House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was recall.

Topics

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

On division.

(Motion agreed to.)

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Christine Stewart Northumberland, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Mississauga East
Ontario

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, in an ever-changing world where money is tight, we must make it our duty to expend boundless imagination in discharging our responsibilities towards Canadians.

The loan guarantee program put forward by our government flows from a lengthy analysis of the requirements of the film and video industry and is a clear indication of our commitment to dole Canadian taxpayers money out sparingly to maximize their return on investment.

A fledgling industry 20 years ago, the Canadian independent film and video industry has grown into a major employer which produces high quality entertainment programs.

The economic significance of the film and video industry is beyond doubt. Since 1980, 700 per cent growth was recorded in this industry, with a similar growth in employment, as shown by 1993 figures from Statistics Canada according to which the industry provided over 51,600 direct and indirect jobs, which translated in terms of direct and indirect benefits, into a contribution to the gross domestic product in excess of $1.8 billion.

The growth of the film and video industry is linked mostly to the federal government's support policies and programs in this area. The federal government has a dual responsibility. First, not to endanger 20 years of constant efforts to develop an industry whose growth prospects are not in doubt and second, to continue to act in an efficient manner by taking budget constraints into account.

The Loan Guarantee Program proposed by the government meets these criteria for it is fiscally neutral for the government while providing easier access to interim financing for television programs and films produced by Canadian companies.

Historically, Canadian financial institutions did not help finance the film and video industry mainly because of their unfamiliarity with the industry and its commercial practices. We think a $25 million Loan Guarantee Program could generate, if used to its full potential, up to $143 million in film and video production activity and up to $300 in the Canadian economy as a whole.

The Loan Guarantee Program proposed today demonstrates the government's commitment to protecting Canadian cultural sovereignty while promoting optimum use of Telefilm Canada resources and expertise. It also meets specific needs by optimizing the performance of available resources and fostering a promising business partnership.

It also shows our confidence in the Canadian film and video industry and its entrepreneurs who, as we know, support our initiative. It is through this type of measure that the government intends to promote the development of a growing industry in the best interests of Canadian culture and unity. We think this program will be successful and are even considering extending the concept to other cultural industries.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I think it has been agreed that in the absence of the Official Opposition spokesperson, Reform members would have the floor.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
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1:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose Bill C-31. In my judgment Bill C-31 simply perpetuates the myth that without massive government interference there would be no culture in Canada. That is something my party does not believe.

When we look at all the agencies that the Canadian government subsidizes, from CBC to the National Film Board, to Telefilm, to the Canada Council, it amounts to well over two billion in taxpayer dollars a year. This money is spent on those things bureaucrats in this country identify as culture.

I have to wonder what would happen if we removed this massive subsidization and allowed that $2 billion plus to stay in the hands of taxpayers and allow them to use that money to spend on the things they identified as culture.

Initially we would have a smaller cultural industry but it would be based on quality and not quantity. It would reward and recognize merit. When we walked into a bookstore and went to the Canadiana section we would be assured that whoever published any of the Canadian books had put their money into it feeling they were probably going to get money back out of it because it is a good book and not because they were being subsidized by the government to make sure it got on the shelves.

Consumers would like to know when they go into a bookstore that the books they are going to buy are there because they are good books and not because some government bureaucrat somewhere decreed this is a good way to spend taxpayers' money.

By subsidizing Canadian culture in all the different areas we send a message that our government does not feel our artists in all the different aspects of the art community can compete with artists from around the world. Why else would we be subsidizing them if the government is not sending that implicit message?

I have a great deal of concern about allowing bureaucrats to decide what pieces of culture are worthy of subsidization. In a free country and a free market generally speaking consumers are allowed to make those judgments and I think they make very good ones. They can decide what constitutes good art. They can decide what they want to purchase based on what interests them.

In Canada we let bureaucrats make those decisions many times. We let them hand out grants to all kinds of groups, like Buddies in Bad Times. This is a group that has been in the news recently. It is a homosexual theatre group and a very radically intolerant one. Recently when a Toronto Sun columnist, Christina Blizzard, questioned whether $377,000 in Canada Council grants should go toward this group, not only did this group get very upset and take her to the media board in the province of Ontario, to the newspaper board, not only did it abuse her in the media, it also produced a play called ``Dinner with Christina'' in which it advocated raping her.

That is complete garbage. To me it speaks volumes about the wisdom of some of the bureaucrats in this country who make those decisions. We do not have to stop there. There is a list as long as your arm of grants that go to groups like this.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
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1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Give us a federal example.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
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1:50 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

I will give a federal example. Canada Council recently spent money handing out a grant to a project called "A Linguistic History of Swahili". Another grant went out to something called "Anatomy of a Seance". Another grant went out to translate a book called I Lost it All in Montreal . Another went out to publish Poems Released on a Nuclear Wind . Of course the big one, there was $3.3 million that went into that famous museum in Montreal, the Montreal Museum of Humour.

I would argue that if any taxpayer walked through the National Gallery through some of the huge rooms, some as big as a high school gymnasium, and looked around and in one corner saw a box of Brillo pads stacked up to the roof they would question whether that was a good use of their public money. Frankly, I did. I think it is ridiculous. Taxpayers would make a lot better choices if that money were left in their pockets to make decisions about what is art.

If they walked into another room a saw a bunch of bricks laying on the floor and somebody from the National Gallery told them that was art, they would say that is crazy. If they walked into another room and saw 256 pieces of felt laying on the floor they would probably conclude that they were renovating, putting in a new carpet. In fact, that is what they call art. That is ridiculous.

Any time we start handing out more and more money to the government so that it can then decide who should get that money based on its determination of what constitutes art, it is absolutely ridiculous.

We have to look at the situation with the CBC. Here we are again rewarding failure. Not only are its ratings dropping, not only is it programming all kinds of American programs throughout the day, in light of the fact it is undergoing a review of its programming right now, here we are suggesting it should be granted the right to borrow money.

That is exactly what we are considering doing with Telefilm as well. That is a crazy idea. I do not think we need to get into that. We should let the taxpayers decide. Does the government not have faith in the ability of taxpayers to decide what constitutes art? Why not leave the money in their pockets?

Let me conclude by suggesting a great hoax is being perpetrated by bureaucrats in this country, by the government and by so-called artists. They are telling people: "If you give us money, we will give you art". They produce things they indeed call art. In the judgment of most Canadians I would argue this is not art. In fact in many cases it is garbage, absolute garbage.

Let us leave that $2 billion plus in the hands of the taxpayers. Let us not support those kinds of things any more. Let us allow the people of Canada to make those decisions themselves.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is no debate. The first three speakers have a free shot at the hon. parliamentary secretary. No questions or comments.

Because of a reversal-

-in the order of speakers, it is now the Official Opposition's turn. The hon. member for Richelieu has the floor.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
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1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that we will be pleased to hear him right after Question Period, even though we know that his objectivity is sometimes questionable; however, that does not stop me from being on very good terms with him, as I have been for a long time.

The Bloc Quebecois supports this bill. As I said on second reading, it is the result of three years of negotiations. It began under the Conservative government and continued under the present government between the Department of Communications, Treasury Board, the Department of Finance and Telefilm Canada. It finally meets the expectations of the creative community. It is pretty much what the stakeholders concerned wanted.

I will be very brief in explaining the support that we want to give because I think this is not the time for speeches. The parties gave their positions very clearly on second reading. We are at last finalizing this issue and ensuring that Telefilm Canada will have the wherewithal to support the creative artists but not to stray from the goals for which it was created.

Remember that its purpose is to help not only more commercial productions but also more specialized creative work with narrower appeal that still falls within the principles which the House of Commons defended when Telefilm Canada was founded.

At this point, I have only one question about this bill, namely that this very important aspect of more limited and specialized creative work is overlooked and too much emphasis is put on subsidizing big commercial projects and that with the funds made available by this borrowing authority, the part that is too commercial could be favoured.

I would point out that Quebec's SOGIC worked in the same way, trying to promote equity between commercial and documentary productions. I hope that Telefilm Canada will take the same course as Quebec's SOGIC. Bill C-31 will be a healing balm for producers in Quebec and Canada who are waiting for the government to bring forth another essential measure for the survival of this industry.

As I said last time in my speech, this measure is a tax credit to replace the current tax shelter for depreciation. A tax credit would directly and totally benefit Canadian production of films and videos, unlike the present tax shelter.

It is estimated that only 7 per cent of the cost of this tax measure is reinvested in actual Canadian production and the tax credit requires no investment of additional funds. So, I urge the government to take heed of this request concerning the tax credit. It would not cost anything, it would not require any additional funds nor any guarantee, and it would ensure that this change concerning support to Telefilm Canada will provide a lot of funds to a corporation which represents us so well and which produces a lot of quality work. As I said earlier, we hope that it will not neglect the type of documentaries which it has produced so far; indeed, it might be tempted to get away from such production, given the measures announced today.

The tax credit, which was created in 1990, is a real success story and it truly serves the interests of the Quebec film industry. Once again, I want to congratulate the minister responsible and the government for dealing promptly with an issue which had been pending for three years. Instead of creating a new committee, as is so often the case, the government started with the solid base already in place and added the last element to provide a concrete solution which meets the expectations of Telefilm Canada.

We should have proceeded like this with several other issues. We could, of course, find other possible amendments. However, I will conclude by reiterating our support and by hoping that this bill will be passed as quickly as possible. For this reason, I think that once the three speakers representing the government, the Reform Party and the Bloc are finished, there will be no point in discussing this legislation any longer.

The people at Telefilm Canada expect a concrete measure before we adjourn for the summer, since this will have an impact on their activities in September. Consequently, we should deal with this bill right away.

I will be the last speaker for the Bloc Quebecois regarding this issue. I think that the Reform Party will also conclude, and we expect the government to do the same, so that we can proceed with the vote as quickly as possible.

Once again, I wish luck to Telefilm Canada and I hope that the government will take into consideration this aspect of the tax credit which is really a success with the Quebec corporation SOGIC.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Forestry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

George S. Rideout Moncton, NB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Minister of Natural Resources announced the tabling of the report on the state of Canada's forests, 1993.

The theme of this year's report, "Forests, A Global Resource", reflects Canada's recognition that the management of our forests has implications far beyond our national borders. Canada has assumed a leading role in global dialogue on the sustainable development of forests.

This year's report on the state of Canada's forests highlights a number of Canada's initiatives in pursuit of this goal, including the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and the establishment of a national and international network of model forests.

I want to take this opportunity to urge every member to read this report and get ready for the public debate on the future of our most precious natural resource.

National Public Service Week
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Public Service Week, and I want to salute the tens of thousands of people who serve the public.

These days, being a public servant is no easy task. The pressure and the expectations are unrelenting, and yet this government rarely, if ever, shows its appreciation.

In a society which has undeniably become more complex and more difficult to understand in all its aspects, the role of public servants is essential to our economic and social development.

Often, it is public servants who remind the government of the citizens' real concerns.

I take the opportunity of this week dedicated to public servants to acknowledge the professionalism and skills of all those who work behind the scene to serve the public.

The Family
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, fairness is integral to Reform Party policy. This principle must apply to the family in Canada. In particular single parent families are hard pressed to make ends meet. According to yesterday's CTV Angus Reid poll only a third receive the support payments ordered by the courts.

To ensure that single parents receive adequate provision for their needs we recommend two courses of action. First, we recommend a study to determine the real cost of raising a child. This study could be used by the courts to more accurately determine the level of support required.

Second, we advocate that stronger action be taken against parents who are delinquent on their support payments. Government ought to provide more effective legal tools to single parents that would help them recover missing support payments anywhere in Canada, not just provincially.

Reformers are sensitive to the needs of single parent families across our nation and call upon the government to respond to their needs fairly and consistently.

The Great Lakes
Statements By Members

June 14th, 1994 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Ivan Grose Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, On Saturday, April 30, I had the honour to announce on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment that Environment Canada would contribute $600,000 to support a valuable community project in Oshawa to rehabilitate and showcase the Oshawa Second Marsh.

This is the second year the federal Great Lakes cleanup fund will contribute to this co-operative community project. It demonstrates a partnership commitment to the Great Lakes cleanup and to innovative techniques for the rehabilitation of fish and wildlife habitats.

The Oshawa Second Marsh Project, a 117-hectare wetland jewel along the Lake Ontario shoreline, is a community initiative successfully demonstrating this approach. In total the federal government will contribute $1.3 million through the Great Lakes cleanup fund. This is a valuable component of Great Lakes 2000 which provides resources to help develop and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem through innovative technologies and remedial programs.