House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cbc.

Topics

Opposition Motion--CBC Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find the comments of the hon. member to be quite remarkable. It was this government that increased funding to the CBC to the highest level. Guess what? It was that member who voted not once, not twice but three times in favour of our economic action plan, which increased funding to the CBC to the highest level in Canadian history.

The member talks about one red cent. Let us talk about the red book of 1993 where the Liberals said that they would provide stable funding. What did they do? They cut $440 million. Why did they cut $440 million? They wanted to redirect that money to their friends so they could do something called the sponsorship program. It had nothing to do with CBC then, did it?

Opposition Motion--CBC Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find it highly ironic and rather hard to swallow that the very government that is providing backseat driving to multinational corporations on the testing of pollution control technology when the Government of Canada has endorsed the polluter pays principle is now criticizing the party that put forward the motion that we should be allowing the CBC to compete fairly. We need a little more consistency in the proposals put forward by that party. If we are not going to be backseat drivers on one, why are we backseat drivers on others who, frankly, do not need taxpayer subsidization?

First we had the cuts to local radio and television and now it has come to my attention that the Conservative government will deliver a second blow to Canadian content that Canadians enjoy. It has been brought to my attention that the Minister of Canadian Heritage has killed the Canadian television fund and rolled it into the Canadian media fund, thereby giving preferential treatment to large media companies and cable companies over small Canadian film producers. He is giving preference to the selfsame companies who spend more--

Opposition Motion--CBC Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will need to cut off the hon. member there to allow enough time for a response.

The hon. member for Oak Ridges—Markham.

Opposition Motion--CBC Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will say this about the members of the NDP. A least there is some consistency in what they are saying, unlike our friends in the Liberal Party who complain on a daily basis in the House about certain things that they just voted in favour of.

I will remind the hon. member that we did provide $1.1 billion of funding to the CBC, a record level. A great majority of the House voted in favour of that. Our minister has been changing the way in which we provide funding to all levels of cultural institutions. However, we are providing record levels across the board, levels that have never been seen before in this country.

In my riding, the changes have been welcome. However, we need to look at two things. We need to look at responsibility to Canadians. We have a responsibility, as the government, to ensure the funds that all Canadian taxpayers send to us are treated with the respect they are being sent to us with, which why we put in $1.1 billion and why we expect all hon. members to respect the independent decisions made by the CBC. We appreciate the work being done by the CBC in these difficult times.

Opposition Motion--CBC Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover Parliamentary Secretary for Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I must say that, in spite of these difficult economic times, I am pleased to learn that CBC/Radio-Canada intends to maintain the priorities that are at the heart of its mandate, especially with regard to services in French.

This was highlighted yesterday once again by the CRTC in its report on French- and English-language broadcasting services in English and French linguistic minority communities. The CRTC quotes the Fédération culturelle canadienne française and the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, both of which pointed out the important role played by regional Radio-Canada stations in official language minority communities. Many communities depend on Radio-Canada as the sole source of regional news in the minority language—

I am therefore reassured that CBC/ Radio-Canada will remain anchored in the regions, does not intend to close regional stations and, more importantly, intends to continue to honour its conditions of licence. In other words, I am reassured that CBC/Radio-Canada intends to take the necessary steps to enable it to get through this current difficult economic crisis, while concentrating on its essential activities as provided in its conditions of licence and its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.

In this regard, CBC/Radio-Canada is a key instrument in the Canadian broadcasting toolbox, and the steps it plans to take should mean it will retain that role. Among other things, CBC/Radio-Canada intends to reduce the number of positions affected by offering its employees a voluntary departure incentive plan and is working closely with its unions to find other solution options.

I am also especially proud of the fact that, despite the current extremely difficult economic climate, this government has confirmed that CBC/Radio-Canada will receive all its appropriations, including the special $60 million envelope for programming initiatives. The government is prepared to work with the corporation to enable it to sell $125 million worth of assets. The government's willingness to cooperate was illustrated publicly by Hubert Lacroix, the president and CEO of the corporation, in a speech to the metropolitan Montreal chamber of commerce, when she said she respected and got along well with the Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC).

The current economic and financial crisis, like structural changes in the broadcasting industry in Canada and around the world, obliges broadcasters to think strategically.

For CBC/Radio-Canada, it means looking at the role and nature of public broadcasting in Canada in the light of its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.

This government is reassured by the fact that CBC/Radio-Canada, despite the economic crisis, still considers it its mission to develop an identity and a community and intends to remain anchored in each of the country's regions, especially since its presence in the regions helps reduce the sense of isolation small communities may feel.

This government is also reassured by the fact that CBC/Radio-Canada intends to continue its vital role within the Canadian broadcasting system.

Today, as our national public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada provides radio and television services offering a very broad range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains, in accordance with the Broadcasting Act.

This programming is distinctively Canadian and reflects Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences. It actively contributes to the flow of cultural expression, is offered in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, and is of equivalent quality in English and French.

The programming contributes to shared national consciousness and identity. It is made available throughout Canada and reflects the multicultural and multiracial nature of our country.

I think it is important to say as well that Radio-Canada is no longer merely a French-language broadcaster. It distributes its programming on several different platforms through a variety of services.

Radio-Canada television includes eight local, general-interest TV stations that broadcast live to 99% of French-speaking Canadians. On the radio, the Première Chaîne reaches 98% of French-speaking Canadians.

The Espace musique network has 19 local stations that reach 91% of Canadian francophones.

When it comes to analogue specialty networks, Radio-Canada operates the Réseau de l'information, which broadcasts news continuously in French, ARTV, a television network that broadcasts French-language arts and culture programming, and TV5 Monde, an international television consortium that offers a selection of news and general-interest programs produced in French from Canada, including Quebec, France, Belgium, Switzerland and francophone Africa.

Radio-Canada also provides other radio and new media services such as radio-canada.ca and bandeapart.fm, as well as Radio-Canada Nord, a network that broadcasts in northern Canada in French and aboriginal languages. The corporation is also a 40% partner in Sirius Radio Satellite Canada, a service providing 120 satellite radio stations, including some in French. There is also Radio Canada International, an international radio service that produces programs in several different languages, including French, for an international audience.

I am confident that the corporation has the ability to manage this portfolio of services in a responsible, professional way under the current difficult circumstances. I am also confident that it will be able to adapt to the profound changes in the broadcasting industry in Canada and to the economic and financial crisis, which affects us all, by focusing on its long-term strategy and on fulfilling its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.

I believe that an investment of more than $1.1 billion a year will enable it to fulfill its mandate.

Business of the House
Government Orders

March 31st, 2009 / 4:10 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been negotiations between the parties and I believe you will find consent for the following motion. I move:

Notwithstanding Standing Order 93(1)(b), that the recorded division requested on Bill C-311, currently to take place immediately before the time provided for Private Members' Business on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, instead take place at the conclusion of question period earlier that day.

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion — CBC/Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Continuing with questions and comments. The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

Opposition Motion — CBC/Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague from Saint-Boniface to explain the speech she just gave. She is relatively new to the House of Commons, and she is getting along very well, but the speech she gave was undoubtedly prepared by the Department of Canadian Heritage. I would like to know what she will tell her constituents in Saint-Boniface who want local news. The local news from Winnipeg has been eliminated, and from now on the news will likely come from Toronto. Programming on the French network may well come from Montreal.

I would also like our colleague to explain CBC/Radio-Canada's involvement in TV5. The speech that the department prepared for her implies that TV5 is owned by the corporation, which is not true. I would like her to explain, based on the information she has from the Department of Canadian Heritage, how CBC/Radio-Canada is involved in TV5.

Opposition Motion — CBC/Radio-Canada
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the opposition member for his question. I want to assure everyone that I will work very hard for my constituents in Saint-Boniface, as I always do. I agree completely that the situation facing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is very important to Saint-Boniface.

But I am surprised that the member is asking questions about this when it was the Liberals who slashed funding for CBC/Radio-Canada. They are the ones who really axed that funding.

TV5 Monde is an international consortium that offers a choice of news and general interest television programs in French from Canada—