A new Wikileaks cable confirms that the Conservative government delayed introducing copyright legislation in early 2008 due to public opposition. The delay – which followed the decision in December 2007 to hold off introducing a bill after it was placed on the order paper (and the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group took off) – lasted until June 2008. The U.S. cable notes confirmation came directly from then-Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who told U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins that cabinet colleagues and Conservative MPs were worried about the electoral implications of copyright reform:
From December 2007 to mid-February, senior GOC officials and well-informed private sector contacts assured the Embassy that legislative calendar concerns were delaying the copyright bill’s introduction into Parliament. Our contacts downplayed the small – but increasingly vocal – public opposition to copyright reform led by University of Ottawa law professor Dr. Michael Geist. On February 25, however, Industry Minister Prentice (please protect) admitted to the Ambassador that some Cabinet members and Conservative Members of Parliament – including MPs who won their ridings by slim margins – opposed tabling the copyright bill now because it might be used against them in the next federal election. Prentice said the copyright bill had become a “political” issue. He also indicated that elevating Canada to the Special 301 Priority Watch List would make the issue more difficult and would not be received well.
The cable also notes that an unnamed Liberal MP (who sounds an awful lot like Dan McTeague) assured the U.S. embassy that the copyright bill would receive wide support (though Conservative MP James Rajotte did not believe it would receive “smooth sailing”). The cable states:
An influential Liberal MP on intellectual property issues separately told EMIN on February 26 that the copyright bill would receive widespread support from the Conservative, Liberal, and Bloc Quebecois parties if and when the GOC sends it to Parliament. The Liberal MP stated that he has pressed Industry Minister Prentice to release the legislation now, adding that Canada is out of step with the rest of the (developed) world on intellectual property rights and risks losing future foreign investment. The MP dismissed the political significance of the public efforts of Professor Geist and hinted that Canada’s possible elevation to the Priority Watch list would not be seen as a hostile U.S. action, but show that its IPR regime is weak vis-a-vis its G-7 partners.
The cable concludes by noting that Canadian officials warned against placing Canada on Special 301 Priority Watch list (which would “give ammunition to Dr. Geist and his acolytes”) but that strongly recommends doing so anyway.
You’ve got acolytes?
… do they get robes?
I want my robe.
Robes are a good idea
I want mine too :D.
I have my robe
And a wizard hat.
This really shows the influence that the US had in all of this. Can’t our MPs think for themselves?
Well, if the Orange wave holds on election day, we’ll get a chance to see if the NDP is really any different from the other sycophantic parties.
@Michael: “Our contacts downplayed the small – but increasingly vocal – public opposition to copyright reform led by University of Ottawa law professor Dr. Michael Geist.”
Now Michael is on the no-fly list. And if he enters by land, and survives the “cavity search”, he will be “accidentally” deported to Syria. 🙂
Cues the denials…
in 3… 2… 1…
Should he be worried?
I would love to see Dr. Geists CIA file.
Can someone in the U.S. gov please leak it for us? TY in advance.
On a serious note, when a government like the Americans single someone and their “co-conspirators” out like this I think the Gov of Canada should be giving these people super special and fearless secret service type protection.
The Doc and his co-conspirators should demand it.
You never know when that remote controlled airplane has a bomb with your name on it.
I’m glad that the Canadian gov has Americas best interest on their mind then say that of the Canadian people. :rolleyes:
Dr. Geist = Human Quality
I love Dr. Geist’s ideas! He should be our Canadian prime minister and his acolytes should be our MPs.
“Our contacts downplayed the small – but increasingly vocal – public opposition to copyright reform led by University of Ottawa law professor Dr. Michael Geist.”
“The [Liberal] MP dismissed the political significance of the public efforts of Professor Geist”
“Finally, George cautioned that if Canada were retained on the 301 Watch List – or even elevated to the Priority Watch List – it could affect future Canadian cooperation on IPR as well as give ammunition to Dr. Geist and his acolytes”
Hmmm.. It certainly looks like the US Embassy is much more concerned about Michael than the Canadian representatives. And it looks like they are being fed their information (summaries) by individuals opposed to Michael’s postings.
– I don’t remember Michael ever opposing copyright reform, just that it be done correctly and fairly.
– I suspect any politician that “dismissed the political significance” of copyright reform, or the whole digital future, is doomed in this election. The US isn’t far behind in this, so expect that to become a major issue in US politics as well, it’s already an important one.
– It looks like the USTR doesn’t care much about “supporting” the politicians they are asking to drive through a copyright bill that meets their agenda. If so, why did they give all that ammunition to Micheal and all of us [sarcastically] “acolytes”?
It looks like the US embassy staff should spend a little more time “on the street” just listening to the average Canadian. Probably something any politician or policy advisor should be doing more of – in any country, but especially those with elected governments.
All in all, there isn’t anything here that surprises me. We all “know” this kind of stuff goes on, it’s just that we rarely see the evidence. I wonder if this kind of information and “informal briefings” should also be included in “transparency in government” policies.
Acolytes? WTF is that word? I’m french and never heard of it. That a normal english word to use or has someone dipped into the church wine?
An old testament christian word.
an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles. In other Christian Churches, the term is more specifically used for one who wishes to attain clergyhood.
The Acolytes is a team of comic book mutant supervillains in the Marvel Comics universe
an officer who attends or assists a priest
[via Old French and Medieval Latin from Greek akolouthos a follower]
So what is this american guy saying? Dr. Geist is a villainous priest and he has a bunch of demon dancing bloggers following him wishing to attain priesthood?
Hmm… That makes a catchy headline…
Dr. Geist and his demon dancers; The Acolytes from Hell
…or it makes a great band name.
Another pro-user zealot here
Corporatocracy does not give up, does it?
So, let’s bring Harper’s gang to justice!
I’m surprised they didn’t call your fans “Radical Fundamental Extremist Pirates”.
Today we give thanks for the disclosure, discernment and determination of Saint Geist and pray that You send Angels and Angus’ to protect MG from the Globalists and Lobbyist digital a55a55ins.
May Server be with us all.
/me lights a candle and humms memetics…
Wikipedia says that to be Mentioned In Despatches “is a military award for gallantry or otherwise commendable service.” Congratulations on yours.
If it wern’t for you meddling kids!!
Hi John, I tip my tinfoil hat to you Sir 😉
The cable concludes by noting that Canadian officials warned against placing Canada on Special 301 Priority Watch list (which would “give ammunition to Dr. Geist and his acolytes”) …
Pro Copyright Reform
We’re all very much in favour of copyright reform, thank you very much! It’s just not the type of reform RIAA/MPAA and their paid political underlings would like to see.
“Acolytes? WTF is that word? I’m french and never heard of it. That a normal english word to use or has someone dipped into the church wine?”
It’s a normal English word though not one that sees common use.
They mean definition three: “any attendant, assistant, or follower.” It’s a deliberate insult, implying that we’re cultish followers of some charismatic leader, as if we’re all in a compound somewhere in Guyana and have a fridge full of Flavor-Aid. Instead of, you know, people interested in the future of our country and the welfare of our countrymen. If Dr. Geist has acolytes then every editorial author of every major newspaper is the next L. Ron Hubbard.
But it gets better when you read the cable for the context! I urge everyone to look it over for some of the gems. Such as: ‘… it could affect future Canadian cooperation on IPR as well as give ammunition to Dr. Geist and his acolytes, who see a revised copyright bill as a “U.S. plot.”‘
You know what I see as a ‘U.S. Plot’ more than a revised copyright bill? A four page letter in which the US is PLOTTING to push for the revised copyright bill!
Another good part: ‘After the usual denouncement of the Special 301 process (which we hear every year)….’ Is it just me or is that parenthetical aside sound completely dismissive? One country comes to another criticizing their international relations and their response is ‘Yeah, you say that every year!’
There’s also some interesting bits on what the US pharmaceutical industry wants Canada to do. Certainly it means nothing if the IP concerns of large corporations are discussed in the same message that talks about putting pressure on a country to change their IP laws!
Could one of you acolytes tell me where you keep the Flavor Aid? Because I think anything the good doctor provides us would do less damage than what the US is trying to feed us!
Some confusion at the US Embassy?
They seem to have confused Dr. Michael Geist with M.D. Geist. Maybe the intelligence analyst was dyslexic?
Seriously Micheal Needs a Robe fund (TM).
I’m glad to see we made an impact though, it’s nice to know that your work gets noticed once in a while. That and information allows the Lamarkian distribution of the truth; which allows people to make informed decisions which include writing nasty grams to their MP’s.
I’m just picturing Dr. Geist surrounded by robed grad students muttering dark incantations…oh wait that was my PhD experience.
Seriously though, this was to be expected. The US was trying to push their agenda through communications with our government, and the PMO was sympathetic to their cause at the time. The fact that they view individuals opposed to their agenda as foes is also expected, even if their choice of words was a bit dramatic.
What is concerning is the fact that it appears as though our government was willing to share confidential information with the US interest groups, although the degree of this transfer seems limited.
The Bad Guys …
This just reinforces who the bad guys are:
– Graham Henderson of CRIA (he’s a shill for the US Government and big corporations) always claiming to be on the side of artists.
– Dan McTeague always claiming to on the side of consumers. He can bloviate all he wants about how we’re being gouged by gas companies. All the while he in the pocket of large copyright conglomerates.
Duplicitous fucking liars, I hope McTeague gets booted in this election.
Seriously – If the ‘reform’ which sounds more like a ‘realignment’ than a ‘reform’ (I draw a difference there), is so risky as to risk their seats… Did they think to modify it to address the concerns? No.
Not one word on addressing the concerns. Only getting past the election.
Dollars to dirt (by imperial weight I guess), my money says once they’ve got 4 years to get this behind him…their gonna do it.