Prentice’s New Non-Communications Strategy

I have blogged in the past about the evolving communication strategy for Industry Minister Jim Prentice and copyright reform.  Just prior to the release of the bill, I posted an "unofficial" backgrounder that noted that Prentice was hoping to shuffle the bill to the committee so that he would not have to deal with it all summer long.  True to form, Prentice's brief responses at this weekend's Stampede Breakfast suggest that this is precisely the line that he intends to use.  Having had limited success with the "made in Canada" claims and absolute disasters when asked about specifics in the bill (note that Kempton Lam reports that Prentice's chief of staff Jean-Sebastien Rioux says that people have been "too specific" about the bill's shortcomings), Prentice is now hoping to simply not answer questions by claiming that there will be an opportunity to debate the bill at committee.  In this exchange with Jan Rubak, Prentice is asked:

Question: Canadians have a hundred questions about the Copyright reform bill. Are you going to actually answer them straight-out sometime soon?

Prentice: Well there'll be opportunity at the Parliamentary committee to debate all of those.

In other words, Prentice does not plan to answer questions about Bill C-61.  Having previously hung up on interviewers, he now hopes to hide behind a committee despite the fact that the bill has not even been referred to committee yet.  Canadians should not have to wait months for answers.  It is the time for the Minister to stand up and respond to specific concerns about Bill C-61. 


  1. Committee will rewrite or kibosh C-61
    Good to keep pressure on, but in truth the minority Tories know they can\’t pass C-61 as is, and Prentice knows the Bill will not look like it does, if and when it ever emerges from Committee, where there no minority party support. Why would he yack himself into a politically unprofitable hole with a Fall election likely?

  2. Mike Moniz says:

    Prentice Non-Communication
    No surprise here. It’s the same tactic he used when he was Indian Affairs Minister and the Caledonia native crisis began. Our local media tried for close to 6 months to get even a comment from him, let alone an interview, and all we got was PR spin from his lackeys. He bungled that portfolio and he’s on his way to bungling this one.

  3. Tories can’t pass C-61
    I’m not so certain that the Tories can’t pass C-61 just because they’re a minority government. We are currently in a bizarre situation where the official opposition is *more afraid* of an election than the minority government. All the Tories need to do to pass C-61 is declare it a confidence motion, and the Liberals will jump to do their bidding.

  4. C-61
    No matter who is in government they will try and pass some version of this. Reason being is that every politician wants to be on side with corporations that own the media.

    The would pass this in it’s largely unenforcible form if they thought that would be the best way to go.

  5. C61
    Perhaps everyone needs to be clear to their Liberal MP that if this ever becomes an election or confidence issue, whoever will remove the digital locks provision will win the public.

    I’ve for one make it quite clear that if the Liberals bring down the govt on this issue, I would vote for them (and I’m usually voting for harper).

    Maybe that will give Dion the balls to stand up

  6. Keith Rose says:

    Given that the Bloc’s stated intention is to support the bill at second reading, the Liberals won’t be forced to make any solid commitments either way. In which case, their recent history and their public statements on the question suggest they won’t.

    The rumours of a possible prorogation are getting louder, though. This bill may well die on the order paper before getting to second reading.

  7. Minority government? Hardly!
    People keep talking about how the minority government can’t pass this bill, but in fact we don’t have a minority at all–we have a PC/Liberal coalition majority government.

    Time and time again, the Liberal party has yelled and screamed about the next issue, but when it comes time for a vote, they leave the House, so they don’t have to vote against it. Dion & Co. have been instrumental in propping up a weak government that they proclaim to disagree with, which makes them even more hypocritical than the Conservatives, if that’s possible.

    Quite honestly, even if this bill dies, then the next one will pass, or the one after that; and none of them will be much better. Fair use is dying, so the only option is to quit consuming, or quit paying for what you consume. I certainly wouldn’t advocate illegal activity, but it will be almost impossible to avoid once the ‘reform’ bill passes.

    Of course, the only people who really suffer from this bill are the ones who are purportedly being protected–the artists. Hopefully we’ll come up with a new model which bypasses this garbage altogether.

  8. The Bloc is going to support this piece of garbage.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You seem to believe that the bill should be debated outside of committee – sounds like a pretty opaque process.

  10. Jim Prentice should resign immediately. Which ever party can shut down this bill will win the public. My vote will go to them..

  11. The Bloc supports C-61
    It seems their only problem with it is that it doesn’t come down hard enough on ISPs. With media coverage of C-61 slight to none in Quebec, what can we do to raise awareness of the problems of this bill in la belle province?

    If the Bloc supports it, it passes, no?

  12. Jim R, you are correct if the Bloc(heads) vote with the government on this bill, it will pass since they will have 175 votes on the bill provided there are no absences or abstentions for either party.

  13. Jason Walton says:

    Too Specific
    Jean-Sebastien Rioux makes it all clear; if the RCMP show up at my door and charge me under the new law, I just have to tell them they’re being “too specific” in enforcing the law.

  14. BCDD and Music Lover says:

    He has his fingers in his ears jumping up and down and going LA LA LA LA I cant hear you !!!

  15. Government Incompetence
    The unintended consequences of Bill C-32 (the CD-R levy) were that downloads became legal. What will the unintended consequnces of this Bill be? Probably not good this time. Obviously Jim Prentice is in way over his head as are all the lawyers and politician at both Industry Canada and the Heritage Department.
    The government should shut down the Copyright Board as in the digital age, they just cannot act in a timely enough fashion.
    Or, intellectual property should not even be protected by statists as argued here: [ link ]. But, that would put Dr. Geist out of a job…

  16. DOes Prentice have a clue?
    The Honorable Minster of Industry has shown with the 15-cent text message fiasco that he has little grasp of modern technological issues, I wonder if he can program a VCR? Obviously optics is more important than substance. One should adhere to the old adage, build you foundation [laws] on rock not sand.

  17. Bob in Toronto says:

    Clueless Prentice
    How about we invite all the party leaders for a “technology test”.

    Michael Moore did this years ago with some corporate leaders on his old show “TV Nation”.

    We invite all party leaders (or maybe their designates) to perform some random “tech tests” … things like:

    a) Programme a VCR to record a TV show
    b) Burn a CD
    c) Change the ringtone on a mobile phone
    d) Rip a CD track to mp3
    e) Upload a photo to

    etc. etc.