The Conservatives reversed course on plans to water down Bill C-27 in an aborted clause-by-clause meeting today that promises another 48 hours of intense lobbying on the anti-spam bill. Parliamentary Secretary Mike Lake opened this afternoon's meeting by putting the Government's proposed changes into the public record. Most notably, the Conservatives have dropped their support for exceptions for survey and marketing companies (a huge loophole), self-regulated organizations such as the Law Society of Upper Canada, and third party referrals. This brings the bill much closer to its original incarnation with some minor tweaking and clarifications. It has also unleashed a new round of intense lobbying with the Bloc moving for an immediate adjournment of today's meeting. The motion was supported by all opposition parties. The clause-by-clause review will now take place on Wednesday.
Assuming support for the Conservatives' changes, the remaining major issue is the spyware amendments promoted by copyright lobby groups such as the music and software industries. Lake indicated that the Conservatives were prepared to accept a change with respect to email addresses, but sources say that there is no support for the copyright lobby's demands for carve outs for DRM in the computer program definition and for collecting personal information without authorization from users' computer as part of investigations into alleged contractual or legal breaches (see this post for more detail). The question over the next 48 hours is whether the Liberals will reconsider their ill-advised motions and if all parties will resist the intense lobbying efforts to bring back changes that would water down the bill.