Canadian copyright minister caught lining pockets

Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda continues to draw fire for taking cash from the entertainment companies she's supposed to be regulating. The Tory minister raised a fortune in campaign contributions from broadcasters and American-owned entertainment companies (Canadian record labels have split off from the American-run "Canadian" Record Industry Association). Then she proposed to have a fundraiser, while in office, at which she would pass the hat among the same companies for more money, even as she was dealing with complex new rules regulating the operation of the Canadian entertainment industry.

According to Elections Canada data, Oda held a similar fundraiser in May 2004 – before she was even elected to the House of Commons – that attracted enormous corporate support from the broadcast industry including Alliance Atlantis, Astral, CanWest, and CHUM, as well as from more than a dozen senior executives from major broadcast and cable companies.

Once elected, the support continued. With Oda installed as the Conservative Canadian Heritage critic, her riding association last year reported contributions from a veritable who's who of broadcast and copyright lobby groups and companies. These include broadcasters (Corus, Vision TV), cable companies (Rogers, Shaw, and Cogeco), record companies (Sony, Universal, Warner, EMI), and copyright lobby groups (Canadian Recording Industry Association, Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association, Entertainment Software Association).