It’s been said more than once that Canadians are notoriously apathetic when it comes to politics. Maybe the winter’s cold has numbed us to political intrigue, or maybe we simply have maple syrup running our veins to slow us down. Or who knows, maybe it’s because Canadian politics are just really boring.
But Canadians are up in arms about the new pricing schemes that the big Internet companies are implementing. Call it metered billing, call it usage-based billing, or maybe you just call it a rip-off, but whatever you call it, Canadians everywhere are speaking out against it.
This opposition has recently manifested itself as an almost 190,000 signature petition from OpenMedia.ca — the largest online action in Canadian history. The “Stop the Meter” petition counts 189,328 signatures as of this writing, and considering how the petition only had 41,000 on January 25th, they’re almost certain to hit the 200,000 mark by the end of the week.
The petition, addressed to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, Liberal digital critic Pablo Rodriguez and Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement, asks for vistors’ signature on the following statement:
I call on Canadian decision makers to stop big telecom companies from forcing usage-based Internet billing on Canadians. Please stand up for consumer choice and competition in the Internet service market. I want affordable access to the Internet.
No one from the NDP is on the recipient list, I assume because of digital affairs critic Charlie Angus’ blunt comments about metered Internet being a “rip-off.”
OpenMedia.ca is obviously thrilled that the petition has taken on such popularity, but has stressed that more needs to be done.
“Canadian voters appear to be unanimous in their disdain for greedy big telecom corporations, and the CRTC’s role in enabling them to gouge out citizens’ pocket books, and unfairly hogtie competing independent ISPs,” said OpenMedia.ca founder Steve Anderson, in a press release. “They know that these unnecessary fees will stifle innovation, ground-up entrepreneurialism, and social progress.”
For more information or to sign the petition, click here.