Saturday, November 12, 2011

Parliament In Review: October 21, 2011

Friday, October 21 saw another day of debate focused largely on the Cons' anti-consumer copyright legislation.

The Big Issue

Once again, copyright was the largest issue, with Tyrone Benskin summing up what's wrong with the Cons' bill in its current form:
In its present form, Bill C-11 is an unequivocal failure. It outright fails to satisfy the two most important benchmarks we as parliamentarians use for evaluation. It fails to establish clear universally understood rules for consumers. It also fails to ensure equitable enforceable compensation rules for those people who dedicate their lives to the creative enterprise.
Meanwhile, the NDP also pushed back strongly against the Cons' "Ipod tax" spin, as Benskin, Joe Comartin and Sylvain Chicoine pointed out the difference between a tax and compensation for services. Robert Aubin noted that consumers generally have every reason to want to see creators compensated for their work, while Megan Leslie highlighted the fact that the lone beneficiary of the Cons' bill would be the corporate media. Leslie and Raymond Cote questioned the bill's massive penalties for what can be a positive action in finding ways around digital locks, while Comartin tied those penalties into the Cons' general philosophy of swamping Canada's courts and prisons with newly-declared offenders.

But for those looking to buy the Cons' spin about opposition obstruction, C-11 actually provides a rather important counterexample - as the NDP made clear its intention to have the bill considered and amended in committee rather than putting roadblocks in the way of better legislation.

In Brief

Hoang Mai cited the Canadian Index of Wellbeing in pointing out how growing inequality is making life worse for Canadian families. Scott Brison asked whether the Cons would demonstrate their supposed commitment to the "It Gets Better" campaign by reversing their malicious cuts to pride funding. Dennis Bevington pointed out a rather glaring contradiction in the Cons' spin about CanNor (with Stephen Harper declaring everything fixed even as the minister responsible said it was too early to know what had gone wrong), and noted that CanNor looks to have joined Tony Clement's G8 porkfest as an example of funding decisions being made at the political level rather than by non-partisan civil servants. Jean Crowder questioned the Cons' move to slam the door on family reunification by pointing out the importance of extended families in picking up the slack in areas like child care where the Cons have stifled any public programs. Finally, Claude Gravelle introduced a bill to ensure that the undertakings of foreign investors (given as a condition of their authorization to take over Canadian businesses based on a national interest test) be made public, while Ryan Cleary spoke to his bill seeking an inquiry into the Newfoundland cod fishery.

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