March 13th, 2012

Conservatives attacking the heart of culture

Conservative copyright bill would take $50M from artists’ revenue

OTTAWA —By refusing to amend Bill C-11 to reform the Copyright Act, the Conservatives are threatening Quebec and Canadian culture by directly attacking artists’ sources of income, New Democrats said today.

The Conservatives refused listen to the opinions of experts who came to present their objections in committee hearings on the bill, including groups of artists and other cultural representatives from across Canada.

“This bill deprives artists of $50M in revenue,” said Deputy Heritage Critic Pierre Nantel (Longueuil-Pierre-Boucher). “This irresponsible government is going to weaken Canadian and Quebec culture. It has refused all compromise by rejecting proposed amendments.”

“This is a real attack by the Conservatives on culture,” said Nantel. “It’s an act to protect authors’ rights, yet all the Conservatives are doing is taking those rights away.”

During committee on C-11, government officials said that sections of the act aren’t clear enough and must be interpreted by the Court. Instead of clarifying their intentions, the Conservatives opted for costly legal battles, not only for the government, but also for artists and the industry.

“Artists, consumers, students and businesses will all suffer from this unbalanced bill,” said one of the NDP members of the committee on C-11, Andrew Cash (Davenport). “It's flawed because of the shoddy work of the Conservatives on this file. That’s unacceptable.”