The following are resolutions put forward by the Information Policy Committee and passed at the BCLA Annual General Meeting. 2008 resolutions on "Canwest and Free Speech", "Network (Net) Neutrality", and "TILMA and AIT" are below.

2008 Resolutions

Resolution on CanWest and Free Speech

Whereas BCLA passed resolutions opposing media concentration and supporting Media Democracy Day in both 2003 and 2007;

And Whereas CanWest is the largest media conglomerate in Canada and owns The Vancouver Sun, The Vancouver Province, The Vancouver Courier, The Victoria Times-Colonist, The National Post, Global Television and many specialty channels and community newspapers;

And Whereas the greater the concentration of media ownership, the narrower the range of opinions presented through those media;

And Whereas the 2007 BCLA resolution on "Libraries and Media Concentration" stated that "freedom of the press and public access to diverse media and information are prerequisite to a functioning democracy" and affirmed that "libraries are the primary social institution with responsibility to assure the broadest possible availability of a wide range of ideas and information";

And Whereas CanWest has served Mordecai Briemberg and six other Jane and John Does with a writ of summons charging them with producing a four-page parody of The Vancouver Sun;

And Whereas it is clear this writ is directed mainly at Briemberg's opposition to the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel and is intended as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation;

And Whereas political satire and parody both constitute important elements of intellectual freedom, and so play an important role in provoking democratic debate and free thought;

And Whereas CanWest has a pattern of launching Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation and taking other actions to undermine and curtail critical voices;

Be It Resolved that BCLA write an open letter to Canwest calling on them to drop the aforementioned legal suit;

And Be It Further Resolved that BCLA broadly distribute this letter in the library, media activist, and civil liberties communities as well as seek publication in Canwest and other media;

And Be It Resolved that BCLA support the 2008 Media Democracy Day and encourage libraries throughout the province to hold events;

And Be It Resolved that the BCLA work with the Information Policy Committee to develop a series of educational tools, possibly including a travelling workshop, to educate the BCLA membership and the general community on the impact of media concentration.

Resolution on Network (Net) Neutrality

Whereas the federal government, via the Telecommunications Act, incorporates into Canadian telecommunications policy the value of “common carriage” which requires the separation between the network infrastructure and the content that moves over the network, so that all content is treated equally; and Whereas Network Neutrality (Net
Neutrality) is the principle that all information or service sent over broadband, or high speed internet access, should be treated equally with no degradation or prioritization or privileges based on content, source, ownership or destination of information or service; and

Whereas the public Internet was founded upon principles of openness, including Net Neutrality and equal treatment of content providers by connectivity providers; and

Whereas New Media have not yet been adequately addressed by and incorporated into Canadian telecommunications policy; and

Whereas cases of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) discriminating among content and violating the principles of Net Neutrality in Canada have already been documented; and

Whereas libraries and librarians have a vested interest in maintaining Net Neutrality, both as content providers and as a portal to content via the Internet; and

Whereas it is the position of the British Columbia Library Association that “It is in the interest for libraries and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions” and “It is the responsibility of library administrators and librarians, as guardians of the peoples' freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom” (BCLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom); and

Whereas the IFLA/UNESCO Internet Manifesto Guidelines instruct that “In the interests of keeping the Internet as a neutral mechanism for the delivery of information and services, librarians should resist any efforts to introduce a tiered pricing model or otherwise diminish the neutral nature of the network”;

Therefore, be it resolved that the British Columbia Library Association affirms the right of all in our communities to equitable access to and use of the internet, free from commercial bias; and

Be it further resolved that the British Columbia Library Association urge the Canadian government to re-examine the Telecommunications Act in order to clearly legislate in favour of a neutral Internet, requiring ISPs to comply with common carriage provisions and conduct business in a manner that is open, transparent, and accountable; and

Be it further resolved that the British Columbia Library Association call for the CRTC to develop clear and enforceable rules to protect Net Neutrality; and

Be it further resolved that the British Columbia Library Association educate the library community about Net Neutrality and encourage the library community to act in support of Net Neutrality.

Resolution on TILMA and AIT

Whereas the BCLA passed a resolution on April 21, 2007 in opposition to the Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) which came into effect April 1, 2007;

And Whereas TILMA enables private investors to sue provincial governments for up to $5 million if new or existing regulations "restrict or impair investment" (Articles 3 and 5.3), or if regulations are not "reconciled" between the provinces (Article 5.1);

And Whereas without a specific exemption from TILMA, library boards and any other bodies operating under the British Columbia Library Act are government entities subject to TILMA;

And Whereas the Province of British Columbia is currently engaged with the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and others in a consultation process to determine the extent of TILMA coverage of municipal and other government organizations when the agreement’s transitional period ends on April 1, 2009;

And Whereas the UBCM has a representative to this consultation charged with bringing forward local government issues for discussion and negotiation;

And Whereas TILMA is a "Trade Enhancement Arrangement" under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT);

And Whereas at their Council of the Federation meeting in January 2008 Canadian premiers endorsed a new plan for making AIT panel rulings enforceable, with governments liable for monetary awards of up to $5 million per infraction;

And Whereas both the AIT and TILMA have potentially profound implications on our communities and our society, including the ability of library boards and associations to meet the needs of said communities;

And Whereas the TILMA website says that there will be "extensive consultation ... with local governments and professional and occupational associations," but to our knowledge no consultations with the general public are planned;

Be It Resolved that the BCLA urge the provincial government to plan and publicize an extensive public consultation process and to delay the implementation of TILMA until this process is complete and a report is made public;

And Be It Further Resolved that the BCLA be granted the mandate, as a matter of urgency, to work with the UBCM representative and executive to ensure that the provincial government fully exempts from TILMA all "measures adopted or maintained related to library and information services";

And Be It Further Resolved that the BCLA invite both the CLA and other provincial library associations to jointly obtain an assessment of the potential impacts on school, public, and academic libraries in Canada of the premiers’ January 2008 proposal to make the AIT enforceable;

And Be It Further Resolved that BCLA provide frequent updates to the BC library community on developments concerning TILMA and the AIT that are relevant to library and information services.

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