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When it comes to news both local and around the world there is always some contentious issue which everybody wants to weigh into. These issues serve both as political kindle and fuel to spark necessary and healthy social debates.

On the drive home from work one morning I tuned into a debate on CBC Radio.

The debate stemmed from the following question:

Is the Internet a right or a privilege?

This question arose in a Toronto school district when a mother of a young student stated that her child was at a disadvantage because she could not afford the Internet access required for her child’s studies. Other students who’s families were able to afford the Internet were able to excel with the information highway right at their fingertips.

Not long after, I asked my husband the same question:

Is the Internet a right or a privilege?

“Neither,” he replied without even thinking.

“It’s a business.”

Where I was looking for an answer, I only found door number three, and not one step closer to an answer.

Further, on this mornings news came the decision from a local school board that when schools are forced to shut down because of snow days, the schools will forward extra homework via e-mail to students to help make up for lost time.

Now the parameters have changed, and it is not in favour of those on a budget that does not allow Internet access at home.

Are schools making Internet access mandatory?

Do they have the social right to do so?

Really?

In the absence of an immediate answer, let’s try to work the problem.

Yes, the Internet is a business.

And so is philanthropy, as a matter of fact.

I believe that some time in the future Internet access will be available to everyone…

But certainly not now.

If there is a student who needs the Internet I’d like to believe that there are ways and means available. It’s just a matter of teamwork between families, schools, and well meaning sponsors who can put personal savings and profit on the back burner in favour of goodwill.

Personally, I’d like to think of myself as being part of the answer and not part of the problem.

A business has countless places to turn a buck, but a family struggling to keep their children’s education on a level playing field not so much.

And so…

How about you?

What is your answer.

At the very least, if you weren’t aware of this issue before, you are now.

So, the next time you are presented with this question and others like it, hopefully you will have had time to think about it and have come up with your answer.

Make sure it’s a good answer.

Make sure it’s the right answer.

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