Canada Privacy Privacy Deficit Free & Open Internet

OpenMedia calls for Conservative MP Laurie Hawn to apologize to business leaders immediately

The call comes in response to Laurie Hawn attacking and questioning the loyalty of business leaders who signed a letter criticizing controversial Bill C-51

May 8, 2015Internet advocacy organization OpenMedia is calling for MP Laurie Hawn to retract and apologize for statements made on May 6th that attack Canadian business leaders and their thousands of employees. Canadians are joining the call using the hashtag #SaySorryLaurie.

Hawn’s attack came in response to a letter OpenMedia circulated in cooperation with Canadian business leaders that pointed out the negative impact spying Bill C-51 would have on businesses.

The letter, signed by more than 140 businesses, was published April 20th in the National Post, and the NDP raised its concerns in the House of Commons.

In response to the letter, Conservative MP for Edmonton Laurie Hawn questioned the business leaders’ values and loyalty to Canada, including this statement: "[They] should seriously reconsider their business model and their lack of commitment to the values that bind us as Canadians." Hawn also insinuated that the businesses are “profiting” off of “horrific material.” A video of exchange can be found on YouTube.

“Laurie Hawn must immediately retract his attack on the business community and apologize to business leaders who signed the C-51 letter,” said OpenMedia’s Founder and Executive Director, Steve Anderson.“It’s unbecoming of an elected representative like Laurie Hawn to question the loyalty of these business leaders from across the country. Hawn’s comments attack not only these businesses but also the thousands of Canadians employed by them.”

Anderson continued, “I think principled Canadians will find Hawn’s comments arrogant, elitist and lacking in a basic understanding of our thriving tech sector. I hope cooler heads will prevail and Mr. Hawn will issue a retraction and apology.”

The list of business leaders that Hawn attacked with his statements in the House of Commons includes many prominent tech companies, but also a diversity of businesses including: local bakeries, property developers, and venture capitalists.

Some of the notable signatories include:

  • Ryan Holmes is the Founder and CEO of HootSuite, which is valued at over $1 billion and known for closing one of the largest venture capital funding rounds in Canadian history. HootSuite and co-signatory Vision Critical are anticipated to announce IPOs in the upcoming years which are expected to raise $50 million each, according to analysts.

  • Tim Bray is the Principal of Textuality Services Inc. and co-founder of OpenText, Canada’s largest software company.

  • Stewart Butterfield is the President & Co-founder of Slack, one of the world’s hottest web companies valued at $2.8 billion. Stewart also co-founded popular photo sharing service Flickr.

  • John Ruffolo is the CEO of OMERS Ventures, one of the largest institutional investors in Canada.

  • Tobi Lütke is CEO of Shopify, which just filed for an initial public offering last week. The company has 632 employees and generated more than $105-million in revenue in 2014. Shopify is the same company that Industry Minister James Moore called a leading Canadians success story in the government’s Digital Canada 150.

The full list of signatories can be found here:

Concerns raised by these business leaders are echoed by former prime ministers (both Conservative and Liberal), retired Supreme Court judges, security experts, spy watchdogs, best-selling authors, the government’s own privacy commissioners, Conservative voters, and the vast majority of Canadians.

Over 217,000 people have now signed the petition, making it one of the largest campaigns in Canadian history.


About is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.

Through campaigns such as and, has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.





David Christopher

Communications Manager,


[email protected]

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. We create community-driven campaigns to engage, educate, and empower people to safeguard the Internet. Take action now

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