Yesterday there was a firestorm of discussion over Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore's speech (which was promoted by his department in advance) in which he labeled critics of Bill C-32 "radical extremists" and urged confrontation against those who argue for fair copyright, which he said is really an attempt to mislead and oppose the bill. In response there were hundreds of postings on Twitter (including a debate between Moore and Cory Doctorow) along with:
- an NDP release from MP Charlie Angus saying Moore was way out of line
- a must-read CBC article titled Copyright Debate Turns Ugly
- a terrific article by Doctorow providing an author's perspective on "radical extremism" and copyright
- an article by Blayne Haggart that provides some context on the smears
Almost lost amidst the considerable outrage from many people over Moore's comments, was the possibility that there was an attempt to bury the "radical extremist" comment. The initial video posted by event organizers (the Chamber of Commerce's IP Council) did not include a clip of the reference to radical extremists. Sun Media ran a story that included the quote but others seemed to act as if it never happened.
After I blogged about the comment, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada tweeted a reference to "@mpjamesmoore's actual remarks" as if the remarks did not include the reference. The next morning, Barry Sookman blogged on the speech and characterized my post on "radical extremists" as relying upon a second hand source. While that is true – I relied on Sun Media – both the ESA Canada and Sookman were in the room for the speech and surely heard the comment.
More noteworthy is that Moore himself denied making the comment in direct messages with several people on Twitter who expressed concern about it. For example, he sent this to one correspondent
By mid-morning yesterday, attendees were not confirming the comment, Moore was denying it, and the event video did not include it. That might have been the end of the story, but IT World Canada reporter Brian Jackson compiled his own video of the event and posted it online. The Jackson video included the reference and made it clear that Moore was not being forthright in his private claims (the event organizer site later added the same video). The lack of candor is rather rich given that Moore's comments tried to paint critics of the bill as misleading the public.