Monthly Archives: October 2015

Next PLG Meeting: November 3

Join us Tuesday November 3rd at 7pm in the RISE (Research Innovation in Education) Room in the Education North Building at the University of Alberta (Room 2-111). We will meet in the Education cafeteria on the first floor and will wait until 7:00 to head up.

Meetings last an hour. Interested information professionals, students and new members always welcome!

We hope to see you there!

Information Policies Under the Harper Government Part 5: Lawful Access to Information

Although Harper’s Government is now gone, the harmful policies it created will continue to impact Canadians as our new government takes office. The damage caused by the Conservatives’ slow and steady deterioration of Canadians’ personal privacy and freedom of expression, among many other egregious assaults to our constitutionally held rights, will take a long time to undo. 

One-Line Description: Government decries opponents of its draconian cyber surveillance legislation as supporters of child pornography,[1] then passes legislation under the guise of fighting cyber-bullying.[2]

Details: While attempts to update Canada’s surveillance legislation have been proposed several times over the past two decades, the Conservative government was especially aggressive in its approach to pass lawful access legislation. In 2012 it introduced legislation that would significantly expand police surveillance powers including the ability to get access to telecommunications subscriber information with lessened need for warrants.[3] However, while the law was being debated in Parliament, then Public Safety Minister Vic Toews suggested that Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, who was questioning the bill, could “either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”[4] The backlash to Toews characterization of opponents to the bill caused the bill to be shelved, but not to be outdone the Conservatives reintroduced many provisions of the bill the next session in Bill C-13 under the guise of enhancing legislation to protect Canadians from cyberbullying. Despite the lack of need to connect legislation for addressing cyberbullying with lawful access legislation, the approach worked, and Bill C-13 received royal assent at the end of 2014.[5]   The passed legislation has the effect of reducing the threshold for obtaining a warrant from where investigators have a reasonable belief to a mere suspicion.[6]

[1] Gustavo Vieira. “Vic Toews vs. The Child Pornographers – Whose Side Are You on?” Macleans. 14 Feb. 2012.

[2] Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. 41st Parl., 2nd Sess.

[3] Bill C-30 Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. 41st Parl., 1st Sess. cl. 26.

[4] Vic Toews. House of Commons Debates, Monday Feb 13, 2012. 41st Parl., 1st Sess. Edited Hansard Vol. 146, No. 79.

[5] Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act. 41st Parl., 2nd Sess.

[6] Privacy Commissioner of Canada. “Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act.”

Next PLG Meeting – November 3

Please note that our regularly scheduled meeting has been postponed until Tuesday, November 3 as it conflicts with the EPL/MacEwan University Libraries’ screening of The Internet’s Own Boy on Tuesday, October 27 at 6pm at the Stanley Milner Library Theatre. We encourage all PLG Edmonton members to attend this screening, which is capping off Open Access Week!

For more information about the film screening, please visit

The Internet’s Own Boy Film Screening

Before his untimely death at the age of 26, Aaron Swartz made a tremendous impact on the Internet as we know it. On Tuesday, October 27 at 6pm in the Stanley A. Milner Library Theatre EPL and MacEwan University Libraries will be showing The Internet’s Own Boy, which tells the story of Aaron’s life as both a computer programming prodigy and political activist.

Following the film, Dr. Michael McNally, Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta, will facilitate a brief discussion.

The event will cap off Open Access Week, which is happening now. “Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

There are many Open Access events around Edmonton and around the world this year, but this film event is one of the few taking place at a public library. That a public library is co-hosting the story of the young technological savant Aaron Swartz’ activism and philosophy emphasizes that it is more than just scholars who can benefit from open access to scholarly publications.  The broader public benefits as well. Pay walls blocking the wide dissemination of academic research pose a limitation on intellectually curious and motivated members of the public who face financial or social barriers to higher education.

All are welcome and admission is free. Candy will be provided! RSVP is appreciated but not required.

Note: This event conflicts with PLG Edmonton’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting. To encourage PLG members to attend this film event en masse, the meeting has been rescheduled. Stay tuned for the new meeting time.

Preview YouTube video THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY | Official Trailer

THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY | Official Trailer

Health Canada Prey to Predatory OA Publisher Intech

The Ottawa Journal reports that Health Canada paid to publish 25 to 30 documents on food safety through predatory journal International Food Risk Analysis Journal. This journal is published by Intech Open Access of Croatia which can be found on Beall’s list of predatory publishers. The journal has recently stopped appearing on Intech’s website. For more details see the article by Sean Kilpatrick.

This rather complex controversy, which has not been widely reported on, highlights two pressing access to information issues: the continuing difficulty of keeping track of Canadian government documents online and the negative impact of predatory open access journals on the movement to promote open access publishing as an alternative to the big business of academic publishing.

Harper Signs on to Draconian Copyright Provisions… Tells Canadians Nothing about Them

In light of today’s announcement PLG Edmonton is re-posting an information sheet and presentation by then University of Alberta student Cari Postnokoff, originally posted in February 2014, regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.


The Trans Pacific Partnership is a trade deal currently under negotiation behind closed doors. It has the potential to profoundly affect Canadian intellectual property laws. PLG Edmonton member Cari Lynn Postnikoff has put together this information sheet on the Trans Pacific Partnership. Get informed and share it around. You can also see her presenting on the topic at the 2014 Forum for Information Professionals at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta below.

If the Info Sheet isn’t appearing, you can download it here.