Industry Minister Jim Prentice sidesteps question on counterfeit treaty and Copyright bill

If you look up counterfeit in Wikipedia it starts with, “A counterfeiting is an imitation that is made usually with the intent to deceptively represent its content or origins.” What would you call a treaty that is being negotiated in secret, needed a Wikileaks leak to get past the fact that Access to Information requests were getting blacked out pages, is called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and yet has contents which have little to nothing to do with counterfeiting?

I think we have a treaty where its very title seems to have the intent to deceptively represent its content and origins.

Within parliament we appear to have a member that is trying to get at the truth about this government counterfeiting. Charlie Angus, the NDP’s digital issues critic and the sitting MP that seems to best understand digital issues, had yet another exchange with the Minister of Industry Jim Prentice. This exchange included this counterfeit treaty and the fact the Copyright bill was not to be tabled today.

My own transcript of the exchange, which you can view on Mycelium, is as follows:

Mr. Angus: (In French) Mr. Speaker, the Industry Minister continues delaying tabling of the Copyright Bill. Canada’s international reputation is damaged by this delay. We also know the government is secretly negotiating in Geneva to treat kids with iPods like criminals. Why does the Minister want to criminalize millions of ordinary Canadians.

Minister Prentice: (English) Mr. Speaker, the Honourable member simply has all his facts wrong. The key issue on Copyright is, of course, striking the appropriate balance. A balance between on one hand consumers, and on the other hand creators. Attempts by the previous Liberal government to do so, not surprisingly, have failed, Mr. Speaker. The bill will be introduced when myself and the Minister of Canadian Heritage believe that the appropriate balance has been struck. And I would encourage my friend to be constructive and patient.

Mr. Angus: This is the analog age, and he is sounding like a broken record. You can’t have balance unless you have had consultations. This Minister has been lead around by the nose by the US lobbyists, and he has ignored the Canadian input. So what we are having in these negotiations in Geneva right now is mandatory snooping of individual internet use, the attempt to personally seize computers at the boarder – to search and seize. The use of lawsuits against individuals. Mr. Speaker, the difference is though – the average citizens that he is trying to criminalize can vote, while the US ambassador cannot. Does he think he is going to get away with this without consultation.

Minister Prentice: Well, Mr. Speaker, there is a fair bit of shrill rhetoric in there. The Government will deal with the balancing of the rights of consumers on the one hand and creators on the other. It is a difficult job. It is well in hand. The Bill will be introduced in due course. In the meantime, if the NDP wish to lead themselves around by their own noses, they can do so Mr. Speaker.

I think it is an understatement to say that I don’t think that the job is well in hand. This Minister sidestepped the question entirely which was about the ACTA. The mention of the Copyright bill was only to document the fact that the bill was not going to be tabled today, as was previously stated by the government.

At 15:46, after a few votes, the “Introduction of Government Bills” section of the day came and went with no Copyright Bill being tabled. The following remains on the Order paper:

December 7, 2007 — The Minister of Industry — Bill entitled “An Act to amend the Copyright Act”.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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