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

Sponsor

Status

First reading (Senate), as of June 22, 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

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 8 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I have to be very sympathetic to our translators. They do a phenomenal job, ensuring all members can understand what is being said. I apologize for any popping noise that I might have caused.

In regard to the legislation, and as I was listening to the debate this evening, I was reflecting on a couple of points. One was the Conservatives' opposition to the legislation and the tactics they used to try to frustrate the House, and ultimately mislead Canadians on the second reading debate of the legislation. I can recall at least a good portion of that debate back then.

I realize I somewhat date myself as a parliamentarian now for about 30 years, both at the provincial and national level, but a lot of things have changed. When I was first elected, I had a Compaq computer. I think it was a 256 kB, and it had a five-and-a-half inch disk on which to back things up. To get on to the Internet in downtown Winnipeg, at the Manitoba legislature where my office was as an MLA, I would have phone into the Internet. I would get the long dial tone, a ding-ding sound and then I would be on it. It sure was slow as was the computer.

Things have changed. When I compare that to where we are at today, a couple of things that come to mind. We have underestimated for decades the impact the Internet has on society in many different ways. With regard to the legislation, for the first time we are taking steps forward to address that huge gap, those decades of doing nothing.

We have a Prime Minister who understands that technology has changed and he has mandated the Minister of Canadian Heritage to bring forward this legislation. Members within the Liberal caucus have been waiting very patiently for the legislation. We were glad to see it not only introduced, but get to second reading and then ultimately pass out of second reading. It has been long overdue.

Today, we have Wi-Fi. We can forget the telephone-dial-in type of Internet in downtown Winnipeg. We cannot even draw comparisons to the speed. I am learning this thing about music with the iPad and iPhone. It is called Apple Music, and I have acquired some music from that service. It has millions of songs. I suspect that if I were to start to listen to one song after another, I would be long gone before all the songs were played. In other words, any song one could possibly imagine can likely be found in its library. It is truly amazing what we can get on the Internet.

There are shows from the past like The Andy Griffith Show, or Three's Company orWKRP in Cincinnati. These are all shows from the past, and were fairly dominate outside of Canada. I remember The Beachcombers from British Columbia. There were many different kids' programs. I think of programs with great Canadian content. At one time, I suspect the rules sufficed, that they protected the industry, the consumers, our arts and culture and ensured we had a sense of Canadian identity.

As I have pointed out, over the decades, things have really changed. We can be very proud of some of the programs we have seen over the last number of years in particular.

I did not hear of Schitt's Creek until it won all those wonderful awards. A number of my caucus colleagues talked about the program, so I binge watched it. One gets a sense of pride that this is a first-class Canadian production. There is a very strong Canadians perspective to it.

When I think of programs of a Canadian nature, I think of Corner Gas from Saskatchewan and some of the personalities in that show. I think of some of the music industry stars such as Celine Dion and Anne Murray, just to mention a couple with whom I am familiar, as I am not really the most musically inclined.

However, Canada is rich in our heritage and in the arts, and we need to do what we can to protect that into the future. In good part, Bill C-10 is all about that. It is the part that interests me. I am very much concerned about Canadian content going forward and the opportunities for future songwriters, scriptwriters, musicians, actors, performers and the people who manage the stages. A healthy, vibrant industry exists and it needs to be supported. One of the ways we can support that industry and protect, in good part, our Canadian identity going forward is to support Bill C-10.

I find it amazing that the Conservatives have taken a hardened approach to it. I asked a question earlier about freedom of speech. I asked the member to be very specific, to provide me with a quote. A former member mentioned a couple of clauses, which I will have to take a look at, but the member I asked the question of did not even attempt to answer the question. I do not think she had any idea what it specifically was.

The Conservatives are very good at spinning things. I have been getting emails, as I am sure others have, about concerns with freedom of speech. It was even brought up at one of my virtual town hall meetings. A lot of Conservative spin out there is amplified for a wide variety of reasons. The skeptic side of me might say it has something to do with the Conservatives fundraising machine. Another reason might be that they are frustrated with other issues related to the pandemic, such as the government's performance in its work with other levels of government and Canadians and how reasonably well things have gone on that front, so they are trying to find something to complain about.

Based on today and what I heard coming out of committee, the Conservatives have definitely found something, and that is Bill C-10 and freedom of speech. I still do not understand the connection.

I do not remember the date, but the Prime Minister said:

Mr. Speaker, just as Canada's analysis confirms that Bill C-10 remains consistent with the charter's guarantee of freedom of expression, Bill C-10 aims to level the playing field between creators and web giants.

It requires big, powerful foreign streamers to provide information on their revenues in Canada, to financially contribute to Canadian stories and music, and to make it easier for individuals to discover our culture.

The bill explicitly says that obligations apply to web giants only: not to Canadian users. Web giants have gone unregulated for far too long. Our government has chosen action over reaction.

I appreciate that there have been some amendments, changes and modifications, but whether it is the Prime Minister or the Minister of Heritage, they have done a fantastic job representing what the legislation would do, considering the degree of support it is getting. I believe the National Assembly of Québec, listening to the minister, unanimously said that Bill C-10 was good legislation and it should be passed.

It surprises me that when Bill C-10 was in committee, the Conservative Party was determined to prevent it from moving out of committee. I genuinely believe that if it were up to the Conservative Party, Bill C-10 would never have left committee.

Some members say that they feel ripped-off because they did not get the chance talk to the amendments, because the government put time allocation on the amount of time the committee had for the bill. I would like to remind my Conservative friends that, as a minority government, for us to successfully put in any form of time allocation, we require at least one other opposition party to support that initiative. We cannot ram it through committee stage.

It seems to me that the Conservatives feel their rights have been walked on if the government brings in a motion for time allocation and gets passed. However, for the government to have the time allocation motion passed, it has to have an opposition party onside, and in this situation the Bloc Québécois provided the government the numbers necessary to ensure that Bill C-10 would get out of committee. If it were not for the desire to move this legislation forward and get the support to do so, it likely still would be in committee today.

Many members, including myself, would have thought the New Democrats would have supported that move. Those members are not what I would classify as naive. They understood what was taking place in committee. They seemed to understand what the Conservative Party was attempting to do with Bill C-10. However, we were able to move the bill out of the committee stage and get it to report stage and then third reading so we can get it passed. As I pointed out at the very beginning, this is critical legislation.

I have been in opposition in many governments for 20-plus years, and I have had the good fortune of being a part of a majority government. Typically, when we get to the month of June, hours are extended and we look at passing important legislation before the summer.

It is no different this time. We attempted to bring in extended hours and we were successful, but not because of the Conservatives. That is the reason why we are debating this legislation right now. We were able to get support, not from the Conservatives but from other opposition members, so that we could actually sit longer to debate the legislation we are debating right now.

Ironically, Conservative Party members would argue that they do not want extended hours. They did that. Let us remember that last Thursday the Conservatives tried to adjourn the House. They did not even want us to sit on Thursday. It is because the Conservative Party has no interest at all in seeing any legislation pass at this point. Conservative members will do what they can to filibuster and prevent the government from passing legislation. On the other hand, they will be critical of the government because they say we are trying to limit the amount of time in which they can speak to legislation. However, they were denying the opportunity to speak by having extended hours and by actually sitting as opposed to trying to adjourn debate for the day.

Just as the Conservative opposition continues to be a destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons, as it attempts to frustrate the government in trying to pass legislation such as our budget, the Liberal government will continue to be focused on Canadians and on ensuring, as much as possible, that we have legislation like our budget, Bill C-10, Bill C-6 and other progressive pieces of legislation that other progressive parties will see the merit of passing. This is as opposed to buying into what the Conservatives want, which is to prevent at all costs any legislation from passing in the House of Commons.

This legislation is good legislation. It is good for Canadians. It is good for the industry. I highly recommend that all members of the House support its passage.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 8:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague from Kingston and the Islands' opinion. I am on page 16 of Bill C‑10, specifically subclause 8(10), lines 7 to 14 of the English version, which states the following:

(4) Regulations made under this section, other than regulations made under paragraph (1)(i) or (j), do not apply with respect to programs that are uploaded to an online undertaking that provides a social media service by a user of the service — if that user is not the provider of the service or the provider’s affiliate, or the agent or mandatary of either of them — for transmission over the Internet and reception by other users of the service.

My interpretation of that provision is that, if Videotron uploads content to YouTube, the company is subject to CRTC rules, but ordinary users who do likewise are not. I see no attack on freedom of expression there. Does my colleague interpret that provision the same way?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 8:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

What could be more fitting for a bill that could limit the free speech of Canadians across the country and what they can see online, than a government trying to use tactics to limit debate in Parliament? I have heard, loud and clear, from my constituents in Kelowna—Lake Country, and we have heard, loud and clear, from experts from coast to coast to coast how poor Bill C-10 is.

Canadians do not want this deeply flawed, speech-limiting, online-viewing-limiting legislation. It is truly shocking that the government would attempt on more than one occasion to limit debate on a bill that has been so divisive. The government keeps raising the bar on what divides us. If the Liberals cannot even tolerate dissenting views in committee and in this House, how are Canadians supposed to expect them to act differently and respect their views online should this legislation come into force?

Back in May, I addressed this chamber through Statements by Members, outlining the overwhelming opposition to this troubling bill from my constituents in Kelowna—Lake Country. I outlined how hundreds, and by now hundreds more, have written me with their valid and real concerns. Residents in Kelowna—Lake Country have strong reservations about the government's attempted overreach to regulate individual Canadian Internet users and what they can hear and see online, concerns shared by University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist. Dr. Geist is not just some newcomer to the field. He is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. Not only could he be considered an expert, he is a vocal and non-partisan critic who has been fighting for the rights of Canadians by speaking out against this dangerous legislation.

Dr. Geist has outlined how, despite the empty words on the part of government claiming otherwise, this legislation, “represent[s] an exceptionally heavy-handed regulatory approach where a government-appointed regulator decides what individual user generated content is prioritized”. Dr. Geist has also called the recent manoeuvring by the Liberals at the heritage committee to effectively cover this legislation in a dark cloud of secrecy “disturbing”, when the committee began to vote on undisclosed amendments without any debate or discussion.

All of this came on the heels of the Liberals' teaming up with the Bloc earlier this month to severely limit debate by using an archaic parliamentary process, manoeuvres that have not been seen in over 20 years in this House. The Liberals may claim that this legislation is to modernize the Broadcasting Act, but that has not stopped them from using procedures to ram Bill C-10 through Parliament without proper debate or discussion. We heard in debate today, from my colleague the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, how 40% of Bill C-10 was not even discussed or debated at the heritage committee with respect to other recommendations.

The voices of my constituents will not be silenced. Residents of my riding in Kelowna—Lake Country from all walks of life have written to me ever since the introduction of this draconian bill, stating, “Censoring free speech or shutting down debate is not acceptable.”

Another wrote that, “People should be able to speak freely on all platforms”.

One wrote that, “It is shocking that the current government has the audacity to even propose something as limiting to free speech as Bill C-10”.

Further comments were also expressed: “We must not tolerate this kind of censorship of free speech in a free country”; and, “Bill C-10 is the most appalling assault on free speech we have seen from any democratic government”.

I agree with my constituents of Kelowna—Lake Country, and that is why I am here today.

This legislation is an unacceptable attempt by the Liberals to target the freedoms of individual Internet users in Canada. It raises significant concerns about the ability to preserve net neutrality, which is an important principle that ensures free flow of content and that no content on the Internet is favoured over another. Net neutrality is basically the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications, regardless of their source and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

The bill before us would give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, absolute control with no clear parameters. Furthermore, this legislation would give sweeping powers to the CRTC to regulate the Internet, including individual users with no clear guidelines for how that power would be used.

What are Canadian creators saying about this proposed legislation?

Well, J.J. McCullough, a well-known Canadian YouTuber, recently wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post. Mr. McCullough has nearly 300,000 followers on YouTube and, by his own research, he says that this makes him the “1,483rd most popular Canadian YouTuber”. I would say that provides a pretty clear picture of the success that Canadian content creators have online. He goes on to note that there are “...well over 100 Canadian YouTubers with subscriber counts surpassing 3 million — a combined audience larger than the population of Indonesia”. He mentions how well Canadian YouTubers have done without this legislation. Mr. McCullough also notes with real concern that “If Bill C-10 passes, satisfying the needs of audiences — the formula that has produced countless Canadian YouTube success stories...may soon take a back seat to satisfying government regulators”.

His trepidation is justified, as the Liberals rejected an exemption to individual users who upload videos to social media and even took it a step further by promising to introduce a new amendment to regulate apps. We have also heard that digital first creators have not been consulted. It is smoke and mirrors to say that Bill C-10 is about charging big Internet companies to get tax dollars.

On Bill C-10, Conservatives propose to protect individual users and small players in the market by exempting streaming services and social media users with lower revenues. The Liberals rejected this common-sense compromise. The minister ignores these concerns despite the stated purpose of the bill being to promote Canadian content and support, not burden, Canadian creators. However, if history is any indication, the minister does not care about factual and thoughtful points such as these. His party only cares about shutting down debate so its members do not have to listen to the mounting evidence against this proposed legislation.

It is not just the residents of Kelowna—Lake Country, Canadian content creators or Dr. Geist who are speaking out against Bill C-10. A former commissioner of the CRTC has said in an interview that Bill C-10 “...doesn’t just infringe on free expression, it constitutes a full-blown assault upon it and, through it, the foundations of democracy”. This was from a former CRTC commissioner, and if anyone can speak on how the CRTC could interpret its new powers, he would be the one to ask.

The government claims that Bill C-10 is a priority and that is why it is using the tactics that it has chosen to employ. My Conservative colleagues and I will not apologize for doing whatever is necessary to defend the right to free speech and free viewing of the content of Canadians.

I think it is important that we examine exactly what has taken place in this Parliament leading up to this moment. We must not forget that it was the Liberals who prorogued Parliament to escape scrutiny for their ethical scandals. When it is something they want, they will ram it through in any way they can using procedures like the one we recently saw around Bill C-10, which we have not seen used in the House for over 20 years. There were amendments at committee that were never even read and debated. The Liberals had four years as a majority government and have been in power in this Parliament for almost two more.

We will be back here in September as, after all, the Liberals definitely do not want an election, right? So, I will not apologize for standing up for Kelowna—Lake Country and I will not apologize for standing for free speech and for net neutrality. This is deeply flawed legislation that should be deeply troubling, and it is troubling to the core to each and every one of us to consider here today.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 9:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the parent act, the Broadcasting Act, has three sections that specifically articulate freedom of expression. The version of Bill C-10 that was passed by the House at second reading specifically had a section that protected anyone who is uploading programs for transmission over the Internet. Then when the bill was at committee, there were four specific amendments adopted to ensure freedom of expression; one from the Liberals, two from the Green Party and one from the Conservatives.

With all of those sections that are specifically articulating freedom of expression, why are they all together not enough for the member to be satisfied that it is, in fact, protected?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise on behalf of the free-speaking riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

When I spoke on Bill C-10 last December, I called this bill a fraud, an attack on freedom of expression, and a particular danger to the rights of Canadians speaking minority language. Since debate at second reading, this bill has become so much worse. The bill was already an assault on freedom of expression, but the process to ram this bill through Parliament is an assault on the foundation of parliamentary democracy. Undemocratic means have undemocratic ends. In the end, what we have is a bill so flawed, so regressive, so illiberal, the government must cut off all debate.

When I spoke against the Internet censorship bill at second reading, I highlighted how this bill is an offence against Canadian values. It is an attack on freedom. It is an attack on truth. It is an attack on multicultural heritage. Even before this bill was made worse in committee, it was an affront to freedom of expression. By removing the clause protecting social media, the Liberal government has made the violation so clear that every Canadian is now aware of the threat to their freedom.

This bill offends Canadians' sense of honesty by perpetuating a fraud and claiming video delivered over the Internet is the same as a video delivered by broadcast. Internet video streaming has more in common with video rental stores, movie theatres or book stores than they do with broadcasters. Internet video streaming, movie theatres and book stores sell a product to Canadians. Broadcasters turn Canadians into the product and sell them to advertisers.

One business model sells the work of cultural expression to Canadians. The other business model uses works of cultural expression to sell Canadians to big business. Broadcasters sell Canadians to advertisers using publicly owned airwaves and regulated cable monopolies. The federal government has the authority under the Constitution to regulate broadcasters. Movie theatres, video rental stores and book stores fall under provincial jurisdiction, even if they are foreign owned.

The bill is unconstitutional even before it attacks the charter. Canadians are already fed up with Super Bowl commercials being substituted. How do Liberals think they are going to like the idea of their favourite YouTube streaming video being substituted by some CRTC-approved Canadian video? They would never try this with books or movies.

Canadians are not forced to buy a Canadian book to read A Game of Thrones. Canadians are not forced to watch a Marvel movie filmed in Vancouver to attend a foreign film festival. If the Liberals tried this with books or theatres, it would be clear that this wrong. However, the problem with this bill is the violation to freedom is more subtle, at least it was until the government removed section 4.1. That is when it stopped being a subtle attack on a freedom of expression and became a full on assault.

The government will claim it has no interest in censoring Canadians' cat videos, but that is not the concern. The concern being expressed, since the removal of section 4.1, is not that the CRTC will take down YouTube posts, it is that YouTube would take down or de-prioritize videos in order to comply with regulations. A counter argument that we should not worry about cabinet putting its thumbs on the CRTC scales because of the regulatory system takes a hit when one considers that Bill C-10 streamlines the process of cabinet giving directives to the CRTC.

That is not to say the Prime Minister would go around ordering YouTube posts to be taken down. It is just the limitations on what any future cabinet could do is reduced. Deleting parliamentary committee oversight of cabinet directives to CRTC may not be Orwellian, but it is what an Orwellian-minded government would also do.

I do appreciate the attention being drawn to regulations because that is where the original threat to freedom of expression lies. Compliance with these regulations comes with a relatively fixed costs. For Netflix that cost can be spread out over seven million Canadian households, but for a smaller streaming service, that cost may be spread over 700,000, 70,000 or 7,000 households.

As the popularity of the type of expression decreases, the cost to receive it increases. The only cost to receive any broadcast expression is the cost of a receiving device, but streamers charge end users. The whole point of having that freedom is not to protect the majority or popular expression, but the minority or unpopular expressions. This is not to say that web giants cannot be regulated, but fundamentally they are not broadcasters and cannot be regulated as such without impacting freedom of expression.

As I said earlier, Internet streaming services are more akin to movie theatres and bookstores, both of which are currently restricted under provincial registration. Is that closure a limitation of freedom of expression? It sure is. Is that reasonable in a free and democratic society during a pandemic? Ultimately that will be for the courts to decide, but at least there is a public purpose other than to grab some cash for the well-connected.

The point is that movies, bookstores and Internet streamers can be regulated, but it has to be in the public interest and by the appropriate level of government. Just as we have regulations that say someone cannot build a bookstore made out of dry kindling, someone cannot build a digital service that threatens to burn down democracy and not expect some public interest.

Any opposition to Bill C-10 is being framed as opposition to Canadian culture or logically extending to opposition of the Canadian content system. It only furthers the attempt to force a new digital world into an old analog paradigm, which also cuts off discussion on how to update the Canadian content system to the digital world. The whole idea of needing a system to feature Canadian artists to Canadians comes from a time when we were culturally insecure, but we are not that country any more.

We are the most diverse country in the world. We import culture and we brag about it. We are a proud, confident country. We do not live next door to the United States on the Internet. We live next door to everyone online. Canadians are amazing and our artists are awe-inspiring.

At the end of the day, cutting through the government rhetoric about Bill C-10, it is not about protecting culture or online harms. It is about money and rent-seeking. The government needs money and needs industry interest groups with euphemistic names to say nice things about them in French.

Until now the cost of this rent-seeking was largely borne by advertisers or CRTC-inflated cable bills. The government likes to claim that it will go on to fund artists, but it really ends at the money going to producers and their lobbyists.

The difference now is that the costs will not be paid by web giants, but by consumers. The methods to collect the money are media fund levies, regulatory compliance costs, a new digital service tax and HST on top of all of it. Together this adds up to a massive regressive excise tax. There is an HST credit to offset the regressive nature of that tax, but there is no rebate for the GST or the Canadian content media levy.

The government is not forcing web giants to pay. It is forcing low-income Canadians to pay and to pay the most. It does not have to be this way. We can regulate online businesses in the interest of public safety, and we can do it without threatening freedom of expression.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 9:20 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I honestly do not know where to begin. I am trying to find something relevant, interesting and enlightening in my colleague's speech, but honestly, I cannot find any such thing.

For months, I have had the so-called “pleasure” of working on Bill C‑10 at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Now I wonder, because I am hearing falsehoods. It is said that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will start to believe it. An argument can even be built on a false foundation.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks we can do to protect Quebec and Canadian culture and all its diversity. I am talking about protecting indigenous content, francophone content in Quebec, but also outside Quebec, in francophone communities across Canada. How does my colleague plan to protect this identity in a bill that is essential and that is recognized as such by every industry player? How does she think we can get there, when what I am hearing does not make much sense?

I would like her response and her idea of what exactly should be done to protect the Canadian broadcasting system, which needs protecting and should have been protected long, long ago.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 9:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Eric Duncan Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise for the second time in the chamber to debate Bill C-10. I had the opportunity to debate it back in December at second reading.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Carleton.

Bill C-10 will be remembered as an iconic piece of legislation if it is passed, but not for the reasons the government would want. We have seen over the course of the last seven months a terrible rollout, terrible communication and a terrible committee process. As a result, we are in the House of Commons in person and virtually across the country going until midnight or later because of the desperation of the government trying to ram this legislation through.

I will state tonight that on all the issues we have dealt with on Parliament Hill, in the House of Commons, I have heard from constituents the most on this issue and a lack of trust for the government's actions on Bill C-10. The actions that we have seen take place at committee over the course of the last couple of weeks has only exacerbated those concerns even more.

Comments were made earlier about how the Minister of Canadian Heritage had handled this portfolio. I listened with interest earlier tonight when he spoke about how proud he was of this bill, how proud he was of the consultations that were held not only by himself, but by his predecessor to bring forward this legislation. We should ask why we find ourselves in this situation. There will be university professors teaching political science students in years to come, using Bill C-10 as an example of what not to do to build public confidence on an issue and have a bill successfully pass through Parliament.

If the consultations by the previous minister and the current minister were so well done, why did the government introduce a bill that, when it got to committee, and at one point I lost track, over 100 amendments were proposed, many from the industry and stakeholders. If they consulted and listened so well, why were they not included in the first place? The minister was on CTV's Question Period, as a prime example, and CBC's Power & Politics. His interviews were absolutely disastrous.

People ask why that matters in terms of legislation and policy. If the minister responsible for the bill cannot even give a decent performance in defending the merits of the bill, certain sections and concerns, that should tell us something. Not only were those media appearances terrible in explaining and trying to justify Bill C-10, on Monday morning the Prime Minister's Office had to issue retractions, saying that he did not mean that and it needed to be clarified. When that happens, it shows us what is happening with Bill C-10.

We are here tonight, and it is an absolute embarrassment for the government. I listened with interest to my other opposition colleagues from the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. They said that the government had done a terrible job with the legislation, that it did not consult properly, that it should have done it sooner, but they would back the government up to ensure the bill was passed. It does not matter how bad the bill is or what is not in it, they want to pass the bill to say they checked off a box.

Many of my colleagues spoke tonight about problems and concerns with the legislation. I want to elaborate and be specific. I want to take part of my time tonight to focus on an organization that is not very popular in the country these days, and for good reason: the CRTC.

In this updated legislation, the government and opposition parties have ganged up to take out the part that regulates individual content. The CRTC would have the power to take down content by individuals, and we would have no way of knowing if there were other amendments.

I want to thank a Canadian who I did not know of, but we have heard a lot about him in the debate on Bill C-10, and that is Michael Geist. I am kind of jealous of him. He has about 87,000 followers on Twitter now and has been an eminent voice, talking about the concerns with Bill C-10. If the government is so proud of its work and the bill before us, I want to read two tweets from Mr. Geist. He is a law professor and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. I would suggest he is an expert who is probably pretty well versed on this subject.

He has been following committees for weeks and weeks on end, many of those committee meetings being filibustered by the government. He has said two things.

He said, “The committee just passed a Liberal amendment to Bill C-10 that has never been made public. Committee is just reading amendment numbers with no information provided. Chair says he cannot given any details. Literally secret law making.”

He followed that up in frustration right afterward, “Having spent hours watching Bill C-10 committee hearings, I’m out. MPs are voting on amendments that have never been made public, no experts to ask, no discussion, no debate. This is what Liberals, NDP and Bloc voted for. This is not how laws are supposed to be made in Canada.”

I will agree with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois. The government has had six years to get this right. There is not an MP in the House who believes the Broadcasting Act of 1991 is still relevant in today's day and age. Back in the day when that law was passed, I was four years old. I was not watching it too attentively when it was passed under a previous government. To show members how outdated it is, I will do this again. Bryan Adams was topping the charts. Whitney Houston, Madonna, Boyz II Men and Vanilla Ice were some of the other names and, as my colleague from Kingston and the Islands says, we could only listen to them by radio back in 1991.

There is no denying that we need to update the Broadcasting Act, but I go back to the arguments that are technical and important. If this bill is so well-organized and if this bill is so wonderful, why has the government resorted to shutting down committee, ramming the legislation through and putting in amendments when we do not even know what they are. The government was mocking us earlier when we were raising our concerns and frustrations about the bill and the process. I have specified the role of the CRTC and I will get into that in a moment. However, it is hard to know what is in the final bill, because there is a gag order by the minister. I do not even know what the status of some of those parts and pieces are. That speaks volumes to this.

I want to take some time to speak about the CRTC. I have seen this before, and there is a perfect example. My colleague from Carleton is in the chamber and will speak to this after me. He asked the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry a couple of weeks ago about the recent CRTC decision by the chair, Ian Scott, on wholesale internet rates in the country. The CRTC reversed its commitment to lower ISP rates around the country. It was a huge controversy with huge frustration.

I have heard it from small Internet service providers in my riding. I want to give credit to Birket Foster of Storm Internet in Chesterville who has spoken about this. The CRTC is singlehandedly spiking the cost of Internet affordability in the country. I asked the minister about it. He said that was the CRTC and that he was working hard and trying, but it was the CRTC. The same thing is going to happen with this legislation.

We see vague definitions like Internet regulation, what it means for users and all this chaos and confusion. The government is handing over, it is kicking the can down the road to the arm's-length CRTC to make decisions based on vague wording and poor legislation. Then what happens is that the Liberals will say that it is not them, that it is the independent CRTC. I have said this before in the chamber and I will say it again. It is our job to get the details right. We all support Canadian content. With the Internet and the tools available to us, we do not need to protect Canadian content as much as we need to let it flourish.

I believe in our Canadian artists. We have seen examples through YouTube. We have seen numerous creators across the country use those platforms, make a living and elevate Canadian content. My constituents do not want to search something on YouTube based on what the government thinks they should see. They want to do it based on algorithms that show what other Canadians and other people who are interested in like-minded subjects see. We have seen the success that this can happen.

The government's approach is wrong. The Liberals know it is wrong. That is why they are going through a secretive committee process and trying to ram this through before the summer. Canadians are getting more and more concerned by the day on this.

I appreciate the opportunity to, once again, put on the record my strong opposition to the bill and to this process.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 9:55 p.m.
See context

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that the debate on Bill C-10 went completely off the rails tonight. The Conservative Party is giving us a demonstration, and a fine one, unfortunately, that it has become the party of conspiracy theories.

To hear the Conservatives tell it, Bill C‑10 will take away every liberty we enjoy in Canada. The CRTC, one regulator among many in Canada, will be above all the laws and will be able to decide all sorts of things. The House will please forgive me for saying so, but it really feels like we are in a bad B movie. In a country like Canada, we might show a bad B movie on the big screen or on Netflix, but it would still remain a bad B movie.

Several members from various parties of the House have shown numerous times how many sections of the bill exclude individuals and protect freedom of expression, freedom of creation and journalistic freedom. Despite that, when the Conservative Party decides it has stumbled upon a fundraising gold mine, misleading people is no big deal.

The previous member talked about something absurd. What I personally find absurd is that we are allowing there to be two regimes: one that imposes rules on broadcasters, on independent Canadian producers and on all the companies that already exist, and another regime that imposes no rules on the web giants, on the world's biggest and wealthiest companies.

The Conservatives do not see that as a big deal; so be it. The Conservatives do not want those companies to invest in Canadian artists and talent. They want those companies to make money here but without paying their fair share. For a party that claims to be there for the people, for the middle class, for small and medium-sized businesses, I find this to be a complete aberration.

We have heard all kinds of arguments, including that emerging artists, those who are prominent on platforms like YouTube, were not consulted and no one spoke with them.

The Conservative Party claims to stand up for the French language, so I would refer it to the French-language article that appeared in the newspaper Le Devoir two weeks ago, on May 26, for which several vloggers were interviewed. Fred Bastien, a vlogger with 34,000 subscribers, talked about something that really bothers him. If nothing is done to make French content discoverable, he believes it will get lost in a North American ocean of people who essentially speak English. In his opinion, Bill C‑10 absolutely must get passed.

I could quote the great Canadian artist, Damhnait Doyle.

She was recently interviewed as well, and I think what she said is important. She said:

We are forgetting what happened 50 years ago. Fifty years ago, Canadians could not get played on the radio. It was all American music, it was all British music until the government stepped in and made sure that Canadians were played on Canadian radio. If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have the Tragically Hip, we would not have Sarah McLachlan.

This is exactly what we are trying to do. Unless we modernize the Broadcasting Act, it is all going to be about American artists. Some Canadian artists will manage to emerge, but the vast majority of them will be forgotten. It is the same for French artists. It is the same for indigenous artists, who are just starting to emerge. We are going to quash their ability to do that. For those who are already successful on platforms like YouTube, Bill C-10 would not change anything.

I would like to quote Jean Yoon, Umma of the amazing Kim's Convenience series on CBC. She says, “My impetus as an artist has always been the creation of original Canadian work, from a culturally diverse perspective. That is always my preference as an actor in terms of film and television, to work on Canadian shows.” What she says next is really important. “A nation that doesn’t tell its own story doesn’t know who it is.”

That is really what is at stake. It is our cultural sovereignty, our capacity to continue telling Canadian stories. I watch American shows.

I really enjoy Scandinavian and South Korean series, but I think that as a country we have an interest from a cultural, artistic and certainly an economic perspective to continue to have the capacity to tell our own stories, to ensure that our creators are suitably compensated for the content that they broadcast on these platforms. That is what Bill C‑10 does.

The CRTC, contrary to what we have heard several times this evening, has never moderated content. It has never told a radio or television station that it can broadcast one program but not another. The CRTC will not acquire that power through Bill C‑10. We are told that experts say that if Bill C‑10 is adopted it will be the end of the world as we know it. Some Conservative MPs have even compared what Canada is doing to China and various dictatorships.

I would honestly and sincerely invite those members to go and see how things work in a dictatorship. To say that Canada is a dictatorship is ridiculous. It is pathetic and it misleads Canadians. It is completely false. The CRTC is not above our laws. The CRTC needs to follow the laws of Canada. Some parts of Bill C‑10 specify that the CRTC must respect freedom of expression and freedom of creation.

The law governing the CRTC specifies what the CRTC needs to do. As a regulator, the CRTC has some wiggle room, as do all regulators, but the CRTC must act within the limits of Canada's laws and regulations. The CRTC is not a state within a state. It is not a state that is above the state. That is absolutely ridiculous. I think that what we are seeing tonight is all the contempt that the Conservative Party has for our artists and Canada's arts.

The member spoke earlier about the excellent heritage critic, the member for Lethbridge, who had to publicly apologize for saying that artists, particularly those from Quebec, are outdated, stuck in the 1990s and out of touch with today's reality.

I think it is great that young entrepreneurs are able to succeed on YouTube. That is wonderful. Are the member and the Conservative Party telling us that that is what art is in Canada, succeeding on YouTube or nothing? That is not diversity. So much the better if some people are doing it.

I have had discussions with my counterparts in France, Germany, Ukraine and Scandinavian countries, and their governments are doing the same thing. They look at Bill C‑10 and say that is an excellent idea. They want to do that too. These are not Anglo-Saxon countries, except for Canada where obviously there is French and English, as well as indigenous languages. If we do not protect our linguistic and cultural minorities, Canada will become nothing less than a branch of the United States and Hollywood. I think it is great that major American productions are filmed here. It is great, but it is not Canadian artistic creation. It boosts the economy and puts people to work. It is great. However, the arts in Canada, support for the arts, the development of the arts and Canadian artistic creation represent much more than foreign productions that come here because we have skilled labour and it costs less.

Bill C‑10 is a bill for our artists. Our artists asked for it. Thousands of people were consulted on this bill. I have talked to more than 4,000 people over the past few months about Bill C‑10 and the Yale commission received 2,000 briefs.

The idea that the Liberal Party let the cat out of the bag with respect to Bill C-10 is false. The Conservatives have always opposed the bill. Even when the Yale report was released, they said that they opposed it. The report was over 200 pages long. Barely one hour after it was released, the then leader of the opposition said he would throw it in the garbage.

As soon as Bill C‑10 was introduced, the Conservative Party demanded that it be withdrawn immediately. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Conservative Party's contempt for the arts sector is long-standing. We saw it under the Harper government. Members will recall when he said that everyone knows that artists and all those people go to cocktail parties.

I have news for the Conservative Party. Canadian artists earn $24,000 on average. They are far from being ultrarich jet-setters. Some are wealthy, and I congratulate them, but that is not the reality of most artists. That is why government support is important.

Rather than talking about these grand conspiracy theories that we have heard about tonight, the Conservatives should be honest with Canadians and with the cultural and arts sectors. They should admit that they do not believe in those sectors.

As I mentioned earlier, I spoke with more than 4,000 people. If there was one thing I did not hear once, it was the idea that the Conservative Party was there for them. I heard that about all the other parties. Out of over 4,000 people, no one told me that the Conservative Party was there to support them. I will not repeat in the House what I heard, but it was at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there we have it again: It is all about YouTube. If people perform on YouTube, we consider them to be artists. If they are not performing on YouTube, we think what they are doing is simply no good and does not deserve our time of day, nor support from the state. For those who are already successful on YouTube, Bill C-10 would not change anything. Hopefully for them, they will continue to be successful.

What we want with Bill C-10 is for the web giants to pay their fair share. That is all we are asking. I thought if there was one thing the Conservative Party would be in favour of, it would be for everybody to pay their fair share, but it seems that no, they have decided to side with some of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the world instead of supporting our artists.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the topic of freedom of expression was debated in committee, the majority of the expert witnesses said that Bill C‑10 was compliant and that it did not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I have already said this publicly, and the member for Richmond—Arthabaska knows this: There are some people who should not be subject to any rules on the Internet. I recognize that. That is not the position of the majority of the parties in the House, it is not the position of the majority of the members in the House and it is not the position of the majority of Canadians. Study after study has shown that the majority of Canadians, nearly 80%, believe that the web giants should contribute their fair share.

There are some Canadians who disagree. We have seen this with the Conservative Party, but that is not what the majority of Canadians think and it is certainly not what the majority of—

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was a really important question. In fact, the member is correct. APTN and many other indigenous organizations that are involved in artistic creation in the production sector are supporting Bill C-10 for the very reasons he outlined. Basically, if we read the Broadcasting Act as it stands now, we are asking for broadcasters to invest in indigenous productions if they can. It is sort of an option. We want to make it mandatory to invest a certain percentage of the revenue that is generated in Canada into indigenous productions.

We have just invested $40 million in the last budget for an indigenous screen office, for the first time ever in this country.

That is a really important question that goes to the heart of Bill C-10.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and, from what I am seeing from the current government, possibly a privilege to be able to rise and speak to Bill C-10. I rise representing the good people of North Okanagan—Shuswap.

I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.

Bill C-10 is the Liberal government's attempt to have the online streaming giants contribute their fair share to Canadian content and the retention of Canadian culture, but it has gone terribly wrong. World wars have been fought to protect our rights and freedom of speech, and we must never let those rights and freedoms be eroded. Freedom of expression must always be protected.

How did this bill go so terribly wrong? When the minister and the current government introduced Bill C-10 last November, the Minister of Canadian Heritage told the House that the bill's amendments to the Broadcasting Act were aimed at benefiting Canadian artists and musicians by forcing web giants to increase investments in Canadian content. That is something I think we all agree on. This initial commitment seemed reasonable, especially considering the need for our Broadcasting Act to be modernized in light of the major changes in where and how we now source music, television and film entertainment.

A couple of weeks later, the minister told the House that Bill C-10 was aimed at film, television and music-streaming services, like Netflix and Spotify, and that the government was committed to introducing another bill aimed at social media platforms, like Facebook and so on. At that time, the minister also stated that user-generated content would not be subject to new regulations.

Despite these assurances, the bill's progression took a sudden turn on April 23, when the Liberal members at committee suddenly amended the bill to extend its powers to the regulation of user-generated content on social media platforms. A bill originally presented as essential to protecting and ensuring continued Canadian content suddenly became a government bill seeking to regulate what Canadians say and share on social media. Smart phone apps were also added to the purview of the proposed regulations.

These amendments prompted strong reactions from my Conservative colleagues and me, but they also sparked a strong reaction from social media experts and Canadians. I have heard more from my constituents in North Okanagan—Shuswap about their concerns regarding the freedoms they could lose through this amendment and this bill than about any other topic in recent history. That is how concerned Canadians are for their freedom of expression.

What we see all around the world, and here in Canada today, is that social media has rapidly become the central platform used by citizens to express their rejections or protests against injustices, including those of government. The proposals of Bill C-10 open the door for the federal government and its regulatory agency, the CRTC, to undermine our ability to continue exercising our critical democratic freedom of expression. After 14 months of living with pandemic restrictions, many Canadians isolated at home and relying on social media for information, connectivity and entertainment, I strongly question why the government has chosen this time to radically change how Canadians can use social media.

I would also like to speak tonight about unintended consequences. It is something we have seen far too much of recently from the government, the unintended consequences of poorly drafted legislation. The case I want to tie into this debate tonight is the poorly drafted legislation in the government's Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, and how it is now having an impact on my constituents in North Okanagan—Shuswap.

I have now heard from constituents who are no longer able to get residential home insurance. Why? Because of poorly crafted and passed legislation. It has been disastrous for these constituents.

One man living on disability and trying to do things by the book was paying $1,000 for his home insurance. That bill then went up to $4,000 per year, then $5,500, then $6,500 and now more than $7,000 per year for a man living on disability. Why? Because he grows cannabis under a medical licence, but he grows more than four plants. Four plants is the maximum allowed under the government legislation. His insurance company has basically raised his rates to the point where he has to almost mortgage his insurance payments because the legislation has made it too costly for him to get insurance and pay for it up front.

He is not the only one. Another couple contacted me. They each have medical cannabis licences. Because the two of them grow more than the four permitted plants, they cannot find insurance.

This is just one example of how the government has failed to look at unintended consequences.

I will also tie in some of the experiences I have had on other committees in dealing with unexplained, non-scientific decisions of the government. It may seem unrelated to this, but I am trying to point out that this legislation is poorly drafted and should be taken back or at least have the proper time spent at committee to correct it.

Tying this to the fisheries committee, there was a regulation regarding the prawn harvesters in B.C., that had been in place for about 50 years. Everyone was operating under those rules. All of a sudden, the government decided it was going to reinterpret those regulations. Basically, it was going to shut down a huge portion of the spot prawn harvesters in British Columbia, simply by a reinterpretation of the regulation that had been in place for 50 years. There was no explanation, no working with the stakeholders to try to figure this out for the future. It threw the whole system into disarray because of unintended consequences of an decision that had not been researched or had any background.

I sat in on the heritage committee last week when it was going through the amendments, those that could be talked about. I tried to bring forward some of these issues about unintended consequences and the Liberal members on the committee tried to shut me down. They tried to censor what should have been my freedom of expression at that committee, pointing out the errors that the government continued to make. The member for Calgary Nose Hill was also in the committee at that time and witnessed how that took place. She may tie that session at the committee into her speech momentarily.

It was interesting to see how quickly the government seemed to want to censor Canadians, especially us parliamentarians by shutting down the debate at the committee stage of this bill to the point where amendments could not even be read aloud by the chair. They simply had to be listed by number and then voted on. Nobody could discuss what the amendment would do, the benefits or disadvantages of it, none of that. All of this was shut down by the government, trying to censor debate on this bill. Now the Liberals have limited the time we will have to debate it in the House, and it is a shame. Something as serious as freedom of expression deserves full and uncensored debate.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke about the fear of freedom of expression being constrained, so I just wanted to check with him. I am sure he has read the Bill C-10 legislation, but I am not sure if he has read the act itself. The act still says, in section 2(3), “This Act shall be construed and applied in a manner that is consistent with the freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by broadcasting undertakings.”

In subsection 35(2), it states, “This Part shall be interpreted and applied so as to protect and enhance the freedom of expression and the journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by the Corporation in the pursuit of its objects and in the exercise of its powers.”

Then it says, again, “The Corporation shall, in the pursuit of its objects and in the exercise of its powers, enjoy freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence.”

Does the member know that is in the act, and it is still in the act?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:35 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. colleague and a number of Conservative colleagues say how terrible it is to force closure on the opposition and pass Bill C‑10 under time allocation.

I would just like to remind my Conservative colleagues that one government used closure more than any other government in the history of their country, of Canada, and that was Stephen Harper's government. During his final term in office, a majority government from 2011 to 2015, he beat Jean Chrétien's record for 1997 to 2000, which had broken Brian Mulroney's record for 1988 to 1993.

Here is my question for my hon. colleague: Why was it okay for them to do it then and even break the all-time record for closure motions, but it is not okay now?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that less than 10 years ago the only way to get around if people did not own a car and they wanted something outside of public transit, was a taxi. Then all of a sudden, something called Uber came along and it disrupted the taxi industry, so there was a large change in the market. The taxi industry reacted. Its members lobbied municipal, provincial and even the federal government to try and ensure that the status quo was protected.

We always want to ensure that people have jobs. When there are major disruptions in technology or industry, it should happen with order and discipline. However, Uber was always going to enter the market. It was a fact and it brought wealth and jobs, and it took away the gatekeepers of the taxi industry, the taxi licences and made that profession more accessible to many other people.

What we are hearing tonight is the federal Liberal government wanting to take away the ability of YouTubers, Facebookers, Instagramers, influencers to make a living, uninterrupted and unmitigated by the federal government, in favour of the cable companies, what I like to call the cultural industry.

I was out with a friend and we were talking about watching a show. She wanted to know what I had watched recently that was good. We were talking about where a show was streamed, and they asked if cable was even a thing any more. Cable has been disrupted because of streaming services. Newspapers have been disrupted because of digital technology. The market has been disrupted. Rather than recognizing that reality and recognizing the new wealth and new voices that have come into play, the new platforms that have come into play, the Liberal government is trying to save the status quo for the benefit of the gatekeeper and to control the voices of Canadians. That is just the reality of it. That is what is happening here tonight.

We are in the House of Commons tonight debating this late at night because we do not want the bill to pass. The bill puts Canada in the dark ages. It silences. It has the power to silence the voices of many Canadians and it is obvious that the government is trying to do that with Bill C-10. We are fighting it with every action we possibly can because of the impact it is going to have on free speech as well as an entire industry in Canada.

I will give a brief history of time. Canada has always been preoccupied with ensuring that it is culturally distinct from the United States, because of the influence the American entertainment has had on Canada. Certainly when I was born in the early 1980s, when we only had radio and television and a certain type of content producers, that was the thing. We wanted to ensure Canadian voices were heard on the radio and TV. That is when existing Canadian content creation laws and programs came to be. It was to ensure that when a Canadian content creator, or specifically a French language content creator, was trying to put something into the market, it could compete with the Americans.

The Uber-style disruption in the market of cable television and things like that has levelled the playing field with zero dollars of government interference. It levelled the playing field. Voices that could never have the reach all of a sudden have a reach.

I want to give a shout-out to my cousin and her account Coupon Cutie on TikTok. She has 250,000 followers on TikTok where she teaches Canadians how to coupon. She wanted me to tell the Liberal Party that she does them a favour because she helps Canadians spend money, which the Liberals then spend on nothing. A shout-out for the Prime Minister from my cousin. She is equally as feisty as I am. She would not have had a voice. She would not have been able to go to Bell Media and get that type of a platform because she lives in rural Manitoba. She is a young woman.

These are the types of voices that are excluded by the big lobbying industries. The lobbyists and the telcos, the same people that jacked cellphone rates in Canada, the same people that protect our market such that we cannot have the same rates as Americans do, are the ones who gate-keep on the news on what content can be created. Of course, they do not want the government or my cousin and other people to have this type of reach because it challenges their artificial hold on the market.

Now the government wants to put these other voices to the side for the benefit of these big lobbyist groups. Does anyone think my cousin has a lobbyist? Does anyone think she could afford a $500-an-hour GRPR specialist to come and advocate for her? No, and she should not have to.

Why is this bill in front of Parliament? I am just going to call a spade a spade. This is about votes, and it is about votes in Quebec. It is. I fully believe that Quebec content and French-language content should be at the forefront of things we do in Canada. It is important for the French language to have a prominent place in the content that Canadians consume. All these platforms have done that.

Earlier today, a member of Parliament, in questions and comments, said that they had looked at the top 100 YouTube accounts and they kind of look American. They thought we should ensure that Canadian voices are heard. What does that mean?

What that is code for, and what the Liberals are doing, is that they want to be able to pick and choose who has a say. That is what it is. Members of the Liberal Party will want me to point to one area of the bill that I would like to see changed. There was a provision in the bill that specifically excluded individual social media accounts from the bill. What did the Liberals do? They removed it from the bill.

Over and over again the Liberals are saying that nobody can tell them what is wrong with the bill, but there it is. When I asked the minister why he did not include that, and why did he remove it, he could not answer. This bill is to the benefit of really rich and entrenched lobbyists who benefit from funding programs that are 40 years old, instead of people who have intersectional voices and people who have not had platforms.

Anybody in Canada could pick up their phone and have a voice. What the federal Liberal government wants to do is to give the regulator, the CRTC, the ability to say who gets to be seen, who gets to be seen in the Facebook algorithm or the YouTube algorithm or maybe at all. That is what this bill does.

The other thing Liberals are saying tonight is that it does not do that. I encourage people to go to the Toronto Star. On the weekend there was an article that asked if the CRTC was too cosy with the big telco companies. The Toronto Star was saying this. Of course they are, because the big telco companies benefit from the monopoly that is entrenched in Canada's regulations.

We are so archaic. We are so behind in Canada. Instead of further entrenching the status quo, we should be unleashing the ability of Canadians to create content. Frankly, at this point in time and at this juncture in our nation, why are gate keeping content creation funds through the government bureaucracy? We could do quadratic financing, a fancy way of crowd sourcing content creation funds for anybody in Canada.

Why are we still so focussed on that with CBC or the big telcos? It is actually, in some ways, racist, misogynistic and not inclusive. The Liberals are entrenching a system of gatekeepers. The CRTC is run by six old white guys. I am tired of this.

If this bill was so great for social media users and would not influence individual social media users, then why did the Liberals remove that position? This bill has to be stopped. Individual Canadians, regardless of how they vote, know that no politician in this place should be putting a chill on freedom of speech and content creation in an industry that is being disrupted the way that this bill is.

The Liberals are moving everything. They are trying to ram this bill through the House of Commons against the advice of experts at a speed we have never seen them move at in this Parliament. It is because they are preparing for an election, and they want to appease their masters that gatekeep these industries. That is to the detriment of French language creators in Quebec. It is to the detriment of every person who has a platform in Canada.

Enough with the censorship and enough on freedom of speech. Bill C-10 needs to be stopped. It needs to be repealed. The leader of my party has said that if we formed a government, we would repeal it, but I would like to stop it here tonight. I appeal to all of my colleagues of all political stripes to wake up and understand that this bill is not in the best interests of any Canadian.