House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act
Private Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to discuss Bill C-300, an act respecting the federal framework for suicide prevention. This bill has received overwhelming support not only in the House but throughout Canada.

What drives people to commit suicide is based on a number of complex factors, and we are always left wondering why. Why did we lose a loved one? What prompted this individual end his or her life? Could it have been prevented? Oftentimes, stigma and discrimination have prevented people from seeking the help they need. We need to help them on the sidelines to emerge out of the shadows. As was said so pointedly by Senator Kirby, there is hope in this darkness.

We must move forward on this crucial issue in a collaborative way. That is the spirit of the bill before us today. This is a very important bill, and I am pleased that so many of you have expressed your support for it. Due to recent momentum on this topic, a national conversation on suicide has resulted. I must also thank the members of the Standing Committee on Health and the witnesses who shared their experiences and expertise and the Canadians who are talking more openly about suicide in order to help prevent it.

As a government, we are listening to Canadians. We have heard many personal and family tragedies. The stories are all too familiar: a bright young person from a caring family who appears to be very happy or an adult who appears to be successfully managing his or her career but who, despite what we see, is walking an unpredictable path.

Within the areas of federal responsibility, we are making a meaningful contribution. The federal government's role in mental health and suicide prevention is multi-faceted. it includes working with researchers to better understand the causes of suicide and with children and youth to better understand the importance of their relationships. It includes supporting programs that build resiliency and develop protective factors that help ward against the potential desire to see suicide as the way out.

In addition, the federal government is providing suicide awareness and prevention workshops, as well as training staff. This includes—

Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act
Private Members' Business

Noon

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Order, please. The time provided for the consideration of private member's business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper. The hon. member for Don Valley East will have eight minutes remaining when this matter returns to the House.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Speaker's Ruling
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

Noon

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

There are 23 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-11.

Motion No. 8 will not be selected by the Chair as it was defeated in committee.

All remaining motions have been examined and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at the report stage.

The motions will be grouped for debate as follows:

Group 1 will include Motions Nos. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 22 and 23.

Group 2 will include Motions Nos. 4 and 5 and 9 to 21.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1 to 3, 6, 7, 22 and 23 in Group No. 1.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 1.

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 2.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-11, in Clause 21, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 17 the following:

“(2) The Governor in Council may make regulations defining “education” for the purposes of subsection (1).”

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-11, in Clause 27, be amended by replacing lines 23 to 29 on page 23 with the following:

“paragraph (3)(a) to reproduce the lesson for non-infringing purposes.”

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-11, in Clause 27, be amended by deleting line 42 on page 23 to line 3 on page 24.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

moved:

Motion No. 22

That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 49.

Motion No. 23

That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 62.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to debate the amendments proposed by the Bloc Québécois to Bill C-11. This is not the first time the Bloc Québécois has spoken against this bill. The government is presenting the same content it presented in the previous Parliament as Bill C-32. There are, in fact, no changes, although we had asked for changes.

We must be clear that not everything about this bill is bad. Changes certainly were needed with respect to copyright, especially in the field of new technology. Such technology really is new and was previously quite rare. In fact, some technologies did not even exist the last time. Now we must consider copyright as it relates to iPods and even the Internet. Thus, there are changes that follow naturally from progress and current events. Still, the government has once again rushed headlong into legislation without really consulting consumers, authors, artists and creators, of course, or a lot of other people.

Some parts of the bill are good, others are not. Therefore we have to try to introduce amendments. This gives us the opportunity to talk about Bill C-11 and the amendments that should be made. As it stands, the bill clearly favours big business over artists.

As my colleague from Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour is present, I would like to mention that, a little over a year ago, his initiative resulted in many artists coming to Parliament Hill—including his brother Luc Plamondon, the well-known lyricist—to meet with all the political parties. I do not know if they managed to meet with everyone, but I do know that a room was reserved in order for all the political parties to meet with these artists who came to tell us about the problems that Bill C-11 would create in terms of copyright.

When discussing copyright, we should not forget that MPs get a monthly paycheque. Factory workers get paid every week or perhaps biweekly. Everyone is compensated for their work no matter what sector they work in. Authors are compensated through copyright. When we take a look at the percentage of authors who earn a living from copyright, they are just barely surviving. By cutting this source of income, we are clearly telling the artists to work, to create and to do it for free.

A large number of creators came to Parliament Hill by bus. I do not know if it was the show business bus. However, one thing is certain: many stars were present. Artists from my area—Robert Charlebois, Dumas, Marie-Mai—were there. All these people came, not just because they are stars but also because they are often the spokespersons for other artists. All these stars are doing quite well. But there is a whole other group of artists, whom we could call emerging artists, who also deserve to be compensated for their work.

I commend this initiative by my colleague and that of former MP Carole Lavallée, who also did a tremendous amount of work on this file to help artists raise awareness among hon. members. Apparently it was not enough, because in this Parliament, after the election, the Conservatives reintroduced exactly the same bill and only changed its number. It is now Bill C-11.

It is a carbon copy of Bill C-32 and, like its predecessor, it seriously undermines creators and artists, who are the foundation of Quebec culture. Creators are not receiving their due under this bill. The Conservatives refuse to let them have royalties for the use of their works on new media: iPods, MP3s, the Internet and so on, as I was saying earlier. Internet service providers are not being held accountable under this bill, with some exceptions. As I was saying, that is why we are proposing amendments, in order to amend the bill to make servers and Internet service providers suitably accountable.

The Bloc Québécois supports copyright reform, but not what the Conservative government is proposing. If the government had wanted a serious bill, it would have consulted the stakeholders—I listed them earlier—including, chiefly, creators, consumers, the people who are specifically affected by these piecemeal measures that are likely motivated by this government's ideology and its bias for big business.

Nor is it surprising—because I was talking about Quebec culture in particular—that the Quebec National Assembly has unanimously denounced this legislation, which does not ensure that Quebec creators receive full recognition of their rights and an income that reflects the value of their creations.

It is clear that this bill will make our artists poorer and will benefit big corporations. The Conservatives did not listen to any of the legitimate criticisms and are proposing amendments that would significantly benefit the software, gaming, film and broadcasting industries, at the expense of our artists' rights. This explains why the representatives of 400 industries, 38 multinationals, 300 chambers of commerce and 150 CEOs applauded Bill C-32, while artists and even the Union des consommateurs, just to name a few, are condemning the bill, and rightly so.

Speaking of people who condemn the bill, I would like to quote Gaston Bellemare, president of the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres. In an article I read in Le Devoir some time ago, here is what he had to say about Bill C-11:

This is a direct attack on the values that have always defined Quebec...

Make no mistake, creators and cultural industries are not fighting for protections equivalent to those elsewhere in the world, despite the fact that globalization forces everyone to share the same playing field. That battle has already been lost. The United States, France, England, the giants that captured our markets quite some time ago...have increased the duration of protection to 70 years following the death of artists in order to provide an income to their descendants.

In this case, this is not even about income for creators. Of course, that is part of it, but we also need to think about the future, the people who will follow and who are family members of these artists, including both famous artists and lesser known artists. Canada obviously does not have these kinds of measures.

The battle to extend private copying levies to digital audio devices and e-readers has also been lost. The media campaign against the “iPod tax” [as the Conservative government called it] managed to convince consumers that the few extra cents collected on their mobile devices for creators would be an unacceptable hidden tax.

I just quoted Gaston Bellemare, president of the Association nationale des éditeurs de livre.

The Bloc Québécois has been accused of advocating an “iPod tax”, but this is not an iPod tax. It is a transfer based on how people are using contemporary platforms, and iPods are contemporary platforms. I apologize for using the brand name. People also talk about MP3s and other digital audio platforms.

I am old enough that I still own cassettes, which my girlfriend says is ridiculous. Not eight-tracks, but cassettes that I recorded music on. When we bought blank tapes, we paid a certain amount to cover copyright. We could not complain about that because we bought the tapes to record music, maybe music borrowed from a friend on a vinyl record. The sound quality was exceptional at the time, except for a little squeaking, but I think that was part of the listening experience, which some people find nostalgic and which can still be found today because it is still around. Obviously, we were not buying the records, so there had to be another way to compensate for copyright. I have many tapes like that, and I paid some form of copyright on all of them.

Now, I am also young enough that I have used blank CDs—that was the platform at the time—to record other CDs for personal use, not for sale in flea markets. People buying blank CDs paid a certain fee for copyright.

This is the same principle applied to digital devices. There is nothing wrong with adding a certain fee to the purchase price so that artists can be paid for their work. It is only fair.

In conclusion, there are many reasons, including this one, why we cannot agree to Bill C-11 as written.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on his very enlightened speech on the importance of protecting our heritage, especially the cultural heritage of both Quebec and Canada.

We have to make a distinction. It is important to remember just how much Quebec's cultural heritage depends on the initiatives of artists, artisans and small businesses. The hon. member referred to the fact that the Conservative government appears to listen more to lobbyists and big business. We have to wonder whether that is intentional or simply based on ignorance. In Quebec, the music business is led by small entrepreneurs much more than it is in the rest of Canada.

With respect to the unbelievable losses this misbegotten bill will lead to, whether we are talking about ephemeral recordings or the technicalities of radio broadcasting, can we count on his support to fight this situation and ensure that royalties will continue to be paid automatically to those who are entitled to them?

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

I think I was very clear in my speech. I have asked myself the same question as he did: is the government ignorant or wilful in its attempt to rush into things so that almost everything they have proposed, whether it is good or ill, will be the law by 2015? I have described this government as a bulldozer, and I think the term still applies.

Why did the government not take the time to sit down with the artists, authors and consumers affected by this bill? It is favouring the big digital game industry over the interests of consumers, who are going to have enormous problems making copies for their own use—not for sale—without being treated as criminals.

It is a political choice. I think it is deliberate and that the government wants to favour big business. I repeat, and I agree with my hon. colleague, that authors, particularly in Quebec, certainly have the right to be paid, whether they are famous or unknown. If we want them to become famous one day, they will have to be paid for their work.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague.

The New Democratic Party has tried to work with the government to fix a badly flawed bill, yet none of the amendments that were brought forward would it accept under any circumstances.

This is an important issue, because we are talking about provisions that would criminalize students, but also that would directly attack the royalty rights, the rights of the author, the rights of musicians and creators to be paid.

One of the big issues for us is the issue of the moral rights of the artist. We had pushed the government to clarify this under the mash-up provisions so that artists would not have their art unfairly taken, but citizens would not be unfairly impinged from doing whatever kids are doing now on the Internet.

I would like some clarification from my hon. colleague, because his amendment to clause 2 would change the moral rights in terms of deleting the right under performances. That is an issue we have fought hard for.

Would the hon. member explain why the Bloc has decided that instead of expanding moral rights it is actually limiting them?

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not our intention. It was mainly about the opportunity to make amendments that will make people aware of the fact that this bill is completely unsatisfactory.

I know that my colleague is an artist and, because of Bill C-11 and its predecessor, Bill C-32, I am happy that he is an MP. Finally, he is doing better than if he were an artist. It is not that I do not think he is talented, on the contrary. But one thing is certain: this bill puts a serious damper on emerging artists' hope that they will one day earn a living from their work.

In my riding, many painters have the opportunity to showcase their work at a number of artists' symposiums. The career of a young woman from Victoriaville, for example, took off thanks to her hard work and talent. She left her day job. She believed in her art and wanted to be an artist. She was lucky that people believed in her. But today, knowing that it would be increasingly difficult to earn a living from art and culture, I am not sure that we would see her work in major galleries, as I did in Quebec City. For that reason, the bill must be amended.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak for the second time to Bill C-11, an act to amend the Copyright Act. The first time I had the occasion to speak to the bill was at second reading, on November 22 last year. I had hoped at that time we would see significant improvements made to the bill through the committee process.

There have been several tries at amending copyright law. The first attempt to bring copyright law into the digital age was made back in 2005 by the previous Liberal government. Subsequent bills were brought forward, most recently, Bill C-32, which is what we see now, pretty much unchanged, as Bill C-11. In the process between the previous Liberal government's attempt in 2005 and the bill presented by the current Conservative majority government, we have seen a leaning toward the rights primarily of U.S.-based entertainment industries.

I am not a member of the parliamentary committees, and I certainly am not making that point to complain. I understand my position here as leader of the Green Party of Canada. The Green Party is a recognized party in the House, but my rights, obligations and opportunities are closely aligned with those I would have had if I had been an independent member, a member of no party at all. Strangely enough, that gives me superior abilities at report stage to bring forward amendments that are substantive, which I could not have brought forward today had I been a member of the committee.

With that small digression I will just mention that although I am not a member of the committee, I tracked very closely what occurred at committee. Thanks to the able assistance of the wonderful young people who work on my team, and I am very grateful for their help, I was able to carefully monitor the evidence and review the testimony of expert witnesses who came before the committee. It was very compelling testimony from very knowledgeable experts in the field of copyright law in the digital age, which admittedly is a complex field.

One of those experts who is often cited and has made valiant efforts to see this legislation improved is one of the country's leading experts, Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa. He has been saying for some time, and I invoked his words when I first spoke to this bill at second reading, that the bill was “flawed but fixable”.

We had a chance to fix it at committee and we did not. It is my hope that the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage, who I think deserves a lot of credit for the bulk of what he has done on this legislation, will allow Conservative Party members to consider favourably amendments being put forward now so that the bill, when passed, will not just be new copyright legislation, but will be excellent copyright legislation. We have that possibility but we will need amendments to get there.

The 18 amendments that I am putting forward today fall into two general areas. The Speaker has grouped them as such, and I recognize that, but I propose to speak to both groups at once. The two areas are to improve the clarity around the term “fair dealing”, particularly in relation to the new insertion of educational provisions, and to address the overly onerous provisions to protect material against digital locks. Digital locks are referred to in the law as technological protection measures, TPMs.

I propose to try to explain these in layman's language in the next few minutes to make sure they have a fair chance of being accepted by other members of the House who, like me, were not on the committee, but perhaps, unlike me, were not following the evidence as closely.

“Fair dealing” is a very straightforward term, but it does not have the meaning one may think. “Dealing” sounds as though we are making a deal with someone. This is basically copyright law, so we are asking whether the way one uses someone else's creative work is fair. We have a lot of case law on fair dealing. We cannot define what it is or is not. It is not a question of being able to quote a paragraph or a page and acknowledge who the author was. In certain circumstances we could quote a page, and in other circumstances we cannot quote a paragraph. It depends on what the purpose and intent is and whether the intent infringes the creator's rights under copyright law.

In the concept of whether one is using someone else's creative work fairly, we have changes in the legislation which, for the most part, are quite good. We are now saying one can use someone else's work if the purpose is for parody or satire. Those words are not creating any problems for us today at report stage.

However, the government threw in “education, parody or satire”, and the use of the word “education” does create some concern, primarily because “education”, as a term or exception under copyright use under fair dealing, has not been previously defined in the courts. It could lead to significant litigation to expand or narrow the meaning in ways that would be prejudicial to the average person who wants to use the material. Given that those people who might want to change the law in ways that restrict consumer access and normal opportunities to use materials are those with the greatest and the deepest pockets to go to court to prove this, it seems that down the road we might want to improve the way the bill currently reads and to create an opportunity by regulation for the Governor in Council to provide a definition of “education”, which is currently not in the bill, in order to leave that flexibility in place down the road. That is what my Motion No. 3 stands for: that the Governor in Council may make regulations defining “education”.

This very specific amendment comes from testimony by Giuseppina D'Agostino, a professor in intellectual property at Ogoode Hall Law School. She also teaches at York University. Back in 2010, when this legislation was Bill C-32, the comment that Professor D'Agostino made to explain this amendment was this:

This would allow for a more evidence-based approach and allow government departments with expertise to helpfully collect evidence and be specific on what they need to cure by legislation, and to be nimble and flexible in making adjustments to copyright problems in the educational sector as they arise from time to time.

That is all I propose to say on fair dealing. It is a big topic, but I want to move on to the question of digital locks. Most of my amendments relate to this problem.

Digital locks make sense. The whole scheme of this legislation is about protecting the rights of a creator and balancing the rights of the creator with the rights of the consumer.

This legislation attempts to bring Canadian law up to speed with the international obligations that Canada has undertaken through what is generally called the WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, copyright treaty.

The problem I have with Bill C-11 is that it extends well beyond WIPO requirements; in fact, the scheme it would create would be among the most restrictive schemes anywhere in the world. The plain common sense explanation of this is to imagine that an individual has the right to put on a lock on something to protect it if that individual has the right to do so. No one has a right to break the lock if that is the person's property, and getting through that lock is the same as stealing.

However, we have exceptions in the bill that say people's intellectual property can be used for creative purposes, for satire and for parody.

What if the individual does not have the right to lock it away? Under this legislation, breaking the lock would still be illegal.

It was explained well by John Lutz of the Canadian Historical Association when he was testifying about previous Bill C-32 before committee. He said that the new law brings copyright legislation last amended in 1997 into the digital age: “Consumers will, for example, be able to make private copies of digital works to carry on different devices like an iPod, a smart phone or a laptop without breaking copyright. There is, however, one important exception, and that is if the vendor does not want you to make a copy. All a vendor has to do is make otherwise legal uses illegal is put a digital lock on it. A digital lock...”, and he goes on to describe it.

This legislation not only indicates that a digital lock cannot be broken but also indicates that it would be illegal to produce the kind of equipment or technology that would help someone break a digital lock.

I will not go through each of my amendments one at a time. They essentially speak to the following principle: if in all other circumstances under the bill the use of the material under a digital lock would be legal, an individual should be allowed to break the digital lock. A digital lock should not trump all other rights under the bill when it is fair dealing, when it is otherwise appropriate and someone wants to get access to that material.

It could be as simple as a mistake I once made in Amsterdam: I bought a movie that I really wanted to watch and when I arrived back in Canada I could not watch it. I still cannot see it.

I ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage to consider these circumstances in which no one has any intention of breaking copyright. They just want to be able to view or access something that they normally would have a legal right to do. Digital locks should not trump all other rights.

I commend the Minister of Canadian Heritage for his hard work. I ask him to please consider amendments at report stage to improve this legislation.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have looked at some of the hon. member's amendments. We find some of them, in a way, overly focused.

We believe in the general principles of technological protection measures, but it has to be defined in a very clear manner. If we link the breaking of a technical protection measure to infringement, then that is breaking the law. However, we see that the hon. member is getting right down to how to negotiate a contract with Rogers or whomever on a PVR signal.

I am worried about the implications of going to that level of specificity in terms of unintended consequences. I find it is the same with her position on education and the idea that we would turn it over to the Governor in Council to define education. This has been one of the most difficult issues we have found.

The Supreme Court has dealt with the overall issue of how to define fair dealing, and we also have the Copyright Board to adjudicate these matters. The New Democratic Party is certainly very uncomfortable with the idea of giving that decision-making power to government. The member says it will be more nimble and flexible, but we are worried about accountability and actually doing it on the basis of evidence.

Motions in Amendment
Copyright Modernization Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure there could have been better solutions, perhaps during committee and so on. However, I think we have to ask ourselves whether we really want the meaning of “education” and the context of fair dealing to be a matter for the courts when we still have an opportunity to get some control over those aspects during the legislative process.

I agree with the member that having it go to the Governor in Council, which is essentially the cabinet, may not be as satisfactory as having the legislature come up with the definition, but in looking at who has access to the courts, who is most likely to take this to the Supreme Court and how the intent of fair dealing might be distorted through this process, I would refer to the advice and the citation that my hon. friend used, which were not my words but the words of Prof. D'Agostino from Osgoode Hall and York University. I think it is worth a chance.

In the meantime, of course I would be grateful for any support the official opposition gives to any of my amendments. I accept that the opposition finds some of them troublesome.