19.6.08

Write early, write often.

This is my 250th post on this blog. Thanks for reading it, everyone!

Now, I don't usually delve too deeply into politics, but this time, I'll make an exception. You always hear about activists exhorting people to write their MP. I'm not going to do that here. Instead, for the first time since I moved to the Hat, I actually did write my MP. I'm sure it's not going to change the course of this country, but on the other hand, what good is this modern age, if we don't use it to communicate?

If you'd like to comment on any of this, please do so. Or better yet, send your comments to your MP, whatever they may be. Or, best of all... send your comments to my MP, and tell him what a great guy that Denton is, and how he's worth listening to.

Or, if you'd prefer to see pictures of mummified body parts, tune in on Sunday, when I get back from Edmonton.

Mr. Solberg:

First of all, let me congratulate you on representing such a wonderful city. I moved to Medicine Hat from Edmonton just a few years ago in order to work at CFB Suffield, and I consider it one of the best decisions I've ever made. This city became home to me much faster than I ever would have thought possible.

Over the last two years, I've never had any reason to write my MP with regards to the events in Parliament, but with so many things happening so quickly right now, I'd like to weigh in with my opinions, if I may.

1. I was never particularly worried about the provision about federal funding for movies in Bill C-10: The only way laws can be applied to art is through subjective terms like "public policy". It would have been a nightmare if the Bill had provided a list of what will and will not be funded. A far wiser idea is to keep it simple. Best of all, it was public policy. Had Sarah Polley needed that funding for her next movie, and if the public agreed with her, there would always be room for the government to change its stance. Likewise, a movie which would only harm Canada's world reputation might find its funding revoked. By allowing flexibility, it makes accountability easier.

2. However, that's exactly what's missing from Bill C-61. Based upon the usage of the DMCA in the USA, it seems that it's little more than a weapon for the CRIA to wield against individual citizens. They have millions of dollars at stake: they will be able to intimidate, harass, and bully anyone not prepared to spend their life savings on court fees. What I fear is the CRIA being able to take the law into their own hands, and create criminals out of people such as myself whenever it suits their purposes to do so.

I understand that Canadian artists need to be protected and rewarded for their work: I've bought every one of my mp3s through legitimate means, because I want Corb Lund to be able to record his next album. But under this legislation, I'm still breaking the law depending on how I play those mp3s. I'll be buying less music, not more, under this system, and that's not any better for the Canadian music industry.

Also, any new laws on digital rights really should recognise the fact that media becomes an indelible part of our culture. Look at the recent kerfuffle over Hockey Night In Canada's theme for a perfect example. If a bar band does a cover of the theme, are they now going to be sued by an 81-year-old woman living in London, England? In fact, according to American copyright law, a band could be sued for playing that song in a bar 75 years after her death. Please, before this bill passes, take another look at how this affects people, and please look at some other options.

3. And now, if I may shift gears for a moment: I really like the reasoning behind the new Green Shift proposal. It's a made-in-Canada solution, and it doesn't mention the Kyoto protocol or its unattainable goals anywhere. Unlike the carbon tax in British Columbia, there's a direction to this one. It doesn't penalize people for earning more money; it penalizes people for creating more pollution.

True, it's going to change the average income of Canadians one way or another, and not everyone will benefit unless they make changes to their lifestyle. The truth of the matter, though, is that people didn't stop buying SUVs because of their conscience; they stopped because gas prices went too high. It takes an incentive to generate change, and right now, change is badly needed. This is the sort of policy that could inspire other nations. Rather than wait for India to clean up its act first, why not show India how to do it?

As I watch the political circus in the States unfold along the familiar old "Red vs. Blue" borders, I'm grateful that I live in a country that actually allows minority governments, which can allow its politicians to compromise, listen, and work together, regardless of party affiliations. I don't need a government run by Stephane Dion, but I'd love a government which has the wherewithal to know a good idea when it sees one, regardless of where it came from.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and have a nice day.

Sincerely,

Denton Froese

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.