Conservatives screwing Canada over copyright reform

Wikileaks confirms it: Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement is responsible for the copyright shenanigans the US pulled on Canada. He evidently urged the States via his director of policy Zoe Addington to put Canada on the US’ “piracy watch list”, a move that hurt Canada’s international standing wholly baselessly (we’re last place out of 46 countries examined for piracy rates!).

Several Wikileaks cables released earlier this year chronicle the sustained U.S. lobbying effort on copyright. In a June 2005 cable, the U.S. talks about the “need to engage the legislative branch as well as relevant departments”, proposes creating a bi-lateral working group, and offers to conduct training sessions for Canadian officials. A June 2006 cable discusses meetings with Bernier and then-Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda. A March 2007 cable reports on repeated meetings and attempts to elevate the issue as a top priority.

The cables also discuss a joint strategy with Canadian copyright lobby groups to allow for a “good cop, bad cop” approach, with the lobby groups using U.S. pressure “as a signal to the Government of Canada that they are willing to be ‘more reasonable than the Americans’.”


The 2009 cable also raises questions about the copyright consultation that year and Canadian encouragement of the U.S. pressure.  The cable reports that Zoe Addington, Clement’s former director of policy, said the consultations would be used “as an opportunity to educate consumers and ‘sell’ the Government view.”

Moreover, Addington encouraged the U.S. intensify its lobbying efforts, stating “if Canada is elevated to the Special 301 Priority Watch List (PWL), it would not hamper – and might even help – the Government of Canada’s ability to enact copyright legislation.”Days later, Canada was elevated on the Watch list.

I would say “you have got to be fucking kidding me”, but this ain’t the first time the Tories have leveraged the States’ international clout to manipulate our country’s politics. But hey, you want to talk about a broken system? Over 65% voted against Conservatives in this past election, but the Conservative Party of Canada now has a majority (a.k.a. steamroller) government. That’s how it works when you have one party on the right, and four parties splitting up the centre and left.

Conservatives screwing Canada over copyright reform
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7 thoughts on “Conservatives screwing Canada over copyright reform

  1. 2

    I’m not sure to be in this post, so I’ll explain my thoughts as best as I can.

    1) I’m an American. (USA-ian if you want)

    2) Wow, that sucks.

    3) the Conservatives tend to be really good at sticking together… (as reference between the States’ Republican Party and the Canadian Conservatives)

    4) Well at least you know which party on the left you support verses having to support a party of “least evil” time and time again.

    5) I wish the States could have multiple parties on the left so we can toss the “blue dogs” (a holdover of “dixiecrats” of 30+ years prior) off the metaphorical bridge like you guys recently did by voting in a more libreal party into a slightly greater majority.

  2. 3


    1. American. (USA-ian might work in Spanish, but in English, not so much.)

    2. Yes, yes it does.

    3. Not only official party co-operation, but there’s lots of grassroots support (i.e. $$$) from American rightwing religious groups and gun lobbies etc. for the Conservatives.

    4. Not really true in our First Past the Post system. Everywhere I’ve voted, I’ve voted for the leftish party that had the best chance of defeating the most popular Conservative (/Alliance/Reform) candidate. The current Conservative majority is what happens when the lefties split the vote. We have more social democrats (NDP) in the House this time around (due mostly to a shift from the likewise left-leaning separatist party in Quebec), but overall, the result is a bad one–and not democratically representative.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the Conservatives hadn’t used propaganda of fear to convince the uninformed that coalition governments were *undemocratic*(!!).

    5. I agree, your political system would benefit from having at least one party that was truly progressive. As it is, you have one party that appeals to the far right, and one that appeals to the moderate right (but both in fact don’t seem to care about voters, only corporate backers).

  3. 5

    Over 65% voted against Conservatives in this past election, but the Conservative Party of Canada now has a majority (a.k.a. steamroller) government.

    The CPC had ~40% (39.6%).

    Quick question, when was the last time a PM had more than 50% of the popular vote?

    Here’s a hint, it has happened twice since 1950, so you can bitch and moan all you want but it is a fact that in Canada all you need to win a majority is about 40% (see Trudeau, Pierre, or Chretien, Jean).

  4. 6


    Perhaps you can explain how your comment acts as a rebuttal to Jason’s point.

    As it is, all you are doing is reinforcing the notion that first-past-the-post tends to result in Parliamentary majority governments short on a majority of popular support in the electorate, and that this is not necessarily a good thing (whatever one’s ideological leanings).

    If you are going to not-quite-accuse Jason of hypocrisy, perhaps you can show where he has exulted in the past over the Liberal party gaining majority governments on the basis of 40% popular vote?

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