As thousands of Canadians speak out on the prospect of another Canadian DMCA, the official and unofficial response from Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore is to stop criticizing and wait for the bill. His spokesperson told the CBC that "people ought not to judge the legislation that they have not read." Moore himself is using roughly the same line in direct messages to some Twitter commenters, saying they should wait to read the bill before passing judgement.
While unsurprising, the response is straight out of the Jim Prentice playbook, who similarly urged people to wait for what became Bill C-61 before commenting. Yet the effect of remaining silent is to give Moore a free ride as the bill is drafted over the coming weeks. The reality is that there is nothing to stop Moore or the government from either confirming or denying the general direction of the bill on issues such as anti-circumvention rules or flexible fair dealing. In fact, months before Bill C-60 was introduced, the then-Liberal government provided a full roadmap of its legislative intentions so that the bill itself was not a surprise.
Over the past 48 hours, additional sources have come forward to privately confirm the information found in my original post: that Moore has been pushing hard for C-61 as a starting point (particularly with respect to the digital lock provisions) and has flatly rejected a flexible fair dealing approach. Taking Moore's advice – which amounts to STFU until you see the bill – may buy him some quiet as he tinkers at the edges of time shifting, format shifting, or distance learning provisions to try to sell his bill as pro-consumer, but the foundation of Moore's Canadian DMCA will remain unchanged. Now is not the time to remain silent. Send a paper letter (c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6) to your MP, Moore, Clement, and the party leaders today (then join the Facebook group and Facebook page).