An Act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.

Sponsor

Navdeep Bains  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends provisions of the Copyright Act on access for persons with perceptual disabilities to copyrighted materials and, in doing so, implements the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The amendments facilitate access for such persons to copyrighted materials while ensuring that the interests of copyright owners are safeguarded.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

November 22nd, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
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Arnaud Foulon President, Association nationale des éditeurs de livres

Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to testify before you today.

I am Arnaud Foulon, vice-president of the HMH Group and president of the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres, or ANEL. I am joined by Johanne Guay, vice-chair of publishing at Groupe Librex and chair of the Copyright Committee and Members' Rights. Our director general, Richard Prieur, is also with us.

ANEL brings together about one hundred Canadian French-language publishing houses of all sizes, in four provinces. These enterprises publish approximately 5,000 titles every year, which range from novels to how-to guides, and include scientific works, school books, art books, poetry and plays.

Historically, ANEL has always advocated for the reaffirmation and strengthening of copyright. In 2009, we presented a brief to Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada on the reform of copyright in the digital age. In 2012 we submitted several amendments in the brief we tabled with the legislative committee studying Bill C-11. None of the amendments we submitted were taken up.

We are here before you again in 2018 to discuss remuneration models for artists, at a time when technology is disrupting traditional models. Let's be clear; we are discussing the value placed today on a work as it compares to the work involved in creating, producing, and disseminating it, and ultimately, to the price the user is willing to pay to have access to it.

We wish to discuss the way in which digital and related technologies continue to change our profession, and also the changes in readers' habits and the use that is made of literary works. To that end, we will briefly touch on a few points. First, we will give you our interpretation of the impact of this law on Canadian publishers and citizens. We will then give an example of what the act did not do. Finally, we will reflect on the trade of publishing in the digital age, and we will conclude with our expectations following this exercise.

We hope that the book sector, and, more broadly, the Canadian cultural sector, will get a better hearing this time, and that your work will again give creators a legal framework that will provide them with the stability needed to innovate in the creation, production and dissemination of Canadian books. Copyright has always been and remains an economic right for the specific purpose of remunerating the work of creators and regulating the market for these products of the mind.

Since its modernization in 2012, The Canadian Copyright Act, much criticized internationally, has become the example of what not to do. This bad reputation is mostly due to the addition of several exceptions, such as the one for education. In addition to not respecting the three-step test of the Berne Convention, of which Canada is a signatory, on the production of literary and artistic works, the act has had and continues to have a significant economic impact on Canadian publishing and its authors.

Over the past five years, Access Copyright royalty distributions have dropped by 80%. In Quebec, Copibec, the collective reproduction rights management organization, has seen the university rights per student decline by 50%, and the amount collected by a rights holder per reproduced page dropped by 23%. The result is that the royalties paid to authors and publishers are in free fall, even though, paradoxically, the student population is increasing.

I will not spend too much time on the loss of income of the management companies, but I do want to mention the opposition to the book sector shown by educational institutions and student associations. That opposition, we need to point out, derives mostly from two Supreme Court decisions from 2004 and 2012. The creation of user rights, confirmed in the broad fair use exceptions in the 2012 act, particularly in education, stifled reflection on the place occupied by creators in the development of culture in our societies. Worse yet, copyright was viewed as a perverse principle that limits access to intellectual works, which is of course completely false. On the contrary, for close to fifty years, the education and publishing worlds collaborated to provide pupils and students with access to school books and a diverse, rich and high-quality national literature.

May 11th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
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University Librarian, University of British Columbia

Susan Parker

The Supreme Court of Canada decisions and Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, improved things for the educational sector all over. It says that teachers are there to facilitate students' research and private study. The teachers' purpose in providing copies to students is to enable them to have the material they need. The Supreme Court characterizes teachers as sharing this symbiotic purpose with the student or the user who engages in private study, so it's really not an individual act all the time. On the basis of that, the Supreme Court has said that the fair dealing exception lets teachers make copies. Again, it's based on that symbiotic relationship in the act that happens within education, which is different from an act that happens when an individual person interacts with materials.

I would say that my priority is probably to make sure that we don't change the law so that educational institutions are beholden to a third party to pay certain fees automatically.

May 9th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Sylvia McNicoll Author, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers

Thank you, everybody.

My name is Sylvia McNicoll, as you know. I'm here to represent the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers, better known as CANSCAIP, because writers and illustrators for children are probably the most affected by the fair dealings educational exemption, especially in the K-to-12 sector, although I know my material is taught in colleges as well.

We wish to have the educational exemption stricken totally from the Copyright Act. I've been writing for approximately 30 years, and I've served as CANSCAIP's president and in various other executive positions. My first book was published in 1989, and it was chosen as a novel study for schools in Atlantic Canada. I think, actually, it was just Newfoundland, which meant an instant sale of 2,000 books that bumped it into a Canadian best-seller.

Since then, many of my novels, including that lucky first one, have been published internationally in Scandinavia, England, Australia, and most recently, Korea and Colombia.

My colleagues consider me a successful, hard-working writer. Like most mid-list novelists, I try to cobble a living together through a stew of projects: writing books and articles, teaching, speaking, grants, public lending rights, and Access Copyright payback.

When that early novel-study sale occurred, a classroom set of novels would typically include 30 books. As the years went by, that number dropped down to five because of different philosophies of education, cost-cutting, and then in the latter years, yes, photocopying—that was earlier even—and downloading.

A few years ago, I visited a correctional facility for young adults in northern Ontario where one of my novels was entirely photocopied for the students without my permission. This was ironic because it was the grade 9 students who were incarcerated for breaking the law. This is what well-meaning, hard-working, law-abiding teachers do when the author is present to witness it.

But we did have Access Copyright licences that were respected in those days. I would receive some compensation for minimal copying. Licensing fees tend to act like speed limits on the 401. If the speed limit is 100 kilometres, most people drive at least five to 10 kilometres over, and maybe 20 when they're late.

While the fees were intended to compensate us for a few pages of copying and downloading here and there, mostly for the purposes of research for a project for an individual student, we knew that schools were copying well over the 100-kilometre speed limit.

Enter Bill C-11, educational exemption. In 2012, the fateful year before it took real effect, I earned approximately $46,000. Of that total, $2,578.68 was Access Copyright licensing fees, which paid for two months of mortgage and three weeks of groceries. That's important to a children's writer.

Schools, universities, and colleges decided that because of the educational exemption, 10% of copying now was entirely free. They decided that Access Copyright licensing was unnecessary. They also decided that copyright tariffs were optional, and they opted out. They are still photocopying and downloading well above that speed limit too.

My grandson recently brought home a photocopied story in a Duo-Tang folder. It was a Canadian-authored retelling of an indigenous tale, and it was Canadian illustrated, Canadian published, and Canadian edited. The photocopied story was 100% complete.

Let's be generous and say that it was 10% of an anthology. Who knows? The well-intentioned teacher—and they are; they're hard-working, and they just want to have their curriculum met—uses a photocopy of that folk tale year after year, instead of buying a text.

It is not her fault that her school board thinks a 10% grab of an anthology is fine because of the fair-dealing exemption. This photocopying of course negatively impacts the publishing industry and the cultural workers involved. Our Bachelor of Arts kids lose potential jobs, and they are good jobs.

I've just finished preparing my income tax for 2017. My income is down 90%, to $12,000. My Access Copyright cheque is, coincidentally, also down by about 90%, to less than $400. That's down from two mortgage payments and three weeks of grocery payments to one week of grocery money—groceries have also gone up.

Also, boards of education now are suing for part of my 2012 cheque back. Bill C-11's fair-dealing exemption alone is not responsible for my income decline, but fair dealing is a beacon of disrespect for content. The world watches as Canadian schools download and copy curated content in a government-sanctioned theft of 10%. You have turned the Highway 401 speed limit in reproduction of materials into the autobahn—no speed limit at all.

Last year, I had two Canadian best-selling mysteries for middle-grade kids published, and probably almost three—they straddled the year. I worked even harder in 2012, because of course authors are expected to do more promotion, social media, etc., but I give up: not on writing or presenting to kids—that is my passion, my identity—but I'm trying to make a living. It's impossible. I must tell my students the same. I am drawing my pension and cashing in my registered retirement funds. After that, I will sell my house.

What does that mean for future writers and cultural workers? Your job must become a hobby. You do it on your lunch break.

Can Canadian publishers survive that way? We are already seeing their demise. What we create needs to—must—appear in the schools to represent Canadian values. Make no mistake about that.

What we create provides excellent jobs. What we create deserves respect, and what we create deserves compensation. You need to fix fair dealing by removing the educational exemption. Otherwise, we will have no Canadian culture.

Thank you.

Canada Business Corporations ActGovernment Orders

October 26th, 2016 / 3:20 p.m.
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Mississauga—Malton Ontario

Liberal

Navdeep Bains LiberalMinister of Innovation

moved that Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-25. This government is making innovation a priority. That means means helping Canadian companies drive growth and create jobs that strengthen the middle class. It also means growing companies that can compete in the global marketplace.

The government's inclusive innovation agenda is a plan to drive economic growth through innovation. As legislators, we have a responsibility to set the ground rules for doing business, and we have the means to create the winning conditions for people and companies to innovate and thrive.

It is no accident that our innovation agenda has the word “inclusive” attached to it.

This government recognizes that our country is at its most prosperous when everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

Bill C-25, which I present to the House today, makes important adjustments to the framework laws that govern the Canadian marketplace. These laws set out how corporations are organized.

They also promote investor confidence and a competitive marketplace. These conditions support long-term investment and economic growth, and this bill would make it easier for Canadian companies to harness their innovation to succeed. It would also position businesses to operate in the global and digital marketplace.

Before describing these changes in more detail, I will speak to the global context in which these framework laws operate.

Today's marketplace is complex and changing rapidly. Global companies are becoming local companies and competitors, and new technologies are providing companies with vast amounts of information to make decisions.

Technology also allows transactions to happen quickly across the global, and the global marketplace is more interconnected then ever before. A disruption or discovery in one part of the world can have profound consequences in another.

To remain competitive, companies must understand how their partners, suppliers, competitors, and customers do business. Our government is committed to making Canada a global innovation leader.

This means enabling businesses to grow, increasing our country's productivity, and creating well-paying jobs for the middle class. It also means Canada's marketplace framework laws must be updated to reflect a global and digital economy.

These laws must be updated to enhance investor confidence, foster competition, and contribute to an inclusive economic growth agenda. These laws should also support investment and innovation without unduly burdening businesses.

The amendments I have tabled today would provide the foundation for a 21st century marketplace.

They will align Canada’s framework laws with best practices in jurisdictions around the world.

The bill sets out measures to modify the way corporate directors are elected. The bill also contains measures to improve diversity on corporate boards and in senior management level positions.

The goal is to attract the best and brightest from as wide a talent pool as possible. This is how Canada can make full use of the competitive advantage granted to us by this extraordinary diversity of our population.

Additionally, Bill C-25 would improve corporate transparency.

It will eliminate outdated instruments of commerce and modernize shareholder communications. These changes will reflect the new norms and practices of a digital economy.

The bill would increase business certainty and flexibility as well. It would allow Canadian businesses to focus on what makes them most productive, efficient, and innovative. The laws being amended in this bill include the Canada Business Corporations Act, or CBCA.

This statute sets out the rules that facilitate the interaction among shareholders, directors, management, and other interested parties involved in corporate decision-making. In 2015, there were approximately 270,000 companies incorporated under the act. The CBCA serves as a model for other governance laws.

The Canada Cooperatives Act is the framework legislation for federally incorporated non-financial co-operatives. The Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act is the framework law for non-share capital corporations. In 2015, there were more than 19,000 federally incorporated not-for-profit corporations under the act.

The Competition Act is a law of general application that addresses anti-competitive business conduct. It examines and seeks to address the activities of firms that may be harming competition in the marketplace. By improving and clarifying the rules under which our firms operate, we are positioning them for long-term growth.

We are also aligning Canada’s practices with international best practices in corporate governance.

October is Women's History Month. This is a time when we celebrate the women who have shaped Canada's history as leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars, artists, and trailblazers in all spheres of life. Let me address what the bill does for diversity.

As I have said before, I firmly believe it is our moral duty to promote diversity and inclusion.

Under-representation of different segments of our population is not only a question of fairness, it affects the bottom line. In the boardroom, as in life, taking into consideration viewpoints from a variety of perspectives can lead to innovative thinking and better performance. Innovation requires fresh ideas, new ideas, and the best ideas can come from anyone, anywhere.

We live in an age when anyone with a smartphone can connect, create, collaborate, trade, and sell, regardless of distance. Because the tools to create knowledge and value are now available to everyone, a teenager can start her own technology company.

A university student can launch a social-media platform that becomes a global sensation overnight.

The broader the talent pool, the greater the potential for the next great app to emerge.

Our government is committed to doing all we can to unlock the full potential of Canadians, especially those who are under-represented in certain sectors of today's economy. I know that all parliamentarians support this goal as well.

Earlier this year, this Parliament unanimously passed, and this was a point of pride, Bill C-11, which allowed Canada to become the first G7 country to adopt the Marrakesh Treaty. I was proud to announce this piece of legislation in the House and see it receive the support of all parliamentarians.

The Marrakesh Treaty benefits three million Canadians who are visually impaired or print disabled. As a result of the treaty, they will have better access to books and other copyrighted materials. As a result of better access to knowledge, these Canadians will be able to fully participate in the economy. That is how our government's commitment to diversity allows Canadians from all walks of life to become productive members of society.

Bill C-25 builds on that commitment to innovation and prosperity through diversity.

As part of the reforms to the CBCA, corporations would be required to disclose to shareholders the composition of their boards and senior management. They would also be required to make public their diversity policies. Those corporations without a diversity policy would have to explain why they do not have one.

This amendment will complement existing measures already adopted by most provincial securities regulators.

It would apply to all publicly traded CBCA corporations, regardless of which securities regulator they reported to.

By taking into account the composition of boards, investors could make informed choices when they exercised their voting rights.

These reforms are designed to facilitate a conversation between shareholders and corporations on how they are promoting diversity.

The goal is to encourage corporations to consider a broader range of candidates and skill sets among their senior leaders.

The second set of amendments contained in Bill C-25 aims to promote greater shareholder democracy. The goal is to ensure that the voting process allows shareholders to have their voices heard in a meaningful way.

The bill would make three key reforms to the process of electing corporate directors. These reforms would affect publicly traded CBCA corporations and publicly traded co-operatives incorporated under the Canada Cooperatives Act.

First, the bill would require the prescribed corporations and co-operatives to hold annual votes for the election of corporate directors. Currently the law permits directors to hold office for up to three years before a vote is required. The entrenchment of company boards can hamper innovative thinking.

Ensuring that shareholders can make changes more often is a step in the right direction.

Second, directors under the CBCA would be elected individually, not as a slate or a group of candidates. An all-or-nothing approach prevents voters from meaningfully exercising their democratic rights and bringing in the board they want.

Third, the bill would permit shareholders to vote explicitly against a candidate in an uncontested election, that is, when the number of candidates was the same as the number of board positions to be filled. Even when there was no competing candidate, a prospective director would still need enough votes in support of her candidacy to make up a majority of the votes cast to be elected.

Of course, there is more to shareholder participation than simply voting. Transparency and clarity are important to shareholders as well.

The bill would modernize shareholder communications to align practices with how businesses are conducted today. The bill would permit CBCA corporations and co-operatives incorporated under the Canada Cooperatives Act to provide their shareholders or members with online access to relevant documents related to an annual meeting. This notice and access system would reduce costs, conserve resources, and increase business efficiency.

In addition, the bill would simplify the deadline for shareholders to submit proposals to directors so that they could participate in meetings more often and effectively.

The fourth amendment would make it clear that CBCA corporations and federal non-financial co-operatives would be prohibited from issuing share certificates and share warrants in bearer form. Much like cash, a bearer share is owned by whoever holds the physical stock certificate. The issuing firm neither registers the owner nor tracks any transfers of ownership, and when these instruments are issued in blank form, they can be used as a vehicle for money laundering or terrorist financing. That is because they are easily transferrable and untraceable.

This amendment would require all shares to be registered. It is a preventive measure that would be particularly relevant to law enforcement.

It will ensure that Canada aligns its rules with the recommendations of the international Financial Action Task Force.

The bill would also amend the Competition Act to broaden the understanding of what makes one business entity affiliated with another. Currently, because of its outdated definition, there is a risk that business between affiliates could be viewed under the law as a joint action with competitors.

The existing law does not fully account for non-corporate structures, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, or trusts. This uncertainty could lead to companies being needlessly exposed to sanctions under the act, and re-organization among affiliated companies could be interpreted as a merger of competing firms.

That process could require notifying the Commissioner of Competition. It could also incur a fee and a significant amount of paperwork. There is also the risk that a collaborative project between two affiliated companies could be treated as an arrangement between competing firms. It could be misrepresented or misinterpreted as harmful competition or outright collusion.

To address this legislative gap, the bill would update the Competition Act's rules on affiliation and would make the rules business-structure neutral. This update would ensure, clearly and explicitly, that businesses that are engaged in joint ventures with their affiliates are not subjected unwittingly to the act's enforcement provisions.

This amendment will create certainty and replace an outdated framework that can cost businesses unnecessary time and resources.

One of the key features of this bill is that it positions Canada among world leaders in corporate governance. For example, most member states of the European Union have implemented gender diversity legislation. Both the United Kingdom and Australia have required disclosure, including a comply or explain model in the latter case, which saw significant improvements in terms of board representation.

In the United States, publicly listed companies have adopted policies on majority voting for corporate directors. Even in Canada we have seen provincial securities regulators adopt similar rules that promote greater shareholder participation and corporate diversity.

These amendments are an important step forward.

They would modernize corporate governance laws to align with today's technological realities and support business efficiency. They would promote greater transparency, accountability, and public confidence in the marketplace and give investors the information they need to make informed decisions about their investments.

Above all, these amendments recognize the great asset that is our country's diversity. Canada's business community would have a crucial role in promoting diversity. Some have already done so, and I know that others will step up to show that they are committed to growing our economy by tapping Canada's full potential. By modernizing our ground rules and aligning with international standards, Canada can position itself for the inclusive innovation and growth that would propel this country going forward.

I am proud to be launching this important initiative today on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2016 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join this debate on Bill C-13, the trade facilitation agreement. Of course it comes as no surprise that I am going to be supporting this piece of legislation, as technical as it as and as difficult as it was to read through it.

I think it gives us an opportunity to celebrate the good work of the previous minister of international trade, the member for Abbotsford, a friend on this side of the House, whose hard work on behalf of Canadians has borne fruit.

It was at the ninth WTO ministerial conference, as the previous member mentioned, in Bali in September 2013, that ministers adopted the Bali package, which included allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boosting least-developed countries' (LDC) trade, and helping development more generally. The largest deliverable was streamlining customs procedures through the trade facilitation agreement, which is now before us, which we have a chance to debate, implement, and ratify.

The previous government not only made free trade a centrepiece of its economic agenda but also demonstrated that Canada can be ambitious and bold when it seeks to expand access to new markets for Canadians. Over a 10-year period, the Conservative government was able to negotiate free trade agreements with 46 different countries, bringing the total number of countries with which Canada has trade agreements to 51. That is 4.6 agreements per year.

The Liberal government, on the other hand, is coming close to one year in office, next month, and it has exactly zero. It has zero new agreements ratified and consented to by Her Majesty. I think that is quite the record for the first year of government. It has no record on free trade to call its own. In fact, a previous treaty that we implemented and that this House passed, Bill C-11, the Marrakesh treaty, was passed last session and was, again, the work of the previous government and is now implemented in legislation.

I am not complaining. I would like to see the government implement more legislation based on the good work of the previous government, especially on the free trade agenda. There are lots of legacy pieces there that should be implemented. Again, when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade spoke on this bill originally, he said this would reinforce the government's strong record on trade; except there is no record of which to speak. It is the record of the previous Conservative government, and in fact, all the good ideas and all the hard work of the member for Abbotsford, who contributed more to Canada in terms of free trade agreements signed, negotiated, and ratified than any other member in maybe the last 50 years.

There is no record for the Liberal government to promote, reinforce, or strengthen here. This bill, though, does lay the foundation for the potential of a record. There is an opportunity. There are two more free trade agreements that the government could bring before the House so we could ratify them properly.

Like many good ideas, they started with the Conservatives and, I want to again mention, the member for Abbotsford who deserves high praise. Many of these agreements, many of these successes, are thanks to him and the work he did when he was a member of the government.

Bill C-13 is good news. We know that trade accounts for 60% of Canada's annual GDP and represents one in five Canadian jobs that are tied to export. Members of the WTO have ratified the TFA, like those mentioned before: the United States, the European Union, China, and Japan. They expect Canada to do the same without delay.

We know that 108 countries, two-thirds, have to complete the domestic ratification process. The sooner we do it, the better for Canadian investors, importers, and exporters of goods, including small and medium-sized businesses, which will benefit from the implementation of the TFA.

I want to highlight one business in my riding that would benefit from this agreement. This business is called Tundra Process Solutions. We know that in Alberta right now times are tough in the oil patch. Easily more than 100,000 jobs have been lost. That is direct jobs and does not even count the indirect jobs.

I was pleased today to join the member for Lakeland, when she was doing a press conference on her e-petition. It was very successful. She had an oil worker there from Grande Prairie, talking about the job losses he is seeing.

Tundra Process Solutions is one of those companies in the oil patch that is diversifying. It is a great Canadian story. It is in my riding. It has purchased a manufacturing company that builds equipment, from California, and actually moved it to Calgary. It is a manufacturing oil and gas company producing equipment that it is selling to the world today.

With this type of agreement today, it could export to new countries, bypassing some of these very complicated customs rules and tariff rules, as well as the paperwork, the red tape required for it to move its product to a willing buyer in another country. This is how it is going to make money. Its 25-plus workers who depend on export will be quite happy when the TFA is passed, because their jobs depend on finding new markets for the product they produce.

With the lowering of tariffs across the globe, the cost of complying with customs formalities has been reported to exceed, in many instances, the cost of duties to be paid. Trade costs are among the most fundamental factors shaping the evolution of trade.

We have to remember that we do not live in a static world. If Canada does not move forward with more free trade agreements, others will, and that, by definition, will start cutting us out of those markets. Therefore, we have no choice but to pursue a free trade agenda.

The TFA is critical for many parts of its legislative measures, and there are two of them specifically. I will mention one of them, but there are two important ones. Article 11.8, which the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent mentioned before in debate, prohibits the application of technical regulations to goods moving through a WTO member's territory from a point outside its territory to another foreign point as a good in transit. This would affect Tundra Process Solutions Ltd., because it is moving equipment from country to country, some of which is being purchased and some of which is being leased. Oil and gas is an international business. Many companies are horizontally and vertically integrated and can move equipment around, so this is good news for them. This is measure is an excellent one to introduce.

I think of the government's financial agenda and the budget it proposed. This would have no financial implications for the Government of Canada. This would be paid for with current dollars.

To support the TFA's implementation, Canada, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. provided support in December 2015 for the launch of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. It is a fantastic idea. It is more good news from the previous government and more good work by the member for Abbotsford. This initiative was designed to assist developing countries to implement the TFA.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates that the average customs transaction involves 20 to 30 different parties; 40 documents; 200 data elements, 30 of which are repeated at least 30 times, and the re-keying of 60% to 70% of all data at least once. In my previous life working for a chamber of commerce, I know that specific point is when errors begin to happen and costs begin to rise, because the errors have to be fixed but oftentimes can start to compound. Then there are regulatory problems and delays in the business. If this agreement could help to at least reduce these by 50%, it would be a huge change for Canadian businesses. Again, there are many technical and legislative benefits to the TFA.

I want to finish on the principle of the matter. Free trade at its core is about a willing buyer and a willing seller meeting and making a voluntary transaction. Its core is about freedom. As former Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier said, "Canada is free and freedom is its nationality."

The great debates in Canada were about reciprocity, reciprocity between provinces, and reciprocity with our closest trading partner the United States. That has been the fundamental part of what it means to be a Canadian. We have had a lot of trouble with internal trade between our provinces. We can all agree that we want new markets to send our products to, so they can see the maple leaf and the words, “Made in Canada”. I am proud of that when I see it overseas when I travel. Trade between people regardless of nation they live in is the ultimate proof of the nationality of freedom that Sir Wilfrid Laurier spoke about.

The economy does not need more stimulation or subsidies. What it needs is us to get out of the way and get rid of these laborious customs rules and the paperwork involved. That would provide more freedom for businesses owned and operated by Canadians. It is for Canadians. We can recapture that spirit of freedom that Sir Wilfrid Laurier encouraged.

Let us pass the TFA and move on to the true record of the government. It could ratify the Canada-European Union free trade agreement. It could ratify the trans-Pacific partnership agreement. It would have a record to speak about. It would have a legacy to speak of in 10 years. It would have something to look back on. It could say it was a government that promoted free trade.

Free trade has always been a part of this country. It was about reciprocity in a different generation. Today we talk about free trade. Sometimes we talk about fair trade, equitable trade, but it is about choice. It is about giving Canadians the choice on whom they choose to trade with, and with the least rules possible. Let us give Canadians the freedom to trade as they wish. Let us live up to Sir Wilfrid Laurier's call that “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality”. That quote appears in our new passport. It is in each so that every single Canadian can turn to the middle of the page and look at it right there. That encapsulates what Canada is all about. It is about the freedom to trade, the freedom to associate, the freedom to speak one's mind.

I cannot see anything better than ratifying this agreement and proceeding to ratifying the next agreements.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

May 20th, 2016 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, back in 2015, when this came out, a panel was set up by the former justice minister. However, I look at the work we have done today, and we can talk about these timelines. Let us be honest, this week we did Bill C-2, Bill C-6, Bill C-10, and Bill C-11. We had all of these things shifted off of the Order Paper.

What has happened here is this. Although it is a very important bill, unfortunately, when it came to the agenda of what we were supposed to be discussing and what we were discussing, a lot of political games were being played at that time. This took away the rights of the opposition members to debate this. We can talk about that. However, let us be honest about what happened this week. We lost hours of crucial debate because of the actions of the government.

Reference to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House AffairsPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

May 19th, 2016 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with the member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

I am very troubled, like many today who have stood up to speak. What I would really like to do is perhaps set the table a bit on how we found ourselves in this position. I think more than one incident has created this really unfortunate position we are in today.

I would like to start with the election of October. The Liberals were given a strong majority. In part, their message to Canadians was that they represented change, a new voice, and a change in our democratic process. Canadians listened to that, they watched, and in October provided a strong majority for the Liberals.

I want to quote a part of the Speech from the Throne, which was just five months ago. It states:

Canada succeeds in large part because here, diverse perspectives and different opinions are celebrated, not silenced.

Parliament shall be no exception.

In this Parliament, all members will be honoured, respected and heard, wherever they sit. For here, in these chambers, the voices of all Canadians matter.

The Speech from the Throne is a very critical document. It is the road map that the government is providing and sharing with Canadians on what its plans are.

The speech also indicated “give Canadians a stronger voice in the House of Commons, the Government will promote more open debate and free votes, and reform and strengthen committees”.

Those are very important commitments.

In every minister's mandate letter, this is included:

I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa. We made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration.

Again, every minister has that in their mandate letter. It is in the Speech from the Throne. It is the tone that was committed to by the government to be set in the House.

The government is not very old. It is only six months. Of course, we did not sit until January. We had a small sitting in December and then we had a sitting that started in January after Christmas. Perhaps the first month or two, the Liberals lived up to the commitments they made to Canadians. However, starting in the last few weeks, there has been a significant and noticeable change. The hon. opposition leader, the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland, said it best when she said that the Liberals apparently now wanted to have an audience and not an opposition.

We can look at items like democratic reform, which is fundamental. The Liberals do not want all voices heard; they only want their voices to be heard. If we do not agree with them, they will do things like move opposition days to Fridays, which is a very short time and there is not much opportunity to debate.

Everyone in the House recognizes that Bill C-14 is very important legislation, and we need to look at this because it is very important. We returned on Monday, and the understanding was that we would spend most of the day talking about Bill C-14.

I have been in the House for seven years, and I have one of the furthest ridings, which is usually 12 hours door to door. I always make that trip on Sunday night so I am here ready to be present in the House when it opens on Monday.

It is also important to note that the House only sits 26 weeks of the year. There are 26 weeks where members can be in their ridings or cabinet ministers can do some of the important work they have to do outside the House. We know the government wants to get rid of Friday and does not want to show up to work on Monday.

It is very simple math. The government has 184 members, and they need to have 169 in the House on Monday morning. How many were here? There was 139. Even at 169, it means we can still have a few people who are away, or some ministers off doing some of the work they need to do. However, they need to have their people in the House. They were shy of that 169 by 30 members.

The fact the Liberals almost lost the vote is not the responsibility of the opposition; it is the responsibility of the Liberals and their need to show up to work.

Instead of debating Bill C-14, what did we do? With respect to Bill C-14, we hear from the Minister of Health that it has a critical time frame, that it has to get done. Did we debate Bill C-14 on Monday? No. We debated Bill C-10 all day. Although important legislation, it did not have the criticalness to it that Bill C-14 has.

What did we do Tuesday? We debated Bill C-6, the citizenship act, which is important legislation. All legislation is important, but it was not Bill C-14 with its critical timeline.

Then we went back to the debate on Bill C-10, the Air Canada Public Participation Act. Then we debated Bill C-11, the Copyright Act, again, important legislation.

Essentially, we offered to debate Bill C-14 until midnight for two days, but the Liberals had us debate other legislation instead. More important, not only did they have us debate different pieces of legislation, they failed to even provide a parliamentary calendar. That has never been done in the whole time I have been here. We are given the agenda for the week so we can prepare. The Liberals did not even have the respect to provide a parliamentary calender. All of a sudden we were debating the Copyright Act. That is a profound disrespect to the opposition and it has never been done in Parliament.

Then we hit yesterday, which was Wednesday. We were again ready to debate Bill C-14, which had important amendments from the committee and we needed to debate them. It is important to debate. Debate matters, especially in this instance. At second reading, I had a profound compliment when one of my colleague's said, “Listening to your words in the debate changed my mind in terms of how I'm going to vote”. We are debating life and death. We are debating amendments. What did the Liberals do? They put closure on the debate, maybe one speech at report stage on something so critical. We could have been spending Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday debating the bill.

On top of that, the Liberals introduced Motion No. 6, which was so aptly described this morning as looking at every possible tool the opposition has and taking it away.

The member for Wellington—Halton Hills said:

The fundamental responsibility mechanism in the House is the confidence convention. The 20 or so members of Parliament who are part of the ministry who are the government sit there because they have the confidence of the majority of members of this chamber. It is that confidence convention that is undermined by the motion that the government has put on the paper.

By giving members of the ministry the unilateral right, at any time, to adjourn the House...

We can certainly see a whole host of measures. Certainly we were debating a closure motion. The NDP delayed things for, I understand, less than a minute when the incident happened where the Prime Minister lost control.

As I head toward the end of my time to speak to this important issue, there are a few things that I would like to see.

First, the Prime Minister's apology was appropriate. He also needs to look into his heart to see what created that anger within him and why he responded to it in such an inappropriate way.

More important, I think we all expect him to live up to those standards and commitment he made in the Speech from the Throne to respect all members of the House. This would include removing Motion No. 6.

Bill C-14—Time Allocation MotionCriminal CodeGovernment Orders

May 18th, 2016 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about maybe a quarter of the members who had the opportunity to speak at second reading. A lot of people expressed reservations. A number of amendments were made in the committee, as well as a number of amendments that we will vote on tonight with no time to discuss them.

I have some simple questions. When did this come back to the House? What did we debate on Monday? What did we debate on Tuesday, at the government's request? It was not this legislation. The Liberals could have called it anytime they wanted and they refused to do that.

We offered to debate until midnight each night. Instead, we debated Bill C-6 and Bill C-11. Therefore, the Liberals should not talk to me about time frames in getting it back.

Bill C-14—Time Allocation MotionCriminal CodeGovernment Orders

May 18th, 2016 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand here today as a member of Parliament who takes this job and this decision for Bill C-14 extremely seriously.

I ask both the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice, recognizing that we have had time allocations, because this is such an important bill to so many Canadians, why could they not voice their opinions when we were debating Bill C-6 and Bill C-11, so that members on this side of the House, including members from their own side, could debate something that is so sensitive?

I, myself, hosted town halls, took letters out to constituents, and spoke to a variety of different physicians and stakeholders throughout this country. Our voices, I feel, are not being heard, regardless of whether we are for or against the bill.

Similar to our member down the aisle, I, too, voted for this to go to committee. I am proud of that because I believe we need to have this open discussion. However, the opportunity for this open discussion has been closed in our faces and I find that extremely frustrating, especially when I am trying to honour my constituents' wants and needs.

Why have the members on the other side not stepped forward to the fact that Bill C-14 is important to Canadians. They should have fought for Canadians when discussing the bill.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2016 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion.

I move:

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practices of this House, Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities), be deemed read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole, deemed considered in Committee of the Whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

(Bill C-11. On the Order: Government Orders)

May 17, 2016—Second reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)—The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2016 / 1:55 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it may be an unfair question to ask one member of the Conservative Party, but in trying to understand why we would reject an opportunity for Bill C-11 to be taken through all stages of debate and deemed passed at this stage, the only voices I heard saying no were from the Conservative Party. However, I heard nothing but positive comments in every speech, including the hon. member's, in support of this legislation.

I am wondering if she can provide any explanation—though perhaps she does not know what was in the minds of her colleagues when they said no—as to why we would not have seized that opportunity.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2016 / 1:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, what we have been listening to for the last little while is what has become very clear in terms of the overwhelming support for the bill. We recognize in the contributions, whether from the minister or members opposite, that there seems to be very good and substantial support for the bill.

I would ask if there would be the unanimous consent of the House to see Bill C-11 pass through all stages at this time.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2016 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate what my hon. colleague said when he mentioned that this is a missed opportunity to work together as colleagues in the House. Back in my riding, people have told me many times that they are looking for us as parliamentarians to take those opportunities where we can collaborate and work together to make legislation better, to serve Canadians from coast to coast to coast. This was one of those opportunities, and unfortunately, it was missed today because of the rush that was put on Bill C-11, a bill that would amend the Copyright Act.

I would like to thank the hon. member for Carleton for his hard work on this piece of legislation when the Conservatives were in power. The member can be assured that there is support from this side of the House with regard to this legislation, because we can see how it would enhance the quality of life for those with a visual impairment and therefore do not have the access they need to library services. Canadians who are print disabled should have the same level of access as all Canadians, and so again, I will reiterate that we do support this legislation going forward.

This legislation would build on that which was introduced previously by the Conservative government to allow for charities and not-for-profits to produce alternative formats for copyrighted material. The important limitation is that this is a not-for-profit exemption, so no one would be able to make a profit off an artist's or a writer's intellectual property. This is a key point, because the legislation would be for the betterment of all Canadians. It would serve our nation as a whole and not profit.

The bill addresses a barrier to inclusion for those with a visual or comprehension disability, which is why we support this legislation for building a more inclusive society.

We all support efforts to bring into effect the World Intellectual Property Organizations' Marrakesh Treaty, as it is known. This treaty is designed to remove barriers to the access of alternative format print materials through changes to domestic copyright laws on an international basis, while also facilitating the sharing of literary materials among nations.

I agree that reading material should be accessible to all. Growing up in my home, I had parents who put a lot of emphasis on the importance of reading. Before I was able to read, my mom spent a lot of time reading to me, believing that it helped with development. I do see where it has had a positive impact. I learned to read at a very young age and I enjoyed it tremendously. I learned much through my reading. I can only imagine what it would be like for someone who does not have access to reading materials to take advantage of the opportunities for learning, enjoyment, and cultural engagement in the same way that I was able to.

We can all agree that this legislation is important and that it would address a pressing need of those with visual or comprehension disabilities. However, the minister overstates how this legislation would increase the employment opportunities for persons with a disability. There are other factors that have to be understood on this matter.

We have all heard the personal stories of those living with a disability, how difficult it is for them to secure and maintain employment, or how difficult it is for them to have a sustainable income. These individuals are looking for the leadership from the present Liberal government that they saw under our previous Conservative government. Unfortunately, the government appears to be going after the low-hanging fruit on this file, with legislation that was already in motion, introduced under the previous government and largely in the same format as we see it today.

The Liberal government promised in its platform to introduce a national disabilities act, and unfortunately we have not seen any movement forward on that. The focus of such an act would be to address the systemic barriers to accessing employment and community services that are faced by persons with disabilities.

Bill C-11 is a much-needed piece of legislation for Canada. It is a much-needed initiative going forward. Persons with disabilities in this country are asking the present government for a real plan and sustained leadership. They are asking for employment opportunities and for equality in all things having to do with life.

While this legislation before us today is a good step, it is not adequate and it does not show leadership in the way Canadians need.

It is unfortunate that there was no mention of persons with disabilities in the Speech from the Throne or in the Liberals' 2016 budget, again reiterating that the current government is not taking seriously those persons with disabilities.

Our Conservative government had a strong record of providing new tools and programs to give persons with disabilities control over their future. Under the initiatives brought in by the late Jim Flaherty, we increased training for employment, increased accessibility for those who have a disability, and ensured they are able to join employment forces. We funded community projects to make facilities more accessible to those with a physical disability. We created a registered savings plan so that parents were given new tools to financially plan for their child with a disability.

While we support this legislation that is before the House today, we are left asking some very significant questions. We wonder where the ambition of the current government has gone, where its promises lie. We wonder if the current government is going to follow through on its commitments to a national plan with regard to those with disabilities. Again, not having seen it in the 2016 budget and not having heard of any sort of plan in the Liberals' throne speech, we are left wondering these things. Why is it that the Liberals have not made inclusion of persons with a disability a top priority?

What I have heard on the ground from those people living with a disability is that they want to work so that they can provide for themselves. They want opportunities to seek employment and to not be discriminated against as they do so. Again, they are looking to the current government to take leadership in this regard. We know that among us it is often disabled individuals who are the most impoverished. Because they cannot find the type of employment that perhaps others can, they are left with a rather meagre income. As a result, they are living in poverty and do not have access to the services and the lifestyle that perhaps the rest of Canadians have. They want to be able to access public spaces, to participate in their communities, and to be contributing members. Once again, they are looking to the current government to provide some leadership in these areas.

I have not heard of this bill, Bill C-11, as being a top-of-mind concern for constituents when so many of those persons with a disability are in fact living in poverty because they cannot access employment. Once again, I would reiterate that the minister is overstating that this bill that is before the House today would create greater employment opportunities to the extent that she has implied. Although it would be a helpful step in that direction, once again I implore the government to take adequate steps in this direction.

While we support this legislation and the intent that it holds, we are left asking this. Where is the plan to address the more serious issues that face the Canadians among us who have a disability? Where is the leadership that the current government promised for the sake of all Canadians, to have an inclusive place within Canadian society?

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2016 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry if the member missed my specific intervention where I specifically addressed this point.

I will just identify again that our position was that having agreed in the past to pass Bill C-11 at an appointed time agreed on by all parties, this was the commitment that had been made. Then the government broke that commitment by putting this bill forward, totally without notice.

We do not want to see the government playing politics with this issue. This is an important issue, and we would like to move forward on a consensus basis. We have said that after this speaking slot, we will agree to pass Bill C-11 after question period.

It is not a substantial difference in terms of time. We want to move forward with this as well. However, there is a missed opportunity here in terms of engaging stakeholders and in terms of working together collaboratively among the different parties.