Canadian Politician Secretly Asked US To Ramp Up Diplomatic Pressure To Pass Draconian Anti-Consumer Copyright Law

from the selling-out-your-own-citizens dept

Michael Geist recently wrote about some more leaked State Department cables concerning copyright policy in a foreign country — this time in his home country of Canada, where, as we’ve seen pretty much everywhere else, when it comes to copyright policy, everything shows the close handiwork of American interests. In fact, one cable Geist highlights concerns a Canadian politician promising US diplomats that they can see a copy of the copyright reform proposal before it’s even introduced in Parliament. Even more ridiculous is the fact that a Canadian bureaucrat, Zoe Addington, then the director of policy for Industry Minister Tony Clement, flat out told the Americans that some in the Canadian government wanted the US to put Canada on its “naughty list” of pirate havens (better known as the “Special 301” list), claiming that such a designation would be helpful in ramming through draconian anti-consumer copyright laws. Pretty hard for Canadian politicians to continue to insist that its copyright reform efforts are not “made in America” when you see a story like this.

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Comments on “Canadian Politician Secretly Asked US To Ramp Up Diplomatic Pressure To Pass Draconian Anti-Consumer Copyright Law”

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Michael says:

Only the beginning...

Tony Clement is one heck of a guy, he took $50 million that was supposed to go towards border security and spent it to fix up his riding just before the last election, Our Prime Minister is pushing through 3 bills to remove the need for warrants to spy on Canadians internet activity and force ISP’s to store data for 90 day ( Bills C50 through C51) and in general the fed government here uses deception to push through all manner of ridiculous things. They are reviving a post 9/11 law that lets people be detained without ANY charges or recourse if they claim its a terrorist investigation (the RCMP have NEVER used the law) but they claim its desperately needed. Canada is becoming a partisan craphole really quickly, so they can do what ever they want and just sling mud and distract, kind of like in the US.

Di Fiasco (profile) says:

Canadian politicians have been in the pockets of Canadian Media Corporations for decades. Where else in the world can you find a country where the ENTIRE palette of media is owned by 3 companies?

Challenge: How do you bribe a politician to help you legislate more money out of consumers without making that politician look like he’s betraying his own constituents?

Answer: Ask politician to contact counterpart in U.S. to do the dirty-work in the name of protecting ‘American Intellectual Interests’ so to appear ‘uninvolved’ and then Canadian politician can ‘agree’ and defend lobby by claiming it protects crucial interests and confidence with U.S. trading partners.

Finally, take both politicians on fully-expensed holiday to some 6-star resort in Dubai, have someone take lots of secret photos whilef scantily-clad call girls hand each a suitcase full of cash; and then threaten their existence with public humiliation and prison if they ever refuse to support the new measures.

Brendan (profile) says:

My thoughts on this.

This is what I submitted to Mike for the story, so I’ll just leave this here:

Full Geist post:
Shorter Geist column on the Toronto Star:–leaks-show-u-s-swayed-canada-on-copyright-bill?bn=1

In his most recent column Geist covers revelations from the recent Wikileaks Cables that senior Canadian politicians were all to eager to please the US government in the quest for ever more draconian copyright laws. In addition to offering to provide copies of legislation to US officials prior to release to Parliament (and the Canadian public) [1], the cables reveal promises for specific enforcement regimes that have not yet been publicized in Canada, as they wish to wait until after succeeding on copyright legislation. [2]

I find this utterly unsurprising, having followed the information about so many other countries under the thumb of US pressure to crank up copyright laws and enforcement (UK, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, etc). But, I must admit, this really does hurt when the news is about your own country. The idea that our representatives are more willing to appease foreign political interests and put that above my own interests, and those of my neighbours, stings far worse than I would have guessed. With former Heritage Minister Bev Oda looking to the DMCA for guidance [3], one imagines certain salient issues of public interest may be overlooked. Oda was recently noted for her willingness to modify signed documents. ( )

I suppose I should be glad that this got “Front Page” coverage at all on (screencap: ), as it could very well have been ignored. I can only hope that the news of our government worrying more about some other government than US will cause problems for the inevitable re-release of the Harper copyright reform bill.

When bill C-32 (the last attempt by Canadian Parliament) came under pressure in late 2010, and into early 2011, it seemed like those of us fighting against its worst excesses were beginning to make headway in the public eye. But that all came to a standstill when the 2011 Election was called.

Now that Harper has his coveted majority, he is going to have a much easier time passing whatever piece of legislation he sees fit, and the public (ever the forgotten partner in the copyright dance) will have a much more challenging fight to bring reason to the bills worst excesses.

One can only hope that Canadians take exception to proof of foreign interests in Parliament, and react accordingly.

Me? I’m pissed.


All of the cable links are available via Geist, but I have included links and choice quotes below (referenced above):

“3. (c) Bernier promised to keep the Ambassador informed on
the copyright bill’s progress, and indicated that USG
officials might see the legislation after it is approved by
Cabinet, but before it is introduced in Parliament. While
declining to discuss specifics, Bernier said the bill will
look to balance the views of creators and artists against
“the other side.” “

“6. (C) … The government also believes that it makes more sense to
first modernize Canada,s copyright laws and then institute
greater means for enforcement. If and when the enforcement
bill is introduced, we expect that it will criminalize the
importation of counterfeit goods and grant ex officio powers
to Canadian Customs Officers.”

” As Heritage Critic for the Conservative opposition, Oda was
respected for her expertise on copyright issues, and
industry observers expect her to be heavily engaged on the
issue and a stronger voice for copyright owners. Oda
remarked to the Ambassador that she has been studying the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an effort to familiarize
herself with the issues.”

william (profile) says:

as a fellow Canadian…

Tony Clement and Zoe Addington for TREASON!

Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].” [Wikipedia entry on treason]

How dare you two conspired with the US Government to injure the interest of all Canadians! How dare you!

I am sad that we keep on voting for idiots in office!

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