Combating Counterfeit Products Act

An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Christian Paradis  Conservative

Status

In committee (House), as of June 12, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to add new civil and criminal remedies and new border measures in both Acts, in order to strengthen the enforcement of copyright and trade-mark rights and to curtail commercial activity involving infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods. More specifically, the enactment

(a) creates new civil causes of action with respect to activities that sustain commercial activity in infringing copies and counterfeit trade-marked goods;

(b) creates new criminal offences for trade-mark counterfeiting that are analogous to existing offences in the Copyright Act;

(c) creates new criminal offences prohibiting the possession or export of infringing copies or counterfeit trade-marked goods, packaging or labels;

(d) enacts new border enforcement measures enabling customs officers to detain goods that they suspect infringe copyright or trade-mark rights and allowing them to share information relating to the detained goods with rights owners who have filed a request for assistance, in order to give the rights owners a reasonable opportunity to pursue a remedy in court;

(e) exempts the importation and exportation of copies and goods by an individual for their personal use from the application of the border measures; and

(f) adds the offences set out in the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to the list of offences set out in the Criminal Code for the investigation of which police may seek judicial authorization to use a wiretap.

The enactment also amends the Trade-marks Act to, among other things, expand the scope of what can be registered as a trade-mark, allow the Registrar of Trade-marks to correct errors that appear in the trade-mark register, and streamline and modernize the trade-mark application and opposition process.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 12, 2013 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 7:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. While I say that I hold a sliver of optimism, if he were to tell me that there was no basis for that, I would have a hard time arguing with him that I have a strong basis for my optimism.

Like him, I recall not just the Copyright Act in this discussion but many other bills that have been considered in committee and amendments that have not been seriously considered by the government. I recall the discussion about the Copyright Act, particularly with respect to digital locks and what that would mean for people with perceptual disabilities. That was a great concern of mine. I can recall other amendments that were put forward that, in my view, would have actually helped the government achieve what it was trying to do, and it still would not agree to them, because they were not the government's amendments.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 7:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the second reading of Bill C-56, the combating counterfeit products act.

Counterfeit goods hurt our economy. They undermine innovation and the integrity of Canadian brands. They threaten economic growth and they threaten job creation. Moreover, they threaten the health and safety of Canadians.

The bill before us takes important steps to modernize Canada's intellectual property legislation to address counterfeiting. I would like to speak to the impact this bill will have on those who have created a copyrighted work or have invested in a registered trademark. I would then like to demonstrate how our measures will protect Canadian consumers and families while targeting commercial counterfeiting.

Bill C-56 introduces changes in four key areas: border enforcement, greater civil tools to enforce intellectual property rights, reduced red tape burdens on rights holders and improved criminal offences. These are all worthy objectives and deserve our support, which it seems we are achieving tonight. They will help protect legitimate businesses from unfair competition by those who minimize costs and maximize profits through counterfeiting.

It is difficult to obtain a precise estimate of how big a problem counterfeiting truly represents in Canada. The rights holders are often reluctant to report that their products are being counterfeited. They are concerned that their brand image will suffer as a result.

The RCMP calculates that between 2005 and 2012, over 4,500 cases of IP crime were investigated in Canada. During that period, the retail value of counterfeit goods seized by the RCMP increased fivefold, from $7.6 million to $38 million.

Sales of counterfeit items represent lost income for a legitimate rights owner for a genuine product. Given that many incidents of counterfeiting are not reported, we can assume that the actual cost in lost sales to rights holders is much more.

Counterfeiting costs the legitimate rights holders in other ways. It costs in terms of the effort to maintain customer relations with consumers, who may be dissatisfied with the quality of a product, not realizing that it was not produced by the legitimate rights holder. It also has a cooling effect in terms of innovation. It makes rights holders more reluctant to invest in the development of new, innovative products if they know that their research will only serve to enrich others who will knock off cheap counterfeit versions of their products. The counterfeiters have no R and D costs. They have no advertising costs. They are piggybacking on the investments made by the legitimate rights holders.

It costs in terms of giving serious and organized crime a foothold in the marketplace. According to Interpol, the profits are so high in counterfeiting that it serves as a magnet to those who seek ways to finance other criminal activity, including drug trafficking, human smuggling and robbery. Some people may believe that counterfeiting is a victimless crime. This is clearly untrue.

Over the years, many hon. members have devoted their time and knowledge to studying the challenge of counterfeiting. I would remind the House that both the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security studied the problem in 2007. Again, last year, the industry committee called witnesses to testify about the impact of counterfeiting and other intellectual property issues.

I am sure that hon. members were attentive to the tabling of our committee's report in March on Canada's IP regime. It makes several recommendations regarding counterfeiting and piracy of trademarks and copyrights.The committee recommends, for example, that legislation should introduce both civil and criminal remedies for trademark counterfeiting. The bill before us would create such a regime for both civil and criminal remedies. It would provide rights holders with expanded civil causes of action. Holders of registered trademarks would be able to stop counterfeit goods earlier in the supply chain, before they reached the market. Under the current system, rights holders can pursue civil action only if the offender has sold or distributed a counterfeit product. In other words, the manufacture or possession of counterfeit products is not against the law.

Under clause 21 of the bill before us, “A person shall not manufacture, cause to be manufactured, possess, import, export or attempt to export any goods”. Clause 21 also addresses the increasing phenomenon of counterfeiters shipping the knock-off products separately from the counterfeit labels. The practice is to attach the labels at the last minute so as to avoid detection. Under the bill before us, rights holders can pursue civil remedies against those who manufacture or ship labels intended to be later attached to those counterfeit goods.

The committee report calls for a combination of civil and criminal remedies. On the criminal side, the bill would ensure that selling, distributing, possessing, importing or exporting counterfeit goods for the purpose of trade would be prohibited and subject to fines and possible jail time. In addition, new criminal offences for possessing and exporting pirated goods for commercial purposes would be added to the Copyright Act.

In its report on Canada's intellectual property regime, the standing committee recommended that Customs officials be allowed to share information with rights holders regarding suspected goods. The bill would grant border service officers the authority to search for and detain suspected counterfeit goods and to inform trademark owners of the detention.

Under the current regime, a rights holder must obtain a court order to stop a suspected shipment. Under the current system, rights holders must know, among other things, that counterfeit goods are coming from a particular location in an approximate time period, and they must also provide enough information to identify the goods, as required by the court.

There are many ways in which this system is inadequate for the rights holder. Perhaps the rights holder knows that goods are coming from a particular factory but cannot identify when or how. Perhaps the trademark holder does not gather enough evidence to convince a court to act. Perhaps the Canada Border Services Agency encounters suspected counterfeit goods, but under the Customs Act, does not have the authority to take action or notify a trademark or copyright owner in the absence of a court order. Perhaps the rights holder does not know that a shipment is coming, and under the current regime, the trademark holder remains in ignorance. In each of these cases, enforcement at the border is not an option.

This bill before us would remedy that situation by granting border services officers the authority to detain suspected counterfeit goods on their own initiative. It would also facilitate detention through the request-for-assistance system. Through this system, rights holders would be able to provide Canada Border Services Agency with information about their copyright or registered trademark as well as contact information. The border services officer would use this information to help identify and detain suspected counterfeit goods and would have the authority under the Trade-marks Act or the Copyright Act to detain them. Through the consequential amendments to the Customs Act contained in this bill, the border services officer would then have the authority to contact the rights holders to share relevant information regarding these goods to determine whether the goods were indeed counterfeit, and that the rights holder would have the option of pursuing civil action.

In other words, the CBSA would be able to provide the rights holders with limited, necessary information that would help in a civil case.

The bill before us would give the rights holder, the CBSA and law enforcement the tools required to crack down on counterfeiting. As a result, we would reduce the damage that counterfeiting inflicts on the Canadian economy, including reduced sales for legitimate businesses and lost tax revenue for governments.

I would also like to draw the attention of the House to the impact of the bill on consumers and the protection it would afford to individual Canadians.

The legitimate businesses whose products have been copied illegally are not the only victims of counterfeiting. Because counterfeit products forgo safety regulations, certifications and quality controls, the consumer who purchases them has also been victimized.

For example, purchasers of counterfeit pharmaceuticals have no way of knowing whether the active ingredient is the required dosage for their prescription. Purchasers of counterfeit batteries do not know that the product may be prone to exploding or leaking. Purchasers of counterfeit children's toys may be putting children in danger of choking hazards or toxic paints. Purchasers of counterfeit electronic items may be buying products that could ignite or explode.

Consumers have become the victims of counterfeit products in many different ways, but today I would like to remind the House that it is in no way the intention of this bill to victimize them any further by confiscating products they have purchased for their own personal use.

Let me remind the House of where the laws governing counterfeiting are made stronger and clearer.

Under the current law, there are many gaps in the ability to go after counterfeiters in either the criminal or civil courts. There is no action that can be taken for goods that have not yet reached the marketplace. An individual is not violating a trademark owner's rights by manufacturing or importing counterfeit goods that will be sold.

It is possible to import counterfeit goods to sell in Canada, it is possible to have a warehouse full of trademark-infringing goods to be sold in the future and it is also possible to make counterfeit goods to sell in Canada or counterfeit labels that will be put on those goods.

Presently it is unlawful to sell counterfeit goods on the street or in a store. It is also unlawful to sell goods with a mark that might be confused with a registered trademark. This bill would close any loopholes by giving trademark owners the ability to stop counterfeit goods at all stages of the distribution chain, from manufacturing to retail sale. It would also create a civil action for selling or offering for sale labels or packaging that is to be applied to counterfeit merchandise.

I want to be very clear that these provisions are designed to target the commercial operations of counterfeiters. They provide federal agencies and rights holders with the tools to confront criminals who gain commercially from the sale of these goods. We believe that the best way to stop illegal counterfeiting is to crack down on commercial counterfeiting at its very roots.

The measures apply only to those who knowingly possess counterfeit goods for commercial purposes. They are not targeted at the private, non-commercial activities of individuals. They are not designed to prosecute individuals who have purchased counterfeit or pirated products. We are not going after individuals who may own a pirated DVD or a counterfeit watch bought from a sidewalk vendor. Counterfeit items found in an individual's luggage for personal use will not be seized by Border Service officers.

In fact, the bill provides a specific exception at the border for individuals who happen to have counterfeit or pirated goods that are intended for personal use as part of their personal baggage. This exception is in no way intended to encourage the personal use of counterfeit goods, but it protects Canadians and enables Border Services officers to focus their attention on the root cause, which is the commercial abuse of trademarks and copyright, a growing problem in Canada and around the world.

I expect that the new civil and criminal measures included in the bill will give rights holders and law enforcement the tools they need to bring commercial counterfeiting cases before the courts. This will raise the profile of the problems that counterfeiting has created in Canada's economy and the health and safety risks they pose to consumers. The measures in the bill are designed to help federal agencies and rights holders target their efforts to confronting criminals who gain commercially from the sale of these goods.

Many Canadians regard buying counterfeit goods as unethical, as our industry committee was told in meetings throughout the past quarter, although some see it as a victimless crime. However, awareness is growing, and I believe there will be significant public support for reducing the damage done to Canadian jobs and the health and safety risks to consumers that are caused by these counterfeit goods.

I would remind the House that the bill before us responds to many of the recommendations made by the committee. It would enable Border Services officers to detain counterfeit items and to share limited information with rights holders. It would introduce new civil and criminal remedies for trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. It would grant an exception to consumers who bring across the border counterfeited or pirated goods for their personal use. It would provide additional criminal offences and tools to strengthen Canada's enforcement laws.

The bill represents an important step in the government's ongoing efforts to create the marketplace framework laws, including intellectual property laws, that foster innovation, jobs and economic growth in Canada. I would ask hon. members to join me in protecting Canadian consumers' health and safety and in protecting the work of innovative Canadian entrepreneurs and the jobs they create.

I hope all hon. members will join me in supporting swift passage of Bill C-56.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend. He has obviously spent a great deal of time on this issue.

The bill intends to create ex officio status and powers for CBSA members at the border. Does the government contemplate adding training for such powers?

As we know, detecting copyright material is not necessarily always as easy as it seems. There are subtleties that often end up in courts. Courts also struggle with this issue and, in fact, employ experts in this field.

The ex officio status of CBSA members at the border would be in real time. With the dramatic cuts the government has already made to the CBSA, some 550 full-time equivalent officers have been removed. That is the latest number for CBSA border officials.

With fewer resources, is the government planning a training program to allow the members who do remain as they intercept these goods to be able to determine if the goods are in fact counterfeit?

If just writing laws is the only plan, then it would be easy, but writing the bill only matters if we have the power to implement the law. With diminished resources at the border, can the member provide the House with any update or any plans the government has to get our officials up to the status and training level of being able to do the job that the bill requires them to do?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the countless hours we spent hearing witnesses at committee, it was very evident that training of officers and specialized development of officer skill sets at the border constituted a tremendous gap in the process.

While this issue is not addressed in the bill, I fully expect it is something that will be refined by amendment at committee if necessary. Clearly, in order to identify the products coming across our borders, border officers are going to have to be well trained. They are going to have to know how to spot those products, and that will be an integral part, from my perspective, of implementation of the bill.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, not too long ago, when the government was a minority government, it often received and accepted reasoned amendments. I am reading an article that states that the current Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism accepted reasoned amendments proposed by the then Liberal critic for citizenship and immigration, Maurizio Bevilacqua, but somehow that does not happen anymore.

I listened to the member for Don Valley West, who was here when the member for Halifax West gave his remarks. He offered what I think were some very reasoned and sound amendments, and he, I and the member for Timmins—James Bay expressed concern about the government's absolute unwillingness and, frankly, inability to accept reasoned amendments.

Would you tell me, sir, through the Speaker, that you will entertain these amendments, or are you telling us that this bill is absolutely perfect in its current form?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I heard the comments made by the hon. member for Halifax West, and clearly transshipment and education were critical elements of his concerns.

I would like to state that the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is a committee that, from my perspective as a relatively new member, works very well. It is a committee that respects the opinions of those on opposite sides and works in a more harmonious environment in order to achieve positive results.

I would say that when we get to committee with this bill, we will have a good opportunity to address these issues, and I think that reasonable amendments with reasonable discussion will be well considered.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8 p.m.
See context

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I have heard a number of NDP members in debate on this bill suggest that the government has cut 850 positions from the Canada Border Services Agency. I would prefer to believe that this is being said out of ignorance rather than mendacity, because it is reflective of what I will call a misunderstanding that is often amplified by the NDP.

New Democrats should understand that in collective bargaining agreements, for every one position that is actually being removed, typically three people are “affected”; that is to say, they are given notice or an option to find employment elsewhere.

This is a management technique that is used to ensure minimal impact on individuals. At the end of the day—if the member would just listen to me, as I am making a reasonable point—of the 850 people affected or notified, typically 250 to 300 positions would actually be taken away.

I wonder if the member would agree with me that even after those 250 to 300 positions in CBSA are removed, with the 900 additional CBSA officers hired by this government, there is in fact a net enormous increase in the manpower of CBSA.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a very reasonable and good point. We are still dealing with a net gain of CBSA officers at the borders.

Let me reiterate a couple of things about this bill and all that it would accomplish.

It is going to give border officers the authority to detain suspected commercial shipments and to contact the rights holders. It is going to allow Canadian businesses to file a request for assistance with the Canadian Border Services Agency, in turn enabling border officers to share information with rights holders regarding suspected shipments. We are going to have well-trained CBSA officers working within the force that exists today, clearly very capable and able to achieve the objectives of this bill.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always fun to watch Conservatives try to do math. If we look at the border services, in the government's own planning and priorities, it is cutting $143 million. However, the Conservatives think they will create all these fictitious new roles.

The issue we have heard from rights holders all along—

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Boy, he is a cranky little man over there, Mr. Speaker.

We are talking about the cut of $143 million. I would like to ask my hon. colleague a question. When I talk to rights holders, they say there are all kinds of knock-off goods sitting at the mall and when they call the police, the police tell them to deal with it themselves.

We are being told that they are going to get special training. We do not see anything in the budget for special training. They are going to have to decide what the difference is between an exception under the Copyright Act and what is a bootleg product.

With $143 million in cuts to border protection, what is that going to do? They also have to deal with drugs, guns and counterfeit goods coming across the border.

We can have all the fiction and talking points from the little guys in the PMO who are coming over, but these are the cuts that they are being faced with on the front lines.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding, from what I have heard, that the agency will be able to work well within its revised budgets and will meet the needs of the bill as presented.

Let us just recall that, as my hon. colleague mentioned, when he talks about shipments being left in parking lots and people calling the police and all of those things, this is old news. This bill was just newly presented. It will fill gaps that we need filled. The bill will in fact meet the demand of supporting business and commerce in the country in a way that we have not seen before.

I fully encourage my friends opposite to join me in supporting this bill. Let us see what happens in committee.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an extreme honour to rise in this great House representing the people of Timmins—James Bay and to speak of their concerns.

I am pleased to speak tonight to this bill dealing with counterfeit goods. This is the kind of work we really need to do in Parliament.

The issue of the threat of counterfeit and bootlegged goods is major for economic innovation. It is certainly a question of intellectual development of technologies, such as those in the mining sector.

People in my region were concerned about Falconbridge, the great former Canadian company that was taken over under the Conservative government's watch. People were concerned at the time that it would be taken over by a foreign state-owned enterprise. They were concerned about the intellectual property. Falconbridge had made exceedingly progressive development with respect to ore bodies. These are issues of other interests taking over the intellectual property and undermining Canadian innovation.

We have to deal with the issues of knock-offs, counterfeit goods and unsafe products that are coming in at the border.

We have to put what we are actually talking about in context. We are talking about copyright and trademarks. We are talking about bootlegged items. We are also talking about generic goods and competition.

It is important that we are able to differentiate between the criminal knock-off elements and bootlegged products. Certain rights holders will claim counterfeit or copyright infringement because they feel it is a threat to their economic business model.

One of the fascinating things about innovation is that today's corporate best citizens were yesterday's pirates. Probably the best example of the most militant when it comes to taking on piracy is Hollywood and the Motion Picture Association of America. It lobbies strongly in the United States and the United States is more than willing to twist the arms of any of its allies around the world if they are seen as being a threat to Hollywood.

The market did not go out to California because the weather was nice. The market was in the east. Hollywood was set up because it was beyond the jurisdiction of the Thomas Edison corporation, which had the copyright on motion picture cameras. The market went out to Los Angeles because it was basically a free country there. It was outlaw country. Hollywood was set up outside the jurisdiction so the Thomas Edison corporation could not get them on stealing intellectual property and Hollywood developed. It is an interesting story.

John Philip Sousa tried to stop the development of the roller piano because it was seen as a threat to the livelihood of live musicians. We do not have roller pianos anymore. The American Music Publishers Association denounced the development of the gramophone because it undermined the need for roller pianos.

The pirates who were taking away from live musicians were then threatened by the development of the record player. People only had to buy the record player. They did not have to worry about the copyright that was being paid to the publishers.

Then radio came along. The record industry went after the radio industry because it believed the radio industry was stealing its intellectual property, which was in fact quite accurate. Between 1928 and 1931, the sale of recorded music dropped by 90% in the United States. Part of that drop was a result of the depression, but the other reason was the technological threat posed to the music industry, which was faced with two options at that time. The first option was to try to shut down the commercial use of radio. The other option was to remunerate the artists for what was being played on the air. The record industry rebounded.

FM radio was invented in the 1930s. It was certainly much superior to AM radio. For about 40 years congress did not push for the development of FM radio because RCA had bought up all the licences for AM stations. FM radio was seen as a threat to RCA's business model.

I am not in any way diminishing the issue of counterfeit goods. What I am talking about is the complexity of the issue that is going to face our people at the border. I am very glad we are going to have laws that deal with this because it is where the shipments are coming across.

However, we are asking our border guards to differentiate at times between very complex issues and sometimes there are competing interests. For example, we had a landmark case in the United States under the DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, between two garage door opener companies. I think it was Chamberlain Group, Inc. that had invented a garage door opener. If people lost their garage door openers, they were stuck and had to buy a whole new system. Then Skylight Technologies, Inc. came along and said that it would make a generic garage door opener. That was considered a bootleg product and it went through the United States court system.

It is interesting. The U.S. has very heavy protections for intellectual property. However, if we look at what the U.S. courts have ruled on intellectual property, very similar to Canada, France and Europe, it is the balancing act between innovation and sometimes things that are seen as economic threats and actual economic innovation.

In Bonita Boats, Inc. v. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc., there was a unanimous court decision by Justice O'Connor, who said:

From their inception, the federal patent laws have embodied a careful balance between the need to promote innovation and the recognition that imitation and refinement through imitation are both necessary to invention itself and the very lifeblood of a competitive economy

Two years later, Justice O'Connor repeated similar views in the Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. He said:

It may seem unfair that much of the fruit of the compiler's labor may be used by others without compensation. As Justice Brennan has correctly observed this is not “some unforeseen byproduct of a statutory scheme”.... It is, rather, “the essence of copyright”...

What we are hearing might seem somewhat contradictory, in that copyright is not just a protection to the creator, but it is also a limitation on the rights of the creator to say that an innovative economy is going to develop through imitation.

This goes back to the beginning, in 1841, when Lord Macaulay, during the copyright debates, referred to the people trying to bring laws in as the “knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men”. People were actually ripping off the books and selling them cheaply on the streets of London, because it was the book wars at that time.

Lord Macaulay also said that it was important they would not just create monopoly rights for a small clique of book owners because the development of the English identity would not be possible unless they opened up the market, that they had to create enough of a space to allow the innovation and the proper remuneration to the creators, but they could not create a simple monopoly right that would limit future competitors, today's pirates who are coming in and wanting to get into the market.

I am using the word “pirate” in the sense that we are defending the people who are dealing in bootleg products and bringing in unsafe products.

What I am talking about is the need for us to also recognize that when we have trademark and counterfeit and copyright protection, we will have conflicts that go through the courts between some of the upstarts and some of the big players. It is not in the interests of the big players to ever have competition. We have to ensure that happens. Therefore, when we look at our laws, we want to ensure they happen in a form we can differentiate.

I mention this again because a lot of this will be dealt with at the border where there will be a lot of judgment calls being made. It certainly is important that we give our border officials the ability to seize the goods at the border that need to be seized.

It is funny. When I look at the government's record on standing on intellectual property, it has been a little less than competent. We have a number of examples.

In December 2006, the famous member for Beauce met with the U.S. ambassador, David Wilkins, according to what came out in the WikiLeaks documents. He promised him that our copyright legislation would be just in line with the United States and even promised to show the legislation to U.S. officials before it was brought to Parliament. That would have been an extremely terrible breach of the privilege of the members of the House.

Fortunately, the member for Beauce never got the chance because he went and lost other documents at his girlfriend's house, and so he went back to the backbenches. That little incident did not happen.

We are being told that we need this legislation because of the U.S. 301 watch list. This watch list is a special trade list for countries that are far beyond the norm—the outliers. The countries that are on the 301 watch list are like Yemen and North Korea. They are the countries that the U.S. trade officials say are beyond the laws of intellectual property. They are countries where bootleg products and corrupt practices are the norm.

In April 2009, the special assistant to the now President of the Treasury Board, Zoe Addington, the director of policy for the minister, met with the U.S. trade officials. Again, this comes to us thanks to WikiLeaks, “In contrast to the messages from other Canadian officials, she said that if Canada is elevated to the Special 301 Priority Watch List (PWL), it would not hamper — and might even help — the [Government of Canada's] ability to enact copyright legislation.”

This is staggering. The right hand of one of the key ministers of the government tells American officials to put us on the most notorious watch list as though none of the intellectual property standards in this country were legitimate at all and that we are a complete outlier.

What does that do for Canada's international trade reputation? Here is a government that promotes trade to Canadians in the House. Although the Conservatives do not have much to show for it, they are always promoting their trade agenda. Yet, they go to our number one trading partner and beg them to put us on an international watch list as an outlier country. Can members guess what happened? A couple of weeks later, Canada was added to the 301 watch list as a country that could not be trusted because of its abuse of intellectual property.

Now, we did not hear a peep from government members standing up for the Canadian industries that are actually trying to work in the United States and Europe. They did not defend the fact that we did have intellectual property rights and that we did respect intellectual property. No, the Conservative government was promoting us as an outlier.

However, it was interesting when the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents the biggest intellectual property groups in the United States, such as the Googles and Yahoos, went before the United States trade representative to give a special hearing and spoke up for Canada. There was no Canadian representation there, but we had the Computer and Communications Industry Association saying that the very legitimacy of the U.S. 301 watch list was obviously being put in question by the dubious plan to have Canada listed as an international outlier. They said that the attempt to use trade policy to force through domestic policy was fundamentally flawed.

This is what we have seen again and again with the Conservative government.

However, continuing on with intellectual protection, do members remember the famous iPod press conference? The present Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and the President of the Treasury Board, the one who was begging the United States to damage our trade reputation, stood at a mall tilting at windmills. It was like they were Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, raising their fists for consumers, saying that they would stop that dreaded NDP $75 iPod tax. I think they meant the $21-billion NDP iPod tax or whatever it was, but they would never allow this iPod tax. This was a job-killing iPod tax. They stood out there like two ridiculous figures doing this dance while people at the mall were wondering what they were talking about.

They were talking about Canada's long-standing levy on blank cassettes and CDs, which was seen as a model around the world for allowing some manner of remuneration to artists for the massive amount of copying that was going on. This was actually considered an extremely progressive step.

I met with the Copyright Board and found out what it was looking at. There was no such thing as a $75 job-killing NDP iPod and carbon tax. No, it was talking about a $3 levy on a $200 iPod that would have gone into a fund for artists because we know that there is all manner of copying going on.

That fund, according to the Copyright Board, would have created a $35-million fund for the artists to continue their work. We see how the entertainment industry in Canada and North America has been devastated by the development of digital culture. This is not against digital culture, but the market has not been able to recover. We need new models to re-establish the incredible arts community, but we had these two ministers doing a song and dance of deceit over this $75 tax, they were calling it. At the time, nobody believed it.

The Edmonton Journal said that the New Democratic Party's position on the levy was “perfectly reasonable”, and that the Minister of Industry misrepresented its content and that the NDP's position was thoughtful and it upheld basic Canadian values. The National Post said, “The government's nonsensical, 'Boo! Hiss! No new taxes!' response…is just dumb”.

Of course, we did not know just how dumb it was when it turned around and, wait for it, what did it put on the iPod? It put on a tax. It put its own iPod tax on, so boo hiss dumb. How dumb can the Conservatives get if they get their two key ministers to stand out there and do a ridiculous song and dance to defend consumers while they are undermining the rights of artists and taking $35 million out of the recording industry that is promoting Canadian entertainment, and then turn around and put an iPod tax on.

The government has failed in some key areas of intellectual property. I am glad to see that we are going forward right now and dealing with the issue of counterfeit. I hope that the Conservatives will actually be able to see through some of the problems in terms of ensuring that we have the resources.

I would like to follow up on my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley, who asked a very straightforward question. If the Conservatives are cutting $143 million from border security, how will they be able to deal with the counterfeit and bootleg products that come in? I talk to rights holders and they tell me that when they go to a mall in Toronto and see piles of bootleg DVDs and CDs, who do they call? The RCMP? They do not have the resources. The Toronto police will not do anything, so what it creates instead is a culture where the rights holder is forced to go to litigation.

If it is a big player, it can go to litigation, but if it is a small player, it is very difficult. If the player cannot stop the product, if it is not going to seize the product, but can go to litigation, it is a recipe that puts rights holders continually at a disadvantage.

I would like to think that within this House we could work on a bill that would ensure that there are other resources to seize the products that need to be seized, but that we are not getting caught up in battles between rights holders as to what is legitimate and what is generic. We have also seen in Europe where medicines have been seized. It was claimed they were counterfeit when they were not counterfeit; they were generic. These are important things because they have actually become part of trade disputes, and our front-line officers will have to deal with it.

That being said, in the New Democratic Party, we want action on the bootleg goods that are threatening not just the health and safety, but the innovation of our economy. It will be the balance. Going back through copyright and trademark infringement laws across the world could be issues that we need to have balanced. Fortunately, we see the word “balance” in the dictionary. If we were looking up antonyms we might see the Conservative Party of Canada.

What we need to have here is, out of the work of all the committee members in this chamber, to ensure that we have the right balance and then we have the resources and the tools. If we say we will be serious about dealing with the counterfeit and bootleg products that are undermining our economy, then the police and the appropriate authorities would have the power to deal with this as it comes through.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:25 p.m.
See context

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments on this very important issue and the substance of it. Just returning to his last point, which has been raised before, it is a legitimate question as to whether or not the CBSA, the responsible agency, has adequate enforcement resources to interdict counterfeit goods. It is an important question.

What I was simply trying to put on the record before is the full factual picture rather than a torque and spin picture about CBSA resources, which represented a budget of $1.06 billion in 2005 and in 2012 had grown by 27% to a budget of $1.835 billion. Therefore, even after the economies that the member has mentioned, which are real, after reductions there will still be a net increase in the budget of CBSA of about $260 million since 2005, since this government took office. That is a net real and absolute increase in fiscal resources, about a 26% increase in the number of full-time equivalents at the CBSA.

There will be a reduction. I am trying to confirm the number. I think it is in the range of about 300 actual positions, but that will still mean a net increase over 2005 of about 600 full-time equivalent positions at the CBSA.

The member raises some very legitimate points. I am just trying to ensure that the debate on the question of resources is based on fact and not spin.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate hearing from my hon. colleague and I certainly appreciate hearing his numbers. Unfortunately, whenever we talk to anybody dealing with the border what we are seeing are the cuts. The fact is we have more and more issues with trade at Canada's border, particularly between the U.S. and Canada, and the number of vehicles coming over. Therefore, when we are looking at $143 million cut, we are talking about front-line workers. That issue has been raised again and again. We are not just talking about counterfeiting; we are talking about guns.

The former mayor of Toronto, not the one who is hanging out in Rexdale all the time but the one who was involved with American counterparts about the gun trade, talked again and again about the rise of gun violence in Toronto being from the products that have been brought in across the border because they are not being examined.

I appreciate my hon. colleague. Regardless of parties, we all have a stake in dealing with the counterfeit culture at the border. We also have a stake in dealing with the criminal activity that happens there and we need to make sure that the CBSA has the necessary resources.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Timmins—James Bay for his speech, in which he raised several key points. Since this debate seems to be focused on numbers, I want to ask him a question about the Conservative's double-talk. They are so adept at speaking out of both sides of their mouths, they are starting to look like the Liberals.

On the one hand, the Conservatives announced budget cuts that will save the government $4 billion in order to balance the budget. On the other hand, every time we ask the Conservatives a question about the impact of these cuts on jobs, we get answers like the one given by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who said that these were not cuts; in fact there would be an increase, a net increase.

If the government is spending more money and hiring more people, why did it say it had to tighten its belt to eliminate the deficit? I wish someone would explain this.