Friday, January 06, 2006

Sarmite Bulte: response and counter-response

Sarmite Bulte responds to criticism of her influence peddling in this Toronto Star article. Logicial, objective reasoning is obviously not one of her strong suits.

"How else am I supposed to raise money?" Bulte said yesterday. "There's nothing to hide here. These people support me. They support me because of my position on copyright.
"I'm not being influenced by them. They're supporting me," she said. ``These people have become my friends and I don't apologize for that.
Is Ms. Bulte seriously thinking that she can con people into believing that $250 a plate fundraisers attended by entertainment industry bigwigs is the only way for her to raise money? And sure, they support her for her position on copyright, but how was that position arrived at? And exactly who influences the evolution of her position as circumstances in the world of technology and copyright law change? Gee, you think it's conceivable that it might be influenced by $250 a plate fundraiser attendees? That's exactly the problem Professor Geist has been highlighting all along.
Bulte questioned Geist's motives and placed him the camp of Internet users who believe everything should be free.

"Just because things are freely accessible does not make them free. Do we want Canadian content? Yes. And we'd better protect the rights of our creators to create that Canadian content or we're going to be stuck with this American garbage that we see all the time.

"Seriously, who is he funded by?"
The assertion that Professor Geist thinks everything on the internet should be free is false, as he states in his counter-response (see below). Bulte plays the strawman game of trying to smear her critic with an extremist position that he does not hold. Plus she tries the fear factor: gosh we'd better not criticise her or the internet wont have any Canadian content! Ridiculous. Note that she also resorts to that ever-popular Liberal fallback: anti-Americanism. Anything to take the focus off of her activities, in other words.

Professor Geist's response points out that Bulte is a fundraiser par excellence.
Bulte is apparently one of the best. I've already posted on her prodigious fundraising from the pro-copyright lobby. It is also worth noting that a review of the 2004 Ontario Liberal riding association returns reveals that Bulte ranked 5th among the more than 100 ridings in terms of total contributions of individuals, corporations, trade unions, and associations.

Moreover, the notion that fundraisers are commonly promoted by the candidates during an election does not stand up to scrutiny. A review of all Liberal campaign sites in the current election campaign reveals that only three - Bulte, Stephen Owen, and Keith Martin - promote fundraisers. Only Bulte's reveals a $250 per person price tag and only Bulte's is clearly supported by leaders of lobby groups.

Geist also addresses the ad hominem attacks of Bulte:
The Toronto Star article raises the unfortunate spectre of Bulte attacking me personally, arguing that I believe that everything should be free (anyone who has read my work knows that is not the case) and then asking "seriously, who is he funded by?" The article answers that question by pointing to the grant I received to help launch the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. I am very proud of CIPPIC's work along with the other peer-reviewed work and grants that I have received and I believe that it is wrong to attack an academic in this way (is Granatstein next?).

Once again, Sarmite Bulte's reaction to concern amongst the electorate at her close relationship to entertainment industry lobbyists and the financial benefits accruing to her as a result demonstrates the Liberal characteristic of arrogance. "Who are you to question me?" seems to be the response in a nutshell.

We're the electorate, Ms. Bulte, without whom you are nothing.

Previous articles about: Sarmite Bulte
Back to Sarmite Bulte
Sam Bulte influence peddling follow up
Sam Bulte, Liberal MP and entertainment industry lackey


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