Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda may have cancelled her planned broadcaster fundraiser in light of negative media attention, but the issue contains to attract attention in the House of Commons. NDP Canadian Heritage critic Charlie Angus had the following to say on the matter yesterday:
Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the heritage minister was caught passing the hat with industry insiders and lobbyists. As soon as we shone the light on it, they scrambled to cancel the event so we would not find out who was at the trough.
When I asked the government for accountability, the President of the Treasury Board stood up and asked for the NDP's help in order to get rid of the influence of big money in politics. I think the implication of his plea is clear. We are going to need an all party strategy to keep the heritage minister on the straight and narrow.
I have done what I could to have a three point plan to maintain the ethical sobriety of the heritage minister: first, reveal the list of those she is putting the tap for money on so we know which lobbyists are rewriting government policy on copyright and deregulation; second, institute a remedial plan so she can learn how to listen to the groups and artists that she is supposed to be representing; and third, ask the House of Commons carpentry staff to head over to the heritage minister's office and paint over the big for sale sign on her door.
As I noted earlier, the list of Bev's backers is a who's who of copyright and broadcast lobbyists.
For example, last year Oda's riding association received support from:
- copyright lobby groups – CRIA, CFTA, CMPDA, CMMRA, Director's Guild, Entertainment Software Association, SOCAN, Writer's Guild
- record labels – BMG Canada, EMI Canada, Sony Music Canada, Warner Music Canada, Universal Music Canada
- broadcasters – Corus, Vision TV
- cable companies – CCTA, Cogeco, Rogers, Shaw
- lobby firms – Temple Scott Associates, Capitol Hill Group
Should this line of commentary continue, it is fair to ask whether the Conservative minority government will think twice about pushing forward aggressively on copyright while entrusting the file to a Cabinet minister who ties to lobby groups becomes a regular issue in the House of Commons.