Letter to Ministers Regarding the New NAFTA / USMCA & “Intellectual Property”

This morning, upon learning of the newly negotiated NAFTA or as it seems to be called now USMCA, I sent the following letter to ministers of the current Canadian government.

I appreciate the very difficult and complex work involved in negotiating the new version of NAFTA with the USA and Mexico. I’m writing to you (from the perspective of a Canadian citizen and as a librarian at a Quebec university) for your respective roles in negotiating NAFTA/USMCA and as my local riding MP.

After reading the news about the agreement and briefly examining the portions on “intellectual property” this morning, it’s disturbing what Canada appears to be agreeing to.

Over the last several years, we’ve had multiple copyright consultations across Canada. “Intellectual property” issues from other trade agreements have been publicly discussed. Time-after-time, Canadians have rejected the regressive, restrictive, longer, and generally wrong-headed policies that both the American government and private industry have tried to push with respect to copyright/“intellectual property.”

These policies are detrimental to our culture, they’re anti-innovation, anti-knowledge, and aggressive toward the public well-being. I find it alarming and disrespectful that in one fell swoop this morning we see so many things that we’ve repeatedly rejected and spoken out against, suddenly included in the new agreement.

As a professional librarian, working in favour of ethical and open access to knowledge, working in favour of leading-edge research, I strongly oppose the restrictions in the new agreement. I say that knowing that there are exemptions for memory institutions such as my own. Those are hardly enough. My concern here is for a much broader good, for our society, which will suffer from these regressive and ill-considered “intellectual property” policies. I hope that these are removed from the agreement.


You can write to them too!

Canadian MPs to contact in protest of the new NAFTA / USMCA “intellectual property” restrictions. Look them all up here: ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians

Ministers

  • Chrystia Freeland – Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca (Foreign Affairs)
  • Pablo Rodriguez – Pablo.Rodriguez@parl.gc.ca (Heritage & Multiculturalism)
  • Kirsty Duncan – kirsty.duncan@parl.gc.ca (Science & Sport)
  • Navdeep Bains – Navdeep.Bains@parl.gc.ca (Innovation, Science & Economic Development)

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