After not touching copyright when asked about cultural priorities twice last week during Question Period, Conservate Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda has told the Hill Times that the government plans to introduce copyright reform legislation. Oda says:
"Copyright legislation has to be amended to make [compliant] our copyright laws and ratify the international treaties. We will be introducing a new copyright bill that will expedite meeting our international obligations but also making sure that we have a copyright regime and a copyright framework that's appropriate."
While most will take this to mean that a WIPO Copyright bill is on the way, that isn't quite what Oda says. She first says that in order to make Canadian copyright law compliant with the WIPO Internet treaties to enable ratification, Canada must amend its copyright law. That is surely correct from a factual perspective but does not say that the Conservatives plan to do it.
Instead, the Minister says that the government will introduce legislation to meet our international obligations (we have no obligations under the WIPO Internet treaties) and that the copyright framework will be "appropriate" (which is code for some sort of balance). Although it is entirely possible that Oda has signalled that WIPO-like legislation is on the way, her words have left the government with some flexibility in how it addresses copyright in the months ahead. Moreover, copyright is a shared responsibility and we have yet to hear Industry Minister Maxime Bernier's views on the issue.
Update: Howard has a posting with a full transcript of the Oda interview. No need for parsing as the Minister is clearly aware of the complexity of the issue.