Prentice Backtracks On Treaty Policy

The Hill Times turns itself over to copyright this week with no less than four articles and op-eds on the topic (including one from me revealing a secret meetings between CRIA and the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Wilson).  The most important of article is a front page, lead article that is freely available titled "Prentice Backtracks on Treaty Policy, Copyright to Be Exempted."  The article, which includes coverage of the Copyright MPs, notes that just one week ago Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier unveiled a new policy to table international treaties in the House of Commons for debate before proceeding with steps toward ratification.  This policy, which mirrors policies found in the UK and Australia, fulfilled a campaign promise from 2006.

Yet one week later, Bill Rodgers, Prentice's communication director, is quoted as saying that they plan to introduce the copyright bill first and deal with ratification later.  That is in direct contradiction to the stated policy and clearly counter to the Foreign Minister who says in the same piece "I'm very pleased with this new policy and we'll see in the future what we'll do with that."  If Rodgers is right, what the Conservatives plan to do with it, is ignore it.  As NDP MP Charlie Angus notes, Bernier and the government are about to look fairly foolish as they try to talk their way out of their own policy and their own campaign promise.


  1. Dwight Williams says:

    Not with a law/treaty issue that’s going to mess up as many lives as this one might if mishandled.

  2. Contempt for Accountability
    I don’t think anybody can get through to Prentice. He lives in a bubble of smarmy arrogance. Instead I sent the following note to the office of the PM:

    Honourable Prime Minister,

    Government policy of introducing treaties to the House for debate and
    deliberation is a good one. It acknowledges the tension between national
    sovereignty and international cooperation.

    Exceptions of convenience, however, undermine this good work in a number
    of ways. Most important they confuse the message of accountability that,
    I think, the Conservative party trumpets at election time.

    If the Minister of Industry tables his copyright bill without first
    debating the WIPO treaty, by his admission a key driver of copyright
    reform, that would show contempt for Government accountability.
    (To say nothing of his unwillingness to consult Canadians as the Liberal
    administration did some years ago.)

  3. R. Bassett Jr. says:

    I get the impression
    We’re going to lose.

    We stand to lose a lot things in Canada over the next hundred or so years. When we have many Albertans rolling in dough, in so far as they receive $400 back from their government, yet many people in the rest of the country are barely able find employment let alone live above the poverty line, we have to question functioning of our nation. It hardly makes sense to me that only Albertans should receive such a benefit [and Canadians aren’t seeing any break at the pumps or even in their fertilizer], unless Alberta is no longer part of Canada, in which the oil reserves there would no longer belong to Canadians as a whole. But then, is there anything in this nation that truly does belong to all Canadians as a whole? When Quebec led the way in affordable day care and early childhood development, what provinces followed? None. Even our laws are not our own, it would seem.

    That’s the Canada we live in.

    Long have I had a bleak outlook for humanity in the grand scheme of the cosmos. I see the undoing of all which our ancestors have worked so hard to create in “the free world” [by, for example, choosing which of our own laws we’d like to follow, per our convenience, as the Conservative Party is doing]. Each successive government has little by little worn away the principles of Canada, such that now the balance in which we have always ever so perilously lived is once again set back upon the edge of a sword. This is the same sword wielded in vanity, in fear, in the name of Lord or Leader, for what ends unknown, but we do know this: Canada has still the freedom to retire this weapon and wield community its stead. This is the romantic notion that the Canadian House of Commons was to me. It was our protection, as a species, from returning to the darkness and missing our chance, as a species, to go beyond. Now, in my thirtieth year, I am wise enough to realize that our parliament is essentially a revolving farce, where those who are the voices of reason have little to no voice at all and where those who are elected by the people themselves are done so under the pretense of a banner, rather than their personal merit for the position.

    “Where is the accountability in government?” one asks. Well, it’s right there in your mirror looking you in the face. Sadly we will lose, because we could not see ourselves in those we elected to represent us and we for too long handed our trust to strangers.

    Welcome to the consequences of our collective actions.

  4. moping does nothing. what next?
    what is it right at this moment, at this point in time that can start to be done which will help? i’m all ears.