House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was banks.

Topics

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

On division.

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

I declare the motion carried on division.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

Competition Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

moved that Bill C-41, An Act to amend the Competition Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to address Bill C-41. This bill amends the Competition Act regarding the application of provisions dealing primarily with the telecommunications sector. This amendment—the bill only has two clauses—will allow the Competition Tribunal to impose administrative monetary penalties if telecommunications service providers abuse their dominant position.

Bill C-41 will therefore be a powerful deterrent against the anti-competitive behaviour that some players in the industry may display.

The government wants to ensure that consumers and businesses in Canada fully benefit from the deregulation of telecommunications and the creation of competitive markets right here in Canada. To that end, it is essential to provide a credible recourse to punish and deter anti-competitive behaviour which could—and I emphasize the word could—surface during the transition from a regulated to a non-regulated environment.

This is basically the purpose of Bill C-41: to ensure that users of telecommunications services in Canada get the benefits of a competitive market.

In order to properly address this issue, it is important to consider the proposed change in a broader, more global context. The telecommunications sector is experiencing a rapid evolution because of the emergence of new technologies. Telecommunications markets are very competitive and are important to a strong economy.

As we know, competition forces businesses to become more efficient, to invest more in new technologies, to offer new products and to provide services that benefit all consumers.

We are living in a new era of communications shaped by constantly evolving technologies, such as the Internet and the wireless technology. These new telecommunications technologies determine the way we, in Canada, work and live.

Every day, businesses come up with new products and innovative services. In March 2006, the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel acknowledged, in its report, the costs generated by useless and ineffective regulations in these sectors. As I just mentioned, the panel provided us with a copy of its report in March 2006. It urged the government to regulate only if necessary. It also recommended that appropriate measures be provided to deal with anti-competitive behaviour. The panel expressly recommended using fines to ensure that telecommunications companies comply with the Competition Act.

More recently, the Minister of Finance published a document titled "Advantage Canada—Building a Strong Economy for Canadians".

In this document, the government commits itself to taking additional measures to ensure that Canadians will continue to benefit from competition in the telecommunications sector as well as in all other sectors in Canada.

In the document, we stress the importance of making the Competition Act as modern as possible.

In its report, the task force also reminded us rightly that some measures to regulate telecommunications in Canada date back to the beginning of the last century. Moreover, the report says that even though Canada remains a leader in telecommunications, other countries are catching up and are even starting to get ahead of us.

Canada's new government is determined to take measures to reverse this trend. Our goal is to create a new regulatory framework that will be modern and flexible and will allow consumers to take advantage of new technologies as well as competition.

For example, Canada's new government tabled in the House a set of proposed policy directions to the CRTC, directing it to rely as much as possible on market forces. As well, on November 15, I announced the decision to change the way the CRTC regulates voice over Internet protocol services, known as VoIP.

Canada's new government has instructed the CRTC to begin deregulating access-independent VoIP services. There are few obstacles to entry into this market and there is no reason to retain regulation in this area.

In the end, I proposed a variance to the CRTC decision regarding local forbearance which outlined the criteria for determining when to refrain from regulating local services.

The government proposed replacing the CRTC criteria for market share with a criterion that would emphasize the presence of a competitive infrastructure in a given geographic area.

We are doing this to ensure that Canadian consumers have the widest possible choices, the best services and the most competitive rates in the telecommunications sector. We wish to resort to regulation only when problems cannot be resolved by market forces. Competition is the main means of ensuring economic efficiency and promoting innovation and growth of productivity, as well as improving our quality of life.

I come from an area and a country where entrepreneurship is flourishing. The people of Beauce recognize the importance of individual freedom, autonomy and responsibility. Beauce businesspeople also understand, as do entrepreneurs throughout Canada, that individual freedom and competition are vital values in a democratic country and that all forms of regulation can thwart the innovation of which people are so proud.

Implementing this legislation is important. We believe that it is also important that steps be taken to deter behaviour that stifles competition and to educate citizens about this act. The Competition Bureau—

Competition Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Order, please. I must interrupt the debate on Bill C-41.

The House resumed from February 22 consideration of the motion.

Opposition motion—Citizenship and immigration
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

It being 5:30 p.m., pursuant to order made Thursday, February 22, 2007, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion relating to the business of supply.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #125

Business of Supply
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from February 26 consideration of the motion.

Anti-terrorism Act
Orders Of The Day

6 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, February 22, 2007, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion relating to the statutory order.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #126

Anti-terrorism Act
Orders Of The Day

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare the motion lost.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Canadian Heritage
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #127