Parliamentary week in review: December 10-14

Previous review: December 3 - 7

The House stands adjourned until Monday, January 28, at 11:00 a.m.

December 10, 2007

The now famous exchange between Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP) and Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Industry, member for Calgary Centre-North, CPC) happened in Question Period this day. We don't normally get as direct a conversation about the issue we most care about.

Hon. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.), when speaking about C-28 (Budget implementation) he added, "What was in the budget about dealing with intellectual property rights or fighting counterfeit goods? I did not see a thing."

December 11, 2007

Hon. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, Lib.):, as part of the 3'rd reading debate of C-28, continued to discuss issues around counterfeiting, and "Intellectual property".

Since it offers a tone of the debate for many MPs, I am including it here. It should be noted that the Industry committee included ratification of WIPO Internet treaties in their "counterfeiting and piracy" report, even though the WIPO Internet treaties have nothing to do with those issues.

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security wrote a report.
In May 2007, the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security produced the report “Counterfeit Goods in Canada—A Threat to Public Safety”.
This report was followed a few weeks later by a report by the Standing Committee on Industry, which also had a number of recommendations to deal with the plague of counterfeit goods and piracy in Canada. Canada has become notorious--I was going to say famous, but notorious is a much more appropriate word--in the world for piracy and counterfeit goods.
Legislation was enacted last year to deal with the pirating of motion pictures. That is when individuals go into movie theatres with a video camera to record movies and then mass produce and distribute them. Notwithstanding that law, I am sure there is still some of that going on.
The public safety committee focused on those counterfeit goods that are creating safety and health issues for Canadians. We have read in the papers about the toothpaste that came from overseas. Regrettably I have to name China. China is a big player in counterfeit goods. I have to say that. There are tubes of toothpaste that do not contain toothpaste at all; it is sawdust or something, but certainly it is not toothpaste.
There are pharmaceutical products coming in from China and I suspect other countries where the pills or tablets are filled with something other than what the tablet or pill is supposed to contain. People are relying on these pills or tablets to cure some disease or infection, but the pills or tablets are actually filled with food colouring and other compounds.
There are some electrical products coming into our country with a forged Canadian Standards Association stamp which indicates that the product meets the CSA standard, but the products are substandard. In fact, they are a safety risk to Canadians. It used to be that people could only buy them at flea markets but the reality now is that these products are penetrating other retail establishments, dollar stores, et cetera. Extension cords and various other electrical products can be a huge safety hazard. They can short out, cause fires and cause ignition. Because these products can be imported from China at very little cost, the profit margins are huge and the sanctions are low. Organized crime is engaged very aggressively with counterfeit goods and pirated goods.
The government needs to respond aggressively to the reports from the Standing Committee on Industry and the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, and enact the laws to toughen up the sanctions. Also, we have to give the Canada Border Services Agency the mission and mandate to search, seize, and within the laws of Canada, destroy counterfeit goods and pirated goods.
We saw a reference in the throne speech to intellectual property rights, but apart from that there has been nothing that I can see in the budget or the mini-budget and nothing that I can see in Bill C-28 to deal with these growing problems in Canada.

December 13, 2007

After the introduction of a government bill (Bill C-39, An Act to amend the Canada Grain Act), and parliament left the introduction of government bills, someone yelled out "What about Copyright". While anyone watching could hear this, this interesting comment didn't make it into Hansard.

Soon after they discussed that parliament would end sitting at the end of the day, but would be said to be sitting for the purposes of various standing orders (IE: to allow the senate to sit, to have committee meetings, and to allow for royal assent of bills).