Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen introduced National Maternity Assistance Program Strategy Act last week

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Uber says it will shut down Tuesday unless province agrees to changes

EDMONTON _ The manager for Uber in Alberta says the ride-sharing app will cease operating in the province on Tuesday unless the provincial government makes insurance and licensing changes.

Ramit Kar told a demonstration of about 150 Uber supporters on the steps of the Alberta legislature on Saturday that the government must allow flexibility on requirements that drivers have commercial licences.

He says the province must also approve a ride-sharing insurance product that Uber has obtained from a private insurer.

Uber wants the changes in order to satisfy requirements passed by Edmonton Council that take effect on March 1.

Under the Edmonton bylaw, Uber drivers must carry provincially approved insurance, have an annual vehicle inspection and agree to a criminal record check.

Kar says without action by the province by Tuesday, thousands of people will be affected.

“We hope that the voice this group and the many voices they represent are heard by the province and that we see action soon,” Kar told cheering supporters, many of whom were Uber drivers.

“We hope to continue to see you on the road.”

A spokesperson for Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason said in an emailed statement on Saturday that the government is dealing with several issues, including licensing and insurance, and wants to address all the issues at once rather than in a piecemeal fashion

“We are committed to finding an appropriate solution allowing ride share companies to operate in a fair manner, while also protecting drivers, passengers, and other road users,” Aileen Machell said.

Calgary city council has also passed a ride-sharing bylaw which could take effect in April, but officials with Uber have said those rules are too strict.

Calgary’s bylaw requires ride-sharing drivers to have a Class 4 driver’s licence a commercial licence. It also requires an annual $220 operating licence from the city, regular inspections, proof of eligibility to work in Canada and a police background check.

Several Uber drivers addressed the rally in Edmonton, saying the service gives them jobs and provides users with safe rides.

But Isack Isack, an Edmonton taxi driver who observed the rally and challenged Kar when he took media questions, said a commercial licence is important for anyone carrying passengers for money. Medical requirements for drivers, he noted, are more stringent with a commercial licence.

“They’re carrying other people,” Isack said to Kar.

Kar said Uber drivers are driving their personal cars, and that it’s no different than carpooling. He said Uber has proposed a number of options to the province for getting around the requirements of a commercial licence.

“A Corolla is a Corollla is a Corolla no matter which way you look at it,” Kar said.

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Generation Y is hard-working, budget-conscious and stressed according to its own members. How you can appeal to them

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But it’s an issue on both insurance and government policy makers radar, says the broker

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Google’s appeal of worldwide injunction to be heard by Supreme Court of Canada

Smart & Biggar/FetherstonhaughDaniel Anthony

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear Google’s appeal of a worldwide injunction forcing it to block certain infringing websites from its search results. The appeal raises issues of how to provide meaningful protection of rights over a borderless Internet, while not unduly burdening innocent third parties or preventing access to information.

In agreeing to hear the case, Canada’s highest court defined those questions as follows:

  • “Under what circumstances may a court order a search engine to block search results, having regard to the interest in access to information and freedom of expression, and what limits (either geographic or temporal) must be imposed on those orders?”
  • “Do Canadian courts have the authority to block search results outside of Canada’s borders?”
  • “Under what circumstances, if any, is a litigant entitled to an interlocutory injunction against a non-party that is not alleged to have done anything wrong?

The underlying dispute involved Equustek Solutions Inc., a manufacturer of networking devices for complex industrial equipment. Equustek alleged that its former distributor, Datalink Technologies, conspired with one of its engineers to design and manufacture a competing product using Equustek’s trade secrets. Datalink went on to sell the products using Equustek’s trademarks and logos.

Both companies reside in British Columbia, and Equustek obtained numerous court orders from the British Columbia Supreme Court enjoining Datalink from further infringement. However, Datalink simply disappeared and continued to sell the infringing products online. Search engine giant Google was a third party to the litigation, which became involved because Datalink relied heavily on search engines to market its infringing products, including purchasing Google AdWords.

Initially, Google voluntarily removed 345 links from search results in Canada. However, Equustek was not satisfied since Datalink’s network of infringing websites was still available through Google searches conducted internationally outside of Canada. In a ground-breaking British Columbia Supreme Court decision, Equustek obtained a global interim injunction against Google forcing it to cease indexing or referencing Datalink’s infringing websites. In reaching its decision, the Court stated:

“The courts must adapt to the reality of e-commerce with its potential for abuse by those who would take the property of others and sell it through the borderless electronic web of the internet,”

and

“That (injunction) is necessary … to ensure that the defendants cannot continue to flout the court’s orders.”

The injunction was later affirmed in a decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

Some observers have commented that the order could possibly create a “slippery slope” precedent that could lead to undue censorship. Equustek has taken the position that the websites being blocked have never been used for lawful purposes and that the injunction does not risk limiting access to information or freedom of expression.

The Supreme Court’s decision is highly anticipated and may have global ramifications on the ability of courts to control content on the Internet.

Garneau seeks Senate advice on rules, regs for future of driverless cars

By Joan Bryden

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Canada’s Senate, often accused of being an anachronism, is being asked to wrestle with the futuristic dream of driverless cars.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau wants the Senate’s transportation and communications committee to launch a study of the regulatory, policy and technical issues that need to be addressed so that Canada can safely and smoothly make the transition to self-driving vehicles a coming automotive revolution that’s already being road tested in Ontario and elsewhere.

His request for a Senate study is part of the Trudeau government’s attempt to recast the much-maligned upper house as an independent and valued institution that has an important parliamentary role to play.

It follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s creation of an arm’s-length advisory board to recommend non-partisan nominees for appointment to the Senate.

Among other things, Garneau says the committee should examine the potential for Canada to set standards for the development of automated cars that can operate safely on icy winter roads.The technology I’m talking about is not science fiction,” Garneau said during an appearance late Wednesday before the Senate committee.

“The technology I’m talking about is not science fiction,” Garneau said during an appearance late Wednesday before the Senate committee.

“It is in development today and has the potential to improve safety, efficiency and the environmental performance of transportation in Canada and other countries.”

Still, he said there are many questions that must be addressed, including the long-term impact on privacy, energy, land use, transportation demand and employment.

Garneau and Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly were invited to appear Wednesday before the committee to discuss the mandate letters given to them by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when they took charge of their portfolios. Garneau took the opportunity to ask the committee to launch a driverless car study.

“I’m one of these people who believes that the Senate is part of Parliament, that has done some very serious and very important and groundbreaking studies and I want to engage with them in the most productive possible way,” Garneau said in an interview.

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to make driving safer, he said, noting that automated vehicles “don’t fall asleep, they don’t drink.” And they’re potentially more energy efficient because “there’s less of a heavy foot on the gas and heavy foot on the brake kind of driving.”

But there are also challenges, like ensuring vehicles have backups should their computer systems fail and figuring out how to replicate human judgment in unpredictable winter driving conditions.

Driverless vehicles will automatically keep a safe distance from other vehicles but, Garneau noted: “We in Canada have to make judgment calls in the winter time when we’re on icy roads and black ice. So that’s got to be part of it as well because they’re not all nice California roads.”

Moreover, Garneau said automated cars raise issues of liability and insurance, cyber security, to ensure that vehicles’ computer systems can’t be hacked, and privacy, to protect those who don’t want their whereabouts constantly tracked.

“There are rules and regulations that will have to be put in place that don’t exist at the moment.”

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