The above town hall scene was nothing like Thursday's sham
Town hall for copyright consultation was a SHAM.
That was the subject line of an email I received this morning, which is what many stakeholders in the copyright debate assumed anyway.
In this week's issue, I devoted my column to urging Toronto readers to go out to the town hall, even if they didn't get in. This, of course, to send a message to the government that they need to consider both sides of the copyright debate, not just the rights' holders. In the past, that plainly hasn't been the case.
The fatal flaw of the column was faith that the town hall meeting was an earnest effort to hear what Canadians had to say on copyright. It was anything but.
For those who missed Thursdays town hall, here are some suspicious highlights:
- A lot of empty chairs to a supposedly at-capacity event;
- Tony Clement, minister of industry and chair of the meetings, talking out of turn on what was supposed to be a strictly regimented time allotment for speakers. It was a two-hour meeting that ended with Clement hogging the final six-plus minutes;
- Repeated speakers giving similar points of view;
- The Canadian music industry hogging almost all of the floor time.
And after seeing these results, and also reading reports that online submissions are being tampered with, it's impossible not to be cynical.
All this evidence leads to one unfortunate conclusion: it was a town hall meeting that didn't bother inviting the town. Just lobbyists of the Canadian music industry.
But have faith. When the greater public is finally allowed to weigh in on this issue - that hasn't happened yet, but it will - the majority vote will be for fair copyright law, not the one-sided view that was presented on Thursday.