[JURIST] The Canadian government of Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged Wednesday to strengthen copyright laws [text]. Announcing government policy in the Speech from the Throne [official website] opening the third session of the Canada's fortieth Parliament, Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean [official website] said that tightening intellectual property regulations was necessary to move the Canadian economy forward:
To fuel the ingenuity of Canada's best and brightest and bring innovative products to market, our Government will build on the unprecedented investments in Canada's Economic Action Plan by bolstering its Science and Technology Strategy. It will launch a digital economy strategy to drive the adoption of new technology across the economy. To encourage new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research, development and artistic creativity contribute to Canada's prosperity, our Government will also strengthen laws governing intellectual property and copyright.
Last May, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) [official website] added Canada to its Priority Watch List [text, PDF] of 12 countries that are not adequately protecting intellectual property rights [JURIST report]. The USTR claimed that Canada "has not delivered on these commitments by promptly and effectively implementing key copyright reforms." In 2008, the US-based International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a consortium of seven trade associations representing 1,900 US companies producing and distributing copyrighted materials, said that Canada was one of the worst violators [JURIST report] of IP rights, along with Russia and China, which are also on the USTR priority list. The IIPA found that the number of violations had increased over the past year due to what it called the "explosive growth of online and mobile piracy."