Questions are being asked in Canada after it was revealed that the director general of copyright policy at Canadian Heritage had allegedly been in a relationship with one of Canada's leading copyright lobbyists.
The Hill Times reported that Patricia Neri has now left her job for "personal reasons" after beginning a relationship with a man believed to be Douglas Frith, who is president of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association.
Neri testified recently before the Canadian Senate on the need for a new law banning video cameras in cinemas.
"[But] this does raise troubling questions about the quick passage of Bill C-59, the anti-camcording legislation, since Neri appeared as a witness before a Senate hearing on the bill with the lobbyist in the room.
"The Privy Council Office places particular responsibility on public servants who appear before a Parliamentary committee, since they do so on behalf of the Minister.
"This is not an easy issue to raise, but if these reports are true it surely creates at least a perceived conflict of interest contrary to Government Ethics Guidelines on a file that is very controversial and likely to grab the spotlight this fall."
Neri is now a special advisor to Assistant Deputy Minister Jean-Pierre Blais with "duties still to be determined".
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