April 28, 2011

Wikileaks Cable Confirms Public Pressure Forced Delay of Canadian Copyright Bill in 2008

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.

(Comment: James Rajotte - chair of the Industry Committee, which would likely receive a copyright bill - told the Ambassador on February 28 that the legislation would not have such smooth sailing. End Comment)

"Why don't you do something about it?" I did and I had an effect.