Fair Copyright for Canada rally in Calgary – Report 2 – (Personal report: How I lost my Virginity to Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry)

Dec 10th Update: Here is part 1 of the report with links to photos, etc. I have also made a few minor wording changes in this post.

By the way, Nick Winnick has reached out to me and has provided me with an audio recording of the minister and his aide’s chat with the crowd for the record. When I find time or see the need, I will post Nick’s audio recording for reference as I have obtained his permission.

Dec 9th 10:30pm MST update: Added link to videos of the minister and his aide speaking to the crowd and media.

*******

You may wonder how I lost my virginity to Hon. Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, since I have never met him until yesterday! And we weren’t exactly alone for the few minutes that we were together! Plus I think the cameras and audio mics made us both feel a bit uncomfortable to say the least. (smile)

Well, if I had not read and joined Prof. Michael Geist’s Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group a few days ago my virginity would still have been intact. Well, before I explain, I just want to give credit to Richard Branson (boss of the Virgin group) for inspiring the title of this report (I highly recommend his auto-biography “Losing my Virginity“ (smile)).

So I have been a reader of Michael’s insightful blog for a while. And then I read the “The Canadian DMCA: What You Can Do” on Dec 3rd, and my virginity was lost to Jim on 2007-12-03 09:19:02.

How could I get so precise? Well, you see, 2007-12-03 09:19:02 was the exact time that I posted my Facebook event to meet with Jim on Michael’s blog entry to generate interest! So for someone that has no interest and have zero experience in organizing a rally in his life, Jim and his charming Copyright bill took my virginity and forced my hand to become a rally organizer. (smile)

After all these vanity of “I this …”, “me that …”, etc., allow me to share one secret with you. I believe if I hadn’t created that Facebook event, someone else would have. And I would have gladly joined and be one of the many people at the rally.

Minister Prentice and his ministerial staff may not realized this yet, what he has to deal with now is not just me or a selected few “trouble makers”. It is the concerns of the Canadians across the country that he has to deal with and take questions from. (Just ask CBC Search Engine for their extensive list of questions from Canadians across the country.)

Now, let me give you a brief run down of what happened yesterday.

I got up at 4:30am MST yesterday to finish my last and final Press Release to send to the news tips emails of various media outlets in hope to catch their interests in our story. (Note: Lisa, thanks for the tip on this. And Erica, for a media contact list.)

At 12:20pm, I met with CBC Radio show’s Search Engine reporter Danielle at the Second Cup across the street from Jim’s office to talk to her and let her know what the plans would be. And Danielle was our “Fly-on-the-wall” reporter following the various happenings. (The program airs Thursday Dec 13th or something like that, check their site.) We also met Corey by chance the Second Cup, Corey was so determined to be there and drove all the way down from Edmonton. Great stuff Corey!

At 12:40pm, we walked over to Jim office across the street to join the small crowd which eventually grew to about 40-50 people.

At some point a CFCN (CTV local affiliate) arrived and wanted to do a quick interview with me. I was a bit nervous but I managed. (see the CFCN TV report here)

When the interview was done, the minister Prentice’s aide, Bill (I didn’t get his last name), came out to deal with us. Bill was very nice and indicated that the minister will come out to talk to the group shortly.

Not too much later, Minister Prentice came out to meet the crowd and the media. Here is my feeling and I may not be totally fair but I strongly feel that Jim was a lot more interested in talking to the media than talking to any of the gathering crowd of ~50 Canadians. I heard many times people taking their courage to ask their questions over the heads of the crowd. But the minister just conveniently ignored most of these mounting questions and just kept trying to talk to the media. Good job Jim, in ignoring Canadians. (Here are some videos of Minister and his aide speaking to the crowd and media.)

Here is what I don’t understand and may be the minister and his staff can help me? To me, the minister can talk to the media any time he wants. All he needs is to pick up the phone and he can talk to the media for as much and as long as he like. So what was the rush to talk to the media yesterday when there were about ~50 of us wanting to talk to the minister?

What could be more important than talking to his constituents, Calgarians, and Edmontonians, who took time out of their precious Saturday afternoon of personal time to come down to the minister’s office to talk to him?

Corey, who came down from Edmonton after a 3 hours (one way) drive to want to ask the minister a question that concerns him, but the minister didn’t answer Corey’s question. So Corey had to spend another three hours driving home “empty handed”. But I want to tell Corey, no, your effort had not been wasted because it was inspiring for me and others to see an average Canadian like you taking the effort to show that you care (which tells us that we should care too)!

If someone, like Corey, feels passionate enough about a political issue that he/she feels are not addressed by the elected politician, then they may also be inspired to drive that 3-hour drive and let his/her politicians know.

After the minister left and went back to the party, I tried to meet with as many people as I could and ask them to ask their questions on camera (to be posted on YouTube) for the minister to answer and address. I hope the minister will find some decency in him to try to address these questions and concerns by Canadians.

For the people that are in the Facebook event, I know you are already sick and tired of this quote, so I have added two more quotes for you today in this report.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– a quote I love by Margaret Mead

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
– Thomas E. Lawrence

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Winston Churchill

P.S. I used the Churchill quote because I believe what Prof. Michael Geist has demonstrated with his super fast growing influential Faecbook group “Fair Copyright for Canada” is that it may have taught us an important lessons on how to deal with uncooperative or secretive government. I don’t have a full understanding on the power of this “new tool” yet but we are just touching on the surface here. So it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning where a government can ignore citizens’ concerns like what they have done in this case and in the past.

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5 Responses to Fair Copyright for Canada rally in Calgary – Report 2 – (Personal report: How I lost my Virginity to Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry)

  1. Mike says:

    I just wanted to say, as an Canadian who would have loved to be at the rally but could not make it (I live in Ontario), thank you thank you thank you.

    Thank you for organizing, and for spreading the word, and for being there. Thank you for trying so hard to have voices heard.

  2. kempton says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks a lot for your kind words. I am sure if the minister were based in Ontario, concern Ontarians will also organize and gather just the same to tell the minister what we think.

    Although there is some work involved (and I am still fighting with Google video uploader to upload videos), I really am happy that I got involved and organized and had a chance to talk to the minister.

    Please keep pressure on your MPs as well to tell him/her what you think.

    Cheers,
    Kempton

  3. [...] the protest meeting at Jim Prentice’s constituency office on Saturday can be found here and here. It would appear that the Minister was more interested in talking at the media cameras than with [...]

  4. [...] week I had a bit of an adventure, as about 40 fair-use activists stopped by The Honorable Jim Prentice’s constituency office… he’s the Canadian [...]

  5. [...] Fair Copyright: Meeting Jim Prentice, the Minister of Industry (Sat, 8th Dec, 2007) – According to informed sources, the copyright bill was original slated to be tabled in Dec 2007. The massive turn out at Minister Prentice’s Christmas Party (in an orderly and respectful manner) was viewed by many people as part of the reason the copyright bill was withheld. (see my Dec comment on the delay and rally report 1 and report 2) [...]

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