Since becoming a Member of Parliament I have discovered that the topic of urban legends can also apply to proposed Bills and legislation before the House of Commons. It is understandable that in a democratically diverse country such as Canada, citizens will from time to time agree to disagree on the direction and policy of Government. However that disagreement should be based on the facts and not rumor or inaccurate information. Government also has an important role to play in communicating factually accurate information in a timely manner.
One of the recent bills that I have received a fair amount of inquiry on is the newly introduced Bill C-11, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act, also known as the Copyright Modernization Act. It is well known that Canada's existing copyright laws are woefully out of date and have not kept pace with recent advancements in technology that include MP3 players, PVR's and other electronic devices including software and in many cases related hardware. Contrary to popular opinion expressed by some, the new act does not call for a citizen to be "arrested" or fined for copying a personal CD collection onto an MP3 player. Rather the Act proposes to legitimize many day to day activities that are common among Canadian consumers.
Recording TV programs, copying music, backing up software or other data and even posting a mash-up on a social media site are all permitted activities under the Bill provided the intent is for non commercial purposes. What has changed? Canadian creators, performers and artists will now have more legal rights and protection as well as additional control of how copyrighted material can be made available on the internet. In support of these enhanced protections, there will now be more significant penalties for those individuals who choose to engage in accessing unauthorized copyrighted material that includes either the circumvention or "breaking" of digital locks including the importation, sale or manufacture of devices designed to break digital locks. In summary the intent of this legislation is to protect everyday consumers who have legitimately acquired copyrighted material and wish to copy or duplicate that material for personal, non commercial use. As this is a brief summary of Bill C-11 If you would like further or more detailed information please contact my office.
Also this week I had an opportunity to introduce my Private Members Bill C-311 that, if passed, will create a personal exemption under the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. This act contains a prohibition era law that makes it illegal for a citizen to transport a bottle of wine from one Province to another. For many of our Okanagan based wineries selling wine to customers in other Provinces is illegal because of this 83 year old law. If this exemption can be passed, it has the potential to open up the Canadian marketplace and provide consumers across Canada more choice and access to wines from our outstanding Canadian wineries, many located here in the Okanagan. While the Bill has only reached the stage of first reading, it has so far been well received and supported by many of my colleagues from all political stripes. If you would like to support Bill C-311 you can join the "End wine prohibition in Canada" Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/endwineprohibition) or visit my www.daninottawa.com website for further information including a link to the Facebook campaign.
If you would like further information on any of these or any other Bills please contact my office at 250-770-4480 or toll free at 1-800-665-8711
Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.