US puts Canada on piracy watch list yet again!

Remember how, last time around, Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement convinced the US to put Canada on a piracy watch list despite us being in last place on a list of 46 countries? Given the circumstances of that particular attempt at sabotaging our country’s standings so baselessly, can you understand why I might be skeptical of the motivations behind this news?

In its yearly report on countries that are not doing enough to protect the U.S. copyright industry, Canada is listed on the Priority Watch List with China, Russia, Ukraine and a handful of other countries.

The Special 301 Report reads:

“Canada remains on the Priority Watch List in 2012, subject to review if Canada enacts long-awaited copyright legislation. The Government of Canada has given priority to that legislation. The United States welcomes that prioritization and looks forward to studying the legislation once it is finalized, and will consider, among other things, whether it fully implements the WIPO Internet Treaties, and whether it fully addresses the challenges of piracy over the Internet.”

Other countries are more lucky.

Spain, for example, has been taken off the list after it implemented a harsher copyright law. Last December the US ambassador threatened to put Spain on a trade blacklist if the country failed to pass a SOPA-style site blocking law.

Weeks later the new law passed.

I maintain that the worldwide copyfight is an attempt to maximize short-term profits for the content middleman industry expressly at the expense of individual liberties. Hobbling Canada’s international standing in a cynical game to force us to pass SOPA-like anti-privacy anti-piracy measures is a wholly unsurprising tactic. Pulling the same tactic twice, though requires that we all forget what happened last time around.

Canada’s bill C-31 would make us an isolationist country

Seems times are tough all over. The US just passed in the House a bill that effectively repeals the 4th Amendment, and as usual any time some really terrible bit of freedom-abrogating law is passed in the States, people are talking about moving to Canada. However, I’m really hoping they’re just joking, because they’re going to find that increasingly difficult. See, the laughably named “Protect Canada’s Immigration System Act”, bill C-31, is probably going to pass due to the steamroller government in power at the moment.

This bill is laughably named because its entire purpose is protect Canada from refugee immigrants by putting them in jail for a year without review, preventing them from seeing their families for five years thereafter, and leaving their immigration status in question, all at the sole discretion of the Minister of Public Safety (presently, Vic Toews).
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SCOC ruling: Harper’s warrantless internet wiretapping unconstitutional

Via Ottawa Citizen:

The Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark ruling that emergency wiretapping without a warrant is unconstitutional — which could pave the way for a new federal law that better safeguards privacy rights — is being used by critics to revive their attacks on the Harper government’s controversial Internet surveillance bill.

“It’s a huge blow to the Conservative’s Internet snooping bill,” NDP justice critic Jack Harris told Postmedia News.

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MP Stephen Woodworth won’t answer a simple question about rape and abortion

The question in question is, “if a woman is raped, do you support her right to an abortion?”

Woodworth’s the guy that’s trying to reopen the abortion debate as a private member proposal despite Harper’s campaign promise that the present abortion laws would not be revisited yet again. So, with tacit approval from his party — who, while they aren’t backing him explicitly, certainly are more than willing to allow the debate to happen, and with their steamroller house numbers would almost certainly win if they voted in lockstep with their party — here we go again. Expect no engagement on the topic in parliament, since that’s well out of fashion these days. But expect at the same time some heavy trolling on the internet to make it seem like there’s popular support. Not that the populace brought this forward, or are encouraging it.

Oh sure, he’ll engage personally with people like Steve Thoms (SomeCndnSkeptic) on Twitter for weeks on end, getting science wrong, getting the law wrong, getting simple words wrong, and smearing opponents as being like Bashar al-Assad, dictator of Syria.

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Quebec gun registry spared (very) temporarily

Yesterday, a Quebec Superior Court judge granted a five-day injunction against the Harper government’s attempted early destruction of the long gun registry. You’ll remember that I reported back in December that they were totally going to go ahead and destroy it once the law passed even if the court case was ongoing. Well, the court case has at least another four days now, and the government is disallowed to jump the gun, so to speak.

Via the CBC:

The Quebec government sought the injunction in court in Montreal Thursday, in anticipation of royal assent for C-19, the Harper government’s legislation to fulfil a longtime campaign promise to scrap the registry.

The injunction granted Thursday applies to the data collected on residents of the province of Quebec, but also covers the accessibility, availability and integrity of the system holding the registry, as well as the equipment and tools that allow access to the Quebec data. That means the federal government can’t take further steps on ending the registry while the injunction is in place. And Quebec can keep adding data to the registry.

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Here we go again. Tory to reopen abortion debate in Canada

Despite Harper’s campaign promise that the abortion debate would not be reopened yet again, one of the bare few line items on his agenda I actually agree with, it looks like those “values” politicians in his extreme-right party just can’t leave well enough alone. Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth is attempting to get Parliament to take up debate on the topic by calling into question the legal definition of “human being” — and he may just get away with it, because he’s exercising his power as a private member to make his proposal, leading to debate and a vote. All this without sullying the Harper government’s reputation, such as it is, for following through on all its campaign promises.

Woodworth wants Parliament to create a committee of politicians whose task it will be to review a law that says unborn children are not legally considered human beings. If parliamentarians agree to Woodworth’s request, a special committee would review Section 223 of the Criminal Code that says a child becomes a human being only after its complete birth and not while it is still a fetus.

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Who’s behind robocalls that misled Canadian lefties from voting? Conservative supporter Pierre Poutine!

You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s almost like self-parody.

Court documents show a cellphone in the robocalls affair was registered to Pierre Poutine of Separatist Street in Joliette, Que.

Elections Canada’s chief investigator says the clearly fake name was likely used to cover the tracks of whoever was behind the misleading and harassing phone calls to voters in Guelph, Ont., during the last federal election campaign.

Voters in Guelph reported getting calls from a phone number with a 450 area code directing them to the wrong polling station. Elections Canada investigator Al Mathews obtained phone records showing the number behind the Guelph calls was the same one registered to “Pierre Poutine.”

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Conservative election dirty tricks in Waterloo; possibly elsewhere

Our good friend Steve Thoms, a.k.a Some Canadian Skeptic, is apparently interviewed in The Record discussing some dirty tricks by Conservatives in our recent national election.

I know, shock and horror, how could the Conservative Party of Canada have to resort to foul play to win an election when they are so obviously the paragons of all that is light and just and true in this world?

After the news broke last week that Elections Canada is investigating complaints from Guelph residents about receiving calls on Election Day in an apparent effort to dissuade Liberal voters from casting a ballot, the story broadened over the weekend. A company that did campaign work for Conservatives, including the prime minister, was linked to harassing or misleading automated phone calls received by voters in some 18 hotly contested ridings just prior to the May 2 election.

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