Bev Oda, the Canadian minister in charge of copyright, has been caught taking funds from the entertainment companies she is supposed to regulate. Oda financed her campaign with giant, unseemly donations from the entertainment and pharmaceutical companies -- many of them US-based -- and was then embarrassed when it was revealed that she planned a $250/plate fundraiser, while in office, just two weeks before a major review of Canada's broadcasters.
Oda agreed to return the money, but it has just been revealed that she lied about this and cashed the cheques anyway. Oda is promising to bring down a Canadian version of the US DMCA, the law that is at the center of the AACS debacle, in which a consortium of anti-copying vendors threatened hundreds of bloggers, educators, and news-publishers over their reportage of a crack to the restriction software built into HD-DVD.
However, newly released records from Elections Canada reveal that of 20 individuals who donated to Ms. Oda's riding association last year, at least nine have senior roles in Canada's broadcast industry. Eleven of the donations were made within five weeks of the cancelled fundraiser.
Among the names listed as individual contributors are Astral Media board chairman André Bureau, who gave $250 on Oct. 16; TVO CEO Lisa De Wilde, who gave $500 on Oct. 16; CHUM president and CEO Jay Switzer, who donated $500 on Oct. 12; Standard Radio president and CEO Gary Slaight, who gave $500 on Oct. 13; and Rogers Radio CEO Gary Miles, who gave $250 on Oct. 12.
Reached by e-mail, Mr. Miles insisted that his contribution was not connected to Ms. Bell's call to buy $250 tickets that went out a week before he made the donation. "It had nothing to do with the Nov. 15 fundraiser and was on my personal cheque and nothing to do with my title," Mr. Miles wrote in an e-mail yesterday.
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