by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
canada, copyright, jim prentice

Jim Prentice Wishes People Wouldn't Be So Specific In Their Questions Over Canadian Copyright Law

from the wouldn't-life-be-better-if-we-were-all-vague-in-our-criticisms? dept

It would be mildly amusing to watch how Canadian politician Jim Prentice was squirming away from any serious discussion around his new copyright bill, if it weren't such a serious issue. After Prentice was forced to delay the bill originally planned for late last year, he promised to consult with all parties before coming out with a better bill. He did not. Instead, he just kept waiting, making minor changes, and then announced the bill at a time where he hoped it wouldn't garner that much attention. However, it has received plenty of attention from people asking a bunch of questions, and Prentice's response has hardly been compelling. If anything, he's made it abundantly clear that he doesn't want to actually discuss the specifics.

Michael Geist discusses the various tactics Prentice has used to avoid actually dealing with the massive shortcomings of the bill, including hanging up on radio interviewers and now saying that he won't answer the questions being raised until it's debated in Parliamentary committee. But, perhaps the most ridiculous of all is that Prentice's chief of staff is complaining that the complaints and questions about the bill are "too specific." Apparently, they were hoping for vague questions that could be brushed off with vague answers. Unfortunately, an awful lot of people (not, apparently, including Prentice) understand the terrible impact this bill would have and would like him to respond to those concerns. Prentice, apparently, doesn't like that line of "specific" questions and will hide behind the Parliamentary committee (and his ability to hang up) rather than answer them.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Josh, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:12am


    Typical politician. Do something unpopular or unreasonable, and then hope no one questions it and bothers you. Well, as a Canadian, I can say this does bother me, and my local MP has responded to these concerns. This bill should die right on the floor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Nels Anderson, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:25am

    Vancouver meeting tomorrow

    If you're in/around Vancouver, a bunch of concern folks will be meeting tomorrow at SFU Harbour Centre: http://wiki.faircopy.ca. We're focusing on planning meetings with local MPs, so if anyone is available, we need representatives from as many ridings as we can get.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Eliot, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:26am


    Is it supposed to be Canada? Canadian? Make up your mind!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Mike Allen, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:48am

    if you have any questions for mr prentice

    If you should have any questions for mr prentice.
    Constituency Office
    Suite 105
    1318 Centre St NE
    Calgary, Alberta T2E 2R7
    403 216-7777
    Fax 403 230-4368

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    wasnt me, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:48am

    he should have patented the concept of asking Specific Questions Over Canadian Copyright Law.

    and sueed every1 who did.

    PS Mike its CanadiaN copyright not Canadia

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Franssu, 9 Jul 2008 @ 8:53am

    So typical of conservative govt members

    Since Harper and his gang were in office, we had this kind of behavior from every one of them. Try to sneak ultra-conservative or ultra-corporatist provisions into laws, and acting like it's none of the citizens business when asked about it.
    I can't wait to have Canadian citizenship to vote this slime out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    CanadiaJon, 9 Jul 2008 @ 9:16am

    Did he even write the legislation?

    I wouldn't be surprised if this bill was ghost-written. It would certainly explain why he's unwilling to answer specific questions about it: he may truly not understand the specifics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    ScytheNoire, 9 Jul 2008 @ 9:20am


    Prentice and the Conservative party of the biggest bunch of scumbags in Canada. They do nothing good for the people. How they even managed to get there. Dumb voters.

    And don't bother sending Prentice a letter or email, it falls on deaf ears. I've sent a few, sending in various problems from copyright to telecom's, and never got a response. If you really want to get someone to listen to you in Canada, send your emails to an NDP representative, they are about the only one's who actually care about the people these days.

    I hope Prentice gets shot in the head, then run over by a bus, then shot in the head a few more times, then run over a few more buses, just to make sure he's really dead. Might want to burn what's left for good measure. Scumbag.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Chris Brand, 9 Jul 2008 @ 9:30am

    Re: Scumbag

    Just because you don't get a response doesn't mean that sending a letter is a waste of time. Politicians believe that we're still in the age where copyright is only of interest to businesses. The only way we're going to convince them otherwise is to inundate them with letters, phone calls, meetings, etc.
    If he gets enough letters, he'll realise that this is an issue that could cost his party the next election, and he'll quietly put this bill on the back-burner (and let his colleagues in the trade department push ACTA through instead).

    The NDP already have a sensible position on copyright. It's the rest that need convincing (particularly the Bloc right now).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Ryan Neudorf, 9 Jul 2008 @ 10:01am

    He doesn't have a clue

    From the 3 or 4 interviews I've heard with him, Prentice doesn't seem to have a clue what he's talking about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Mogilny, 9 Jul 2008 @ 2:24pm

    Jim Prentice's Background

    Info about Jim...

    Jim "has specialized in property rights". But not INTELLECTUAL property rights.

    Jim "was Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for M├ętis and Non-Status Indians".. which gives him zero experience as minister of industry, or copyright laws.

    and finally, Jim is a conservative.

    It is not hard to see why he is so clueless about current copyright laws and technologies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    CN, 9 Jul 2008 @ 4:07pm


    I wish I could afford to buy my very own politician... but my taxes are so high I can't afford one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    John Wilson, 10 Jul 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re: Did he even write the legislation?

    "I wouldn't be surprised if this bill was ghost-written. It would certainly explain why he's unwilling to answer specific questions about it: he may truly not understand the specifics."

    If you read it you'll find that it grants things to lobby groups like the RIAA and MPAA and their Canadian branch plant groups "rights" they're still fighting for in the United States.

    Including criminalization of copyright violation and trying to establish reverse onus in those cases. Never mind the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that reverse onus is a constitutional violation going back to Magna Carta and therefore invalid.

    In short, it tries to do things which are unwise, at the very least to unconstitutional at worst.

    The long and the short of it all is that Prentice doesn't want to talk about it or want us to talk about it.

    Nor, I suspect does he want it in committee either because of the coverage that will most definitely get and he can't just hang up the phone on a committee.

    The Senate won't be overly friendly, either, and that's a good thing.

    (Mark this because I have very few good things to say of that chamber of sleepy cronies.)

    Voting the Tories out won't change much because the Grits are just as bad.

    The federal NDP would have to get its collective head out of the clouds and stop mourning the loss of Stalinism. Not to mention the rampant paternalism of their upper class and upper middle class notions that it knows better than the poor and working class about what the less "fortunate" actually need.

    So the only option we have as Canadian citizens is to raise utter hell and make sure this piece of crap dies on the order paper as it so richly deserves.



    (For readers outside of Canada Tories = Conservative Party and Grits = Liberal Party.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.