Online Surveillance Bill Stalled – For Now

by Jordan Richardson on February 27, 2012

In what could be termed a cautious victory of sorts, Bill C-30 has been temporarily shelved. The online surveillance bill proposed by the Tories is on pause.

After a week’s break, Commons will resume on Monday. The bill will be sent to MPs for consultation and potential rewriting, but that process isn’t expected to start in the immediate future. It’s not known how long the government will sit on the process, but it is safe to say that Vic Toews and Co. were a little taken aback by the public outcry over the bill.

According to sources familiar with the process, the federal Conservatives are in “no rush” to pass the legislation. The bill isn’t a priority for Stephen Harper, that much is clear, and the Prime Minister appears to be more focused on other matters. The cost has to factor in as well, especially considering the relative slowness of Canada’s economic recovery. Jamming through a contentious piece of legislation that could run up the tab on taxpayers and Canada’s leading telecommunications providers has to be enough to give Harper pause.

Police and other public security bureaucracy components generated the drive behind the bill and it became Toews’ pet project. The Tories have tried to push this before in previous minority governments, but divisions over some of the content within their own party has stopped things from gaining much momentum. Had the legislation been sitting on less controversial ground, the Conservatives would have shoved it into the giant omnibus crime bill.

So with a little reluctance and a considerable wellspring of public pressure, it’s not hard to see why Bill C-30 is stalling. Add in Toews’ ludicrous public statements on the issue, complete with Bushian bent, and the legislation is going to need a lot of re-tooling to gain much by way of public support.

It may not mean that Bill C-30 is back to the drawing board, but the lack of forward momentum does seem to be indicative of some trouble at the henhouse. As OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson points out, the stalling will be meaningless if the redesigned bill fails to address the concerns of Canadians.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSSTwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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