Parliament Hill in Ottawa was rockin’ on the evening of May 14, 2019, as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, and more than 300 Members of Parliament, Senators, and government staff, attended SOCAN’s fifth annual Parliamentary reception.
This year, the party was held at the Chateau Laurier hotel, because the usual location – the East Block Courtyard of The Senate – was closed for renovations. SOCAN’s event has become one of the most popular of the year on Parliament Hill, where federal officials learn more about SOCAN, enjoy drinks and passed appetizers, and listen to live and recorded music from our members.
This year Brett Kissel performed in person, representing our English-speaking community of music creators, while Les sœurs Boulay played on behalf of our Francophone membership. Each offered several songs, and talked about the need to keep copyright strong, and how crucial SOCAN is to their livelihood – and to those of our nearly 160,000 members.
Among the SOCAN representatives who met with decision-making officials – not only at the reception, but in several other sessions and meetings while in Ottawa – were SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste; President and Chair of SOCAN’s Board of Directors Marc Ouellette; SOCAN executives Andrew Berthoff, Jennifer Brown, Geneviève Côté, Gilles Daigle, Jeff King, Andrea Kokonis, and Diane Petrucci; and SOCAN Board members Vivian Barclay, Patrick Curley, Damhnait Doyle, Ed Henderson, Past President Stan Meissner, Jennifer Mitchell, Glenn Morley, Past President Earl Rosen, Diane Tell, and Denis Wolff.
The leaders of several Canadian music industry and rights organizations were in attendance as well, including representatives from the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, RE:SOUND, the Canadian Live Music Association, and the Canadian Private Copying Collective.
The event focused on the cultural and economic impact of SOCAN members in the domestic market, and provided SOCAN with an important forum to emphasize the value that our songwriters, composers, #ComposersWhoScore, and music publishers bring to the global economy as well. The reception also allowed us to present our policy positions in an informal setting, to a wide range of politicians, decision-makers, and their advisors.
“The world of music is changing with the arrival of new technologies,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “That’s why we look forward to the reports of the INDU and CHPC committees and we hope that there will be solutions put forward by the government to improve the conditions of creators. We are also following very closely the work of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel…It is up to you, elected officials, political staff, and public servants, to make sure that we can still hum our home-grown melodies in the future. We count on you.”
SOCAN’s Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette said, “SOCAN is Canada’s largest music rights management organization with more than 160,000 songwriters, composers, music publishers, and now visual artists as our direct members…Our executive team is gender-balanced, and our Board of Directors is close to gender parity. We are proud of the fact that 60% of our staff and the majority of our new members are women.”
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez; The Honourable Steven Blaney, Conservative Shadow Minister for Canadian Heritage; Pierre Nantel, NDP Critic Canadian Heritage; Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and Senator Terry Mercer all spoke of the important work that SOCAN does.
SOCAN’s efforts to communicate with our federal government, and the three major political parties, continue to pay off for our members.