NDP MP Glenn Thibeault, the party's critic for consumer affairs, will serve as chair of the new legislative committee on Bill C-11, the Conservative government's omnibus copyright reform legislation. Thibeault has been outspoken critic of the provision for strict legal protection of digital locks as proposed in Bill C-11. “We oppose the criminalization of consumers, which this aspect of Bill C-32 represents,” Thibeault told the House during a debate Bill C-32 in the 40th Parliament. Bill C-11 is identical to its predecessor, Bill C-32. Thibeault has also questioned the impact of the provision on distance education, which often requires students to access files protected by digital locks. “Digital locks and their impacts on the education component are worrying for those of us who happen to live in northern parts of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Quebec,” the Sudbury-area MP noted in the House on Oct. 18. The appointment of a chair Thursday, by House Speaker Andrew Scheer, follows this week's announcement of the membership of the Bill C-11 committee. Meanwhile, Conservative MP Lee Richardson is facing criticism for a letter about Bill C-11 he has circulated to constituents. In the letter, obtained by Michael Geist, the Canada research chair of Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, Richardson suggests the digital lock provisions of Bill C-11 will not be enforced against consumers. “If a digital lock is broken for personal use, it is not realistic that the creator would choose to file a law suit against the consumer, due to legal fees and time involved,” letter says, which Geist posted on his blog on Thursday. The Bill C-11 committee will not begin meetings until after the bill passes second reading in the House, but the bill is not scheduled for second reading debate next week.