CIMA Toronto Launch Party: A Resounding Success!
On the November 13th, 2014, the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Internet Marketing Association (CIMA), met for the first time at 90 Sumach St, in the amenity room of the Boiler House Lofts building, a venue kindly donated by Jib Strategic Advertising. David Shephard, as a major supporter of CIMA, volunteered his own time setting up chairs, taking coats, and watching the door for late attendees .
Decorated with signs and swept clean, the common room was quickly converted into a politically charged ‘theatre of potential’. While not very large, the group that formed here was an interesting cross-section of our online society, an informal gathering of web marketing professionals representing many different perspectives and concerns.
Before the meeting started, everyone helped themselves to a glass of pink Chilean wine Fresita that was donated by Branding and Buzzing Sean Beckingham and everyone took turns wearing the Google Glass that Ahmed Abdalla brought to the meetup. Then, Rob Campbell called the assembly to order.
CIMA and Future Vision
Brian Rotsztein, the President of CIMA, stood at the head of the table and talked about the history of the Canadian Internet Marketing Association, charting a course from its humble origins to its present size and shape.
Brian’s opening speech excellently conveyed the greater social, political, and technological need for such a group, hinting at its many potential roles down the road. He emphasized that this first gathering of the soon-to-be-mighty Toronto Chapter is just the seed of a grass roots organization that will grow and change with the times.
Rob Campbell, President of the Toronto Chapter, addressed the table, presenting a future of mankind made even brighter by the internet. He believes anything that threatens this bright future has to be politically diminished, while elements that preserve or strengthen the vision should be championed.
After briefly outlining his vision for the new organization, Rob asked each of the attendees to introduce themselves and share what they would like to see happen with the group, and what causes are closest to their hearts.
Rob went on to say that if we all do our jobs right, digital marketers here in the GTA and all across Ontario will have a neutral resource to query and access second opinions, honest appraisals, and unbiased reviews of proposals and reports. He hopes that Toronto web marketers can evolve the association into a larger and louder voice in local politics and federal and provincial policy-making.
On Canada’s Internet Issues
Sometimes, the issues that threaten freedom and liberty on the web are so complex they require a trusted interpreter to break it all down, look at the legislation, and say yes or no, onside or offside. Of course, the membership is free to make their own decisions and vote their own beliefs, but they can rest assured that someone they know has already done the math and formed an opinion.
On Online Surveillance
Not everyone in the room shared the same opinion on all the issues we discussed. While we all agreed that internet spying must be curtailed, or at the very least more intensively supervised, not everyone felt the new legislation (Bill C-13) being forwarded by Conservative Justice Minister Peter McKay was totally without merit.
Regardless of our opinions today, the government is already in the midst of giving its spies more power through the passage of Bill C-13 (better known as the Cyberbullying Bill), which makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to surveil Canadians and allows Internet Service Providers to voluntarily turn your information over to the government without consequence and without notifying you. The bill is so broad that even Carol Todd — mother of Amanda Todd, whose heartbreaking death helped inspire C-13 — has spoken out against its surveillance provisions. There is a heightened need to build muscle and push back.
On Anti-Spam Law
Geoff Whitlock, the CEO of Surround digital marketing agency, voiced a favorable opinion of CASL, the new Canadian Anti Spam Law, while others thought it was a complete waste of time. Ahmad claimed it was among the worst events ever to impact legitimate email marketers.
James, an accountant at BBS in Toronto, remarked how CASL has prevented his own business organization from sending email newsletters to clients, eliminating any potential liability by eliminating the possibility of breaking the law, which is very confusing when it comes to grandfather clauses and prosecupatorial.
Sadly, he lamented, his inbox is still being deluged by foreign-owned companies spamming the Canadian Internet from parts unknown.
After the speakers convened and the official business was conducted , the party started.