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p2pnet.net/,....Canadian lobbying concerns

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26 Jun 2006 3:04 PM
Canadian lobbying concerns

p2p news view / p2pnet: The Federal Accountability Act, which was passed last week by the House of Commons, has been the focal point of the Conservatives' legislative agenda in 2006. If the Senate grants its approval in the fall, the Act will establish new limitations on lobbying activities and campaign financing. While few would object to placing limits on powerful lobby groups, recent information obtained under the Access to Information Act suggests that another form of lobbying exists that requires closer scrutiny - lobbying that is financed by the government itself.

According to government documents, last fall the Ministry of Canadian Heritage entered into a multi-year agreement with the Creators' Rights Alliance, a national coalition of artists groups and copyright collectives with members both small (the League of Canadian Poets) and large (SOCAN and Access Copyright). The CRA has eight objectives, which notably include "to ensure that government policy and legislation recognize that copyright is fundamentally about the rights of creators" and "to ensure that international treaties and obligations to which Canada is signatory provide the strongest possible protection for the rights of creators."

The Canadian Heritage - CRA agreement, which could run until 2008 at a total cost of nearly $400,000, requires the CRA to provide the Ministry with its views on copyright in the form of comments, analysis or research papers (other deliverables include a policy conference, website communications, and a regular newsletter). In other words, in return for $125,000 annually, the contract appears to be designed primarily to enable the CRA to lobby the government on copyright reform.

The contract raises several issues.

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