Weekly MP Report from Jay Hill

MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“Conservative Government Introduces Anti-Spam Laws”
You can’t get away from it at home or at the office.  Now you can’t even avoid it on your cell phone!  “Spam” has become a common, modern-day annoyance for anyone using a computer, a blackberry or a cell phone.
Actually, it’s far more serious than an annoyance.  Spam now represents more than 80 percent of global email traffic.  It imposes huge costs on businesses and consumers who must combat it by purchasing enhanced computer technology and software.
Worse, the most malicious and damaging forms of spam result in the theft of personal identification and credit card data, and online fraud through counterfeit websites (phishing), illicit access to computer systems (spyware) and false or misleading representations in the online marketplace.
Furthermore, when you, your employer or your Internet or cell phone provider attempt to filter or block these unsolicited messages, it’s often the important messages you DO want or need that are blocked.
Lawmakers around the world have been attempting to keep up with this astounding growth in unsolicited electronic messages by updating commerce and consumer legislation written when spam was still just a lunch meat.
Not a simple task when you consider that Internet commerce is a worldwide industry valued at $8.75-TRILLION per year.  In Canada, the online marketplace netted $62.7-billion in sales in 2007.  Obviously, legitimate electronic commerce must be allowed to flourish while eliminating the threats and vulnerabilities associated with unsolicited, malicious electronic messages.
Last week, our Conservative Government took tough action to protect Canadian consumers and business with the Electronic Commerce Protection Act (ECPA).
Bill C-27 will deter the most dangerous and damaging forms of spam from occurring in Canada and will help drive spammers out of Canada.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner would have the authority to share information and evidence with their international counterparts who enforce similar anti-spam laws so that they can pursue violators beyond Canada’s borders.
Businesses and consumers will be allowed to take civil action against anyone who violates the ECPA.  Unsolicited text messages, or “cellphone spam”, included.  The CRTC would be able to impose fines of up to $1-million on individuals and $10-million in all other cases.
The Government of Canada also intends to create a “Spam Reporting Centre” that would receive reports of spam and related threats to allow it to collect evidence to assist the enforcement agencies.
This is landmark legislation based upon the most successful of anti-spam laws passed in recent years by other developed countries, such as Australia.  I am hopeful that with the cooperation of the opposition parties, Bill C-27 will move quickly through Parliament.
Passport Clinics
Following up on its success in Prince George last month, Passport Canada’s Mobile Passport Unit comes to the Peace Country next week.  Have your passport application reviewed and accepted on Wednesday, May 6th at the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre (1100 95th Avenue) in Dawson Creek, from noon to 8 p.m., or on Thursday, May 7th, at the Stonebridge Hotel (9223 100th) in Fort St. John, also from noon to 8 p.m.

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