Combatting Counterfeit Products Act (Bill C-8)

Hon. Wayne Easter: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the leader of the Green Party put on the table, but when I listened to her remarks, it concerned me that a very important witness was not invited to the committee. Could she inform the House why that was the case?

I know committees have not worked well in recent years, but they are supposed to look at all the angles. It seems rather strange that consistently amendments from no one other than the government seem to be accepted. That is not how this place is supposed to work. Opposition members and other witnesses have good ideas, too. It might even prevent the government from having their legislation tossed back by the Supreme Court.

Could the member tell me the credentials of the witness and if she knows any reason why that person, with his expertise, was not invited to come to the committee to assist all Canadians in making better legislation?

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, Howard Knopf has over 30 years experience in copyright infringement law. He attached a CV and sent it to the committee. In his letter to the committee he said the following:

—if there is to be a bill – we need to get it right. Here is my offer to appear sent to the Committee on November 11, 2013. It seems that that the Committee does not wish to hear me on this.

He went on to say:

I would like to offer to appear before your Committee in my own personal pro bono capacity as a witness in order to address certain issues of serious concern regarding Bill C-8. While the overall purpose of the Bill is commendable, namely to reduce commercial counterfeiting and piracy, and the drafting shows very diligent work and great competence overall, the devil is in the details and there are 50 pages of highly technical details in this instance – some of which have profound policy implications.

He closed with a PS, which, in light of the comments from the member for Malpeque, are troubling. He wrote:

PS–Interestingly, the Committee has heard both from Lorne Lipkus and his son David Lipkus, both of the same anti-counterfeiting law firm, in separate presentations that were presumably both very much in favour of this legislation, and presumably both advocating for it to go even further…. But, a Committee that is rushing to judgement and refusing to hear testimony that it might not like, while hearing separate testimony from a father and son in the same law firm with the same focus, is really rather unusual–even by Parliamentary Committee standards.