You may or may not have seen the dramatic video of protestors surrounding Industry Minister Jim Prentice at his riding association holiday open house last Saturday. It's on YouTube, so check it out:
A few things come to mind as I watch this:
1. These folks seem absolutely certain they know what's in a bill no-one outside government has yet seen.
2. They believe that physically surrounding and intimidating an MP is some form of democracy.
3. No answer Jim Prentice could give about reasonable process and consultation is going to make the crowd happy.
I do not defend Prentice or any government's handling of the copyright file, and I am reasonably sure I won't like everything I see in any reform bill myself, but holy festivus could we maybe see the bill before we grab our pitchforks?
Please note: No actual pitchforks appear in this video -- because the pitchfork is an analog tool of the old economy. Boing Boing and FaceBook are working on a virtual pitchfork application as I write this.
It's amazing that a mob can be created over an issue like copyright. What's scary is that it's a mob and not an organized group of informed individuals. I, too, wonder about how they can be so certain about what the bill says when it's never been released outside of government.
Well, they know that the government has said that the bill will allow Canada to ratify WIPO.
They know that it was drafted to allay concerns of "our major trading partners".
They know that the last consultation with the general public was back in 2001.
They know that the Minister has been meeting with the US Ambassador and other lobbyists.
Maybe that's enough to justify going there and saying "why do we have to wait until after a Bill has been drafted to get our point of view heard ?".
Maybe they believe that any bill that ratifies the 1996 WIPO treaties is a bad thing for users of copyrighted works and tangible property owners.
Okay, thanks Chris Brand.
So the answer is that having a bit of information and speculation is a good enough reason to grab the pitchforks. Angry mobs everywhere thank you for your validation.
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