C-32 Legislative Committee, Day One: Hearing Schedule Set

The C-32 Legislative Committee held its first meeting yesterday morning with MPs from all parties wasting little time in expressing disappointment over the way the committee was functioning.  After some initial procedural discussion over the length of witness statements and the order of questioning, the committee spent nearly an hour debating the frequency of meetings.  The Conservatives pushed for an aggressive timetable, with Dean Del Mastro and Mike Lake taking turns proposing up to 18 hours per week of hearings in the hope of hearing from all witnesses by the end of 2010. The opposition MPs rejected the Conservative proposals, standing firm on 4 hours per week of hearings (two 2 hour sessions on Monday and Wednesday afternoons with three witnesses per hour).  

The key takeaways from day one?  First, the current timetable should push the committee into late February at the earliest.  There will be three weeks of hearings before a winter break from mid-December until January 31st.  The House will sit for three more weeks at that time, followed by another week break.  Six weeks appears to be the bare minimum to hear witnesses and work through clause-by-clause. Second, while the numbers have always been obvious, the hearing provided an immediate reminder that the Conservatives will need to find compromises in order to pass the bill.  The opposition can block the bill or any particular provision and support from at least one party will be needed to get the bill through.

There will be another meeting this afternoon to develop a work plan and identify likely witnesses, followed by a special hearing on Thursday morning for Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore.

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  1. delivery systems
    all comments (in the bill hearings to be in) in bullet form.

    man, THAT’S just asking for trouble. Big Momma S’mother would be proud, thou.

    does anyone else think this conservative gov’t is illegal, immoral and fat-catening in it’s operations?

    privacey, property and freedomn of info are getting hobnailed.

    pat donovan / packrat.

  2. So, if the debate and negotiations drag on until Spring and Harper calls an election then C-32 may die on the table like it’s ancestors. I would personally prefer to have this bill tweaked, as on the whole it is not that bad. On the other hand, a stab at a new bill in the future may give us time to rethink and consider approaches in accordance with the upcoming digital economy strategy plans.

    Kinda torn, worst case scenario though would be to pass this bill as is. I don’t see that happening, but with ACTA passing EU parliament I guess any bad legislation can make it through with a big enough push.

  3. Assuming that a clear majority government is an unlikely? future result- is a stalemate the likely outcome?

  4. I would personally prefer to have C-32 tweaked than shot down before the next election as well. It’s almost a sure bet that if this bill is shot down, the next one is going to be even worse, and harder to work with.

    If could get behind this bill only if it were amended such that TPM’s did not trump fair dealing or private copying privileges, and that the technologies which may circumvent TPM’s were not made illegal themselves in circumstances where the technology might be expected to reasonably be employed by somebody exercising a fair dealing or private copying privilege. Rather, in that vein, it should only be illegal to otherwise actually infringe on copyright with such technologies.

  5. Geek
    So we can assume then the witnesses will be CEO’s and Entertainment Industry execs and assorted millionaires??

  6. Sigh
    What a bunch of children. Politics makes me think of the third grade debate club I was in at elementary school.

    With such important things on the table, can’t we have grown-ups making the decisions?