Two Victories for Linux at The CITT (Canadian International Trade Tribunal)

PLCom has won two rulings from the CITT (Canadian International Trade Tribunal) against two separate Canadian government procurement solicitations that attempted to mandate Microsoft-only Server software specifications in their Request for Proposals (RFPs).

These CITT rulings secure the right for Canadian suppliers to bid Linux-based database applications in both instances.

The Tribunal determinations have also established a precedent setting legal framework in Canadian administrative law that compels Canadian government agencies and departments to issue technical specifications based on recognized Open Standard Protocols rather than proprietary software brand names.

Library of Parliament (direct link to CITT decision)
On August 14, 2001 , the CITT released its reasons for its July 24th ruling that the Library of Parliament was guilty of discrimination and had breached Sections 501, 504 and 506 of a Canadian procurement law, the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). PLCom had filed a formal complaint to the CITT on March 13,2001, arguing that the Library of Parliament was in breach of the AIT because, amongst other things, it had specified Microsoft NT Server as the only acceptable OS platform for an Intranet- based database application. The fact that the Library's RFP relied upon Microsoft brand names as a proxy for technical specifications, rather than using open standards-based criteria, led the Tribunal to issue its finding of discrimination.

The Department of Public Works and Government Services
On May 30, 2001, after considerable debate between the interested parties, the CITT ruled that PLCom's original complaint was valid.

Ongoing issues

Dispite these two victories, the procurements in question have not moved forward. The cases were won, but the government departments "took their ball and went home".

There is a government accountability issue here that must be addressed. The problem with brand names and high tech monopolies being promoted by the Canadian Government, especially Industry Canada, is not an isolated incident.

The library of parliament is unfortuantely a special case in that it is arms length from parliament (IE: there is no minister to hold responsible, and questions can only be asked in parliament via the speaker). There has been some movement to hold the library accountable, but this process is slow. See the Hansard for October 30, 2001.

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