[governance] FW: TP: city government exercising policy on Google Applications / consumer rights / Consumer Protection Act / trial period

Paul Lehto lehto.paul at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 13:35:41 EDT 2011

On 7/14/11, Kerry Brown <kerry at kdbsystems.com> wrote:
> CIRA's board of directors is democratically elected by CIRA members.
> Membership is free to anyone that registers a dot-ca domain. All members get
> one vote regardless of how many domains they have registered. There are
> three ex-officio non-voting appointed directors. All voting directors are
> elected by the members. One of the ex-officio directors is a representative
> of Industry Canada. The Canadian government through Industry Canada plays an
> advisory role to the board. The other non-voting directors are the CEO and
> John Demco the founder of the dot-ca registry when it was operated by
> volunteers working at UBC.

Unless  you are claiming that CIRA does nothing that affects or
impacts users of the internet (as opposed to .ca registrants) the
above membership structure is still quite undemocratic by completely
disfranchising users.  On top of that, the structure  you identify
heavily weights the right to be heard (via ex officio membership) to
industry and the corporation and its founder.  Anything more
restrictive than one person one vote for ALL GOVERNED or affected is a
system that disfranchises and creates an aristocracy (rule by a few or
a subset of all) rather than a democracy (rule by all the people).  It
would seem that everyone would realize that despite the fact that a
few .ca registrants are "ordinary folks", a system where only .ca
registrants can be members and thus vote is a system that (1) gives
votes to non-humans that are also non-voters in a real democracy
(corporate registrants), and (2) is an aristocracy weighted in favor
of those with above-average money and property (domain name
registrants) and completely disfranchising users as a whole.

I do realize that CIRA is touting that in the last year (i.e. in
CIRA's 10th or 11th year of operation) CIRA was begun a general
listening program and accepts, for the first time in its history, some
types of feedback from mere non-voting users and others.  Anything
less than real democracy (like CIRA) is an animal which one may call
anything they want, but that can't call it democracy.  Certain aspects
are "democratic" but it ain't democracy.  I won't throw out a name
myself because there's a risk it could be perceived as name-calling.
But it is what it is, and what it is ain't democracy.  It's delegation
of governmental power to a basically unaccountable corporate
aristocracy of some sort.

I'd be happy to indulge you with the truly formalistic step of
starting a new thread with a new name involving CIRA so as to not be
"off topic" but I don't think (right now) that you should have to
defend an entire thread based in significant part on your job or
status with CIRA, even though that job is so coincidentally topical to
how the conversation has evolved here in this thread.  Please accept
my assurances that I intend nothing in the way of a personal attack
here in any way -- I'm firmly convinced  you are a nice guy and
intelligently got involved in CIRA in all good faith to be in the game
of internet policy and rulemaking.  My one and only basic objection is
that, however, is just that the structure in which you got involved
and are committed to remaining involved in is fundamentally
undemocratic in very significant ways, and you defend those shortfalls
based on values like efficiency that are classically associated with
non-democratic practices of government.

In a democracy, efficiency is OK as  a value provided one very
fundamental (and usually satisfied) precondition is met:  That the end
or goal of the project is consistent with the objectives and
principles of democracy and self-government as opposed to aristocracy
or plutocracy.  That basic precondition is defeated the moment any
level of government gives away its power and responsibility to a
private person or corporation without retaining 100% of its oversight
power AND providing all the standards and rules of operation such that
it can be fairly said that even though "power" be delegated, it is
really being exercised at the direction and control of the government,
via those standards and rules.  But as to the procedure of arbitration
for example, the CIRA rule that no domestic or foreign law or
legislation may be used in a CIRA arbitration even if all the parties
and the arbitrator agree means (beyond any serious doubt) that CIRA
arbitration procedure has broken completely free of democracy's
control, and therefore lost the legitimacy that only democracy can

CIRA not being democratic, it's not appropriate to wish CIRA to be
"efficient" in accomplishing its goals for governance, since those
goals are not fully democratic.  Here again, Harry Truman put it very
well when he said of his corporate-supported opponent:

"Hitler learned that efficiency without justice is a vain thing.
Democracy does not work that way. Democracy is a matter of faith--a
faith in the soul of man--a **faith in human rights.** That is the
kind of faith that moves mountains--"   Human rights is key because
they are possessed without precondition by all humans, and equally so.
 Picking and choosing who gets a say (registrants, but not users)
inevitably leads to either social discord or even violence, because it
disrespects the humanity and interests of those whose voice is not
recognized or heard.

Paul Lehto, J.D.
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