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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

So You Want To Stop Bill C-8 (ACTA)?

But I'm posting a copy of it here on my blog in case it gets downvoted to oblivion (or deleted like a mod did to an earlier version of the same post in a different sub).

Some of us have been down this road before, and it sucks that we have to trek it again. But we knew this was going to happen. We knew that if it wasn't SOPA or PIPA or CISPA or ACTA it was going to be something else. They've been working hard to get this stuff through no matter how many times we keep coming together to say NO.
They're hoping to wear us down, keep trying until we just say 'fine, fuck it'. And yes, we could do that. Or we can keep on fighting. Staying vigilant.
If we want to have a shot at all in defeating this, that's just what we'll have to keep on doing.
For those of you just getting into this now, here's a brief primer on what all those letters mean:http://www.techadvisory.org/2012/08/what-are-sopa-pipa-cispa-and-acta/[1]
In Canada we've had C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act - which pushed through some provisions of SOPA (digital locks, etc) and now it looks like our Government is using bill C-8 to push through many provisions originally found within ACTA. There's an excellent breakdown of C-8 to be read here:http://excesscopyright.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/bill-c-8-re-anti-counterfeiting-is_26.html[2]
Luckily, those of us who've been in the fight for a while, we've also learned a thing or two about a thing or two since then.
We've learned that politicians don't care about our online petitions, or our emails. We get patronizing form letters back, if we're lucky. They deride our 'one click' democracy -- as if the fact that our 'click' wasn't enough of a decision for them to take it seriously. So let's try something different.
I put forward that we defeat C-8 by going old school.
There's one thing that does get a response, I've used it and it works well: Writing a letter, by hand. In my (albeit anecdotal) experience, a single, handwritten letter is easily worth 25 emails or more. It gets attention. (More than just filling up some politician's junk inbox, which an assistant may, eventually, get around to cleaning out).
We can get into ideas of hows and whys later, but believe me, if an MP starts getting a few hundred handwritten letters showing up at their doorstep telling them to not support C-8, it WILL make a difference. The Harper government is full of fractures right now and backbenchers are even starting to openly dissent against their leader. It might not be as simple as 'we have a majority so it's going to pass no matter what you say'.
Either way, it's worth a shot and it only takes 5 minutes of your time, a pen, a sheet of paper and an envelope.
  1. Go here, find out your MP:
  1. Send it to their Parliamentary Address (You don't even need a stamp)
  2. If you want your letter to be taken more seriously, read this article on proper styles of address when writing to your MP: http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1359145344405/1359145417936[4] (this is optional, but being respectful never hurts your cause)
Points to help you:
  • Write the letter out digitally first, transcribe it to paper after you're happy with it (to save you time and paper)
  • Keep it one page and on one subject per letter (C-8, and why you're against it) Clearly state that you are in their constituency and this is a VOTING issue for you. (You are willing to base who you vote for next on how they come out on this issue)
  • NEVER THREATEN THEM - just to state that as clearly as possible
  • If you can, make it personal to you. Why it matters to you. A well-told personal story, that they can retell, that can be used in speeches can help sway others.
  • Ask for a response. (Include your name and address at the end) For personal records, scan or take a photo of (or photocopy) your letter. And that's it. We can get into formatting and stuff if you really want to, but it's just that simple.
Here's mine:
Ms/Mr ----- -------, MP
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Dear Mr/Ms -----:
My name is BCLaraby, I live at (address), within your constituency, and I'm writing today to express my disdain for my Government's attempt, yet again, to sneak in some sort of 'privacy' legislation behind my back. Online it's already been a heck of a fight - first it was SOPA then it was PIPA then it was CISPA and then ACTA. Each and every time, I have stood up with my comrades, online, and said 'No' to those efforts. When our Government put forward C-11 (The Copyright Modernization Act) wrote in to protest it and its Digital Locks provisions. And, now we have C-8, an attempt to slip the provisions of ACTA in through the back the door here in Canada.
I understand that our Prime Minister has 'stakeholders' to appease, but we're the ones that have to live with these bloody laws, these provisions that we keep rising up against to swat down and say NO to. I believe that Canada should be a reflection of the will of Canadians, not American stakeholders. This bill does little to protect me but very much to protect the interests of those outside our nation. I ask that you please join me in fighting this deplorable bill. I will be watching CPAC and I hope to see you there standing up to help bring this bill down.
When you have time I would love to hear back from you on this issue and if you have time to meet to discuss it further, I would gladly like to do so as well.
Thank you very much for your time today, Mr/Ms -----,
All we can do is try. I hope you'll join with me in sending a letter to your MP, who knows -- maybe your passionate plea will spark something in them. Maybe inspire a speech that could bring the whole thing down.
We are the caretakers of our Democracy. We cannot stay silent on the things we do not approve of.
It's worth a shot.

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