Tag Archives: neo-conservatives

Battle over Canadian big-brother copyright bill C61


OTTAWA — Critics of the Harper government’s proposed changes to the Copyright Act have launched a cyber crusade to fight the controversial bill.

They’re using everything from Facebook to YouTube to Wikipedia to blogs to get their message out. They want the government to either scrap or make serious amendments to Bill C-61 when Parliament resumes next month.

At the helm of the digital movement is Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa who specializes in Internet and e-commerce law. In addition to his own blog, Geist runs a Facebook group called Fair Copyright for Canada that boasts 90,000 members.

The group, which was created in December, has become so large that members have created local chapters by city and riding to better organize their efforts. Many of the local groups have also developed wikis – online encyclopedic web pages – to keep their members informed.

Geist said more Canadians are getting involved because they recognize how the proposed reforms could affect their daily lives.

“We’re talking about more than just copyright here. We’re talking about the digital environment,” he said. “This legislation represents a real threat to the vibrancy of that online environment.”

Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced the bill in June, calling it a “made-in-Canada” solution to online piracy. But critics responded that the bill was a carbon copy of the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

If passed, Bill C-61 would make it illegal to circumvent “digital locks” on CDs and DVDs and impose a $500 fine on anyone caught downloading illegal copies of music or movies.

Geist also launched a video contest on YouTube inviting Canadians to give their thoughts on Bill C-61 in 61 seconds. A panel of five judges, including Ontario Privacy Commissioner Anne Cavoukian, will announce the winner on Sept. 15 – the day MPs return to the House of Commons.

An Industry Canada spokeswoman said Prentice is interested to see the number of Canadians involved in the online discussions, but it’s up to Parliament to study the issue further.

“The activity online proves that a broad range of stakeholders, with varying interests and vantage points, care deeply about this issue,” said Stefanie Power, in an email response.

The movement isn’t confined to the digital world. The online protests have spurred offline activism.

Kempton Lam, a business consultant from Calgary, used his blog and Facebook to organize a rally outside a breakfast hosted by Prentice last month. Lam said the online discussions have fuelled potential activists.

“There are so many Canadians that have issues will this bill,” he said. “And the online forum has helped us get informed, which leads to offline rallies.

“After we meet, members write about what we learned, post videos back on to the blogs and Facebook group.”

Members of the online movement are also trying to make their voices heard through letter-writing campaigns and one-on-one meetings with local MPs.

Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal held a town hall meeting last month to discuss the controversial legislation after his office was flooded with letters from concerned constituents.

It’s not the first time this digital community has bared its teeth. The Conservative government was slated to introduce the reforms in December but delayed the bill after heavy criticism flooded the blogosphere.

Geist said he is optimistic that the activism will make a difference.

“When you get tens of thousands of Canadians speaking out like this, there’s big political risk for any political party who chooses to ignore it,” he warned.

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Conservatives in Ontario defeated themselves in the 2007 Ontario election


The real losers of the election were the conservatives. However, they really were not defeated by the Liberals. The conservatives actually defeated themselves. Why do you say? (1) They selected to attack Dalton McGuinty constantly during the election did not help. We already knew that Dalton McGuinty broke promises; however he did say that he would let Ontarians judge him. He also said many times “we are still working on that”. He effectively diffused any criticism by appearing to take the higher ground. (2) Faith-based funding was a bad misread. Essentially they failed to realize that people were generally either afraid of Islamic schools (ignorance of the voter of course) in receiving funding or worried about the health of our public schools in the province. I will not get into an argument on whether we should or should not fund religious schools, but the fear in Ontarians was there. They should have known that Ontarians were simply not ready to deal with the problem, not matter how worthy the cause. (3) A failure to articulate what the PC Party would do for the province of Ontario. Somehow the message was not heard by the public; maybe to no fault of their own? Maybe it was the media? Nevertheless, the message did not resonate with voters. (4) Finally, at this is the biggest, the destructive elements within the PC Party who essentially did not like John Tory in the first place. There was a movement to “Vote for the Tories, not Tory”. This was a direct aim at the leader from neo-conservatives in the party that want to go back to the Harris years of power. Love them or hate them, they do exist. It is not fiction! Right-wing elements of the Progressive Conservative party that want to make it “less progressive”. Unfortunately, in the end the PC Party can only look in the mirror for reasons. PC support was not unified and a large majority of conservatives decided to just sit on the hands and stay home. John Tory is still seen in a positive light, and an honest person, even amongst non-conservatives in the province. Even Bill Murdoch, conservative MPP, was challenged by the ever-increasing popularity of the Green Party. With there influence spent and the ever shrinking power based ruralized, the future may get bleak for conservatives. If the PC’s decide to go the neo-conservative route, and it plays out in the public eye as an “internal turf” of their leader, it maybe many years before they ever hold the seat of power in Ontario again.

 

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario