House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Copyright Act.

I would like to start by praising the member for Timmins—James Bay. He is the first digital affairs critic in the history of Parliament, named by our leader to push the government on digital affairs. He has a background as an artist who has depended on copyright. This bill is a result of his endless efforts to try to get the government to understand, after four years of sitting on its derriere, that they had to take action on copyright. It is because of the member for Timmins—James Bay that the government has moved at all.

There are positive provisions in the bill. But as with virtually everything else the government has done, there is an element of ineptness, whether it appears in bad financial management, the treatment of veterans, or corruption inside the government. In fact, everything that the government promised four years ago it has managed to botch or deliberately mishandle.

In this case, we see provisions that we can only liken to digital torches and pitchforks. Having been thrown into the bill, these provisions diminish some of the good elements that the member for Timmins—James Bay was able to promote and put into effect.

We have been calling for a mandatory review of the Copyright Act. When we look at the history of copyright and the new technology, we see that this type of mandated review is absolutely essential.

We have new exceptions to the fair-dealing provisions of the Copyright Act. They create an exception for content creators that would enable the circumvention of DRM for the express purpose of reverse engineering. At the same time, they introduce a number of exceptions that artists have called for. But the problem is that the negative elements of the bill overshadow these positive elements.

Here we have the introduction of long-overdue copyright legislation, something the government has been sitting on for four years. But now we see that, as a result of mishandling, this copyright legislation is bringing as much bad as good.

This is a challenge for Parliament. In this corner of the House, the member for Timmins—James Bay has expressed our opinion that this legislation is long overdue. There are important elements that have to be brought forward, but at the same time, the digital torches and pitchfork of the bill have to be dealt with in committee. Though we would favour pushing this forward to committee, we recognize that the committee will have much work to do to fix this the bill.

The member for Timmins—James Bay talked about the history of copyright, about how new technologies have often been feared by those with vested interests in existing technologies. Player pianos, recordings, radios, computer access to music: all these new technologies experienced obstruction from established interests attempting to protect themselves.

Owing to the hard work of the first digital affairs critic in Canadian parliamentary history, the NDP is pushing forward with what we feel is essential, and that is a balanced approach.

This bill does not have that balance. That is the fundamental problem. The bill ignores the three key components that would give us a balanced approach: copyright maintenance, public access to artistic productions, and rewards for artists. This balance has not yet been achieved in the bill, despite the efforts of the member for Timmins—James Bay to inform the government and lead it in the right direction.

What are the key problems?

First, there are the digital locks.

Second, to provide artists with reliable revenue streams, we proposed extending the levy on materials for music-playing devices. That was an adult approach. We are saying that we need to extend the levy for new devices to ensure that artists receive the remuneration that they need to feed their families. The current government, however, has childishly challenged the adult proposals of the NDP. It has given this legislation a remedy that only large corporations could use: the so-called court remedy. If we go to court, we have to pay a lawyer. Struggling artists cannot do that. That is why there has been so much criticism of this bill.

Third, there is the whole issue of collective licensing, of fair access to educational materials. This is not in the bill. Yet it is something that New Democrats, notably the member for Timmins—James Bay, have put forward as a principle essential to all copyright legislation.

This omission is perhaps the most egregious aspect of this bill. It is one of these digital torches and pitchforks. I am going to read an excerpt from Bill C-32. This is what it says about students and educational institutes. This is the famous clause 27 that my colleague, the member for Burnaby—Douglas, cited earlier. It contains new provisions that would add a new section to 30.01 of the Copyright Act. It says it is not an infringement of copyright for a student to receive a lesson. “However, the student shall destroy the reproduction within 30 days after the day on which the students who are enrolled in the course...have received their final course evaluations”.

That is the famous 30-day, retroactive book-burning clause of this copyright. It is absolutely absurd that those in the gallery, students across the country, would have to destroy these educational materials 30 days after they received their final course evaluation. It seems absurd. When I first heard about this, I said that the member for Timmins—James Bay could not be right. But he was right again: these provisions are clearly in the bill.

It goes on, and it gets worse. Here is the legal mandate:

The educational institution and any person acting under its authority...shall (a) destroy any fixation of the lesson within 30 days after the day on which the students who are enrolled in the course...have received their final course evaluations;

The university, the college, the educational institution has to destroy the material. The student has to destroy the material. Penalties kick in if they do not destroy the material. This is retroactive book burning. This takes us back to the Middle Ages. It is digital torches and pitchforks. It is absolutely absurd. It is laughable that the government would even bring forward such provisions, but there they are in the bill. That is why we are saying that we will not stand for it. We are going to ensure that those provisions are taken out at committee, because they would create two classes of students in this country.

It creates a class of students, largely urban, who can access educational institutions very easily. In the world's largest democracy, which at length and breadth is eight million square kilometres, we cannot have students in northern communities, rural communities and aboriginal communities destroying the material they use online to try to get to the next level of their education.

This is yet another attack by the government on rural and northern Canadians. There seems to be a lot of it. The government simply does not seem to like rural Canada. It likes to use rural Canadians, but does not seem to like rural Canada very much if it put these provisions in the bill.

It goes on to say that a library, archive or museum or a person acting under the authority of one must take measures to prevent the person who has requested it from using the digital copy for more than five business days from the day on which the person first uses it.

Libraries, archives and museums, particularly those in rural areas but also those right across the country, have to prevent people from using a digital copy for more than five business days otherwise they will be in contravention of the act. That is absolutely absurd. What was the government thinking when it put provisions such as the 30 day retroactive book burning and the 5 day retroactive library burning in the act? These are absurd provisions. It is unfortunate that these provisions overshadow some of the good provisions the NDP was able to push the government to observe.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some positive provisions in the bill. However, here is the rub and the symbol of the government's ineptness on digital issues, and that is the digital lock.

Despite all of the principles that are put into play, the positive aspects of the bill and the exemptions, we hit the digital pitchfork at clause 41.1(a). This is not a long a clause at all. It says very simply “No person shall circumvent a technological protection measure”; that is TPMs, or digital locks. This means that despite all the protections, expansions and exceptions that may be in the act, it is overridden by clause 41.1(1), which simply put says a person cannot circumvent.

What does that mean? We are talking about the government imposing penalties of $5,000. It could be less. In clauses 41.19 and 41.2, we see what the courts are directed to do. This is a court issue. We are talking about protections and exceptions. If a company decides to put a digital lock on and a person even attempts to exercise the exceptions in the act, that individual is out of luck.

Clause 41.19 states that:

A court may reduce or remit the amount of damages it awards in the circumstances described in subsection 41.1(1) if the defendant satisfies the court that the defendant was not aware, and had no reasonable grounds to believe, that the defendant’s acts constituted a contravention of that subsection.

In other words, there may be a reduction if the defendant defends himself or herself. We might be talking about young kids or teenagers. We might be talking about students. We might be talking about librarians. Who knows. In that case, the person has to defend himself or herself in court.

We have talked about the five day retroactive book burning and the thirty day retroactive student book burning. Clause 41.2 states that if a court finds the defendant that is a library, archive, museum or an educational institution has contravened these sections and the defendant satisfies the court that he or she was not aware that his or her actions constituted a contravention of that subsection, the plaintiff is not entitled to any remedy other than an injunction.

These are not small exceptions. This imposes a digital lock above and beyond anything else. Therefore, the good components of the act, which we mentioned earlier, are then subjected to digital lock, the TPM, that the government has included in its legislation in the now infamous section 41.1(a). People just simply cannot contravene or circumvent a digital lock. That is absurd.

Here is what some of the folks have said about the bill.

The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright has said, “some parts of the legislation unfairly restrict consumer freedom and need to be revised before being passed by Parliament such as the inability to circumvent digital locks for private use”.

The Retail Council of Canada has said, “parts of the legislation unfairly restrict consumer freedom and choice and need to be revised before being passed by Parliament”.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is concerned about the overly strict prohibition against circumvention of technical measures.

The Canadian Booksellers Association would like to see the government allow the public, particularly students and educators, to circumvent digital locks on materials sought for educational and strictly non-commercial purposes.

The Canadian Library Association has said it “is disappointed that longstanding rights, the heart of copyright's balance, as well as the new rights, are all tempered by the over-reach of digital locks”. I talked about that earlier. This is what our critic on digital affairs and the NDP have brought forward, that balance.

Today, in the newspaper, Alain Pineau, national director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, said that it bypassed the issue of extending copyright collectives in favour of lawsuits.

We are hearing concerns about how the legislation has been put forward from a wide variety of sources across the country. Earlier the member for Timmins—James Bay talked about the positive comments about the levy we proposed for artists. The National Post and the Edmonton Journal were two of those newspapers cited.

We very clearly have public and organizations all saying that the NDP is right to criticize aspects of the bill. That is what we have done. The member for Timmins—James Bay has pushed the government. We will ensure that the ineptitude of the government does not hurt the bill and that we can get the digital and digital pitchforks out of Bill C-32 before it comes back to Parliament for consideration.

Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have his 10-minute question and comment period after question period. We will now move on to statements by members.

Citizens for Clean Air
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize a citizen's group in Oakville that has made a tremendous difference in our community, C4CA.

Citizens for Clean Air was created for one purpose: to stop the unhealthy plan by the Dalton McGuinty government to build a massive gas-fired power plant, dumping tonnes of toxins and deadly particulate matter into the air over our homes and schools.

Founding president, Doug MacKenzie, conceived Citizens for Clean Air, with the dedicated help of Oakville citizens Frank Clegg, Sue Hyatt and many others, including Pauline Watson. A host of women acted as street captains to organize a huge protest at Queen's Park.

On October 6, Ontario's Liberal government, undeterred by health concerns, the crash in value of people's homes and even an explosion in a similar plant in Connecticut that killed five people, but facing a provincial election next year, finally caved: C4CA won.

Despite a raft of people who claimed credit, everyone in Oakville knows that this was grassroots democracy in action. Oakville is forever grateful to C4CA.

Alma Mater Society
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Vancouver Quadra is the proud home of the University of British Columbia, rated in the top 40 universities worldwide.

This year, UBC's student government, the Alma Mater Society, celebrates its 95th anniversary. Since 1915, the AMS has supported and advocated for UBC students. Today it is actively involved in the community on and off campus, and serves more than 46,000 students.

I commend the students of UBC for creating such effective representation, with programs such as a student food bank, free tutoring services, campus safety and child care funding. AMS's current goal is to help decrease the university's environmental impact and to construct the most sustainable student union building in North America.

I applaud the AMS for 95 years of commitment and success.

Caregivers' Week
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 2007, the first week of November has been officially recognized as Caregivers' Week in Quebec. It is a time not only to celebrate and honour caregivers, but also to increase public awareness about caregiving issues, as well as to promote the public policy reforms needed to encourage all of us and all levels of government to provide more support for the people who do this vital work.

To care for a loved one, caregivers must be able to share, inspire and remain open, but they also need to have the time and financial resources to do so. I therefore rise here today not only to thank all caregivers, but also to let them know that their dedication is, in my opinion, a perfect example of the altruism that remains, and will always be, an essential part of our collective well-being.

Considering our aging population and the considerable pressure this situation will put on families and health care systems, the government must act as quickly as possible. For example, now would be a good time to increase tax credits for natural caregivers and relax the eligibility criteria.

Canadian Wheat Board
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government is taking its ideological crusade against the Canadian Wheat Board too far. Now it seems it is withholding initial payments to producers as a cheap and irresponsible way to interfere with the election of Wheat Board directors.

It does not take Treasury Board eight weeks to get initial payments to grain producers, except when the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Gerrymander, does not want nice, big, fat cheques from the Canadian Wheat Board winding up in the mailboxes at the same time as the ballots for Wheat Board directors. It may give farmers a warm and fuzzy feeling about this great Canadian institution that is providing big, fat initial payment cheques to itself.

I do not understand why the minister, Mr. Gerrymander, does not give up his ideological crusade to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board. It is the largest and most successful grain marketing company in the world. It is a great Canadian prairie institution and there is no business case for destroying the Canadian Wheat Board. He should stop his vain and failed attempts to bring down this great institution.

Vancouver Island Raiders
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, they have done it again. On Saturday, the Vancouver Island Raiders blasted past the Hamilton Hurricanes to capture the Intergold Cup.

The Raiders' 38-13 win comes after a fifth straight season dominating the B.C. Junior Football League. The Raiders have led the CJFL, capturing the national championship in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

They will be fired up to defend their title against the Saskatoon Hilltops in the Canadian final on November 13. Led by president and 2008 Nanaimo Citizen of the Year, Hadi Abassi, and head coach “Snoop”, the Raiders beat their own record this season by gaining more than 5,000 all-purpose yards. Five Raiders won BCFC major awards and eight earned all-star titles.

Vancouver Islanders and Nanaimo residents in particular are tremendously proud of their home team. We wish them every success in what promises to be a top-notch championship game for the CJFL title in Saskatoon on November 13.

Go Raiders, fire it up.

Media Literacy Week
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to recognize this week as national Media Literacy Week. The aim of this week is to encourage parents, educators and community leaders to integrate and practise media and digital literacy in their homes, schools and communities.

In an era where communication technology enables us to access multiple media sources, it is increasingly necessary that Canada's youth are equipped with the skills to decipher messages that they encounter.

The theme of this year's event is “Gender and the Media”. Young people and society in general are exposed to a variety of idealized images and gender features prominently in this regard. Positive aspects of popular culture can be harnessed to promote realistic and healthy role models to youth; however, repeated exposure to negative and unfair stereotypes that deal with body image and gender can affect identity and self-image.

It is important that Canada's youth are able to empower themselves through media interaction. This is one of the important objectives that Media Literacy Week aims to achieve. I thank the Canadian Teachers' Federation and the Media Awareness Network for their leadership and their continuing excellent work. It is a job well done.

Federal Business Initiative
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, science and engineering graduates with innovative market-driven ideas will benefit from a new program to build their business skills. The minister for FedDev for southern Ontario and I had the opportunity to announce the new scientists and engineers in business initiative at Brock University.

This initiative will provide funding over the next four years to not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions such as Brock University and Niagara College. This will help build the entrepreneurial skills of recent graduates and graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields who have developed fresh ideas for business start-ups and support them as they bring their ideas to the market in order to expand their business.

This is a direct result of the economic reinvestment strategy in Ontario.

It is a major step forward in keeping our talented sons and daughters, our best and brightest in St. Catharines. It is another example of the economic action plan hard at work.

Sodium Consumption
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, excessive salt consumption is a public health issue. Given that 80% of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods, plenty of groups and individuals have advocated for reduced sodium content in those foods.

Popular radio and television host Paul Houde has made it his mission to talk about this important issue whenever he has the chance. Salt intake is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke, which still take the lives of far too many people every year.

Paul Houde was lucky. In September, he underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery because of irregular blockages. We are glad the operation was a success, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

The food industry has agreed that reducing the salt content of its products is a priority. Now those companies need to work faster to make changes that will protect the health of those who contribute to their bottom lines.

Arts and Culture
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages will host a screening of Barney's Version at the National Arts Centre this evening. Based on a novel by Mordecai Richler, the movie has received a great deal of international recognition and was well received at film festivals in Toronto and Vancouver.

Barney's Version is the fifth production presented by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, after One Week, De père en flic, Gunless and, just recently, the extraordinary Incendies.

More than 1,000 people are expected for this evening's presentation, making this the biggest turnout so far.

Such events showcase the wealth of Canadian talent.

Our government is proud to promote Canadian films such as Barney's Version and we will continue to support our nation's most talented filmmakers, actors and artists.

Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to support Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day on November 10.

NET, or neuroendocrine tumours, is the umbrella term for a group of unusual cancers which develop themselves in the diffuse endocrine system. They are found most often in the lung or gastrointestinal system but can be found in other parts of the body.

Often misdiagnosed, up to 90% of the time, as another kind of ailment, NET cancer is now twice as common as pancreatic cancer. That makes it the fastest growing cancer community worldwide.

I rise here today with the hope that these words will spark awareness of this often under-reported, underserved and unknown cancer group.

Across our country, there are limited treatment options for Canadians suffering from NET tumours. Health Canada has yet to approve yttrium and lutetium. It is my hope that by making more people aware of this cancer there will be steps taken to invest more resources into helping diagnose, treat and care for NET cancer patients in Canada and around the world.

Holocaust Education Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the beginning of the 30th Holocaust Education Week during which scholars, artists and, most important, survivors will educate all of us on the horrors of the Shoah and the courage of its victims.

There is no purer example of unvarnished evil than the totalitarian Nazi regime, an evil which culminated in the industrial scale systematic murder of six million Jews, in addition to Poles, homosexuals, political opponents and others.

As I walked arm-in-arm with rabbis and survivors in the 2009 “March of the Living” between Auschwitz and Birkenau, I committed myself to help educate others at these odious events.

Throughout this week's program titled, “We Who Survive”, Holocaust victims will share Shoah testimony. These stories are painful to hear, but hear them we must.

Never forget. Never again.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last 20 years of right-wing trade and economic policy has been particularly harmful for Canada's youth. Middle class and poor Canadians have seen rising debt and a fall in real income over the last 20 years. Inequality in Canada has reached the same level as in the 1920s. The consequences have been particularly egregious for our youngest generation.

The jobs created in today's economy are mostly part-time or temporary service jobs with lower starting wages than were present in the labour market 20 years ago and with no benefits or pensions.

We need a positive change away from the choices made in Parliament by the Conservatives and their Liberal predecessors; a change that confronts head on the unprecedented levels of student debt, the increasing scarcity of goods and family-sustaining full-time jobs; a change that stops the reckless outsourcing and offshoring of Canadian companies overseas; and a change that restores equity by ensuring that every Canadian, including Canada's youth, gets a fair share of Canada's wealth.

The NDP embodies this change for better, more balanced economic and trade policies that benefit all Canadians.

Édouard Carpentier
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec has just lost the man we all knew as Édouard Carpentier, a legend in Quebec wrestling and the best wrestler of his time. He was born Édouard Wiercowicz to a Polish mother and a Russian father in France on July 17, 1926.

This man, who would go on to incredible success, was captured and imprisoned by the Germans in the second world war. He managed to escape, but would risk his life by working for the French Resistance, which earned him the Croix de Guerre for bravery.

Édouard Carpentier was the “man with the flying feet”. He won his first bout at the Montreal Forum on April 18, 1956, and his rise would be as dazzling as his immense popularity.

He was a proponent of “scientific” wrestling and was known as the “Flying Frenchman” for his high-flying style. He fought epic fights and left us with colourful expressions such as “Believe me, it hurts!”

Today we pay tribute to a high-calibre athlete who captivated our collective imagination and raised the profile of Quebec wrestling. “God willing, see you next week.”