Canada’s Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages declares opponents to Copyright bill are “extremists”

This is just too juicy to resist. Could I please get on to a list of  ‘radical extremists’ as per James Moore’s recent comments?

By the way, it was a shock to realize that Moore, Canada’s Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is from my neck of the woods. He represents Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam in BC, just a few miles away from Vancouver.

Moore’s declaration is one of the latest developments in the public discussion about the current bill on copyright (C-32).  From Mike Masnick’s article on Techdirt,

The recent story about Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore lashing out at his critics over the Canadian version of the DMCA (C-32) and calling them “radical extremists” has been getting an awful lot of attention, including condemnation from other elected officials. However, Moore’s response has been anything but comforting. He apparently denied saying those words in a correspondence with Michael Geist, but it didn’t take long for some video to surface that not only shows him saying that, but many other nasty things about anyone who dares criticize the bill …

You’ll find the video evidence of Moore’s comment after that paragraph. It’s not easy to hear as he seems to be mumbling his speech but he definitely makes the statement. Making this even an even better experience, it looks like someone is trying to cover it up. From Michael Geist‘s blog,

Almost lost amidst the considerable outrage from many people over Moore’s comments, was the possibility that there was an attempt to bury the “radical extremist” comment. The initial video posted by event organizers (the Chamber of Commerce’s IP Council) did not include a clip of the reference to radical extremists. Sun Media ran a story that included the quote but others seemed to act as if it never happened.

By mid-morning yesterday, attendees were not confirming the comment, Moore was denying it, and the event video did not include it. That might have been the end of the story, but IT World Canada reporter Brian Jackson compiled his own video of the event and posted it online. [emphases mine] The Jackson video included the reference and made it clear that Moore was not being forthright in his private claims (the event organizer site later added the same video). The lack of candor is rather rich given that Moore’s comments tried to paint critics of the bill as misleading the public.

I hope Moore will apologize for lying about having called opponents to his copyright bill ‘radical extremists’. I can understand that people sometimes let their frustrations run away from them and they say things they wouldn’t ordinarily. Unlike politicians though, I’m not likely to be recorded by anyone when my mouth runs away from me. By that token, my words don’t have the same impact either and that’s part of Moore’s problem. He doesn’t seem to understand the power that language has. Using an inflammatory phrase such as ‘radical extremists’ to characterize critics and opponents to a copyright bill before the House of Commons debases the term. By simultaneously linking individuals who use violence to achieve their ends (the usual application for the term ‘radical extremists’) to individuals who are debating, discussing, and writing commentaries critical of your political aims you render the term into a joke and you minimize the violence associated with it.

I can even understand if Moore denied saying it because he didn’t remember it that way. Memory can be pretty flexible. It’s the attempt to cover it up (Geist includes copies of Moore’s repeated twitter denials) that sticks in my throat and brands the man a liar.

Note: I have discussed the new bill C-32 in this previous posting.

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