House of Commons Hansard #178 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it agreed?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions For Papers
Routine Proceedings

February 10th, 1999 / 3:55 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Motions For Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Motions For Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions For Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by 42 minutes.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-55, an act respecting advertising services supplied by foreign periodical publishers, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There are 22 amendment motions on the order paper at report stage of Bill C-55, an act respecting advertising services supplied by foreign periodical publishers.

Motions Nos. 1 to 21 will be grouped for debate, but they will be voted on as follows:

The vote on Motion No. 1 will apply to Motions Nos. 2 to 21.

Motion No. 22 will be debated and voted on separately.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1 to 21 to the House.

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 1.

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 2.

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 3.

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 4.

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 5.

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 6.

Motion No.7

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 7.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 9.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 10.

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 11.

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 12.

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 13.

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 14.

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 15.

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 16.

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 17.

Motion No. 18

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 18.

Motion No. 19

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 19.

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 20.

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-55 be amended by deleting Clause 21.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca for seconding the motions. I am pleased to debate at report stage the amendments to Bill C-55, the magazine bill as everyone knows it. The bill is really not about culture; it is about trade.

Bill C-55 has created a life of its own and is about to put Canadian jobs at risk. In some ways the bill has got out of hand over the past several months because of numerous statements made by many parties which have not helped matters. It has the potential to threaten many Canadian jobs.

Today the heritage minister indicated that she will amend the bill, but she could do a lot better. She could withdraw the bill at this time. The heritage minister's amendment is redundant. It does nothing. Bill C-55 is still government legislation. It is still onstream.

This is the reality of the amendment: Once Bill C-55 passes through both houses of parliament it will qualify as an action under article 2005 of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Under subarticle 2005(2) the United States “may take measures of equivalent commercial effect in response to actions”.

My main message is that the minister's amendment is legally meaningless. With or without it—

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member knows that we are debating Motions Nos. 1 to 21 which he has moved and not Motion No. 22 which is in Group No. 2 and which will be debated later this day or whenever we complete the debate on the first group of amendments. I suggest that he confine his remarks to the group we are discussing at the moment.

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will certainly do that. Regardless her amendment is still redundant.

Trade is really the issue in Bill C-55. Our countries share a common boundary, the longest unguarded boundary in the world. We share a common continent. We move freely about across borders. Our friendship is a model for others in the world to follow. Yet at times we tend to forget all of this.

I will try to make my remarks brief. I will do a quick recap on why I believe this ill founded magazine bill needs to be deleted in its entirety. The bill needs to be taken back to the drawing board. It was ill-conceived and very one sided.

The bill represents the views of publishers. When the bill was drawn up the advertisers were not even consulted. One-half of the equation was not even consulted. That omission is enough to withdraw the bill. It is so unfortunate that an industry is divided by the bill. The magazine industry is divided into two camps: advertisers versus publishers. Everyone knows that.

Who did the government consult? It was people like François de Beaubien and Ted Rogers. Do these people need help to defend Canadian culture? I do not think so. What we have today is that publishers support Bill C-55 and advertisers oppose it vehemently.

The bill is a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent two unfavourable rulings Canada received at the World Trade Organization tribunal. How can a government bring on good legislation without consulting all the stakeholders in the industry? I believe this magazine bill is a good example of bad legislation. It was poorly researched and poorly put together.

We have always been told that Canadians tend not to read Canadian magazines. The fact is that Canadians do buy Canadian. Canadians buy magazines that are published in Canada. Statistics have proven that 75% of all magazines read are received by control circulation and 94% of these are Canadian owned. In other words they are owned and published in Canada. This proves one thing, that Canadian readers prefer and buy Canadian magazines.

Let us put this debate in perspective. Let us take a closer look at our trade with our closest ally and trading partner. Over $1 billion of trade takes place daily across our borders. Canada is the western world's most trade dependent nation. Some 40% of Canada's gross domestic product is derived from trade and 83.5% of all our goods and services are exported to the United States. Our economic health is directly related to our U.S. partner. Can we imagine the value of our loonie without our trade with the United States? Our United States exports rose 10% in 1997. Meanwhile our Asian market shrank by one-third.

According to Nesbitt Burns the reality is that we are more reliant than ever on the United States. We really have only one trading partner, the United States of America. Our Japanese market is number two but it is currently on its knees. The reality check is that Canada's total trade with the United States is 83.5%.

Do we need a trade war? Do we want a trade war with our best trading partner? No. Do the steelworkers of Hamilton want a trade war? Do the textile workers of Montreal want a trade war? I am sure the millworkers of B.C. and the maritimes do not want a trade war. Do farmers of Canada want a trade war? Who wants a trade war? Perhaps the heritage minister does, especially when she puts her culture protection bill ahead of the steelworkers in her home town.

Perhaps we need to look at how much money we are talking about in the bill in terms of advertising dollars. I am told a measly $250 million of advertising is at stake.

Let us look at what is really at stake for the country. As I said earlier, $1 billion is exchanged daily between our two countries. This tells me that on an annual basis the total is about $350 billion. Can we put our country at risk for $250 million? As François de Beaubien said, that is several hours out of a day's worth of trade. There are $350 billion at stake. Only a fool would gamble on these types of numbers. We would think that the international trade minister would do a risk assessment before echoing his full support for Bill C-55.

According to law professor Jamie Cameron of Osgoode Hall Law School, irrespective of any trade issue Bill C-55 should be opposed because it is an unreasonable limit on free speech and press freedom. Furthermore it impinges on property rights and freedom of contract as guaranteed by the Canadian bill of rights.

How real is this threat of retaliation? Let us listen to the people of Hamilton. They know what it will be like if the steel industry is hit. One industry towns like Hamilton take this threat seriously. Dofasco steel is telling the Hamilton MP to drop Bill C-55. Stelco has made the same plea. Steelworkers of Hamilton are sending the heritage minister the same message, to drop Bill C-55.

Why is the heritage minister willing to sacrifice the steelworkers of her home town? It is to protect the big magazine publishers like Télémédia and Rogers Communications. How many steel jobs would be put at risk in Hamilton?

There are many other ways to promote Canadian culture. The heritage minister needs to take a lesson from the defence minister who said:

Perhaps in the new digital world policies of cultural promotion make more sense than traditional policies of protection.

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, given the number of amendments to Bill C-55 tabled by the Reform Party I thought it would be useful to highlight their substantive character.

The member who just spoke made an interesting commentary, but I think the most interesting part of his intervention was that in his view and the view of his party more consultation should take place between, as he put it, all the stakeholders.

That statement says to me that there is a number of issues which have to be worked out in the bill and there are some issues to which they take exception. As a result of this need for Canadians to continue to consult with the stakeholders on all sides, obviously there are some issues that are of importance.

What are those issues? The issues of importance which reflect the need for additional consultation are highlighted and exposed for all Canadians to see in the 21 amendments proposed by the Reform Party.

Motion No. 1 would eliminate clause 1. It is a very well crafted, effective motion to delete the first clause of the bill without explanation and without being addressed by the member in his comments, which is the purpose of the debate that is going on right now.

We understand that it is okay for members to sometimes demonstrate a point. I was hopeful and listened to the Speaker read the motions. We came across the Reform Party's important, constructive and insightful Motion No. 2 which would delete clause 2.

It has a lot of parallel to the first important motion that the Reform Party tabled on Bill C-55. It provides important insight into why it wanted additional consultations with all stakeholders, as the the hon. member so eloquently put it, advertisers, publishers, Canadians and so on.

If we go forward with the bill, according to the Reform Party there will be a trade war and we will lose $1 billion a day in trade. Suddenly all ties with the United States will be totally severed and Canada will risk losing $350 billion of estimated trade in a year when the impact of the bill on Canada is about $250 million. With that I think I could understand the concern and the justification for Motion No. 2 in Group No. 1 of this report stage.

I was hopeful we would get a bit more insight as to the specific concerns and why we would have these consultations when we got to Motion No. 3, tabled by the Reform Party for Bill C-55.

Motion No. 3 was somewhat different in that it referred to clause 3 of the bill rather than the previous two clauses and the amendment tabled by the Reform Party to improve this bill was to delete clause 3. A pattern was developing. I had heard the member clearly state on behalf of the Reform Party that more consultations were needed on this bill.

Bill C-55 obtained first reading in the House on October 8 and second reading on November 3, 1998. The committee report was presented to the House on December 2, 1998. There has been quite substantial dialogue and opportunity to deal with Bill C-55 by all hon. members, whether it be at the different stages of this bill or indeed at committee which dealt with it. As a result of all those consultations, as a result of all the discussions with all these so-called stakeholders from all parties, we came up with Motion No. 4, which was delightfully refreshing. It was to delete clause 4.

I was really hoping that as a result of the member's serious concern the trade position with the United States would evaporate in a moment should Bill C-55 proceed because it only involved $250 million and that this was outrageous and a serious risk. It was so important to the member that we not take this terrible risk of moving forward with Bill C-55 that we came up with Motion No. 5, which is the parallel and by now I have caught on totally.

Motion No. 5 said that clause 5 of the bill should be deleted. Even the Speaker at the time was becoming a little concerned that this pattern would extend to a point in which the House's time might be possibly frustrated, perhaps even wasted with frivolous discussions of which amendment was deleting which clause. I suppose we should be thankful that there are at least rules in the House that allow us to deem things to have been done.

If we had proceeded the way the Reform Party wanted on this extremely important bill which was to evaporate all trade, over $350 billion of annual trade with the United States, we would have had to stand in our places and listen to 21 motions, each saying delete a different clause of the bill.

This is the substantive contribution of the Reform Party to a bill it suggests will somehow eliminate all trade with the United States.

I do not want to abuse the opportunity or the privilege to bring these items up but I want as a backbench member of parliament simply to express my disappointment that the time of the House would somehow be taken up by such a frivolous approach to an important bill.

We have important amendments that are going to be considered by this place. They are not going to be considered until we deal with 21 amendments on behalf of the Reform Party which simply say delete a clause without explanation, without members prepared to speak on those motions.

This is contemptuous of the House. It is an insult to members of parliament who are here to deal with the important legislation of the day. This is an important bill. This bill has to do with the cultural sovereignty of Canada. It has to do with important issues within the magazine industry. It affects some groups differently from others and we must understand that. We have to make decisions.

The Reform Party is having a conference very soon. Something it will have to deal with is a report done by one of its own members from Edmonton who basically said the problem with the Reform Party is that this philosophy of populism does not work in Canada. Populism says let the people tell you where you want to go and the Reform Party will lead you there.

I have risen to speak in favour of Bill C-55 at report stage of the first grouping because I support the bill. I am insulted and disappointed that the Reform Party would not give respect to the House by introducing 21 frivolous motions.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the second reading of Bill C-65, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. This is the act to provide funding to provinces.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I therefore give notice that a minister of the crown will propose, at the next sitting of the House, a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stages.

This applies to Bill C-65.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Government Orders

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Shame.