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The death of Bill C-30

Photo: Roland Tanglao/Flickr

It is so rare, that the tendency is to rush on to the next thing. I speak of our victories -- so few and far between.

The announcement that the so-called "Protecting children from Internet Predators Act," originally called "lawful access," and dubbed so effectively by openmedia.ca as the "online spying bill," C-30 will be withdrawn is news worth celebrating.

The elements of success are also worth identifying and noting for the next campaign. I don't think this bill would ever have been withdrawn if not for the amazing online community. The work of openmedia.ca was critical. That they were ready and fully prepared with great TV ads, which ended up more watched on YouTube and discussed by media than actually appearing in paid for advertising spots really increased awareness.

Some think Vic Toews' now infamous "Stand with us or with child pornographers" was a gaffe. I think that the lumping of opponents to the government's agenda with child pornographers was PMO-approved, spin-doctor messaging. Otherwise, why the very last minute change in the title of the bill from "Lawful Access" to "Protecting children from Internet predators act?" The change was so very last minute that, at First Reading, no copies of the bill with the correct title were available in the advance lock-up nor in the Opposition Lobby. All the circulated versions still read "lawful access." Only the PMO could have approved a change in the bill's title.

I do not think the effort to reduce barriers to warrantless access are over, but we should pause and say "Thank you!!" to openmedia.ca, to all of you who signed petitions, wrote letters and used social media to spread the word.

It is proof that citizen engagement still works!! And we need to encourage each other and use the tools that worked to be watchful for any new legislation to the same ends as C-30. We also need to see the potential from this victory to demand climate action, justice for First Nations, protection of our waters and wilderness. Ultimately, the fight of our lives is likely to use the tools of effective citizenship in a democracy to protect democracy itself.

So, thank you! Celebrate! And re-commit to being an engaged and effective citizen.

Photo: Roland Tanglao/Flickr

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