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.