NDP Calls It: Bill C-56 is “ACTA Through the Backdoor”

The government is characterizing its Bill C-56 as an anti-counterfeiting bill, yet this week NDP MP Charmaine Borg framed it more accurately as “ACTA through the backdoor.” During Question Period on Monday, Borg asked Industry Minister Christian Paradis directly if the bill paves the way for ratification of the discredited treaty:

Mr. Speaker, last July the European Parliament rejected the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement over serious concerns about the regressive changes it would impose on intellectual property in the digital age. Yet on Friday, the Conservatives introduced a bill in the House that would pave the way for the ACTA without question. Canadians have concerns about goods being seized or destroyed without any oversight by the courts. Will the minister now be clear with Canadians? Are the Conservatives planning to ratify ACTA, yes or no?

Paradis refused to respond to the ACTA ratification question:

Mr. Speaker, we are very happy to have introduced an anti-counterfeiting bill in the House. Counterfeiting is a growing problem in Canada. Counterfeiting deceives Canadians and is linked to security-related issues. So it was our duty to modernize the legislation to ensure that we can end counterfeiting, so that Canadians are not deceived, and to provide better security.

Borg tried again with a direct link between Bill C-56 and ACTA:

Mr. Speaker, a number of countries have rejected this unacceptable agreement. The anti-counterfeiting trade agreement – ACTA – was drafted behind closed doors and would incriminate the daily users of cultural content. This agreement will turn our border officers into instant copyright experts, without the adequate legal support. Canada must seriously study the problem of counterfeiting. However, the failure of Bill C-30 means that Canadians do not have faith in this Conservative government. Is Bill C-56 not simply a way to support ACTA through the back door?

Paradis ducks the question once again:

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: Bill C-56 is a way to support and protect Canadian families.
Counterfeiting is a growing problem that must be stopped. Counterfeiting deceives Canadians and poses risks to the safety of Canadians. We must ensure that the legislation is updated and appropriate in order to equip the authorities with effective tools to fight counterfeiting, which is exactly what was introduced on Friday. If the NDP is responsible, I hope they will support us.

The 52 page bill requires careful scrutiny, but the NDP is right for drawing attention to the elephant in the room. ACTA has been rejected in Europe and stands as a discredited agreement. Despite that, Bill C-56 is fundamentally a bill designed to allow Canada to implement ACTA.


  1. I’m with the NDP!
    Something has to be done with this bill C-56. There’s gotta some way to defeat this bill.

  2. Password/Encryption?
    Couldn’t you just have a password on everything so they can’t search it?

  3. RE: Password
    @Polybius If you prevent Border Security from searching your iPhone, for example, by using a password, what’s to say they won’t presume you’re guilty and impound it until they can get a professional in to crack it?

    I am personally of the opinion that Harper is trying to make himself the most hated politician in Canadian history. At this rate, we may one day look back fondly to the days of Brian Mulroney.

  4. MIndBoggled says:

    “Let me be clear…”
    “”…by repeatedly not answering your question.”

  5. “Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: Bill C-56 is a way to support and protect Canadian families.”

    Oh well then, since you put it that way, I guess we’d be silly to be against it. Carry on then.

  6. RE: Password
    Border security has tools they use to bypass any locks or passwords on your mobile devices. They also have the ability to confiscate any device to do with as they please.

  7. Exemple
    Borg: “Mr. the speaker, is the sky blue?”
    Paradis: “The pavement is black, Mr the speaker”

  8. is there anything we canadians can do to stop it?

    we are anon

  9. Devil's Advocate says:

    “is there anything we canadians can do to stop it?”

    Yes! Get everyone you can that feels the same way, and fill Paradis’ ears (and as many of our other ministers’ ears as well) with that sentiment. Basically, make their lives miserable until they “get it”.

  10. You can either stand with us or stand with the counterfeiters.

  11. The EU (public) rejected ACTA predominately because of its negative copyright, Internet, and privacy-affecting provisions (turning a blind-but-glaring eye away from the fact that it wasn’t done democratically). Paradis is simply parroting the word “counterfeiting,” also used in ACTA’s title, when both references are disingenuous with respect to copyright, the Internet, and “imaginary property.” Copyright infringement is not counterfeiting, fraud, or theft, whatever else one might feel about it. And nor is it something to demolish privacy, property, and human dignity over. So, it really bugs me that he’s not even acknowledging these major objections and simply punting with “counterfeiting.” He’s pretending the only thing the bill affects is prescription drugs when we all know it will affect as much of our online lives as the old spying bill would, and the new one (C-55) likely will (especially after these copyright changes). The title of this bill (C-56) is “An Act to amend the Copyright Act” (“and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts”), not one year after we just bitterly passed a new copyright act (C-11), which was the result of many aborted attempts and arguably should not have even happened, but rather was simply forced with a patronizing “father knows best” style. (Thanks dad.) Now, 1 year later, they are simply going to pass everything they didn’t get in the first shot? Am I dreaming? Is this Canada?

    44.02 (1) Would let “rights holders” use public money to pursue – the public – when the public doesn’t want the law in the first place.
    44.08 Would mean you have no recourse.

    I’m not against restricting the sale of counterfeit objects, and preventing false-representation, but this government wants to treat digital signals as objects too. If they are objects, then they are objects that you can copy as easily as click without destroying anything (not even value)…

    As to the “security related issues”: no. The only security related-issues here are those of the individual being usurped by a rogue government that is deaf to it’s own citizens.

    To quote a protest sign: “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.”

  12. @MX “You can either stand with us or stand with the counterfeiters.”

    More like … “You can either stand with us or stand with those interested with graft free law & due process”

  13. Business owner Importer Exporter
    Customs officers should never have any of the powers mentioned. This will destroy many business’s and cause huge headaches. I know from experience, Customs officers do NOT have the ability to recognize any of the things mention that they would be watching for. I have a letter stating that officers do not know the difference between Country of Origin markings and certification markings. We we charged under AMPs, which few people know about, it was all wrong, we were considered guilty FIRST then had to prove we were not. Which took over 2 years cost all of you thousands, over a part that is in every car, dishwasher and micro wave in the world, a relay, worth $1.25, had UL US markings for fire rating, that marking was enough to stop the shipment and fine us $1000.00 with 10 days to pay. Guess what the officer left on Holidays. Can you imagine? Exporting US technology without a permit. The part number on the part when typed into Google showed the first return on the page was the Company in CHINA that makes it. They didn’t bother to do any investigating, period, lazy, sloppy and rude and they kept telling us to pay it. I was told at Toronto airport when coming back from over seas by an officer (that my taxes pay for) that he didn’t have to let me back in the country. Can you imagine being told that when you pay all of your taxes and always pull your weight, and are an independent business person? The one thing I would say to them now is at least I don’t make a living of other Canadians like some kind of tick, a destructive force in our country. Counter productive, just like the U.S. system. Even after you get them off of you, it haunts you that things could be so screwed up and no one cares. May God help us all, there will be no help from Canada Boarder Services. We have to stop this bill, now, but how?

    Contact your MP right away.

  14. Wow
    Thats some pretty insane stuff dude.

  15. Paradis whats your payback after you leave Parliament Hill.
    The question I would like to ask Paradis is, if this gets passed and the Cons get defeated where are you going to get your next job as payment for passing a bill that is only good for the media Barons. Look at what EX Disgraced Premier Gordon Campbell received from Harper as payment for lying, then implementing the HST in BC, Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, a prestigious diplomatic posting. “High Commissioner” is the term used for ambassadors in British Commonwealth countries. Again Paradis, whats your payment to ram this down Canadians throat.

  16. Who cares?
    This goes one of two ways.
    1) Bill gets killed, world goes on until the next version comes out in 6 months.
    2) Bill passes and people learn a little something about simple personal privacy. I don’t care who you are, you aren’t going to be able to track my internet use through a VPN and over Tor with end-to-end encryption. It isn’t hard to do, but no one wants to take the time to educate themselves. If you can’t be bothered to protect yourself, then of course people are going to try to take advantage of you.

  17. @Browner87
    For lots of people it has nothing to do with taking the time to get educated, we all ready are educated. If you want to pay for high speed internet and get 56k modem speed, your welcome to use Tor. I try it a few times in a yr and it is still slow as molasses. Might as well go back to encrypted snail mail.

  18. UTtereality from LA says:

    Food for Thought
    Mr. Geist,

    I have read many of your articles and I thank you for keeping the Canadian public informed about our government and the changes they are attempting to make to ‘counterfeiting’. I’ve read the comments that are generated from your stories and stories like it (particularly, large volumes of comments on reddit), and many Canadians are in agreement that we have become an apathetic bunch, but we need to be writing to our MPs to help invoke change.

    In an attempt to help make it easier for busy Canadians to get involved with their government, I encourage you to consider including a link to the list of Canadian MPs and their mailing address with your political articles. I have included the link below, and plan on regularly posting it in r/Canada as well as when I come across articles calling for Canadians to take action.

    Thank you for keeping us informed. Cheers.

  19. @James
    YOU should be contacting the Chamber of Commerce and also research any business associations you are a member of. THESE are the guys that pay for the lobbyists to get these laws passed.

    CIVILIANS and CONSUMERS get snubbed by their MPs. Just look at this weekend, where MPs have been snuggling with the CRIA and Canadian-MPAA at the ECMAs.

    Money talks, Bullshit (I mean, constituents’ opinions) walks. That’s how it is nowadays.

  20. I thought ACTA was already as backdoor as it got.