thing relatively efficiently).

The only thing that is guaranteed when an arbitrary "right" is declared is that the government will assume an increased or total control over that industry. This was why I referenced Venezuela's government's control over the food supply, yet people are still starving in the streets, whereas we have an abundance of food and an obesity problem in America where we have markets.


There is no such thing as free speech. The government is somewhat limited in what kind of speech it can prohibit but the private sector knows no such limitations. An employer for example can even insist on absolute silence.


The government cannot limit free speech. Certainly private citizens and companies can. But the difference is that you can free choose to associate or be employed with this company and cannot be forced at gunpoint to comply with any rules it applies to its employees. On the contrary, when Kim Jung Un or Fidel Castro explicitly outlaw speech against the government, you cannot freely choose not to comply or "associate" with the government. One concept is voluntarism; the other is force and coercion.

If you don't like what Mozilla'a CEO has to say about gay marriage, don't use Firefox. If you're a North Korean and don't like how Kim Jung Un limits its citizens to only 10 hair styles, you better shut up and choose one of those 10 hair styles.


Is the internet like water, air or food? What basic aspect of life is it fulfilling? Do we consider information a kind of food now? If one is unable to bank online or shop online is that a denial of a basic human right? What about the coming momentous effects of automation? Is the internet being an inalienable human right the first step towards our further entrainment as machines?

There is a deeper issue here and that is money. Pretty much all of urbanized Canada has internet access. Some rural areas don't and some parts of the north. People with less money may not have internet access. Will this be a city/province/Federal government initiative? Which corporations will benefit?

Finally, think 1984 or Brave New World. This deepens our exposure to the machine. Human beings are being entrained to the machine, we are becoming like machines. This separates us further from nature, not closer. Seeing a park on the internet is not like being in the park. And what about government control/media control and propaganda and surveillance? The Eye sees all.

As a Canadian I think this is a very poor decision. I would rather see the money go in to the arts, programs for teaching children about nature, being in nature. As for economic prosperity, the only prosperity coming is for the 1 % and their minions.


There are libel laws. You can not intentionally incite to riot. You can't yell fire in a theater and the deliberate spreading of misinformation resulting in damages can result in a lawsuit. Private sector entities can limit any type of speech at all for any reason or for no reason. You can't avoid contact with the private sector and disregarding some arbitrary policies can have dire consequences.


This just more nonsense. Writing and language are inventions as is private property. By your definition none of these can be fundamental rights because they had to be invented.

As technologies evolve and as our societies evolve rights shod expand. We need not lock ourselves in a 1400's concept of what a right is because technology limited.

I would also point out that tens of millions of households in the USA use food stamps because the system can not provide them an income enough to provide them with enough to but food. What do you think happens if those food stamps removed because by your definition no one has the right to food?

So much for the free market provides nonsense.

As to the claim that mandating a minimum standard for the access to said internet the technology locked to this standard for ever more, that just more nonsense. Canadians got access to universal single payer health care in 1970's. We are not using 1970's technology.


So what about it Obama​:smile::yum::wink:


Is water and air and food like education?

An informed Citizenry is of benefit to a society. Access to education and information are staples of any society.

I do not think only rich people should have access to our education system or institutes of higher learning. I do not think only rich people should have access to the internet.

This is a good decision. That some companies might profit off that is a problem with the privatized model of delivering such things and not with the concept of universal access.

Doctors profit off the fact that all Canadians can access their services. It does not follow that universal access to health care a bad thing.

Food is also produced in Canada under the for profit model.

My own access to the internet allows me to research and then question the narrative as being told me by the mainstream media. It allows me to inform myself on decisions a government makes in my name. It allows me to communicate with like minded individuals so as to help form strategies as to how to try and create conditions for our societies to progress .This is critical into any nation deeming itself a democracy.


Quite true. And the entrainment?


By the way the death rate by malnutrion in the USA in spite of some 50 million people being on food stamps because they can not afford food is higher then Cuba, China, Romania, Poland, Lavia, Russia , Greece and Portugal along with around 50 other Countries.

Take away those food stamps (Government welfare) and it would leapfrog up another hundred places putting it above such places as North Korea.


"You misread what I was intending to say"
So, you haven't said it yet?


If we call it right to participate in public discourse, then observe that public discourse involves a Net connection these days, then you get to call it a right or to say it is instrumental and necessary to a right.

The rest about "competition and markets" can just wait for an argument to appear, I suppose.


An internet connection is far more than just public discourse with other peoples.All Governmnet services in Canada can be found on the internet. This includes information on our legal rights, our pensions, Government benefits that we may not be aware of and any manner of tools the Government so as to help people cope with modern Society and the Government itself.

This saves the individual from having to go to a Government office and wait in line so as to speak to a worker.

Friends of mine have a child with a mental disability and live in a remote community. They had a hard time trying to figure out how they could access Government services so as to help them cope. Having Internet access allowed them to access funds they would not have been aware of had they no access. They can also talk to parents across the world who have the same types of issues with their own children and can impart their own experiences.

My sister in trying to care for my elderly mother found out my Mother entitled to some 400 dollars extra a month she had not been receiving. This information was accessed through the internet and monies were paid out retroactively.

People use it to get legal advice, advice on their rights as renters , the ability to access educational programs for job retraining , all of which would be much harder to get without said access.

Too often people with such access take it for granted not recognizing how the lack of the same access hurts people that do not have the same financial security.


In a democracy, the people's access to information is definitely a fundamental right. If not why does the press have protections?

While we're at it, the right to own property? That's one the rich created to keep the poor oppressed. I'm with @SuspiraDeProfundis.


Now if Trudeau will keep the fossil fuels in the ground and stop supporting these pipelines so all Canadians will be around to actually use the Internet.