More than a year after Bill C-27 was first introduced, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology finally launched its review of the bill yesterday with an opening appearance from ISED Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The delays in Bill C-27 reflect significant concern with both the effectiveness of the privacy provisions and the inclusion of an AI bill that is widely viewed as inadequate. Champagne started with a 12 minute opening statement in which he assured committee members that he had heard the criticisms and that the government had a wide range of amendments planned to address the concerns. While many of the potential amendments sounded quite positive, once MP questions commenced it became clear that the department had yet to actually draft them and has no plans to provide the actual text until the committee starts clause-by-clause review of the bill. In other words, the government has decided how it wants to change Bill C-27 before a single external witness appears before committee, but it will only release the actual amendments after the witness portion of the committee study is over. The end result is that Champagne broke the hearings before they had really begun, with dozens of witnesses ready to testify about a bill that the government plans to change but won’t provide legislative language.
Post Tagged with: "Champagne"
Why Industry Minister Champagne Broke the Bill C-27 Hearings on Privacy and AI Regulation in Only 12 Minutes
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 162: Paul Andersen on the Rogers-Shaw Merger and the Disappearing Independent Internet Provider in Canada
Last week, Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne tried to spin his approval of the Rogers-Shaw merger and the enhanced role of Videotron as a win for Canadians, arguing that somehow fewer competitors would lead to greater competition. But in recent months, the Canadian communications landscape has shifted, not only with this merger but also with the gradual disappearance of a half-dozen independent providers who have been swallowed up by the large companies. What does this mean for the wireless and Internet competition in Canada? Is there any hope for consumers for a respite from some of the world’s highest prices? Paul Andersen is the Chair of CNOC – the Competitive Network Operators of Canada – and the President of E-Gate Networks, an independent provider. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the implications of the merger, the loss of many independent providers and recent leadership changes at the CRTC.
Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne has worked hard to fashion himself as a future party leader based on boundless energy to sell Canada the world. Indeed, Champagne’s oft-repeated stories of cold calls that resulted in investments by companies such as Volkswagen and Moderna paint a picture of a minister jetting around the world in support of the Canadian economy. Unfortunately, Champagne’s record is also one of a minister less interested in what is actually happening at home. His privacy legislation has languished for months and he has been entirely missing on digital policy, where fishing expeditions such as the one involving Bill C-18 are likely to make companies reticent about entering the Canadian market. This morning there was another lasting and damaging development as the approval of Rogers-Shaw merger (or more accurately the approval of the transfer of licences that pave the way for the merger) will mean that Champagne will have presided over the destruction of the competitive communications market with both another major merger and the sudden disappearance of many independent providers.
The Canadian government often talks about the importance of privacy, but actions speaks louder than words. Not only has privacy reform clearly not been a priority, but the government seems more than willing to use the weak privacy rules to further other policy goals. There is an obvious price for the government’s indifference to privacy safeguards and it is paid by millions of Canadians when major privacy incidents (think Tim Horton’s or Home Depot) result in no substantive changes and no urgency for reform from the government. Indeed, as I noted yesterday on Twitter, the government has managed to rush through user content regulation in Bill C-11 and mandated payments for links in Bill C-18, but somehow privacy reform in Bill C-27 has barely moved. Some of the responsibility must surely lie with Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who brings high energy to everything but privacy reform, but the decision reflects on the entire government.
Canadian copyright lobby groups have spent years falsely claiming that educational institutions refuse to pay for licences to compensate for the use of educational materials. This second post in my Fair Dealing Week series on Canadian copyright, fair dealing, and education focuses on this claim, which is a gross misrepresentation of the data (first post on Setting the Record Straight). The truth is that Canadian universities spend millions of dollars on licensing copyright materials. In fact, over the past decade, the emergence of site licenses that provide access to millions of works – books, journal articles, newspapers, and more – has led to huge increases in expenditures for access. Unlike copyright licences from copyright collectives such as Access Copyright, these digital licences provide both original access to works and the ability to use them in course materials. In the 1990s, a university would both purchase a book and pay for the right to copy a portion of it to distribute to students as course materials. Today, the university can use a single licence to gain access to the book and make it available as course material, handouts and for many other purposes since most digital licences facilitate access and permit multiple uses.