As MPs prepare for a new Parliamentary session next week, sources indicate that Liberal MP Dan McTeague is promoting a new IP and Anti-Counterfeiting Caucus. In a letter to MPs, McTeague points to the recent Committee reports on counterfeiting and argues that:
From the findings of these reports and from the views held by most independent observers; industry representatives; IP experts; and law enforcement officers, if Canada does not take action to protect IP and combat the growing increase in counterfeiting and piracy throughout all sectors of our economy, then we will face very serious consequences. Canada's domestic economy will suffer; jobs will be lost; our ability to attract foreign investment will be impacted upon; our innovative capacity will be severely undermined; public safety will be compromised; and Canada's image in the global community will be tarnished.
McTeague's solution is to create a new IP Caucus to promote WIPO ratification and IP reform. Indeed, his first order of business is a trip to Washington to meet with the U.S. Congressional IP Caucus to "to exchange ideas and gain additional insight on this serious issue."
This proposal is both misguided and dangerous. Has McTeague actually spoken to independent observers and IP experts (registered copyright lobbyists don't count)? Has McTeague – who is the opposition critic for consumer affairs – considered the impact of these reforms on consumers? Most academics and independent observers would strongly disagree with his assessment of the state of Canada's IP laws and their impact on our economy. Canada needs a dialogue on copyright and UP reforms that meet our national interest, not a new forum for the U.S. copyright lobby.