Canadians Form a National Alliance [cr-95/11/15]


Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 02:22:51 -0500
From: Marita Moll <•••@••.•••>
To: Multiple recipients of list <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Canadians Form a National Alliance

NOVEMBER 8, 1995

For Immediate Release

               Canadians Form a National Alliance!

A broad cross-section of Canadians have formed the  Alliance for a
Connected Canada. The group's purpose is to ensure that basic
citizens' interests and needs are the primary focus in the public
policy debate about Canada's Information Highway.  "There's been a
lot of hype about the possibilities. Now we'd like to talk about the
concrete steps that have to be taken to meet Canadians' needs in the
development of the Information Highway"  said Andrew Reddick,
spokesperson for one of the founding members, the Public
Interest  Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

The alliance brings together groups representing Canadians from a
number of sectors in Canada. These groups will work together to:

- promote vigorous and open debate, and public understanding of
communications policy issues;
- take concerted action to shape Canada's communication policies;
- influence the design and evolution of basic and enhanced networks
and electronic public spaces, with social equity and equality of
opportunity as priorities;
- present policies that represent the public interest in the
construction of the Information Highway.

This alliance will reflect the position of ordinary Canadians. It
will address issues including:

- The quality and availability of telephone, cable, broadcasting
and network services;
- The provision of these services, where and at what cost;
- Increasing quality employment opportunities necessary for a decent
standard of living;
- The expression and availability of Canadian culture and information
at the national and community levels;
- The protection of individual privacy and personal data.

"Our concern is that our communications and cultural industries are
increasingly being turned over to the private sector, with little
public accountability," said Maude Barlow, Nationa Volunteer Chairperson
of the Council of Canadians. "If that's allowed to continue, then
Canadian culture and content will find little voice on the new
 Information Highway."

Sid Shniad of the Telecommunications Workers Union said, "all
 alliance members have a shared interest in these policy issues.
Government decisions relating to Information Highway development,
access, affordability and content will also affect the quality of
existing jobs, the prospect for employment in the telecommunications
sector and beyond, and whether the jobs of the future will be created
in sufficient numbers and pay a sufficient wage that Canadians will
continue to enjoy a decent standard of living".

The first task of this alliance will be to ask the CRTC for public
hearings to define "basic and essential" services with respect to
telephone and broadcasting/cable services as well as evolving information
highway services. This should include mechanisms to review and revamp
these definitions as technology evolves. "The policy decisions
being made now by the CRTC are affecting the availability and costs of
services which have become essential for Canadians" said Marie Valle
of FNACQ. "Basic services should be the cornerstones of new policies,
not an afterthought.

The groups involved already represent three million Canadians. Among
the founding members of this alliance are the Telecommunications Workers
Union, the Coalition for Public Information, Telecommunities Canada,
La Federation Nationale des Associations de Consommateurs du Quebec (FNACQ)
and the Council of Canadians. "We expect to double that number
by Christmas" said Marita Moll, co-organizer of the Public Information
Highway Advisory Council (P-IHAC). "Canadians have sent strong signals
to governments and government agencies at all levels that the quality
and availability of basic telephone, cable, broadcasting and network
services are a matter of national concern. Our social, political and
cultural life depends on it!"

For further information contact:

Andrew Reddick, Public Interest Advocacy
Centre, Tel: 613-562-4002, Fax: 613-562-0007
E-mail: •••@••.•••

Sid Shniad, Telecommunications Workers
Tel: 604-437-4822, Fax: 604-435-7760
E-mail: •••@••.•••

Stan Skrzeszewski, The Coalition for Public
Information, Tel: 519-473-7651,
Fax: 416-941-9581
E-mail: •••@••.•••

Marita Moll, The Public Information Highway
Advisory Council,
Email: •••@••.•••
Tel: 613-232-1505, Fax: 613-232-1886,

Garth Graham, Telecommunities Canada,
Tel: 613-253-3497, Fax: 613-253-1215
E-mail: •••@••.•••

Marie Valle, La Fdration Nationale des
Associations de Consommateurs du Qubec,
Tel: 514-521-6820, Fax: 514-521-0736

Andrew Clement
Information Policy Research Group
University of Toronto
Tel: 416-978-3111, Fax: 416-971-1399
Email: •••@••.•••

Dave Robinson
Council of Canadians
Tel: 613-233-2773, Fax: 233-6776
Email: •••@••.•••

Mark Surman
Information Highway Working Group
Tel: 416-596-0212, x15, Fax: 416-596-1374
Email: •••@••.•••

Liss Jeffrey
McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology
Tel: 416-978-7026 Fax:416-978-5324
Email: •••@••.•••

 Marita Moll           Ottawa, Ontario             •••@••.•••

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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