A Letter to my MP about Bill C-11

I had another blog post in mind for today, but after reading this article in today’s Toronto Star, I was reminded of a more pressing issue. Bill C-11 — the copyright one. If you haven’t seen the article yet, please read it. It does a good job of outlining the concerns around the bill.

I shared an open letter to my MP, Jim Flaherty, here on my blog once before. Here is the email that I sent to him today.

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Dear Mr. Flaherty,

Have you had the chance to read today’s Toronto Star yet? I was happy to see the piece on copyright reform. The link is below, in case you need it.


As a children’s writer who lives in your riding, and has written to you on this matter before, I’d like to urge you again not to pass this bill in its current form. The wording under “fair use” is too general. It is a threat to my livelihood and to that of other writers whose work is used in schools and available in libraries.

Teachers must have access to the resources they need. I’ve been a teacher; I do understand this. My daughter attends a local school (third grade), and I want her to have a wide variety of reading options there, in the library and in the classroom. I want her teacher to have access to top-quality, up-to-date source material and lesson plans so that she can concentrate on teaching the students.

Bill C-11 is not the way to accomplish those ends.

The bill in its current form will curtail the creation of new material for use in schools and classrooms. It will make the already-challenging task of making a living as a writer or artist nearly impossible. And it will cause Canadian children’s literature, something of which our country can truly be proud, to stagnate.

Please think long-term when you vote on this bill, Mr. Flaherty. And please make recommendations that will allow fair dealing to live up to its name.

Best wishes,
Erin Thomas

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If you are Canadian, whatever your point of view, please consider writing to your MP to voice your opinion on Bill C-11. I think the worst thing that could happen here is for the bill to pass unexamined. It’s worth thinking about, and it’s worth talking about. Copyright isn’t a simple issue. Take the time to let your voice be heard.

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1 Response to A Letter to my MP about Bill C-11

  1. Erin Thomas says:

    I’m so proud… my mother wrote to him, too. Here’s her letter! (Shared with permission.)

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    Mr. Flaherty,

    After reading the article in the Toronto Star this morning written by David Lewis Stern, I am growing more and more concerned about Bill C-11. Mr. Stern makes several excellent points in his objection to this bill. One of the issues he raises is that with the passage of this bill publishers will be very reluctant to spend any money developing new educational texts if the chances of them making any profit from them will be very slim. The obvious outcome of this is a shortage of current material for our students in the long run.

    As this article points out the public may be excited about being able to download more free material but what they are not realizing is that if this bill passes there will be less and less new material available worth downloading.

    We as Canadians should be very proud of the writers, musicians and other artists among us. These people work very hard and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. With few exceptions these people do not make very much money. The vast majority of artists already find it very difficult to make a living from their chosen profession. By passing this legislation we will be driving many very talented Canadians into giving up their dreams. What a loss for our country.

    I am aware of the fact that education is a very expensive area of your budget but it is totally unfair to think we can save money by allowing uncontrolled photocopying and sharing of material and denying the authors of this material their deserved compensation for their efforts.

    This is the first time I have ever contacted you or any other member of provincial or federal parliament about issues. I have always hoped that you would have the best interests of your constituency in mind when you are making your decisions in Parliament.

    Bill C-11 as it is now written is grossly unfair. Mr. Hollingshead and others have made suggestions to make this bill acceptable to all. I strongly urge you to consider a very serious review of these suggestions before it is too late.

    Susan Thomas
    Whitby, Ontario

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