An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Status

In committee (Senate), as of June 29, 2021

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-10.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Broadcasting Act to, among other things,

(a) add online undertakings — undertakings for the transmission or retransmission of programs over the Internet — as a distinct class of broadcasting undertakings;

(b) update the broadcasting policy for Canada set out in section 3 of that Act by, among other things, providing that the Canadian broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians — including Canadians from racialized communities and Canadians of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds — and should provide opportunities for Indigenous persons, programming that reflects Indigenous cultures and that is in Indigenous languages, and programming that is accessible without barriers to persons with disabilities;

(c) specify that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the “Commission”) must regulate and supervise the Canadian broadcasting system in a manner that

(i) takes into account the different characteristics of Indigenous language broadcasting and the different conditions under which broadcasting undertakings that provide Indigenous language programming operate,

(ii) is fair and equitable as between broadcasting undertakings providing similar services,

(iii) facilitates the provision of programs that are accessible without barriers to persons with disabilities, and

(iv) takes into account the variety of broadcasting undertakings to which that Act applies and avoids imposing obligations on a class of broadcasting undertakings if doing so will not contribute in a material manner to the implementation of the broadcasting policy;

(d) amend the procedure relating to the issuance by the Governor in Council of policy directions to the Commission;

(e) replace the Commission’s power to impose conditions on a licence with a power to make orders imposing conditions on the carrying on of broadcasting undertakings;

(f) provide the Commission with the power to require that persons carrying on broadcasting undertakings make expenditures to support the Canadian broadcasting system;

(g) authorize the Commission to provide information to the Minister responsible for that Act, the Chief Statistician of Canada and the Commissioner of Competition, and set out in that Act a process by which a person who submits certain types of information to the Commission may designate the information as confidential;

(h) amend the procedure by which the Governor in Council may, under section 28 of that Act, set aside a decision of the Commission to issue, amend or renew a licence or refer such a decision back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing;

(i) specify that a person shall not carry on a broadcasting undertaking, other than an online undertaking, unless they do so in accordance with a licence or they are exempt from the requirement to hold a licence;

(j) harmonize the punishments for offences under Part II of that Act and clarify that a due diligence defence applies to the existing offences set out in that Act; and

(k) allow for the imposition of administrative monetary penalties for violations of certain provisions of that Act or of the Accessible Canada Act.

The enactment also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

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.

Votes

June 22, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 21, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.22; Group 1; Clause 46.1)
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.18; Group 1; Clause 23)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.13; Group 1; Clause 10)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.8; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.5; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.4; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Passed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.10; Group 1; Clause 8)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.2; Group 1; Clause 7)
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment — Motion No.1; Group 1; Clause 3)
June 7, 2021 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Bill C‑12—Time Allocation MotionCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, is this not a strange set of circumstances? When the government House leader said that we would be debating Bill C-12 last week, I foolishly assumed he meant the actual bill. Multiple times last week it looked like maybe Bill C-12 would be debated, but no. The Liberals say that we Conservatives are delaying. Unfortunately, instead of debating the bill today, we are debating a motion to shut down debate on the bill because the government cannot seem to manage the House agenda at all. To say this bill is urgent after not calling it for months, and indeed after proroguing the House and delaying everything, is the height of hypocrisy. Therefore, here we are.

This is not the first disaster of management on this legislation by the current government. Indeed, it is just the most recent in a long list of failures relating to the bill. I would like to go through some of those here.

When the bill was first introduced, I stood in the House and said I would support the bill. That is true and on the record. However, at that time, I made the mistake of taking the minister at his word: that he was willing to work in good faith with opposition parties. Very quickly I was disabused of this notion.

The first domino was when the government pre-empted the bill entirely. It ignored its own promises and appointed the advisory body. The minister had committed to working with us and with the oil and gas industry to develop the advisory group. In fact, the Minister of Natural Resources said, “We're not reaching net-zero without our oil and gas sector in this country. We're not reaching it.” I agree with this minister and expected direct representation from this critical industry on the group advising government. Unfortunately, instead, the minister appointed a body with no direct oil and gas representation. It was full of people devoted to the death of that industry and the jobs and prosperity it brings.

There were some choice quotes and statements from various members of the advisory committee. One tweet thanked Greta Thunberg for calling on the Prime Minister to stop all oil and gas projects. Another rejected that fossil fuels could co-exist with climate action, rejecting the industry and its workers entirely. Another advocated for stopping all fossil fuel exports and another said, “Tomorrow, I'll join thousands gathering around Canada to call on premiers to act on climate and reject pipelines.”

Members may think that I am done, but I am just getting started because all those were from one person: Catherine Abreu of the Climate Action Network.

Another board member, Kluane Adamek, again quoted Greta, advocating abandoning the fossil fuel economy. Simon Donner from UBC, another board member, called to halt all new oil sands projects and asked if we should cap production entirely.

To be clear, I am not saying that these people are not entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. We are a free country with free speech, until Bill C-10 passes I guess. However, the minister chose these people who are actively anti-oil and gas and put them on this group to tell him what to do in regard to policies relating to oil and gas.

We wanted to work with him on this advisory group and felt it could represent expertise in which Canadian industry excels. Instead, the minister would much rather reject industry entirely, so I for one have no interest in supporting his crusade or his legislation. It has become clear that the minister is completely focused on destroying Canada's oil and gas sector and all the people it employs.

Even knowing all that, we went into the committee process in good faith. I met with many groups from across the ideological spectrum, did a lot of research and worked to create productive and relevant amendments that would improve the bill. What did we find at committee? As many more people watch the House and committees, despite being wonderful entertainment, I will let those at home know what exactly occurred.

Initially, when the bill came to us at committee, all parties worked together to create a timeline for consideration that would have allowed enough time to hear witnesses, receive briefs and review the bill. However, when the committee next met, the Liberal members dropped a surprise motion to reverse all that had been agreed to in order to fast-track the bill and get it through as fast as possible. At the time, Conservatives warned that this schedule would make it difficult to properly conduct our important work, and how right we were.

The Liberals, with their NDP allies, were able to speed things up, so we started the study immediately. Witnesses were due the next day, so everyone had to scramble to do their best. Witness testimony was essentially limited to two days. We did hear some particularly good testimony from a variety of witnesses, yet on something clearly this important to the Liberals, why would they not want more evidence? It would become clear soon enough.

Many people do not know that when committees study a bill, there is a deadline to submit witnesses and amendments. As well, drafting amendments takes a couple of days. The incredibly hard-working staff, who assist in drafting these, are amazing to work with, but writing law takes time. The deadline for amendments in this sped-up Liberal-designed process was immediately after we heard the last witness testimony, so there was not much time to formulate ideas and get them ready. Even worse was how it affected the written submissions. This is what really gets me.

As soon as the bill got to committee, we put out a call for written briefs. These are quite common: Generally experts or interested Canadians send in their opinions on a piece of legislation. They are an essential aspect in ensuring that Canadians can feel included in the process and feel heard. I spoke to witnesses who, when invited to the committee, were told the deadline for submitting a brief was the day they were invited. These briefs are often technical and professionally researched articles. How is an expert supposed to write a submission with literally zero days' notice? The answer is they cannot.

Additionally, as we are a bilingual nation, all of the submissions had to be collected and translated before being sent to members of the public. All of this led to the farce that we saw at the environment committee on the study of Bill C-12. When amendments were due on a Friday before we started clause-by-clause review, only a small number of briefs were available to members. The next week, there were dozens of briefs. Over 70 were posted and then made available. That means that due to the Liberals' single-minded focus on passing the bill as fast as they could and limiting the witness testimony as much as they could, the vast majority of public opinion on the bill was not available until after amendments were due. This is a completely disrespectful act conducted by the Liberals and their allies in the NDP to ignore public opinion.

Ontario Power Generation, Fertilizer Canada, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Nuclear Association and the Canadian Electricity Association all sent briefs after amendments were due. Even environmental groups were hurt by this. The briefs from Ecojustice, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Leadnow, the David Suzuki Foundation and the previously mentioned Climate Action Network all were not available until after amendments were due.

Perhaps the most egregious impact of the Liberals' behaviour on this bill is that no indigenous witnesses were heard from during the study. As par for the course, the brief from the Assembly of First Nations, as I am sure everyone has guessed, was available only after amendments were due.

Additionally, there were a great many briefs from individual Canadians who worked hard to have their voices heard. Thanks to the Liberals, they feel ignored. I heard from one Canadian who said she worked hard on her brief and was excited to have her voice heard, yet when she learned that amendments were due before her brief could even be read, she was totally disenchanted with the process. Our responsibility as elected officials is to ensure that Canadians feel heard, feel included and feel a part of something. What the Liberals and their NDP allies did during this process is disgraceful, and it is a terrible mark on the history of this place.

Now I will get to the clause-by-clause study itself. Despite all I said, we still went in with productive amendments and hoped for the best. Indeed, the minister said he was willing to work with all parties to make the bill better. Again, that turned out not to be true. It became clear very quickly that, instead of there being a willingness to debate or even engage on good ideas, the fix was in. The Liberals and the NDP made a deal to approve their own amendments and reject everyone else's, no matter how reasoned or reasonable.

Before I get to our proposed amendments, I just want to share an example that shows how ridiculous the whole process was. At one point during the study, the Green Party proposed an amendment that was identical to a government amendment. The Green Party's amendment came up first, and the Liberal and NDP members opposed it even though it was exactly the same as their own amendment.

It is clear that their strategy was to reject literally every other suggestion, regardless of what it was. For context, the amendment in question would have required emissions targets to be set 10 years in advance.

People who are familiar with the workings of Parliament and committees can probably guess what happened next. If an amendment is rejected, any subsequent amendment that says the same thing is automatically removed from the list because the committee has already expressed its will on the matter. The Liberals and New Democrats are so staunchly opposed to any amendment other than their own that they ended up killing one of their own amendments.

What followed was an absurd exchange during which the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley proposed a new amendment that would require targets to be set 9 years and 366 days beforehand, instead of 10 years. I am not giving this example to poke fun at the Liberals and the New Democrats, even if it was funny, but because it shows to what extent they were reluctant to consider changes that were not theirs.

What were some of the reasonable changes we proposed? I think Canadians would like to know.

First, we think that solving the very real problem of climate change must be done through a whole-of-government approach. The federal government is famous for operating in silos. One group or department that is responsible for a problem or a particular issue does not usually work with others, or does not coordinate with them. I am sure anyone who has worked in Ottawa or for the federal government has many stories about this. That cannot happen when it comes to tackling climate change. Everyone must work together.

Of course, Environment and Climate Change Canada is the key department, but it also needs to coordinate with the departments of industry, finance, natural resources, employment, crown-indigenous relations and many others. We therefore proposed a series of straightforward amendments to remove the powers to set targets, create plans and approve reports from the Minister of Environment alone and include the entire cabinet. The Minister of Environment would recommend policy to cabinet, but cabinet would ultimately decide how to move forward. This is not exactly reinventing the wheel.

That is generally how policy is made in government: Silos are broken down as much as possible and other departments are included.

Perhaps the Minister of Environment did not consider the impact on industry, jobs and indigenous peoples. Bringing together cabinet to make decisions about these objectives and plans is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the Liberals and the NDP even refused to debate, and they rejected every amendment we proposed for that purpose.

In their dream world, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is an omnipotent figure who dictates every policy by decree. That is not how the Conservatives want to manage things. We believe in collaboration and the importance of working together, especially on the issue of climate change.

Another set of amendments that we proposed would have added that, when objectives were set or plans formulated, the minister would be required to balance social and economic factors, including the impact on employment and national unity. Climate change is real, and we absolutely need everyone to work hard to address it.

We cannot accomplish this by blowing the top off Canadian industry and the well-paying jobs that support Canadian families. We need to look at the big picture and make decisions that will improve the lives of all Canadians. That includes Canadians in the regions that will be most affected by these policies. Our country is stronger together, and we must do all we can to keep it that way. A government that is bent on destroying a region's main industry is not a government that knows how to build a nation. Therefore, it seems to me that examining how these policies will impact these factors would be a good idea.

However, the Liberals and the New Democrats refused to so much as debate the subject and rejected all the amendments, which, frankly, surprised me. The government loves to talk about how the green economy will create so many jobs. If that were true, our amendment would allow the government to brag about it, would it not? Instead, they rejected it. Why? Because it came from the Conservatives.

We then suggested that the progress report include the greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration from non-anthropogenic or non-human factors. This would include the amounts sequestered by our vast unmanaged forests and prairies and emissions from such things as forest fires and methane releases from melting permafrost. I personally feel that we cannot make a plan unless we have the full picture. Canadians often ask me what impact our forests have on emissions. Although this information is available in some places, it would be much easier for Canadians to have access to it in the main reports. Again, this seems like an obvious thing to include, but the Liberals and the NDP voted against it without debate.

After that, we proposed another great addition. As people know, Canada is a federation, and the provincial governments control many of the policy levers that are needed to achieve our climate goals. They manage the resource sector, the electrical grid and the building code.

We wanted the assessment reports to include a summary of the measures taken by the provincial governments to achieve the national greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Again—

EthicsOral Questions

June 21st, 2021 / 2:35 p.m.
See context

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, can my colleague tell me when the Conservatives will stop blocking the budget? Can he tell me when they will stop blocking Bill C‑10 so we can get the web giants to start contributing? When will they stop blocking Bill C‑12 so that we can continue working for the future of our children and grandchildren? When will they stop blocking Bill C‑6, on a process that harms our youth and the LGBTQ+ community?

When will they stop blocking these progressive bills, and when will the Bloc Québécois and the NDP stop supporting the Conservatives' antics and start helping us and all Canadians?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, here we are again to talk about the infamous Bill C‑10. We know that this bill has a direct impact on freedom of speech.

We were surprised to see that the bill originally contained a fundamental provision, clause 4.1, which clearly defined the terms of freedom of speech and clearly indicated that this bill would not affect those working on social media when it came time to produce and post music or cultural activities.

Unfortunately, the government withdrew that amendment. Members will recall that the second opposition party asked for that clause to be reinstated three times. When we proposed that amendment, the government and the second opposition party opposed it.

How can the government introduce a bill that does not protect freedom of expression as it should, particularly since that protection used to be set out in the bill in black and white?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his comments. I would like to remind him of certain facts.

First, several members of his political party asked us to go even further with Bill C‑10. We heard the same thing from an impressive number of stakeholders from across Canada, who told us that now that a company like YouTube has become the biggest distributor of music in Canada, it has to be included in Bill C‑10. We did that.

The Department of Justice's highly independent and competent officials testified before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. They carried out an analysis that demonstrated there are no issues with freedom of expression and Bill C‑10. In the bill, there are elements that provide for freedom of expression, freedom of creation and freedom of the press. My colleague opposite is also very aware of that.

Furthermore, the CRTC is not above Canadian law. The CRTC must also comply with Canada's many laws, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, through you, I want to thank my hon. colleague across the aisle for his question and for his party's support for Bill C‑10.

He is quite right. This bill has the unanimous support of the Quebec National Assembly and the vast majority of artists. In fact, several thousand artists and organizations representing hundreds of thousands of artists in Quebec, of course, but also across the country, signed a petition in support of Bill C‑10.

My colleague is right about the wait. Every month that goes by deprives artists of $70 million. Some say that even if Bill C‑10 were to pass, it would not come into force immediately. I agree, but every month that the implementation of Bill C‑10 is delayed means $70 million less for our artists and arts organizations.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, ever since the minister introduced Bill C-10 in November, everyone has been trying to improve it, despite its flaws. It did not address copyrights or CBC/Radio-Canada's mandate, and it was missing a lot of things to protect Canadian businesses and domestic French-language and Canadian productions.

Everyone tried to compromise to find a solution and improve the bill up until one Friday afternoon when the minister withdrew clause 4.1, which was supposed to be added to the Broadcasting Act, going after the content of social media users.

My question for the minister and the Liberals is quite simple. Despite the gag order that the government imposed on us in committee and the fact that the Chair called the government to order by ruling many amendments out of order at committee stage—amendments that we will be voting on this evening—will the government agree to vote in favour of reinserting clause 4.1 into the legislation to protect the content of social media users, whatever it might be?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7 p.m.
See context

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the minister may be quite confused. He keeps saying that he does not quite understand the NDP position in not voting with his government to push this through Parliament. The New Democrats have been clear. We are very supportive of getting help to our artists and we are supportive of Bill C-10. However, perhaps what the minister does not understand is the role Parliament plays in our parliamentary system, similar to the way the minister did not seem to really understand how broadcasting worked or, in fact, how his own bill worked before he tabled it.

We can be supportive of legislation and also find it very problematic to watch the way the minister has managed this file and is now trying to shove it through Parliament without giving parliamentarians time to get this bill right. I have offered time and again to work through the summer, to do whatever we need to do to get this bill through, and the minister just keeps asking why we will not support the Liberal time allocation. How is that respecting Parliament?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are two things I would like to answer for the hon. colleague. The first is that I was with the leader of the Bloc Québécois and the leader of the NDP on Tout le monde en parle, during which all three of us committed to work together to ensure Bill C-10 would be adopted. Right after that, the NDP changed its mind, after committing in front of millions of Quebeckers and Canadians that the NDP would work with us to ensure that Bill C-10 would be adopted. Was that a lie to the Canadian public and to the viewers of this show, I do not know.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, the Conservative Party's position was that the bill did not go far enough, that we needed to do more and include, according to some of the member's colleagues, companies like YouTube. Then it decided to move the needle and said that it was about freedom of speech. Then when the justice department said that there was no issue with freedom of speech, the Conservatives moved the needle again and said that it was about net neutrality. When it was explained what net neutrality was and the fact that Bill C-10 had nothing to do with net neutrality, they moved the dial again and said that it was these secret amendments.

Every time we have spoken about the bill, the Conservatives have been against it. They have clearly decided that they are siding with Google, Facebook and some of the wealthiest companies in the world. We have seen the contempt, which are not my words but the words of many artists, that the Conservative Party has shown to artists and our cultural sector.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is interesting is that in the minister's reality, this is all about artists, but to the real world, the non-Liberal world perhaps, to everybody I talk to about Bill C-10, it is about censorship, it is about what people can post on the Internet. It is the fear of government interference. We have seen big tech already clamping down on free speech. People are terrified of what Bill C-10 will bring.

I was giving a talk to a grade six class, and those children are worried about it. It seems like the whole world knows that this is all about censorship, but the minister thinks it is all about artists. We love artists, but this has nothing really to do about artists. The fear is censorship.

What would the minister say to these grade six children who are worried about their free speech because of the bill?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his advocacy as a member of the heritage committee and also as an artist himself for many years.

The member is absolutely right. There is this idea that the only people concerned with free speech in the country are the Conservatives. Artists have for decades, if not centuries, defended freedom of speech. The idea that they would all of a sudden forget about this just because they are in favour of Bill C-10 makes absolutely no sense. There are a number of safeguards in Bill C-10, and we have heard from Department of Justice, as well as in the body of the laws and regulations we have in Canada. The CRTC is not above the law.

Bill C-10 would not apply to individuals, and it says that very clearly in the bill right now.

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is good to be able to ask the minister a couple of very important questions. First, I would ask him to correct the record because it has been made very clear that not all artists support Bill C-10. In fact, I have heard from many, and I know that other colleagues have, including those who have reached out to the minister directly, that they do not support Bill C-10, so that is misleading and incorrect rhetoric that he is speaking to.

Further, I would suggest that the minister should be careful how he references things because we saw time and again how he might say one thing on Sunday afternoon television and then his office would have to clarify and correct the record the next day. He would say one thing in question period and another thing at committee. I am curious which minister is actually speaking to us today, because there seems to be a lot of confusion from his office or from himself regarding Bill C-10.

There is one question I would really like to get an answer to. He talked about the example of Kim's Convenience being an epitome for Canadian success, whereas a recent report suggested that anti-Asian stereotypes were perpetrated through the production and what was in part government funding of that sitcom on Canadian television.

Does the minister support that sort of stereotypes being a part of Canadian culture and in his approach to legislating culture in this country?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Mr. Speaker, I asked the minister a question again in the House on the topic of Bill C-10, unfortunately not dealing with the subject of Bill C-10, but dealing with the issue of ramming it through the House.

Recently, we saw the government guilty of trying to ram through a bunch of amendments, much to the surprise of many of us here who respect the process, respect committee work and yet again, we see the government time after time simply trying to sidestep the parliamentary process. We saw that example today again in the House, where the health officer who was supposed to produce documents as requested by the House still refused to do it, on the advice of the government.

With such an important bill as Bill C-10, why does the minister feel he needs to ram it through the House?

Motion That Debate Be Not Further AdjournedBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 7:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the committee has had months and months to study Bill C-10 and in fact, before the Conservative Party started filibustering the work of the committee, things were going pretty well, but at one point the Conservatives decided that they would prefer to side with Google and Facebook instead of supporting Canadian artists, and then it was impossible to move the bill along. We could have had six more months of committee work and we would not have been able to get through Bill C-10 at the committee.

As I reminded members earlier, every month that passes deprives our artists and cultural sector of $70 million that is kept in the pockets of some of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the world.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 21st, 2021 / 9:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to rise after you presented the long list of amendments to all parliamentarians and the people who are watching at home. Canadians are interested in Bill C-10 and the whole saga surrounding it since its introduction.

I will not go back over all of the amendments that you just read, but I would like to talk about the key amendment, which seeks to reinstate protection for the freedom of expression of social media users. The government tried to attack freedom of expression, as many law professors and legal experts across the country have pointed out.

Before I talk about this key amendment, it is important to explain to people how we got to where we are today and why members will spend so much time this evening voting on many amendments.

The story began last November, when the Minister of Canadian Heritage introduced a bad bill in the House. Members of the House all wanted to pass legislation that would strike a balance between Canada's digital and conventional broadcasters.

Everyone put a little water in their wine. We found ways to allow all members who had concerns to have their say. This allowed us to get information from the various groups involved around the country. Some people may not know this, but the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage even unanimously agreed to form a pre-committee so as not to slow down the process at the beginning.

There was a willingness to find ways to improve this bad bill because it did not take into account the role of CBC/Radio-Canada nor the issue of copyright. There were several flaws and Canadian companies had no protection. We wanted to ensure that francophone and Canadian content was protected by certain safeguards, standards or basic criteria. There was nothing. If I remember correctly, the parties proposed more than 120 amendments, not counting the ones they added later.

Although the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons kept telling us that committees were independent, the minister, who is not supposed to interfere in committee business, suddenly decided on a Friday afternoon without warning to withdraw clause 3 entirely, which included proposed section 4.1. That removed the protection with respect to user content, including of small companies that use social media.

There is a lot of talk about YouTube, since that is something people understand. However, according to a memo from senior officials, this bill will affect all social networking platforms. Older people, and I would include myself in that group, since I have a few grey hairs, know about YouTube and TikTok, even though these networks are for younger people. However, this bill affects all of the other platforms young people use that we do not know about, such as social media games or all of the social networking tools that are not mentioned anywhere in the bill.

The real problem is that the government targeted freedom of expression. The minister and his Liberal members on the committee did everything they could to stop the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Justice from testifying in committee and explaining why they wanted to withdraw clause 4.1. Work at the committee was stalled for two or three weeks as a result of members filibustering to force the government to explain itself and give us proof that freedom of expression was not in any jeopardy.

After three weeks, the Liberals on the committee ended up agreeing to have the ministers testify. Unfortunately, all we got was an explanatory document, not the legal opinion the motion had requested. That was yet another way the Liberals failed to honour the committee's wishes.

I think that the NDP members tried different ways of protecting freedom of expression, even if they did support Bill C-10. One NDP member, whom I am not allowed to name, but I forget the name of her riding, even suggested we work during the summer to improve this bad bill.

However, we suffered another serious blow when the government, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, which is important to point out, decided to impose time allocation for a bill whose core element was freedom of expression. Worse still, the time allocation imposed on the committee, which is supposed to be independent, was not even properly applied. The committee members, apart from those belonging to the Conservative Party, decided to reverse the decision of the committee chair, who was only reporting what the Speaker of the House had said, that members would have to vote in favour of the bill without even reading the 40-some amendments that were missing.

Therefore, we voted on the amendments one by one, without even reading them. The people who were interested in this controversial bill heard members say “yes” and “no” without even knowing what they were voting on. What a crazy story. This was completely contrary to what the Speaker and the House had decided.

In a dramatic turn of events, when the report was tabled in the House, we informed the Speaker that the committee had voted to overturn the Chair's ruling. The Chair agreed with us and overturned the 40 amendments we had voted on.

This means that we now have a bill in which some 40 amendments that attempted to correct its shortcomings were struck down after the vote. We are 48 hours away from the end of the session, and the government is trying to cram 20 or so amendments from several parties down our throats in just one hour of debate.

How will this play out? This bill will move on to the Senate. For the people who are listening to us, the Senate will not stand for this, as it is supposed to be independent. The Senate will therefore begin to study the whole matter from the beginning to make sure it was done right, because the government did not do its homework, because the government waited six years to introduce a bill, because the government did not listen to the recommendations of the various groups, because the government played partisan politics and suggested there was a war between the cultural community and freedom of expression and made the Conservatives look like the bad guys. Even members of the Green Party and the NDP spoke out against some of these tactics by the government, which, as we all know, with an election coming up in the fall, wants to play tough.

What is happening right now is really sad. We are being forced to rush votes on more than 20 amendments, some of which had already been rejected, and on the reinsertion of clause 4.1, which is the most important part. I hope my House of Commons colleagues will agree to vote in favour of that amendment at least. It will protect content created by social media users, which is what a number of former senior CRTC executives pushed for.

Law professors from several universities across the country condemned this bill. I hope people will listen to them, because we are headed for disaster. This will get hung up in the Senate, it will never get to a vote, and the legislative process will never be completed because of the fall election. The Liberals are setting us up for failure, and this will be challenged before artists can even get the help they have been asking for for so long.