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

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to address this issue this afternoon. There are a couple of aspects that I would like to provide some comment on, but first and foremost is the idea of Bill C-30, now at report stage, and how important passing it is to all Canadians.

The other day, I talked about a progressive agenda. The Government of Canada has put forward a very strong, healthy, progressive agenda that includes today's bill, Bill C-12, Bill C-6, Bill C-10, Bill C-22 and Bill C-21. Of course, I often make reference to Bill C-19 as well. All of these pieces of legislation are important to the government, but I would argue that the most important one is the bill we are debating today, Bill C-30.

The budget is of critical importance for a wide variety of reasons. I can talk about the benefits that seniors would be receiving as a direct result of this budget bill, in particular those who are 75 and over, with the significant fulfillment of our campaign promise of a 10% increase to OAS for seniors aged 75 and above, and a one-time payment coming up in the month of August for that group. During the pandemic, we have been there for seniors, in particular those 65 and over, with one-time payments closer to the beginning of the pandemic, and even an extra amount for those who were on the guaranteed income supplement. That is not to mention the many different organizations that the government supported, whether directly or indirectly, to support our seniors, in particular non-profit organizations.

We have done a multitude of things, many of which are very tangible. The Minister of Finance made reference to the extension of some of the programs, for example, which we brought in so we could continue to be there for businesses and real people. This was so important. At the beginning of the process, the Prime Minister made it very clear that this government, the Liberal Party and the Liberal members of the House of Commons were 100% committed to working seven days a week, 24 hours a day to ensure that the interests of Canadians in combatting and fighting the pandemic were going to be priority number one.

As to that priority, we saw the establishment of a large number of new programs that ensured money was being put directly into the pockets of Canadians. One was the CERB, which benefited somewhere around nine million Canadians. Virtually out of nowhere this program came into being, in good part thanks to our civil servants, who have done a tremendous job in putting in place and administering the many different programs.

We have seen programs to support our businesses in particular, whether it is the Canada emergency wage subsidy program, the emergency rent subsidy program, the emergency business account or the regional relief and recovery fund. We recognized what Canada needed. The Government of Canada worked with Canadians and with, in particular, provinces, non-profits, territories, indigenous leaders and many others in order to make sure that Canadians were going to be protected as much as possible. All of this was done with the goal of being able to get us, as a nation, out of the situation we are currently in.

We have put ourselves in a position where Canada will be able to recover, and recover well. It is interesting to hear the Conservative Party asking about the debt. Many of the things I just finished talking about are the reasons why we have the debt. The Conservatives in many ways are saying we should be spending more money, while the Conservative right is saying we have spent too much money or is asking about the debt. Some Conservatives are talking about the creation of jobs. The most recent Conservative commitment was that they would create one million jobs.

Between 2015, when the Liberals were first elected, and the election of 2019, we created over a million jobs. We understand how important jobs are. Jobs are one of the reasons it was important for us to commit to businesses of all sizes, and small businesses in particular, to get through this difficult time. We knew that by saving companies from going bankrupt and by keeping Canadians employed we would be in a much better position once we got ahead of the pandemic.

I am actually quite pleased today. I started off by looking at the national news. A CBC story said that when it comes to first doses Canada is now ahead of Israel, according to a graph that was posted. When we think of populations of a million or more, Canada is doing exceptionally well. We are ahead of all other nations in dealing with the first dose.

I am now qualified to get my second dose. Earlier today I had the opportunity to book an appointment for a second dose on July 7. Canadians are responding so well to the need for vaccination. We understand why it is so important that we all get vaccinated. We need to continue to encourage people to get those shots.

It goes without saying that we need to recognize many very special people who have been there for Canadians. The ones who come to mind immediately are the health care workers here in the province of Manitoba. They are a special group of people that not long ago, in a virtual meeting, the Prime Minister expressed gratitude for in a very strong and significant way.

Our health care workers, whether the nurses, doctors or lab technicians, and people in all areas of health care, including those providing and sanitizing facilities as well as a whole litany of people, have ensured that we have been there from a health perspective.

We can look at workers involved with essential items such as groceries. Whether it was long haul truck drivers, people stacking groceries or collecting money for groceries, or taxi drivers who took people where they needed to go, whether to the hospital or the grocery store, they were there. Public institutions were there. I think of Winnipeg Transit bus drivers who opened their doors not knowing who was walking onto their buses. They were all there.

This legislation we are debating today is a continuation of getting Canada in a better, healthier position to deal with the coronavirus. We needed to bring in time allocation because of the destructive behaviour of the official opposition. We wanted to work and the Conservatives wanted to take time off. There was an excellent indication of that last Thursday, which was the biggest day in terms of debate for government. The Conservatives attempted to end the session only moments after the day got under way. It is not right that the Conservatives are playing games. We need to pass this legislation. I would ask all members to vote for it.

Government PoliciesStatements by Members

June 14th, 2021 / 2 p.m.
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Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Madam Speaker, energy security should be a concern for all Canadians. Distribution of Canadian energy through networks of pipelines is paramount to withstand shocks from a wide range of sources, like natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts and other merging threats. Energy distribution like Line 5 potentially being shutting down will initiate shortages, causing astronomical increases in the cost of everything.

The Liberal government's lack of understanding of the importance of ensuring reliable and cost-effective energy has put Canada at a huge disadvantage compared to other nations. As the Liberal government continues to spin the narrative of our economic standing globally, it is only countered with the facts.

Thanks to the pending Bill C-10, the Liberals will be able to shut down what we can hear and see, just like North Korea. Canada was once a nation that embraced freedom of speech, but I guess that will be a footnote in history if not censored by Bill C-10.

Bill C-10Statements by Members

June 14th, 2021 / 2:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, the priority for Conservatives is getting Canada’s economy reopened and back on track. The Liberal government’s priority is ramming through Bill C-10, its Internet censorship bill.

I have heard from constituents across my riding who want to see this bill scrapped. New Brunswickers in Liberal-held ridings are frustrated by their MPs' failure to commit to opposing this bill, a bill that fundamentally would alter how the Internet would operate in Canada. Canadians are even more bewildered by how the government is so focused on Bill C-10 rather than pressing issues that impact their health and the economy.

I will not support Bill C-10, a bill that puts freedom of expression in peril. The government should listen to Canadians who are telling it to abandon this poorly thought-out bill that is focused on political power rather than protecting the freedom of speech that Canadians so rightly enjoy.

Admissibility of Amendments in the Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian HeritagePoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

June 14th, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order.

The point of order concerns the report that was just tabled: the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage respecting Bill C-10. I would respectfully submit that several of the amendments contained in that fifth report must be struck out because the committee exceeded its authority.

Last Monday, June 7, the House adopted a time allocation motion limiting committee deliberations to only five further hours. The part of the House's order that is relevant to this point of order says, at pages 104.3 and 104.4 of the Journals:

That, at the expiry of the time provided in this order for the committee stage, any proceedings before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the said bill shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

At the committee's second meeting, on Thursday, June 10, those five hours had expired and the Canadian heritage committee proceeded to the disposal of the committee stage of the bill, in accordance with the House's order.

The chair of the committee, the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, informed the committee that, by the terms of the House's order, the amendments that had been placed on notice could not be moved and therefore could not be voted upon by the committee. The Liberal-Bloc-NDP majority on the committee, however, then overturned the chair's ruling, thereby forcing the committee to consider these amendments without any debate, without any opportunity to question expert witnesses from the department of Canadian Heritage and without any opportunity to hear the wording of the amendment read aloud.

Those events are recorded in the relevant minutes of proceedings for the committee's second meeting on June 10. The amendments subsequently considered by the committee are recorded in those minutes of proceedings, as well, for the committee's meeting on Friday, June 11. Both sets of minutes, as noted in the comment in the fifth report immediately preceding the chair's signature, have been laid upon the table, among others.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Third Edition says, at page 779:

Since a committee may appeal the decision of its Chair and reverse that decision, it may happen that a committee will report a bill with amendments that were initially ruled out of order by the Chair. The admissibility of those amendments, and of any other amendments made by a committee, may therefore be challenged on procedural grounds when the House resumes its consideration of the bill at report stage. The admissibility of the amendments is then determined by the Speaker of the House, whether in response to a point of order or on his or her own initiative.

That is why I am rising today on this point of order. In overturning the committee chair's ruling and forcing amendments that had not been properly moved to be voted upon, I respectfully submit that the committee exceeded its authority by contradicting the House's order, which required that “every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.”

To be clear, the questions necessary to dispose of the clause by clause consideration of the bill are questions on the clauses themselves, not amendments that have simply been placed on notice.

The Chair has previously considered a similar case, from which I believe in the current circumstances a distinction may be drawn.

On November 29, 2012, Mr. Speaker, one of your predecessors, the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, made a ruling at page 12,609 of the Debates, concerning the proceedings of the Standing Committee on Finance respecting Bill C-45, the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012. In that case, the committee had adopted a time-tabling motion concerning its study of the bil. It contained language that was similar to that which the House adopted last week in its time allocation motion concerning Bill C-10.

In the case of the finance committee, the chair made a similar ruling to the one made by the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame and, again, the committee had overturned that ruling.

Following a point of order in the House concerning the finance committee's report on the former Bill C-45, the former Speaker did not set aside the committee's report on the bill. The distinction between these two cases, I would argue, is that the finance committee was interpreting a motion that the committee itself had adopted. In the current case, seven members of the Canadian heritage committee substituted their own judgment for how an order of this House, voted upon by the entire House, should be interpreted.

We often refer to committees as masters of their own proceedings, but Bosc and Gagnon put that in a very important context at pages 1057 and 1058, which state:

The concept refers to the freedom committees normally have to organize their work as they see fit and the option they have of defining, on their own, certain rules of procedure that facilitate their proceedings.

These freedoms are not, however, total or absolute. First, it is useful to bear in mind that committees are creatures of the House. This means that they have no independent existence and are not permitted to take action unless they have been authorized or empowered to do so by the House.

While the case of former Bill C-45 was of a committee majority preferring its own interpretation of a committee motion, the current case of Bill C-10 is of a committee majority seeking to override the House's instruction. It was, to borrow the words of Bosc and Gagnon, taking an action that it was authorized or empowered by the House to do. Therefore, I would respectfully submit that the amendments made to clauses 8 through 47 of Bill C-10 must be ruled out of order and therefore struck from the fifth report.

I would further ask that the committee's consideration of amendments after the proceedings had been interrupted under the provisions of the time allocation order be disregarded by the Chair for the purposes of applying the note attached to Standing Order 76(1)(5) respecting the criteria considered by the Chair in the selection of motions at the report stage.

I do not make this point of order lightly. In fact, one of those amendments that I refer to was sponsored by my own party and several others were voted for by my colleagues, but that is beside the point. Our rules must be followed. Parliamentary procedure is not a body of play pretend rules that can just be set aside at the first moment of inconvenience. It does not matter whether these flawed decisions were taken by majority vote or even with unanimity because the rules of the House must be followed.

The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, in a different ruling on May 1, 2014, at page 4787 of the Debates, concerning Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, found that amendments that were adopted by the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, without procedural objection and without dissent, had to be struck from the bill because the committee had acted outside of its authority in adopting them, commenting:

The Chair has no difficulty agreeing with the parliamentary secretary that the amendment is relevant to the subject matter of the bill. Indeed, as a fellow Saskatchewan MP who represents a large number of grain producers, I can certainly agree on the importance of this issue. As Speaker, however, not only can I not simply act according to my personal beliefs, I must respect House of Commons precedents which, in the case before us, are only too clear.

The correct place to put forward the amendments to clauses 8 through 47 of Bill C-10, in light of the proper application of a time allocation order, is at the report stage here on the floor of the House.

Additionally, and in the alternative to the matter I have already raised, I would also draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the amendment known as amendment LIB-9.1 that was made by the Canadian heritage committee to clause 23. The Chair ruled the particular amendment out of order for exceeding the scope of the bill and that it breached the so-called “parent act” rule, which is explained by Bosc and Gagnon at page 771, by proposing to amend a section of the Broadcasting Act which was not touched by the provisions of Bill C-10. The committee, however, voted to overturn the Chair's ruling in that regard as well.

In that particular case, the Chair may simply have to regard the fifth report and note that the amendment on its face does something which the committee was not permitted to do and therefore should be ruled out of order and struck from the fifth report.

The solution for the government here is, like the case of the former Bill C-30, to propose an amendment at third reading to recommit Bill C-10 to the Canadian heritage committee so it may, once properly instructed and empowered, make Liberal-9.1 amendment in the proper manner.

Freedom of SpeechPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 14th, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, the eighth petition is about Bill C-10. It notes that the CRTC already has sweeping regulatory powers over traditional forms of media. The original mandate of Bill C-10 was to expand those regulatory powers to include online platforms, but Liberal members have since used their position on the heritage committee to amend Bill C-10 to include social media platforms and other Internet platforms. This would amount to a significant attack on freedom of speech.

The petitioners want to see the government reverse its position on this and defend the freedom of speech of all Canadians. This petition calls on the government to respect Canadians' fundamental right to freedom of expression and to prevent Internet censorship.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, if we really want to understand where we are, we have to look at where we started.

Bill C‑10 came out of the work of the Yale commission, which worked on this for nearly a year and a half. The commission was created by my predecessors. It travelled across the country gathering input from experts and stakeholders, including groups representing people in music, visual arts, television and film.

The Yale commission received close to 2,000 briefs and submitted its report in early 2020. We took that input from the consultations and feedback from a group of leading Canadian experts, including the former director general of the CRTC, Ms. Yale, and started working on Bill C‑10. We worked hard to do what the previous overhaul of the Broadcasting Act in the early 1990s did when the Conservatives modernized it. The act was created to protect Canadian artists, organizations and businesses from the American cultural invasion.

We all know that the American cultural invasion is powerful and that it can steamroll any culture on the planet. I have discussed these issues with ministers in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many countries worldwide are currently dealing with the issue of cultural sovereignty.

This is the spirit in which we tabled Bill C‑10. At the time, I was the first one to say that the bill could be enhanced, improved and amended. I would remind members that the last time the Broadcasting Act was amended, the government of the day overlooked one very important issue: the ownership of Canadian broadcasting companies. The act was amended in the early 1990s, and the Governor in Council issued an order in council a few years later, in 1997, to protect the ownership of Canadian broadcasting companies, because this had been overlooked.

All of this is to say that, when we propose a bill, we do our best to make sure that it represents the best of our intentions. I would like to remind all of the members in the House that Bill C‑10 was praised by cultural organizations across the country. According to many, its passage was a historic event.

Not only was the tabling of the bill saluted from coast to coast to coast, but the National Assembly of Quebec voted unanimously in favour of Bill C-10. It said that we need Bill C-10 and that it is a good piece of legislation. Among other things, it would help the French language, French producers, French artists and French composers to better perform in this environment. Another feature of Bill C-10 is that it would also further help and support indigenous creators, indigenous artists and indigenous producers in ways the previous incarnation of the bill unfortunately did not do.

This bill is not about content moderation. The CRTC, in its decades of existence, has never said to Shaw, CBC or TVA that they can do one program but cannot do another program. The CRTC has never had that power.

I heard one member talking about the sweeping powers of the CRTC. The CRTC is not above Canadian laws. It must comply with our bodies of laws and regulations, and it is a regulator. We have many regulators in different sectors, and the CRTC, from that point of view, is no different than existing regulators. What Bill C-10 wants to do is to ensure web giants pay their fair share.

As I have said many times in this House, as well as at the heritage committee, the independent, professional civil servants at Canadian Heritage estimate that, by asking web giants to pay their fair share, we would be adding revenues in excess of $800 million a year for our creators, artists, independent producers and musicians. That figure is an estimate, not an exact figure, as we would have to adopt the bill and implement the regulations to know exactly how much it would be.

I want to point out that, initially, when the heritage committee started working on the bill, things were going really well. The committee was able to go through roughly 20 amendments at every committee meeting. What has been really challenging to understand is the Conservative Party.

By and large, we have four parties in this House that recognize the need to modernize the Broadcasting Act and agree on the goals. We do not agree on everything, but between the Greens, the NDP, the Bloc and us Liberals, I think there is vast agreement on what needs to be done.

Frankly, I am trying to understand the position of the Conservative Party on this, as it has been a moving target. Initially, the Conservatives criticized the bill for not going far enough because we were not going after YouTube or integrating these really important companies in the bill, so we changed it. Then, all of a sudden, they changed their minds. It was not good enough. Not only was it not good enough, but they disagreed with their initial position.

Then they started talking about this idea that somehow the bill would lead to censorship, which was proven wrong by the independent professional civil service of the justice ministry. The deputy minister came to testify at the heritage committee to that effect and produced analyses that showed Bill C-10 did not go against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, there are elements within Bill C-10 and the CRTC's own laws that state that the CRTC has to abide by the Charter of Rights.

Because of that, the Conservatives claimed that it was an infringement on net neutrality. We tried to explain what net neutrality is and what it is not. Basically, net neutrality is about telecommunications. It is about the hardware and the ability of people to have access to networks. Bill C-10 does not do that. It is not about telecommunications at all.

I think we are now faced with the fact that, because of the Conservative Party, we have lost months of work on Bill C-10. For every month that passes, artists, creators, musicians and technicians in this country lose roughly $70 million per month, so we must proceed with the adoption of Bill C-10. Artists, musicians and organizations across the country are asking us to do so.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, the member for Kingston and the Islands is absolutely right. That is exactly what Bill C-10 is about and exactly what it aims to do.

As we know, web giants are taking more and more of the share of how we listen to music, watch TV and watch movies. Unless they are brought into the Canadian regulatory framework, then the very reason why we created those modifications in the early nineties will disappear, and we will lose our cultural sovereignty. That is precisely why Bill C-10 was brought forward and why we want it to be adopted as quickly as possible.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 4:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, earlier the minister used a generic statement when he said that if we really want to understand where we are, we have to look at where we started.

I like this kind of statement. It reminds me that it took six years for us to even get Bill C‑10. It also took 120 amendments. My Conservative colleague alluded to this, but it seems as though we have the Bloc Québécois to thank for this. The Liberals did not seem very enthusiastic about working on Bill C‑10 until we intervened.

My question for the minister is the following: What inspired the Liberals' enthusiasm for working on Bill C‑10?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, I find it funny for the minister to be asking what happened to the Conservatives. We always have stood up and always will stand up for free speech. We believe that citizens across the country should not be censored on what they put on social media, like Facebook and YouTube. We believe people have a right to their own personal thoughts and opinions, unlike three-quarters of the front benches of the Liberal Party who want a basic dictatorship. Conservatives will always stand up for free speech and Bill C-10 curtails that. We will stand with all Canadians and their right to have their own opinions and own independent thought process.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking today. Earlier, I listened to the Minister of Heritage talk about Bill C‑10, which he tabled, and I almost choked several times.

He began by pointing out that it was important to look back at the past to understand where we are now. I will give another version of the facts for everyone out there watching, and I would invite everyone to fact-check me by consulting the unedited transcriptions, the “blues”, of the various discussions at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. People will be able to check if what I am saying is accurate and well informed and if it reflects everything we have gone through during the saga of Bill C‑10 leading up to the present day.

The minister was right to say that he had all the resources he needed to table Bill C‑10 for more than a year and a half and garner a unanimous response from the outset. The minister is confusing things, talking about web giants and insinuating how he will handle them and make them pay their fair share. The ultimate goal was to produce an act that ensures a level playing field between digital broadcasters such as Disney Plus, Spotify and Netflix, and conventional broadcasters such as TVA, CBC/Radio-Canada, Global and CTV.

The minister even chose to ignore the important elements that everyone wanted to see, including copyright issues and CBC/Radio-Canada's mandate, explaining that he divided these challenges into three parts and was only introducing one in the House of Commons so that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage could work on it.

When he introduced the bill, the committee worked diligently and co-operatively to improve it. This bill was clearly imperfect even though the minister had had a lot of time to draft it with his experts. More than 120 amendments were proposed by all parties. Surprisingly, these amendments were moved not just by the Conservative Party, but also by the Green Party, which had been given authorization to move them, the Bloc Québécois, the NDP, Liberal members of the committee and even the government. In fact, the government and the Liberal Party moved almost 30 amendments, not to mention all the amendments to the amendments along the way, to try to address all the shortcomings of this bill.

As the minister pointed out, the committe's study of the bill was moving along relatively well, which I can vigorously and honestly confirm. We even worked with the minister and his staff, who were telling anyone who would listen that the Conservatives were slowing down the process. That was completely false. All the committee members even agreed to do a preliminary study and use that evidence in the committee's official study, to avoid holding up the work.

At no point in the legislative process was the bill delayed, despite what the minister and his aides implied. I am saying so in all honesty, and I challenge everyone to take the time to read all the speeches and everything leading up to that infamous Friday when the minister, surreptitiously and without warning, withdrew clause 4.1 that he was proposing to add to the Broadcasting Act. This made the bill altogether different by including social networks, which had originally been excluded.

Why do I say that? It is because, when we did our job in good faith as Parliamentarians, each party had the opportunity to call witnesses to testify about various aspects of Bill C‑10. That gave us the opportunity to obtain as much information as possible to do the best we could, based on the knowledge of every member and staffer, to formulate proper opinions during our study of the bill in order to improve it. That is our job as legislators, of which I am extremely proud.

The problem is that the Minister of Canadian Heritage left social media out of the original version of Bill C‑10. Furthermore, despite the minister's assertion from the get-go that it is a historic bill, to my knowledge, only one organization has said that. The other organizations highlighted the bill's good parts and said that it was indeed time to modernize the act and to align the way we deal with digital with the way we deal with what we call conventional broadcasters. However, I met with all the organizations the minister mentioned, and every one of them pointed out several frightening provisions in Bill C‑10.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage said that the Conservatives delayed and filibustered. I am sorry, but it was not the Conservatives who did that. The Conservatives have merely given a voice to a number of organizations, individuals and experts who wanted to point out the flaws in Bill C-10. The minister can go ahead and play his partisan games in the run-up to an election to try to scare everyone into believing that the Conservatives do not support the cultural community. However, it is all complete and utter nonsense, pure theatrics, a show worthy of our Prime Minister, who is a great stage actor.

The heritage minister should stop with the games, because nobody is against culture. On the contrary, we are against censorship, against this attack and the way the minister undermined freedom of expression one Friday by removing section 4.1, which was supposed to be added to the Broadcasting Act.

That is when we began what could indeed be described as filibustering or slowing down the committee's work. We are talking about a maximum of three weeks during the six-plus years the Liberal government has been in power. Those three weeks have allegedly been catastrophic, but the Liberals are filibustering in many other committees with regard to the corruption scandals they were involved in, whether we are talking about the former justice minister, SNC-Lavalin, the WE Charity or the Standing Committee on Health, where we have been requesting access to the vaccine procurement reports. The Liberals have definitely done their share of filibustering.

Why have we been filibustering for approximately three weeks? The heritage minister was right. Let us give some background on all of this. It is important to understand it, so that people know how we got to where we are today, muzzled by the Liberals with the support of the Bloc Québécois.

By amending the bill one Friday afternoon, the heritage minister set off alarm bells all over the place. During the weekend, law experts and university professors sounded the alarm, telling us to look out because the government was doing something that would undermine freedom of expression.

What did the Conservatives do? We just asked to hear from the heritage minister again and get a legal opinion from the Minister of Justice stating that the rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were not violated by the removal of clause 4.1.

In response, the Liberals objected incessantly for more than two weeks until the member for Mount Royal moved a new version of the motion asking for exactly the same thing we had proposed, which was to have the justice and heritage ministers come explain the situation and answer our questions, as well as an opportunity to hear the other side of the story from experts who had concerns about Bill C‑10.

They ended up appearing, and we were finally able to put an end to the committee's three-week-long standstill. That is the truth about the delay that has the minister up in arms.

I have to wonder whether the minister really wants to pass Bill C-10, because the reality is that the work of the House will be over in just 10 days' time. When the bill is passed by the House at third reading, it will have to go to the Senate. The Senate will have to examine the bill, although 40% of the amendments will not even have been discussed by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. It is pretty preposterous to hear the minister lecturing us, given his behaviour.

Earlier, the minister said that some 30-odd organizations from across the country had highlighted the importance of the bill for the cultural community. They are right, it is an important bill for the cultural community, but that does not release us from the obligation to make sure we protect freedom of expression. I can already picture the minister pointing out that the Minister of Justice tabled his report with his experts. I am sorry, but what he tabled was an explanatory document, which was not in the motion we had presented.

We did not get any answers to our questions, and people started to wake up. The committee heard from former CRTC officials including Timothy Denton, CRTC commissioner from 2009 to 2013, Konrad von Finckenstein, CRTC president from 2007 to 2012, Peter Menzies, the CRTC's vice-president of telecommunications from 2013 to 2018, Michel Morin, the CRTC's national commissioner from 2008 to 2012, and Philip Palmer, legal counsel at the Department of Justice and senior counsel at the Department of Communications from 1987 to 1994. The heritage minister never names them, but all those individuals said that what the minister was doing made no sense.

Peter Menzies went as far as to say that this was a full-blown assault on freedom of expression and the foundations of democracy. He said it is difficult to understand the level of hubris or incompetence, or both, that would lead someone to believe that such an encroachment on rights can be justified.

When the minister attacks the Conservatives, he is also attacking all those individuals, not to mention the thousands of Canadians who support us and have said they want us to keep up the pressure on the minister about his bill and his encroachment on their rights.

These are facts, and I have not even mentioned Michael Geist, who is very often referred to as a professor emeritus of law at the University of Ottawa. His expertise is so sought after that even the Liberal government supports his research in this field. He was one of the strongest critics of the Liberal government's attitude, and the Bloc Québécois's as well since it supported the Liberals' gag order. Imagine: a gag order that has not been used in 20 years, that the Conservative Party never used during its 10 years in power, a House of Commons gag order that the government imposed on a committee when the House leaders keep telling us that committees are independent every time we question them.

Given what the Liberals just did to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, they can never again say that a committee is independent. This is something unique. Even when people used this measure in the past, they granted a minimum of 10 hours to work on the document in question. All we were given was five hours.

This law professor, Michael Geist, is not alone. There are others from other universities. I do not have the documents with me, but I have quoted them several times. People can go and check.

I therefore want to reiterate that, when the minister attacks the Conservatives, he is attacking all those who spoke out via social media, press releases, written correspondence, speeches and interviews with the media and who said that what the minister was doing did not make sense.

Does this mean we are against culture? No, absolutely not.

Does it mean that the minister made a mistake with his bill? The answer is yes.

If the work had been done properly to begin with, we would not be where we are today. It is because of all the delays that we are dealing with this mess, which will certainly not ensure a level playing field between digital broadcasters and conventional broadcasters.

My NDP colleague's question to the minister was entirely justified. That is what happened. Those are the facts.

Back when we started studying this bill, the government made a big show of saying that this was to be a partnership, so it is pretty funny that the opposition parties did not get so much as a phone call to let them know that clause 4.1 was being removed from the bill. That was the event that triggered this crisis.

No other conversations about collaboration raised problems when they were in the Liberal government's interest. I cannot talk about them because they happened in private, but I was involved in those conversations several times.

It is sad that things have come to this. It is sad that the minister is now stooping to partisan behaviour and attacking Conservatives over this file. As I said, we are just speaking on behalf of all these industry stakeholders, the ones who wanted to protect net neutrality and freedom of expression and avoid these flaws that will almost certainly be challenged in court.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission now has more powers, even though former CRTC commissioners and chairs say that giving the CRTC that kind of power is not a good idea. I am not kidding.

At the beginning of his speech the minister talked about $70 million a month, which was an approximate amount, with the calculations planned for later. People deserve to be told the truth. The CRTC now has nine months to tell us on what percentage it will base the calculations, because no one knows. The only response from the minister is that if the CRTC uses the same calculations as conventional broadcasters, the amounts will be somewhere between $800 million and $1.1 billion, which leaves a margin of $300 million. We do not know anything about it, however, and neither do we know whether the CRTC is going to use the same rules. Once the bill passes we will no longer have any control over this.

That is the current reality of this bill. Time allocation was imposed, and over the past week we have been forced to hold many votes on amendments without those watching us having access to the text of nearly 40% of them. Imagine that scenario, where the only thing the audience heard was the number of the amendment, preceded by the abbreviation of the party proposing it and followed by the question on whether members of the committee were for or against it. What transparency. The Liberals said that the people would have access to the text at the end, when it was all over. It will be too late by then and we will not be able to move forward.

The minister says that we delayed the process, but I would have him know that the committee agreed to hold as many meetings as the chair wanted. We even held meetings every day of the break week, when we were meant to be working in our ridings. Some meetings were extended to four or five hours, on barely an hour's notice. That is the truth, but the minister never mentions that when he talks about his bill.

That really stings, because these kinds of politics hurt us all. The session is ending in a few days. We know full well that the Liberals will call an election before the House comes back. All the minister is trying to do here is play politics. He wants his bill to make it into the election platform, since he knows perfectly well that he will not get it passed in time.

The Bloc Québécois helped the Liberals out of some hot water. I do not recall ever seeing an opposition party support a government gag order. The Bloc members are proud of it. They are boasting about supporting a gag order. It is crazy to think about it.

At times, I found myself wondering what was going on. The minister was weaving a story that did not make sense and that was looking like a horror story for a while there. We have tried our best to do our jobs as legislators, but it has unfortunately been extremely difficult.

The minister, through his work, has attacked net neutrality. He has created a breach. It may not be a big breach, but it is a breach nonetheless. It will be challenged, that much is clear. On top of that, the CRTC is also being given increased powers. That is the reality.

If people listening right now think that my story is not true and that I lied, if they think, as the Prime Minister has implied in the House, that I misled people, I invite them to go back and look at the record, because it is all there.

People know that that is how it happened. They know that everyone started out in good faith, until that Friday when the Minister of Canadian Heritage removed clause 4.1 without any warning. Everyone knows what happens when something is done on a Friday. It means they want to slip it through quietly. After all the theatrics to try to make people believe we do not support the arts community, which is not the case, because it is censorship that we oppose, here is what the Liberal government did instead: It censored us by imposing time allocation.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 5:15 p.m.
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Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, let us start at the beginning. On November 18, 2020, Bill C-10 had just been introduced when the member for Richmond—Arthabaska said this during oral question period: “There is nothing in it that would regulate social media or platforms like YouTube.” That seems pretty clear to me. The member himself was criticizing the government, saying that Bill C‑10 did not go far enough.

I am somewhat surprised, not to mention amazed, to hear an experienced parliamentarian like the member opposite say that the minister did such and such a thing in committee. I would remind my colleague that the Minister of Canadian Heritage does not sit on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. I was invited to testify on several occasions, and I went every time.

The member says that there were 120 amendments and that that means the bill is a mess. That is a great way to try to mislead people, because it is perfectly normal to have many amendments. I could cite Bill C-69, another bill the Conservative Party opposed.

Finally, the member says that he is speaking on behalf of many people. I would like him to say on whose behalf the Conservative Party was speaking when the member for Lethbridge said that artists were a bunch of outdated people living off government handouts. Her comments were widely panned. On whose behalf—

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 5:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska. I know that he has been very emotionally involved in the issue of freedom of expression on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in recent weeks.

After clause 4.1 was removed on that fateful Friday in late April, we were interrupted by the Conservatives, who saw a potential violation of freedom of expression, the important principle that all of us here respect and cherish. At the request of my Conservative colleagues, we invited experts to speak. The Conservatives called their own experts, and we heard from attorneys. The other parties called other experts with a completely different opinion. Some credible voices said that Bill C‑10 did not infringe on freedom of expression and that it contained provisions protecting it.

My question to the hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska is this: If this is not an ideological matter, what would the experts have had to say to finally convince the Conservatives that Bill C‑10 does not infringe on the freedom of expression of Quebeckers and Canadians?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 5:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I will now get back to the premise of my speech, the 2019 campaign in which every Bloc Québécois candidate made a serious promise to voters, a commitment made solemnly and with conviction: Whenever we are in the House, we will make decisions, take a position and support bills and motions that defend Quebeckers’ interests and values.

Even today, it is still the question we ask ourselves when it comes time to choose which direction to take, either here or in committee. A time allocation motion, closure, a gag order, whatever we may call it, there really is no good word for it and we find it chilling, because freedom of speech, parliamentary privilege, is fundamental. It is something we deeply respect and will defend at all costs, like we did with this morning's motion, which just squeaked by.

The Bloc Québécois has fervently defended this idea since its inception, 30 years ago tomorrow. I think that we supported a time allocation motion more often in the past two weeks than in all the 30 years of my party’s existence.

Sometimes, situations force us to step on people’s toes to defend our values, and sometimes that is justifiable.

The parliamentary toolkit contains another tool that is just as questionable, in my opinion, and many of my colleagues probably agree with me. It is the filibustering of debates, either here in the House or in committee. The filibuster consists in droning on endlessly, taking up debate time to prevent a vote or to prevent something that is against our convictions from happening. At that point, the other move that is just as questionable, time allocation, becomes equally justifiable.

In recent months, we have supported time allocation for Bill C‑6 and for medical assistance in dying, an extremely sensitive issue on which Quebec has reached a consensus. People were waiting for the bill. They were waiting for a decision from the House of Commons. They were enduring unbearable suffering and they wanted the freedom to decide when they could end it.

At that point, we asked ourselves the same question. We asked ourselves whether we were going to accept closure if it reflected the will, the values and the interests of Quebeckers. Since it was a simple question, and the answer was yes, we believed we were duty bound to do whatever was necessary to have these bills and motions adopted.

Bill C‑30 is also important for businesses. It is important for the economic recovery, since it will allow entrepreneurs in our regions to get back on their feet after the pandemic. Obviously, we would have preferred that the democratic process take its normal course but, when it is clear that someone is trying to delay the process by every means possible for reasons that are often purely ideological, in order to please their base or collect funds by plucking at the heartstrings of certain groups of Canadians, we believe that it is our duty to counter these manoeuvres using another parliamentary tool. We believe that, in those circumstances, it is reasonable.

That was the case with Bill C‑10. How did we get here? My colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska talked about that earlier. It is true that, at first, when the bill was tabled, we found a lot of holes in it. There were more holes in it than there are in Swiss cheese, like in a brand new paint by numbers. It took six years' preparation to come up with a bill and there was still an enormous amount of work to do.

I do not want to lay blame on anyone, but I think that, from the moment the bill was introduces, the opposition parties were unanimous in thinking that there were too many things missing for it to be acceptable. The industry was happy because a bill was finally being introduced to amend the Broadcasting Act, which had already been obsolete for several years and which was enacted in 1991, at a time when we were recording songs broadcast over the radio on four-track cassettes.

Since we were considerably behind, it was not surprising that the industry applauded the tabling of a bill to review the Broadcasting Act. It should have been reviewed 20 years ago, it should have been reviewed 10 years ago; it should be reviewed on a regular basis.

We soon realized how much work there was to be done. In a way, when a member of the House decides to vote in favour of a bill so that it can be studied in committee, that member is making a commitment to say that certain elements of the bill are not very good and need to be worked on. That work falls to us. It is unfortunate, but we have to do it. We have to improve Bill C‑10 because the cultural industry, our media and the field of broadcasting in Canada have drastically changed. Today's broadcasting industry is nothing like what it was in 1991, when the last version of the Broadcasting Act was passed. I was working in radio at the time. When I walk into a radio studio these days, in 2021, I am completely lost and I have to be shown around because I do not know what anything is. Everything is different today, except for the mike, which has not changed much.

When we agree to work on a bill in committee, we are committing to making improvements. That is how we ended up with more than 100 amendments. At first, there were about 120 amendments proposed by the NDP, the Green Party, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois.

Before proposing these amendments, we consulted people. We heard from people who were interested in sharing their concerns with us. A lot of people wanted to talk about the Broadcasting Act, because it affected a huge number of stakeholders, including community radio and television stations, broadcasters, cable companies, artists and online companies. A lot of people wanted to share their concerns and remind us to include certain things in the bill.

Independent broadcasters also depend on online companies, as well as conventional broadcasters, such as the traditional cable companies, to broadcast their content. In short, there were a lot of witnesses to listen to. We came to realize that this would be a monumental task. There is a reason there were 120 amendments: because there was a lot of work to do. We did it.

I met with representatives of the cultural industry. We exchanged many messages, emails and calls and held many meetings. These people represent more than 200,000 artists, creators, artisans, authors and other people who earn a living from the cultural industry, which has significant spinoffs. Canada's cultural industry generates billions of dollars in economic spinoffs. That is no trivial matter, and we cannot let an industry like that down. We love culture, the arts, our artists and our distinct culture, but we also like money. This is a profitable industry that does not cost us a fortune. Far from being a millstone dragging us down, we benefit from it. It sets us apart and identifies us. There were 120 amendments, but they were serious amendments. They were important. We worked hard, but then came the events of late April.

Did we do things the best way possible? In hindsight, that is a reasonable question. Was it right to eliminate clause 4.1? Maybe not. Is the result what the Conservatives say it is? It is not.

Bill C‑10 contains provisions that clearly protect social media users. As important as it was to protect social media users, it was also important to regulate social media platforms, which play a role in broadcasting and are involved in broadcasting. Social media has an impact on the broadcasting system. YouTube is the largest online music broadcaster in Canada.

We would have had to tell Apple Music that it was going to be regulated, but that YouTube was not because it also has a social media service. That makes no sense. Apple Music would have been right to tell us off, saying that we had done a horrible job and that we needed to go back to the drawing board.

We had to be able to regulate social media for their broadcasting activities, while protecting their users. That is what is clearly stated in the bill, and that is what will come out of the revised Broadcasting Act in the end.

There was never any question of limiting Quebeckers' and Canadians' freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a value that Canadians of all stripes hold dear. Let us not compete to see who loves freedom of speech the most. It is fundamental for us, for Quebeckers and for Canadians. Of that there is no doubt.

What party in the House would have blindly voted for a bill that would actually limit freedom of expression? It does not make sense. It is merely a question of ideology. It is merely an attempt to fan the flames, to offend sensibilities. Perhaps it will pay off, I do not know.

When the problem arose in committee and the question was raised, the Conservatives said that we absolutely had to hear from the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Justice. These ministers had to issue a charter statement. They had to see what was going on. We needed a guarantee from the minister that the bill complied with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and if we were going to do that, we should hear from experts. The Conservatives wanted to invite experts back.

We were wasting time on a bill when we already did not have much time to spare. We wondered what we should with that. Having reflected on it, I am convinced that what is in the bill will protect freedom of expression and social media users, in other words individuals, people. We decided that if there was any uncertainty, we needed to get to the bottom of it, and we had a duty to do so. It was early May, and we were running out of time, but no matter, we had to get it done, and that is what we did. We heard from the experts that the Conservatives wanted us to invite. We heard from law professors and people who believe that this bill goes against this provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and who claim it jeopardizes freedom of expression. I want to listen to all sides before I form an opinion.

However, we also heard from experts such as Pierre Trudel, a professor of law who is renowned across the country. He, too, is a leading authority, and he had a completely different opinion. We heard from Ms. Yale, the chair of the major study that resulted in the Yale report almost a year and a half ago. She also testified and shared her views. Ms. Yale also did not think there was a threat.

There is nothing wrong with expressing doubts and saying that some experts have a certain view. However, at some point, we must respect the democratic process. We listened to everyone and showed good will and good faith. Other experts expressed different views before the committee. Through a vote, the committee decided that we would finally move forward and that there was no threat. The democratic process can come down on either side and we must respect it. Our Conservative colleagues decided to continue filibustering the committee by giving interminable speeches, and we saw things get out of hand.

I was really disappointed by the comments made by the member for Lethbridge in the Lethbridge Herald. She described Quebec artists as being a niche group who are stuck in the 1990s and unable to adapt, so they have to make a living off government grants. I spent 30 years working in the media, in radio and in television, surrounded by artists, being part of their community. If I had had more hair to begin with, I think whatever is left would have fallen out. That took my breath away. I cannot believe that we did not hear a heartfelt apology in the House, either from the leader of the official opposition or from the member herself. I found her comments, which have been denounced by arts organizations, beyond sad and terribly unfortunate.

When we started studying Bill C‑10, I decided that I would do exactly what the Bloc Québécois had promised to do during the 2019 election campaign in Quebec. My colleague from Jonquière once told me that if I really wanted to connect with and be attuned to my constituents' realities, I should lace up my shoes, hit the streets and listen to what my constituents want me to support. That is exactly what I did.

I have been in contact with the cultural sector from the beginning, especially in Quebec, but also, by extension, Canada, since the associations that represent the artists and the industry in Quebec also represent the industry across Canada.

We also listened to francophone communities outside Quebec, which were also needing the protections offered by this bill. We listened to them, we moved forward and we proposed amendments to protect francophone and Quebec culture, and most of these amendments were accepted.

We worked hard to improve this bill. As we were approaching the end of the road, or in this case, the end of the session, and we had made some major gains for the cultural sector, we knew that it was not the time to give up and call it a day because there would not be enough time.

This industry suffered during the pandemic. It has been waiting for a bill, a review of the Broadcasting Act, for far too long. Remember what things were like in 1991. We did not have high-speed Internet. We could not always connect. We had to listen to a sound like a fax machine for about seven minutes. When we managed to connect, we could not just download a photo. If we wanted to do that, we had to start the download the night before in order to see the photo in the morning. We were far from streaming music, downloading videos and watching shows online like we do today. The Broadcasting Act has been completely out of touch with reality for a long time.

As I was saying, we do not have much time left to finish working on this bill, which is so important for the cultural industry, the cultural community, broadcasters, independent broadcasters and creators, as well as for the unique identity that we have here with our culture. Whether we are talking about Quebec or English Canada, we are not the same as the United States and there are marked differences between our culture and American culture.

What should we do? Are we going to allow the web giants to rake in billions of dollars when we are not asking them for much? Are we going to say that it does not matter if they do not produce our shows, that it is a free market and that we should let them set up shop here with their billions of dollars and their means of production and let them do what they want? Come on. That is completely ludicrous.

The Yale report mentioned this last year, and it is just as relevant today: We must act quickly. When action is urgently needed, we must do what it takes to get results and achieve our goal.

The Bloc Québécois made an unusual but necessary decision in supporting time allocation for Bill C‑10 in committee. It is a rare measure and I hope we will not have to take it again, but it was necessary. We made a commitment to work for Quebec, the cultural community and our media. We are also committed to keeping our culture alive. In Quebec, we have been in the habit of fighting for our culture for quite some time. That is perhaps the difference: We have been rolling up our sleeves for a longer time now. We will not give up the fight.

Contrary to what our Conservative colleagues think, this bill is essential and it is urgent. We owe it to our cultural community, as well as to Quebec and Canadian media.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member on some aspects of Bill C-10, but what I really want to ask him about is democratic norms and democratic process.

It is fair to take the position that the member does on a bill, and we can have debate about the bill, but what ended up happening, as a result of decisions made by the government as well as by the Bloc, is that we had amendments that were put forward and not read at committee, no opportunity for subamendments, and then a vote on amendments that had not been read. There was no opportunity for further discussion or consultation on the particular implications of individual amendments.

Of course, it takes time at committee, but when we are talking about over a hundred amendments, each of those amendments matters. It matters for artists, it matters for freedoms and it matters for Canadian society as a whole. As someone who works in international human rights and foreign affairs, I just think it sends a terrible message to other countries, to developing democracies, about what democratic decision-making is supposed to look like.

Could the member share his reflections on whether he thinks this is an appropriate way to proceed? It is fine to agree or disagree with the bill, but is this an appropriate way to proceed in a democratic legislature? What message does this send to the rest of the world?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 5:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite‑Patrie for his question.

I want to remain focused on Bill C‑10 and I would say that things could have been done far more effectively a long time ago.

If you ask me, there was a bit of foot dragging at several stages in the process. In terms of time allocation, my leader made a proposition on the May 16 edition of Tout le monde en parle, which nearly everyone in Quebec saw. The government has been slow to act. If it had accepted the Bloc Québécois's olive branch on May 16, or the day after the Bloc Québécois made its unusual proposal, we might have avoided several of these delays. There may be a domino effect here.

Indeed, Bill C-10 could have benefited from a little more of the government's attention from the beginning.