I am a small “c” conservative. I believe in less rather than more government. In the past, I have tended to support the Canadian Conservative party rather than the Liberals.
Lately, though, I’ve been feeling less and less inclined to think of the Conservatives as worthy of support. And in the last forty eight hours, I’ve really started to think they need a swift kick in the pants, just like the Liberals.
What has happened in the last couple of days? Well, for one thing, I watched Sicko by Michael Moore. I started thinking maybe our universal health care, despite its flaws, needs more protection than the Conservatives seem inclined to give it. I’ve never wanted American-style health care, but I could sort of see the point of some Conservative politicians that some level of for-fee medical services for “extraordinary” services makes sense. But I think any such adjustments to the health care policy probably need more care to insure our existing system remains solid and truly universal.
But what really bugs me, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this side by side with the medicare comment, is the strong support the Conservatives seem to be giving to American style copyright reform. Here in Canada, “fair use” has been pretty well a given: if I pay for a CD or DVD in Canada, I am entitled to copy it for my own use on whatever personal playback device I choose. I can use whatever technical methods I need in order to exercise this right: the copyright holder can not take this away from me using digital rights management or copy protection. Of course, I’m still subject to prosecution if I subsequently resell my copies or even mass-distribute them: but for my own use, my rights are well protected.
Until now. The Liberals were the first to propose “copyright reform” in the American style, taking away our right to fair use…but they never got the legislation passed. The Conservatives are apparently intent on stripping even more of our rights away from us than the liberals, implementing a “DMCA North” that will make the American legislation look generous.
My recommendation to Jim Prentice, the Conservative introducing the new bill: start polishing up your resume. The folks who pay your salary, that would be us, the voters…we won’t take kindly to having our rights sold to music copyright groups like the CRIA. Interestingly, even the musicians are lining up against this bill. And the American music industry is starting to wake up to the fact that suing your customers is a stupid business practice, and perhaps trying to sell product the way people want to buy it would be a bit smarter.