The Canadian government has re-launched its consultation on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The last consultation was conducted in the spring. While the government did not release the results of that consultation, I recently reported on the findings based on documents obtained under the Access to Information Act.
The new consultation will be treated as ongoing, meaning that there is no fixed deadline for submissions. The government notes that responses to this consultation may be made available to the public. While it is good that the government is open to public input on ACTA, this new approach raises at least two concerns. First, it has provided no new information about ACTA, effectively asking Canadians to comment on a treaty that they know virtually nothing about (almost all public information comes by way of leaks). Second, the rolling consultation may simply allow the government to claim that it has continuously consulted the public, while knowing that the response will be ad-hoc and (by virtue of the lack of information) uninformed. What is needed is more public information about ACTA. Other countries have brought together all stakeholders for more open and transparent discussions about the treaty and the negotiations. Similar open discussions in Canada are long overdue.