Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this bill. I had not planned on that when I asked my question, but I certainly appreciate the opportunity because, as I said earlier in my comments, the motion picture industry is very important to Canada.
It is very important to the provinces, as well as cities, because when these productions occur in the cities and towns across Canada revenue comes in that would not otherwise. In the case of foreign films, it is almost like tourist dollars. In the case of domestic films, it helps build the base for a quality industry in which we have skilled technicians who are recognized, for example, the world over as being the equal of the best that there are in Hollywood. Canada is an attractive place for films to be made.
We have competition now from around the world. There is competition from Ireland, Europe, some of the former Soviet territories and the United States. Individual states are very aggressively pursuing the motion picture industry. We have competition from Mexico, Australia and now even from Asia. It is important that we look at the motion picture industry as a package and the areas where we are able to assist the industry in Canada. One of the areas, aside from that which I mentioned and will refer to again, is having confidence that we are going to take steps to protect the quality, quantity and pricing of these films once they are produced.
My colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, the Liberal justice critic, made reference to the costs involved. She mentioned the loss of annual revenue at $118 million U.S. to Canada while the annual consumer spending loss to the economy is estimated for 2005 at $225 million in total. Not only that, the tax revenues that were lost as a result of piracy in Canada in 2005 was estimated at $34 million. That is money directly out of the economy. It is not only hurting our image as a film producing and distributing nation, but it is hurting our economy directly.
I have some interesting quotes. For example, we have support for this bill, dealing with video piracy, from the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters, the Motion Picture Theatre Associations of Canada, ACTRA, IATSE, which is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Directors Guild of Canada. These are the businesses whose products and professionalism are being pirated and discounted by virtue of this.
Doug Frith, who is the president of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association and provided some of these figures earlier, said:
Canada has a serious intellectual property crime problem, and clear action to strengthen Canada's IP enforcement system is long overdue.
In 2006 overall, Canadian camcorders were the source of approximately 20% to 25% of all illegally camcorded films from the major motion picture studios that appeared either online or as illegal DVDs around the world.
Despite the gravity of the problem, Canada has failed to enact specific legislation to effectively deter camcorder thieves...But we cannot be successful without laws that act as a deterrent and ensure authorities to take effective action to stop movie theft and send a message that criminal activity will not be tolerated in Canada.
As a further example, a movie that was produced and created in Canada entitled Bon Cop, Bad Cop. It was produced in Montreal by Kevin Tierney, the Montreal based producer. He said:
A man was caught last year selling illegal copies of Bon Cop Bad Cop door to door in Montreal, ahead of the date the movie was available on DVD...The man had 2,500 copies of the movie when police picked him up.
Those 2,500 copies are stolen. It means that money is not only stolen from me—it's stolen from the actors, writers and directors and rights holders for Bon Cop.
That is the kind of action that hurts the willingness of these companies to come to Canada and produce here. It also hurts their willingness to come and distribute their product here. We saw the potential that some of these movie chains were in fact not going to have the opportunity to release these films in Canada.
Certainly, I would again compliment the member for Perth—Wellington as the chair of the heritage committee, the action by the heritage committee, and the action by our justice critic. As I have mentioned, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, and the member from the Bloc also shared an interest in this.
This is something that I believe is important to Canada. It is important to members of this House because the film and motion picture industry is important to Canada. I have already indicated the figures in my previous comments and how important it is to Canada, with $4.8 billion to our economy. Just under 125,000 full time equivalents are employed. I mentioned British Columbia and why it is important to me because it represents $1.2 billion to the B.C. economy. It represents $100 million alone to the economy in my riding.
I know how hard the industry has worked to build itself up in Canada to be credible, not only in the production end but in the distribution end as well.
I believe that this is a very good step in the right direction and I hope that we will see more steps taken, as I have suggested in my private member's bill, which is Bill C-453, which would see the creation of a Canadian motion picture industry secretariat. This would be an opportunity for the various sectors of the motion picture industry to come together to advise Parliament on a regular basis on what steps need to be taken legislatively or other means available to the Government of Canada to ensure that we have an internationally competitive film and motion picture industry in Canada, both in terms of domestic films and foreign films.
I should just clarify that domestic films are the kinds of films we produce here in Canada. They are creatively produced in Canada. The kinds of foreign films we talk about, and some people may think they are foreign language films, are actually films, for example, from Hollywood that are produced here. They could be any one of the blockbusters that we have seen. They are produced in motion picture studios across Canada.
We have had films produced in Alberta, such as, going back a few years, Little Big Man. There have been films produced all across the country and they bring opportunities for local actors, for even local citizens, to have bit parts in the movies and earn money. They certainly stimulate the local economy.
Overall, anything we can do to help the motion picture industry, I am supportive of as is our party. This bill is certainly a step in the right direction and we are pleased to support it.