Imitation not sincere form of flattery

Last fall I had an opportunity to tour one of the South Okanagan’s largest private sector specialty manufacturing plants. In summary, I was extremely impressed not just at the size and scope of the operation and the many important well paying jobs that it provides, but also by the many international projects that it is currently involved with worldwide. I later the had opportunity to confirm in a meeting with a local economic development officer, who shares the goal of ensuring building employment and investment, that this particular company is indeed the largest employer in the area. To think that this internationally respected manufacturer can design, engineer, and build components for important projects around the globe all from a small rural British Columbia community is a remarkable example of Canadian ingenuity and capability. This local operation also serves as a reminder of the importance of infrastructure investments along with global free trade agreements with other countries and important inter-provincial agreements such as TILMA to ensure that our local industry can compete and grow.
While at this manufacturing plant I was also shown a component that looked very much like the ones produced within the operation. Unlike the same part manufactured in house, with a maple leaf, identifying both the company and the country where it is made, this particular component was actually in fact a counterfeit copy with no identifiable manufacturer. Although it is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in this case it is a very serious concern. This particular component requires engineers to design, a foundry and machine shop to build, sales staff to sell and more plant staff to ship. In short there are many well paying local jobs that are created in getting this component to the market. These are important jobs that support families who in turn support our local economies and as such these counterfeit goods should not be treated lightly.

Last Friday in the House of Commons our Government introduced Bill C-56 “Combating Counterfeit Products Act”. This act proposes to create a number of new enforcement tools to better protect Canadian manufacturers from the threat of illegally manufactured counterfeit goods entering into, being sold or otherwise distributed within Canada. Under the Act, border officials would have new abilities to detain shipments until rights holders can be contacted. In addition, Canadian businesses will also be able to request assistance with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to share rights information on suspected shipments. New criminal offences can also apply to those individuals who are in the commercial possession, manufacture or trafficking of trademark counterfeit goods. New civil legal options will also be made available to legitimate rights holders to pursue legal action against those who profit from counterfeiting practices.
Aside from the potential damage I observed from counterfeiting practices firsthand, the value of counterfeit goods seized in Canada has increased from $7.6 million in 2005 to almost $ 40 million last year. More important is the potential loss of Canadian jobs and what that would mean for small rural communities where other much needed well paying employment can be hard to find. Bills like C-56 may not generate much attention however the importance to take action against counterfeit goods is yet another way that our Government is ensuring that we protect jobs and support our important manufacturing sector.
Also occurring this week in Ottawa is continued debate on Government Bills C-47 “Northern Jobs and Growth Act” and C-48 “Technical Tax Amendments Act” while Senate Bill S-9 “Nuclear Terrorism Act” will also reach report stage debate. Some of the Private Members Bills up for debate this week include C-457 “An to Repeal the Clarity Act” C-452 “An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) along with Motions M-382 “Religious Freedom” and M-412 “Hydroelectric Project”.

If you have comments, questions or concerns on these or any Bills before the House of Commons please do not hesitate to contact me by phone 1(800) 665-8711 or email [email protected] at your convenience.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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