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

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

Sponsor

Status

In committee (Senate), as of June 29, 2021
(This bill did not become law.)

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, an excellent resource from 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

Online News ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise and speak in the House once again.

Before I begin, I also want to take a moment to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Jim Carr, the hon. member who passed away, as well as to his colleagues in the Liberal caucus who have worked with him over the years. I want to offer my thoughts and prayers to everyone.

When I decided to run for office in southern Saskatchewan, one of the driving principles for me and generally a lot of people in Saskatchewan was to see less government interference overall in our lives. That is one of the interesting elements in this bill, that it provides an opportunity to have less government interference in people's lives. That is the opportunity that exists with the bill. That is what we are going to get to as we get through the rest of this debate. As the bill has come through committee, we see how some of the interventions at committee reflect that.

Generally, a government bureaucrat in a distant office does not know what is best for individuals in a family given that family's own unique circumstances, so responsibility for those people should be left to the individuals and not to the government.

Usually, when there is a discussion about smaller government in Canada or somewhere else, it has to do with issues of expanding state power, which directly or indirectly restricts people's lives further. This results in less freedom, either because there are fewer options and choices available to make, or because sometimes it gets to the point of trying to plan citizens' lives for them. In this case, the problem with interference is not so obvious when we compare it to something like the situation in George Orwell's 1984, or maybe the other lurking threat that is another government bill, Bill C-11. It got a lot more negative attention in its previous iteration as Bill C-10, and later passed in this Parliament as Bill C-11.

The Liberals want to hand over way too much power to the CRTC with this bill, Bill C-18, which we are debating tonight. The Conservatives stood with the people and policy experts to make our opposition absolutely clear.

When the same Liberal government with the troubling history of Bill C-11 introduces yet another Internet bill, it is reasonable for Canadians to look at it with a healthy dose of skepticism. However, the problem with government does not always come from control or overreach; sometimes it seems friendly and tries to help out with something good, but it can still create problems despite the best intentions. Unfortunately, although what we saw with this bill when it was first drafted was an honest attempt to support small media outlets, it has turned into a large bill that needlessly grows the size of government institutions.

The CRTC already wields a great deal of power in regulating the Internet and the dissemination of information, and now the government wants to further add to it. Should it have the power to determine who is considered a journalist, or the eligibility of a news agency, which is part of the process of this bill?

It does not end there. The CRTC can resolve disputes and issue penalties. As part of that, the bill allows it to set mandatory terms to which both parties, news outlets and platforms, must agree.

What is perhaps most concerning of all is that the CRTC would have the authority to demand information from these platforms and news outlets whenever it pleases.

At the end of the day, Bill C-18 is inflating the size of the CRTC and giving it enormous power, with little accountability, to regulate the news all of us view. This begs the question: What are the impacts of doing this? An important part of a free society is having an independent press and free speech to hold our leaders accountable, but how much can we trust the Liberals to maintain these things? If the government and the Prime Minister want to talk as much as they do about defending democracy and promoting diversity around the world, they need to take these things seriously when it comes to our own country.

Sadly, over the last year they have damaged their national reputation with respect to these values by abusing emergency powers and allowing vulnerable Canadians, including veterans, for example, to be offered death instead of the help they need. They have undermined our freedoms and respect for human dignity.

My fellow Conservatives and I have spoken a lot about the danger of censorship. I also say that I understand the importance of small media organizations and their place in the local communities, because I represent a very large rural riding. To this day, many still rely on these small media organizations to inform them of the happenings both locally and on the global stage, and rural Canada is better off because of it.

There are many of them in my riding, and they all play an essential role. For instance, the Southwest Booster, which is located in Swift Current, has been producing a weekly paper since 1969. We also have the Prairie Post, which covers both southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. North of Swift Current, for example, in the small town of Kyle, we also have the Kyle Times, which has been operating for a number of years. Up in the northwest corner of the riding we have papers like Your West Central Voice and the Kindersley Social, both providing a unique perspective on what is happening in their communities.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands is also home to The Shaunavon Standard, which was founded back in 1913, along with the Maple Creek & Southwest Advance Times and the Maple Creek News, which provide a weekly newspaper and distribute it in the southwest corner. In the eastern half of my constituency, we also find many papers such as the Gravelbourg Tribune, The Herald and the Assiniboia Times. All these papers contribute greatly to the social fabric that we find in rural Canada. In a place where most people do not have access to reliable Internet, these papers are critical to keeping my constituents informed.

However, through the transition into a digital world, these organizations have had to adapt and provide their service online. Before the Internet, papers like the ones I mentioned used a physical newsstand or post office boxes to promote themselves, but today, with the Internet, search engines like Google are the updated newsstands. With Bill C-18 the government is trying to interfere with this updated newsstand, and is going too far in doing so.

In this discussion, we also need to talk about the existing government support for media and how we can fix this framework. As I said, having an independent press is fundamental. However, when our media are receiving multi-million dollar payouts from the federal government, their independence quickly comes into question. The common saying, “Never bite the hand that feeds you,” exists for a reason, and I believe it applies to this situation.

Let us be honest: The job of the media is at times to bite, to seek for answers, to find the truth and to hold those in power to account. However, they cannot fully do this when they know it may impact their subsidy. Many Canadians have seen a subtle shift in the private corporate media, with its reporting starting to resemble that of the CBC, which, as a state broadcaster, receives over $1 billion directly from the government. Because of that relationship, the question is raised as to how much the organization can operate like a PR firm of the federal government. That is why we have previously called for reviewing its funding and mandate.

Having said all this, my concerns with Bill C-18 do not stop with media independence and the newly proposed powers of the CRTC, but extend also to the current government's attempt to interfere in a free market. Bill C-18 would require search engines like Google to pay a royalty to an organization that is putting out information, but the government claims this is only minimal market intervention.

Earlier in my speech I talked about many of the small newsprint operations that we have in southwestern Saskatchewan. Here in the House, we have many former members of the press or journalists or those who have been news anchors or different things over the years. I would submit that the majority, if not all the organizations they worked for, would not receive a penny from any of the funds that would be raised by doing this.

First, the government would allow media outlets and organizations to reach a deal on their own. However, if they failed to do this, the CRTC would force both parties into a binding arbitration process whereby the government would get to set the terms of the deal. If an outlet and the organization reached a deal on their own, but the CRTC officials felt the outlet was not using the money appropriately, they would say the deal was invalid and force the two parties through the arbitration process.

They cannot call this “minimal market intervention” when they are giving an institution the power to force two organizations into a binding arbitration process as well as the power to apply hefty fines. A thing is not market-based when the government needs to step in and force two companies to make a deal or face a large fine from the government if they fail to make a deal.

While the government should aim to support small media outlets, protecting their independence should be front of mind. The implications of Bill C-18 are too far-reaching, and with the lack of guidelines there is great potential for the government to abuse this process. That is why we have opposed this bill and will continue to do so.

Online News ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Mazier Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-18.

The Internet is supposed to be a place where anyone, regardless of their wealth, status or background, can express themselves in a place free from excessive restrictions and regulations.

The Internet was designed to be open and free. It was supposed to be a place where one could contribute on one’s terms, where a business can grow on its terms, where society can learn, share and communicate on its terms, free from government overreach.

The absence of government intervention was one of the very reasons why the Internet flourished into what we know it is today, and few other inventions can be attributed to creating such a significant economic, social, and cultural growth as the Internet, but now the Liberal government has made it its priority to regulate the Internet in an unprecedented way.

The Prime Minister has decided to target the free and open Internet, and maybe for those very reasons. First, it was Bill C-10, then it was Bill C-11 and now it is Bill C-18. I believe that the expansion of the government will harm the principles of a healthy media environment for years to come.

When people hear about governments regulating the Internet, few think of Canada, and rightfully so.

At a time when inflation is reaching record highs, when the cost of gas and groceries continues to rise and when heating a home is becoming unaffordable, the Liberal government is fixated on Internet regulations. Maybe the Liberals hoped that Canadians were distracted by real-life pressures and would ignore the Internet regulations, or maybe they do not care about the real issues that Canadians are currently facing in their everyday life.

Here we are, debating another government bill to regulate the Internet. Bill C-18 would force online platforms to give away their revenues to news organizations who choose to upload their content to their platform. Canadians are rightfully skeptical when the government talks about wealth redistribution. Canadians are even more concerned when the government talks about wealth redistribution within the news and media industry.

A free and independent media is critical and important to our nation’s democracy. Whenever the government tries to intervene, elected officials should pay close attention. It is our job to thoroughly examine the consequences of any attempt to hand out money or change the rules for news and media in our country.

Canadians are still questioning the government’s $600-million media bailout, but now the government is trying to create a new revenue source for media with somebody else’s money. I must ask how we can maintain a free market if we indirectly subsidize companies by extracting the profits of their competitors.

It is important to note that no one is forcing news organizations to upload hyperlinks to online platforms. They are free to make this choice. Many publishers upload their content to platforms such as Facebook and Google to benefit themselves. It is no secret that more people are likely to read an article if it is uploaded online because it suddenly becomes more accessible to the public. When an article is uploaded to the Internet for the world to read, it breaks through those geographic walls that a print newspaper is restricted to.

Many writers across Canada have experienced incredible success because of their ability to upload content online. In fact, many publishers pay Google and Facebook to boost their content through ads. Without online platforms like Facebook and Google, many writers and independent news organizations would not exist today.

The Internet has provided a lot of opportunity for media companies who were previously unable to enter the market due to high barriers of entry. Members of the House should be proud of the positive outcomes that online platforms have created for content creators.

Not only is no one forcing news outlets to upload their content online, but also nothing is preventing them from negotiating individual contracts with online platforms. As of today, many news outlets have proactively entered business agreements with online platforms to progress mutual business needs without government intervention, as I heard in a previous speech here from my colleague.

We must also ask who will be eligible to receive the government-mandated shared revenue if Bill C-18 were to become law. The government claims that only legitimate news organizations will be eligible for these funds, but who does the government deem as a legitimate news organization? According to one of the government-written criteria in Bill C-18, a legitimate news organization must produce news “primarily focused on matters of general interest”.

However, I must further ask what the matters of general interest are and who determines them. I can assure members of the House that the general interests in rural Canada are different than in urban Canada, and general interests in Atlantic Canada are different than those in northern and western Canada. These are important questions that Canadians deserve the answers to.

Instead, the Liberals have left these important decisions to the CRTC, the same CRTC that is already bogged down in a mountain of responsibility from other Internet regulations that the government has initiated.

I should note that, if Bill C-18 passes, Canada's government-funded media outlet, the CBC, will be eligible for compensation. Members heard that right. There will be more money for the CBC. The Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that more than 75% of the money will go to the CBC, Rogers and Bell.

The government claims that Bill C-18 is to share the wealth of online platforms to smaller media outlets, such as newspapers. As an MP who proudly represents many small-town weekly newspapers, I understand that these businesses have experienced significant market pressures in recent history.

The reality is that most of the money redistributed by Bill C-18 will only go to the media giants, such as The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. They are the ones that have the most content online, and therefore, they will get the most money from this legislation.

Many local newspapers I represent do not even upload their content to online platforms. That means they would not see any of the money the government claims they will get. I wholeheartedly agree with local newspapers across this nation that are frustrated. However, Bill C-18 is not the silver bullet. In fact, many are warning that Bill C-18 would be detrimental to Canadian journalism.

At the beginning of my speech, I spoke about the importance of free and open Internet. It is a principle that I, and many Canadians, strongly believe in. However, Bill C-18 breaks the concept of a free and open Internet. Bill C-18 is bad for independent media, and it is bad for competition.

At a time when many Canadians believe the freedom to express oneself is threatened, the Liberal government continues down a path of unprecedented Internet regulation. It would be nice to see the government put as much effort into reducing Internet and cell phone bills as it is putting into regulating the Internet, but I digress.

I will end with a quote from Vinton Cerf, a founding father of the Internet. He stated, “if all of us...don't pay attention to what is going on, users worldwide will be at risk of losing the open and free Internet that has brought so much to so many and can bring so much more.” That is very true.

The Internet, a creation that was built on the principle of being open and free, is now threatened. We can either allow the government to expand its power over the Internet, or preserve the principles it was founded on. That is why I will be voting against Bill C-18.

Online News ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I worked very closely with my colleague at the heritage committee in the last Parliament.

I know the member. I know he believes strongly in Canadian media. I know he fights for Canadian media. However, I do have concerns with some of the messaging that we are seeing from the Conservative Party. During debate on Bill C-10, as an example, I heard one of his colleagues say that every single time he gets to send out an email to his constituents about Bill C-10, he makes about $1,600.

My worry is whether the Conservative Party is taking this opportunity to fundraise or taking this opportunity to misinform Canadians for their own benefit, rather than actually trying to find productive solutions to fixing some of the problems that our media faces in this country.

Online News ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Madam Speaker, I am concerned. I said that right off the top. When Bill C-18 was introduced over a year ago, the bill was designed to help local newspapers in this country. Now we find out when we peel back the onion that public broadcaster CBC, Rogers and Bell, are going to get 75% of the funding from Meta and Google. Why are they at the trough?

We dealt with Bill C-10 and Bill C-11 before, which pertained to those industries. Bill C-18 was designed for newspapers, as we have found out with the department saying only $150 million will be raised. Is it $150 million, or what the PBO said is a bigger pot of $239 million?

Online News ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2022 / 1:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will begin my speech by saying that on entering the House of Commons earlier, I felt a twinge of sadness at seeing the bouquet of flowers placed on the desk of our departed colleague, the member for Winnipeg South Centre. Last week, I was lucky enough to have the privilege of shaking his hand after his very moving speech on the bill that he was sponsoring.

The bouquet of flowers placed on his desk today is a lovely tribute to him. I think that the thoughts of all members of the House, especially my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, are with Mr. Carr's family, to whom we offer our deepest condolences.

We are now at third reading of Bill C‑18. Earlier, I was listening to my Conservative colleague answer questions after his speech, and I noted that the Conservatives, in good or bad faith, are lumping Bills C‑11 and C‑18 together. Perhaps it is a matter of opinion or belief, I am not sure. They are lumping them together using the same unfounded, fallacious and somewhat warped arguments. One claim in particular is that, through these bills, the government is going to be able to control the news, entertainment content, music content, and so on that Quebeckers and Canadians consume on the Internet.

Perhaps it is time people heard the truth. I am not saying that there is no need to discuss these issues, because they are concerning, but it should be done using facts, not just the spin coming from those who oppose regulating the companies that have been running the show online for too long already.

Let me summarize briefly. Since day one, Facebook, Twitter and Google, but especially Facebook and Google, of course, have been appropriating news articles and reports without compensating the authors, media outlets or journalists. For too many years, these digital giants have been instrumental in methodically dismantling our traditional media. They may have done so involuntarily, but because they are corporations whose sole purpose is to generate revenue, they can hardly be blamed for doing so by any means at their disposal.

That is why the time has come to set up a framework to govern these sectors, which can no longer develop in a healthy way for everyone involved. A legislative framework is a must. We need rules. Contrary to what some of our colleagues would like, it cannot be a wild west. Some advocate for a free market, free access, and no rules governing these web giants, but the impact on some people is major and, in some cases, devastating.

Web giants like Facebook and Google have appropriated advertising revenue from local advertisers. This revenue is often the bread and butter of regional media and small weekly papers in small rural communities. In fact, it may even be their only means of keeping the lights on, paying their staff and journalists and providing high-quality news. In short, it may be their only means of survival.

It is estimated that web giants appropriate, or essentially swipe, 80% of advertising revenue, to the detriment of our regional media. Those web giants have never been asked to pay anything. Their revenue has never been taxed. They are not held to account. Even though it took some time, I think that we need to commend the government for taking the initiative, even at this late stage, to legislate and put its foot down. Oddly enough, there is only one party in the House that opposed this initiative and stood by its point of view throughout the study of Bill C-10, which became C-11, and of Bill C-18, which is currently before us.

There are dozens of media outlets, dozens of small newspapers that closed their doors over the past few years because of this crisis. Since I took office as the member for Drummond and as the communications critic for my party, not a week has gone by that news media stakeholders have not expressed their concerns to me.

One weekly newspaper in a region represented by a colleague wanted to be reassured. I was asked where we in the Bloc Québécois stood and what we were doing. I was asked if they would get what was rightfully theirs and if we would create a more balanced market. That is what Bill C-18 does. This is not at all about controlling what people see on the Internet. We will refute those lies. I will do that a little later.

Let me digress for a moment to talk about newspapers. Everyone has noticed this. My children are puzzled by the thing that lands on our doorstep every Saturday. I renewed my subscription to a newspaper that is delivered every Saturday, and my kids ask me what it is. The media world has changed. Printed newspapers are rarely seen anymore. Until very recently, the Journal de Montréal was the only newspaper that still distributed a paper version seven days a week. Quebecor announced last week that it could no longer continue publishing print editions seven days a week beginning in 2023. It is going to stop delivering the paper version on Sundays. The entire industry is changing. News organizations keep us informed and up to date, but in order to keep doing that, they will need to have the best possible resources and take advantage of the technology that is becoming the primary means of transmitting information, whether we like it or not.

Quebec and Canadian news media moved very quickly in 2020 to ask the government and elected officials for regulations. At the time, the government had commissioned the report "Canada's Communications Future: Time to Act". No one remembers the real name. It has been referred to so often by its other name that it is now known as the Yale report.

It was an excellent working document that suggested that part or all royalties should contribute to the production of news. Then the COVID‑19 pandemic hit, exacerbating the difficulties facing news media, and that increased the urgency for and the pressure put on the government by these businesses to follow Australia's lead and put in place a code or legislation similar to what was enacted there. Paul Deegan, president and CEO of News Media Canada, said at the time that the negotiating framework with arbitration, inspired by the Australian approach, is the best solution to the news media crisis.

Initially, the Bloc Québécois proposed an idea that I still think is excellent. It was not what the industry wanted. It was not in keeping with the existing consensus within news media groups. We proposed taking a percentage of the web giants' revenues. The exact amount had not been determined, but around 2%, 3% or 4% of their revenues earned on Canadian soil would have been used to create a fund from which we could have generated royalties based on needs that we consider essential, such as protecting regional news companies, which are often the most affected by the arrival of web giants.

The industry preferred something inspired by the Australian model. I think that I speak for my 31 colleagues in the Bloc when I say that we are committed to representing the people who elected us. We will not go against the will of those we want to represent, so we went with what was proposed, namely legislation inspired by what was done in Australia.

Bill C‑18, the online news act, requires digital platform businesses, that is, digital news intermediaries, to negotiate agreements with news businesses. That is a pretty broad summary. From there, we had to determine which news businesses are eligible to negotiate, which created an interesting challenge. In clause 27 of the bill, eligibility for news businesses relies mostly on fiscal criteria, the same criteria used to determine eligibility for various journalism assistance programs.

All of this is reasonable, but there are some gaps.

News businesses eligible for compensation were originally required, and still are, to be designated as qualified Canadian journalism organizations, or QCJOs, under subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act. A non-Canadian company could also qualify if it meets certain criteria of a QCJO, namely, if it regularly employs two or more journalists in Canada, operates in Canada, actively produces news content, and is not significantly engaged in producing content that promotes the interests or reports on the activities of an organization.

That said, the bill also excludes magazines, companies that make specialized news content. For example, companies that publish automotive or sports magazines are not considered eligible under Bill C‑18.

The Bloc Québécois succeeded in getting what I felt was an essential amendment made to Bill C‑18. We want to protect news, but news evolves. The definitions of news and journalism have been watered down in recent years. There seems to be a lack of understanding, some difficulty distinguishing journalism from opinion pieces, columns and editorials. I felt it was very important to make that distinction.

In essence, what we want to protect is journalism, journalistic coverage, news, especially regional news, and weekly papers and small media outlets, which are vulnerable. These tend to be in the regions we represent that are more rural and located outside of major centres. Their reality is very different from that of big media outlets.

We felt it was important to have criteria relating to the quality of journalism, so we proposed an amendment after consulting with media organizations, such as the Quebec Press Council. We suggested adding the requirement that a news organization be a member of a recognized journalistic association or that it follow the code of ethics of a recognized journalistic association or that it have its own code of ethics that adheres to basic journalistic principles.

This is where the basic criteria and the principles of journalism need to be defined. We must not be too precise in doing so, because trying to be too precise can sometimes leave the door open to interpretation, which we do not want to see in this kind of legislation.

The three basic principles of journalism are as follows. The first is independence, which means avoiding conflicts of interest, ideological influences and commercial policies. The second is rigour, which refers to the accuracy of information, impartiality and the presentation of balanced and complete information. The third is fairness, which refers to respect for privacy and dignity, the absence of discrimination, openness to the right of reply and prompt correction of errors. These are the three basic criteria for journalism.

In the discussions on our amendment, some people raised certain fears. People wondered what would happen if, for example, a particular media outlet expressed an opinion that was not in line with what the government wanted to hear.

Once again, I want to come back to the difference between journalism produced in a newsroom that applies these fundamental criteria from the outset and opinion journalism, such as columns and editorials, that are based on opinion, a bias or a biased or different point of view. They certainly do not constitute impartial news coverage or information.

That gave rise to some interesting discussions both in society and in the journalism community, which is an ever-evolving environment.

It was very important for us that this amendment be included in Bill C-18. It was important that these rigorous criteria, namely the basic principles of journalism, be included in the eligibility criteria for companies that can benefit from the bill's legislative framework.

Bill C‑18 does not solve all the problems. I think everyone knows that. There are still major challenges facing news organizations, as is also the case for the cultural industry and any business working in an industry affected by web giants like GAFAM. That basically means every business because these days pretty much everyone is affected by the web giants.

What will have to be done to again protect regional news media? The government will have to continue supporting them and maintaining its programs.

Clearly, this is not an easy task, and this bill will not suddenly and magically address all the problems the industry has been grappling with over the past 25 years. The sector still needs to be given a huge amount of financial support through existing programs, which will have to be enhanced, tweaked and made permanent. That remains to be done.

What also remains to be done is to see what will happen to specialty magazines, such as consumer, automotive or sports publications. We will have to see how these magazines, which publish content shared by digital intermediaries, will fare in the digital world. We will have to watch them and possibly support them.

We will have to ensure that we stop believing all the lies and disinformation and that at some point we use common sense. We will have to stop believing everything we hear.

This is not a dictatorship or a banana republic, despite what we may think from time to time when we see some of the programs managed by the government. I do not have an example. If I gave examples, I would be here all night.

No one is going to start controlling what people can and cannot watch online. When we talk about giving our media, our companies, a place, that simply means rebalancing a market that clearly disadvantages our local businesses. Hundreds of our news businesses and media outlets have shut down. Billions of dollars in advertising revenue for those companies have been lost.

That is what this legislation seeks to correct. In that sense, it is very good. This is not going to penalize Google and Facebook. Believe me, they are not short on money.

The other lie or disinformation—whatever we call it—is that the lion's share will go back to the major industry players, while the little guy will be left behind. There is no set amount. Nowhere does it say that $500 million will be shared and that the bigger companies will take the largest share, with nothing being left for the smaller companies. It does not work like that.

Should this not work, there will be a negotiation process with arbitration. That model seems equitable for both smaller and major players. What is more, if the small players wish, they can come together and stand united to have more weight in the negotiation. I think everything is quite clear, that everything is in place to give the smaller players as much of a chance to get ahead as the major players.

I will conclude on the issue of CBC/Radio-Canada. I heard my Conservative colleague mention it earlier. It is a good question. Do we allow CBC/Radio-Canada to have the same negotiation rights and earn revenue from sharing their content on digital intermediaries or not, given that CBC/Radio-Canada is publicly funded? The principle here is not how the CBC is funded. The issue is whether those who produce content shared through digital intermediaries should be paid for it. The answer is yes.

I am open to the idea of having another debate on funding for CBC. I am sure there will be some good suggestions.

However, for now, this is how Bill C‑18 is structured. It is not a perfect bill, but it is a good one. It is a good starting point, and we will support it.

Government Business No. 22Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 6:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the House that I will be splitting my time with the member for Saskatoon West.

Here we are again. I was in the process of recapping a bit of history on the draconian motions the Liberal government continues to bring. I had described Motion No. 6 in 2016. It was the same thing of wanting to extend the hours and basically obstruct, and that of course was where “elbowgate” came from. The Prime Minister was upset because there was legislation pending and many amendments were brought, so that evening turned into a fiasco.

The government then withdrew Motion No. 6. It realized it had pushed everyone too far and it was very undemocratic. In fact, I quoted the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, who said that the motion was fundamentally anti-democratic. The NDP seems to be supporting its costly coalition now, but at the time he said that it was fundamentally undemocratic.

Then the government came forward with Motion No. 11, which was about sitting until midnight, but not for everybody to be sitting until midnight. The Liberals and the NDP would have been able to be home in their pyjamas with Motion No. 11, because there would not need to be quorum. They would not need to have a certain number of people in the House, which is actually a constitutional requirement to have 20 in the House. They were recommending something that was not even constitutional back on Motion No. 11.

The irony is they have now brought Motion No. 22, which is twice as bad as Motion No. 11, and mathematically, people will see the irony there. On the one hand, we hear Liberal members say they are trying to give us more time to debate, but actually that would only happen when Liberal and NDP members would be here, and they would not need to be because we would not need to have quorum. It is a little insincere.

The other thing is that the government continually moves time allocation. It promised not to do that when it was first elected in 2015, back in the old sunshiny days. Its members said they would never move time allocation, and now they are moving it all the time.

Rushing things through the House can be disastrous. We saw that with Bill C-11, where all kinds of draconian measures were used. It was forced to committee, and it was time allocated at committee to get it over to the Senate. Now we can see there are so many flaws in the bill that the Senate is taking quite a bit of time with it and is likely to bring numerous amendments.

That is why we need to have time here in the House for reasonable debate. Debate means people need to not just speak but also be heard. For that to happen, one needs to have an audience, which of course Motion No. 22 would eliminate. The role of the opposition is to point out what is not good about legislation that comes before the House. It does no good at all for us to point it out if nobody is listening to what is being said.

I find it particularly awful that the Liberals talk about family balance and try to promote more women to come into politics. The member for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake and the member for Shefford, who are young mothers, have stood up and said that this motion is not good for family balance. It is not that people do not want to work, but if we want to encourage more women to come in, these kinds of measures are not encouraging them. There is a lot of hypocrisy for the government to talk on the one hand about getting more women in politics and promoting that and on the other hand putting draconian measures such as this in place, where mothers with young babies would need to be here at 11:30 at night debating legislation.

I am very concerned about committee resources, and so that is really the amendment the CPC has brought. We have seen there has been a lot of trouble at committees getting interpreters and committees not being able to extend their hours when there are important issues because there are just no resources. A valid concern brought by the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle was that we want a guarantee we are not going to be shortchanged at committee. Perhaps at the end of the day, that is what the government is trying to do, which is to escape the examination it gets at committee. In a minority government, we can actually try to get to the heart of the issues the government would like no transparency on.

The amendment that has been brought forward is a good one. Overall, I have seen an erosion of our democracy. I think this motion is fundamentally undemocratic, but I would add it to the list of attacks on our democratic rights and freedoms in this country.

We talk about freedom of speech, but we have seen a continual onslaught against it from the government through Bill C-10, Bill C-36 and Bill C-11, including when it comes to freedom of the media and freedom of the press. We have Bill C-18 at the heritage committee right now, and I have lots of concern about that bill. There is an erosion of freedom of religion in this country, from hiring a consultant who is an anti-Semite to advise the government on anti-racism, to having 15 Christian churches burn down in Canada, yet crickets are coming from the side opposite.

I am very concerned. I see the rise of Chinese influence in our elections. There are three police stations that China has claimed in Toronto. What is the government doing about any of this? Nothing.

This motion is just another in a long line of motions eroding our democracy, so I am certainly not going to support it. I cannot believe that the NDP is going to support the government when previously the New Democrats said this kind of motion was fundamentally undemocratic. I understand in no way why this costly coalition exists. The NDP got in bed with the Liberals to get 10 sick days, through legislation that was passed in December last year and was never enacted, and dental care for everybody, which they got for children under 12 and poor families who are mostly covered in other provincial programs, with nothing else coming until after the next election. On pharmacare, there are crickets.

Why is the NDP supporting the government on this draconian anti-democratic motion that is intended to take away the accountability of government? I have no idea. I am certainly not going to support it, and my Conservative colleagues will not either.

Government Business No. 22Extension of Sitting Hours and Conduct of Extended ProceedingsGovernment Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 5:20 p.m.
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Bloc

René Villemure Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member opposite for that excellent question.

It is important to distinguish between an exception and a precedent.

An exception is something that happens only once and must not happen again. That is what happened with Bill C‑10 because there was so much pressure from Quebec's cultural sector, and protecting that culture was the right thing to do.

A precedent is something that has already been set; it is there, we see it, and it will happen again. This practice should not be allowed to happen again, period.

Government Business No. 22Extension of Sitting Hours and Conduct of Extended ProceedingsGovernment Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I understand my colleague's concerns with moving time allocation and moving forward on this, but I am curious. It was not very long ago that the Bloc supported time allocation on Bill C-10, when we were debating that in the House, when we were seeing the Conservatives do everything they could to stop the important work that needed to be done for Canadians, to make sure that Canadian broadcasting was protected. We were updating our broadcasting legislation. At that point, the Bloc supported time allocation.

It seems like the Bloc members are saying it is a massive overreach but also that it is a massive overreach they can support when it is in their interests. I am wondering how the Bloc members square that circle.

October 21st, 2022 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

All right. Thank you.

You know the Australian model made Rupert Murdoch very, very rich. I see here with Bill C‑18 that very rich will come from Bell Media, from Rogers media.

I want your thoughts. You said you are following the Australian model, or at least Bill C‑18was intended to follow the Australian model, but when I look at broadcasters now, I see they've got their hand into the pot of Bill C‑18, and not only their hand; I would say they've got their whole body into this. They are getting most of the money that could be available through Google and Meta.

With the independent local news fund that you cited, $23 million, how much more do Bell, Rogers and other independent media need to survive in this country? I thought Bill C‑18 was going to be the bill to help local newspapers. It is in fact the exact opposite. We have the multinationals again getting most of the money. They were involved in Bill C‑10, Bill C‑11 and Bill C‑18. I just want your comment on that, because I'm very worried that this bill was designed for newspapers and has turned out to be anything but.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 20th, 2022 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to stand in this place and speak to Bill C-11.

I have to begin by saying that I was one of the members of the heritage committee in the last Parliament when Bill C-10 came forward. I greatly appreciated working with my colleague from the NDP, the heritage critic in the last Parliament, and I thank him for his intervention today. I learn so much every time he speaks. He is such a very clear communicator. I greatly appreciate the contributions that he has made to this debate this evening.

I also want to recognize some of my friends in this place right now who were on that committee, with whom I very much enjoyed working. Unfortunately, I will not say that was the same for all members of our committee, but I will get into some of that detail in a little while.

To start with, I want to talk about just how vital this Bill C-11 legislation is. It is so important that we take the opportunity to level the playing field between the web giants, these big multinational corporations, and the artistic community in Canada. I am talking about the artists and the venues that support those artists, which are then in turn supported because we have a strong artistic community. The theatres, newspapers and radio stations, all of these things that get support when we level the playing field are so important. I am going to go through some of the organizations in my riding and say a little about them later on.

I want to just highlight a couple of things we have heard about over and over again from the Conservative Party. That is that Bill C-11 applies to user-generated content. They know that is not true. They know that except for very specific examples that is not the way this bill has been set up. We know that this bill provides opportunities for indigenous people. It provides opportunities for programming for Canadians to hear and be exposed to indigenous language programming. It supports minority communities.

Many people do not know this about Edmonton Strathcona, but there is a huge and very vibrant francophone community in my riding. It is a part of why I have spent so many hours, not very successfully, I will say, trying to learn French so that I can speak French in this place and recognize the vital role that francophones play in our community in Edmonton Strathcona.

These are the things that we are pushing for with Bill C-11. When I sit at committee I hear, of course, that the Liberals brought this bill forward and they support the legislation. The NDP strongly supports this legislation as well, and the Bloc Québécois supports the legislation. The Green Party, which I think one of my colleagues mentioned, under—

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 20th, 2022 / 5:30 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate many of the comments that my colleague across the way made, but I take a different approach. He made reference to Bill C-10 and the amendment process. I think it clearly demonstrated the interest of the government, when modernizing the legislation, to get it right. We saw a number of amendments that, in fact, ultimately changed the form of Bill C-11, and I think that is good for the industry as a whole and for future Canadian content.

The member made reference to the word “freedom”, and I think there is a fear factor out there, as some are trying to say that this is a limit on an individual's freedoms. Could he provide his thoughts with regard to the issue of the Conservative Party in essence saying that this is an attack on individual freedoms?

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 20th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start my speech with an aside once again. I am definitely making a habit of starting my speeches with an aside. I want to do this and I think everyone will be fine with it, because last Friday was graduates' day. In Quebec, we celebrated students graduating from high school, CEGEP, vocational school and other schools. We applauded their efforts and their determination at an important step in their studies. I therefore wanted to take a few moments to commend graduates in the riding of Drummond. I am thinking in particular of Elsa Darveau and Ève Turgeon, two young ladies that I adore. Back home, I want to applaud my stepson Christophe and his girlfriend Sophia who are also headed to CEGEP. I want to commend and congratulate everyone graduating in Quebec and Canada, and all those taking this big step in their studies.

I hope that this will be the last time we rise to speak to Bill C‑11. I am optimistic that it will be. We worked on Bill C‑10, we worked on Bill C‑11. It is time to pass this bill that our cultural and broadcasting industries have awaited for such a long time.

I must say that we put a lot of hours into Bill C‑10 after it was introduced in 2020. The spotlight was on us, as members of Parliament, and we were being congratulated and patted on the back by our colleagues and others, but there is a whole team working behind the scenes. I want to acknowledge my support team, which did extraordinary work during our study of Bill C‑10 last year and during our study of Bill C‑11 now before us.

I especially want to thank my assistant Mélissa, who did an amazing job planning more than 60 meetings with stakeholders from all across the industry and who worked non-stop to prepare for the committees. She did an amazing job. I thank my friend Éric, who contributed his thoughts and experience, our research friends, Michael and Vincent, and the whip's team, Paul, Marie-Christine and Charles.

I want to say a special thank you to my colleague from Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, who is here in the House today. Last year, she held meetings on Bill C-10, and she put in a lot of effort. It was a bill that she cared a lot about. I imagine she is pleased today to see that Bill C-11 will be passed. She was a singer in a former life. Actually, that is not true. She will always be a singer. In fact, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has the opportunity to benefit from her talents at just about every meeting. I think this bill was particularly close to her heart because she has made a living from singing and she knows how important the Broadcasting Act is to the entire cultural industry. I therefore thank my colleague for her wonderful help.

I feel like I am giving a thank-you speech at an awards ceremony, but I think it is important. I hope others will follow suit.

I also want to say a big thank you to the interpreters, the committee staff, and the clerks' office staff, who do an absolutely incredible job, always behind the scenes. Without them, I do not think we would be able to get anything done. I want to sincerely thank them as well.

With that, I want to focus on a number of very important things that were added to Bill C‑10, which I spoke about earlier. My pet analogy is that Bill C‑10, as introduced on November 3, 2020, was like a blank paint-by-number. The numbers were there, but they were in need of paint to fill in the structure and content of a bill that was lacking on both fronts.

Earlier, the parliamentary secretary talked about Bill C‑10 and Bill C‑11 as though they were essentially one and the same. He is not completely wrong about that, but he should have said that it was actually the final version of Bill C‑10 as amended and the version of Bill C‑11 as introduced that were virtually the same. That is an important distinction because a lot of work was done on Bill C‑10. Specifically, a lot of work was done to take out significant sections of the Broadcasting Act, for example, paragraph 3(1)(a) on the Canadian ownership and control of broadcasting entities. Last year, the Bloc Québécois proposed an amendment to Bill C‑10 to replace it with the following: “the Canadian broadcasting system shall be effectively owned and controlled by Canadians, and foreign broadcasting undertakings may also provide programming to Canadians”.

The wording has changed a bit in Bill C‑11. Without getting into it too much, we would have preferred the wording from Bill C‑10, but this is still an important amendment.

We often say that the Bloc Québécois put the protection of French back into the broadcasting bill. That is true, and it is in Bill C‑11 because we managed to add it to Bill C‑10. Here is what the new subparagraph 3(1)(i.1) says: “reflect and support Canada's linguistic duality by placing significant importance on the creation, production and broadcasting of original French language programs, including those from French linguistic minority communities”.

There is an important nuance here that I think is worth bearing in mind and repeating. The bill talks about “original French language programs”, not programs in French. If we had stuck with “programs in French”, as the bill seemed to suggest before we amended this clause, then content dubbed in French would have been given equal weight regardless of the original language. What we were calling for, and it was entirely legitimate for us to do so, was original French content, meaning broadcasting companies would be required to produce original content in the language of Molière, Vigneault, Leclerc, Lévesque and myself.

I am talking a lot about Bill C-10 because we added a few things to it, some of which also made their way into Bill C-11, so they have been discussed again.

One of them was the issue of discoverability, which really got people talking. It has become quite hackneyed and used to spread appalling misinformation. I talked about discoverability in the House last week, and I think it is pretty straightforward as a concept. It aims to ensure that local content is promoted, easy to find and available on any broadcasting platform.

I cannot imagine anyone thinking to themselves that, yes, we produce great content but that we need to make sure that no one can find it, so as not to completely confuse the algorithms of the big foreign companies, which will stop liking us.

I was elected by Quebec voters, who want me to protect their interests. I was not elected by multinational corporations that are based abroad and who report virtually no revenue, pay virtually no taxes and contribute virtually nothing to our broadcasting system and our cultural industry in Canada.

I therefore have no problem imposing discoverability requirements on these businesses, because I find that it makes sense. I find it contemptible that this requirement has caused so much outrage and been used as justification by those who claim that this broadcasting bill essentially amounts to censorship.

Another very interesting addition made to last year's bill is the sunset clause. This emerged from the realization that the Broadcasting Act has not been updated, revised or amended for more than 30 years, and that if nothing were done, it would more than likely be quite some time before a new act were adopted or amendments made to the new Broadcasting Act.

Why would we not require a re-evaluation at specified times to make the necessary amendments and adjustments? That is one of the fine additions included in Bill C-10, and then in Bill C‑11, and it will require the House to review the Broadcasting Act every five years. If some things are not being done properly today, we will not have to wait 30 years to correct them.

Bill C‑11 has had quite a strange trajectory. We can agree that the process was a little messed up. In other words, it was short-circuited or neglected. I apologize; perhaps I could have used a better term.

It did not help that the Conservatives decided they were going to oppose the bill in any way they could, by filibustering during some very important meetings, even though the study process had already been planned out when the committee received the bill. In response, the government opted for a closure motion, which made it tough to talk about amendments and advocate for amendments.

This meant that the committee was not able to have the types of discussions it would normally have when amendments to bills are proposed. I think that the discussion can open members' minds. I wanted to hear my colleagues make arguments, even the ones I find far-fetched. In committee, we are meant to discuss, listen to what others say and keep an open mind. This is how we can amend Bill C‑11 as effectively as possible.

A few Bloc Québécois amendments were rejected. I think the main reason they were rejected is that we did not have the opportunity to explain them. There was no room for debate, particularly on the control we want to have over online companies, or rather the control we refuse to have over them.

It is unbelievable. When we tried to force American, Chinese and international companies, foreign companies, to hire Canadian and Quebec human resources, creative resources and talent as much as possible, I was told that it is impossible because the companies are already investing a lot of money. I was told that we cannot force them to hire locals because that would be too upsetting. That is what I was told. These companies and the web giants say that they are already contributing a lot and that it would be inconvenient if they were forced to use Canadian resources as much as possible. To that I say, they are always nibbling away at the advertising pie and taking the revenues for themselves.

I really want members to understand this. People in this flourishing industry are on the verge of switching careers. They no longer have an income, and media outlets are closing up shop, yet web giants tell us they do not want us to impose those kinds of constraints. Our doormat of a Canadian government lies down and has no problem letting them walk all over it.

I sincerely hope the government will take a somewhat firmer stance, especially when it comes to orders the CRTC can give. The CRTC does actually require good faith negotiations between the companies that create programs and those that distribute or broadcast them, and obviously that includes online platforms in our current system. That means the CRTC would need the tools to impose fair negotiation rules should good faith negotiations not happen. That idea was turned down too.

I was told it would not work, that the government could not give the CRTC tools to respond should negotiations not take place in good faith. That means big corporations will be able to walk all over our little-guy production companies and carry on exploiting our Quebec and Canadian content creators for profit.

Who might need these negotiations to be protected? Small programming businesses might need that, although many of them have grown. Consider APTN, for example. APTN's wonderful model is being emulated around the world. New Zealanders were inspired by what APTN has done in Canada and created a similar channel. CPAC is another example. I think everyone here is quite familiar with CPAC. We can also think of The Weather Network. These are all businesses that need this protection, but they are not getting it because we think that if we are too strict with online businesses, they will be angry. Do we really think they will go away because they are angry? They make billions of dollars.

Here is another thing that really frustrated me. We hear about balancing the market, making the market fair to ensure that our traditional broadcasting companies are not penalized in relation to online companies. In that regard, I am quite happy that the part II fees, which imposed significant and onerous financial conditions on licensed broadcasters, have been dropped. I think dropping these fees should really help them, or at least give them a little breathing room. However, the CRTC still cannot issue orders.

Let us talk about one of the amendments that I thought did not make much sense:

The [CRTC] may, in furtherance of its objects, make orders imposing conditions on the carrying on of broadcasting undertakings that the Commission considers appropriate for the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1), including conditions respecting...any change in the ownership or control of a broadcasting undertaking that is required to be carried on under a licence.

I said that the idea of a licence should be removed because we want that to apply to online undertakings. However, that was rejected. People did not want that to apply to online undertakings. It is as though they were still scared of the big online company monster. It is as though they were afraid of stepping on the toes of the giant.

We are afraid to step on the toes of the giant, but that giant is crushing us and we are saying nothing about it. We think it is amusing because we can watch our movies and our shows. We do not even realize that our creators are starving.

Bill C‑11 will pass. The result of the vote will be close, but it will pass. I hope that the fears of those who have profusely expressed them will be allayed when they eventually realize that the “censorship” and “control” of what they envisioned are fabrications. These arguments are pure fearmongering and really have no merit. All the rambling that took place over the past few months and the Conservatives' systematic filibustering when Bill C‑11 was being studied in committee has only resulted in the postponement of important studies, such as that of bill C‑18.

More than 450 news businesses have closed their doors. This is a crisis. Because so much time has been wasted for unfounded ideological reasons, a slew of media outlets, including small regional media, are on the brink of closure, and I find that outrageous. I think that these people should show their frustration by pounding a table and making sure their MPs hear them. It is absurd that Bill C‑18 cannot be studied sooner and that we must wait until the fall to discuss this urgent matter.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 20th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, freedom of speech is a fundamental right in Canada. It is enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms in fact. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

These rights are what makes Canada a modern democracy. They are not trivial principles. They should not be up for debate. Interfering with fundamental rights is the sign of a dying democracy, yet the Liberals have shown, time and time again, that they are dead set on desecrating this right by regulating and censoring the social media content that Canadians are able to see online.

I just want to go back a little with the history. This bill was first introduced back in November 2020, as Bill C-10, and by February 2021, the Liberals had removed a clause from the bill exempting user-generated content, which extended the legislation to encompass everyday social media content created by Canadians. Before the bill could pass in the last parliamentary session through both Houses of Parliament, I raised a point of order and exposed the Liberals' reckless approach to implementing this bill. I submitted in my point of order that several of the amendments to Bill C-10 that were made in committee needed to be struck down because the government's committee government members had grossly exceeded their authority in more ways than one.

This point of order, which was upheld in its ruling, effectively defeated the chances of the bill being able to proceed before the Liberals called their early election back in 2021. Then, of course, to no one's surprise, when Parliament reconvened after that election, the bill was re-introduced as Bill C-11, which we have before us.

In order to ensure its passage, the Liberals decided to pass Motion No. 11 in the House, which has allowed them to push through the passage of this legislation by bypassing standard procedure. When that was not enough, the Liberals decided to pass several motions to shorten the committee's study and to limit witnesses, and then accused Conservatives of filibustering every time we opposed one of those anti-democratic motions.

Last week, the Liberals finally moved closure through Motion No. 16 to force the bill through committee clause-by-clause consideration with limited or, in many cases, no debate. On June 14, just last week, the Canadian heritage committee was forced to sit from 11 in the morning until 12:15 at night to complete clause-by-clause of 172 pages of amendments, over 100 of which were passed without allowing for so much as one second of debate.

I would say that bypassing debate and rushing through an unprecedented bill is an insult to Canadians, and it only allows the government to avoid accountability. Parliament has a democratic responsibility to thoroughly examine the implications of Internet regulation, and Canadians deserve to know the truth about this deeply flawed bill. The Liberals are stifling freedom of speech by curtailing parliamentary process.

Ironically, by limiting MPs' ability to speak, the Liberals are symbolizing the censorship contained within this bill. The government does not just want to regulate the Internet and hinder freedom of speech, it is also determined to interfere with parliamentarians' right to speak and debate the same legislation that is looking to interfere with people's rights and freedoms.

Back to the bill itself, under the auspices of amending the Broadcasting Act, the legislation contained in Bill C-11 infringes on the rights and freedoms of every single Canadian who uses social media. This bill would give bureaucrats at the CRTC sweeping powers to regulate online social media content based on famously irrational criteria. It would allow the CRTC to decide what content it considers to be Canadian enough, and then force social media companies to promote that content and bury the so-called un-Canadian content, so it would be nearly impossible to find. This would effectively result in censorship.

Moreover, analysts are saying that the bill could allow the CRTC to automatically subscribe Canadians to a certain list of Canadian YouTube channels, such as the CBC, without even asking their permission. It already mandates that cable providers do this in the subscriptions they offer to Canadians, so for the CRTC officials, I am sure doing so online would only be the next logical step in their mind.

Essentially, the government has decided that Canadians are not responsible enough to choose for themselves what they want to see on social media, so it is turning on the parental controls. This notion that Canadians need to be made to watch certain content that has been deemed as socially and culturally appropriate by the government and discouraged from watching other content is the result of an out-of-touch, paternalistic approach to governing what seems to stem from Liberal elitism.

As it stands now, Bill C-11 would determine what content is Canadian enough based on a famously flawed and outdated points system, which was developed in the 1980s, decades before the advent of social media. This black and white points system designed for legacy media, has resulted in a series of truly embarrassing rulings from the CRTC in recent years. For example, an Amazon Prime series focused entirely on the Toronto Maple Leafs was ruled to be not Canadian enough under this points system. The film adaptation of the famed Canadian novel The Handmaid's Tale was also deemed to be not Canadian enough, and Deadpool, the award-winning Marvel movie based on a Canadian character, filmed in Vancouver and co-written by a Canadian, was also deemed to be not Canadian enough under this system.

Maybe we should take some comfort in the fact that the minister responsible has promised to review and update these criteria for determining what is Canadian enough, but, then again, maybe not. Strangely enough, the minister boasted about a meeting with the German minister of culture to consult with her about how to update these criteria for determining what should be considered Canadian content. He decided it would be a good idea to get on a plane, fly across the Atlantic on the taxpayer dime, and talk with Europeans about the best way to approach Canadian legislation on what is Canadian content. Maybe the minister could have consulted with Canadians instead. They are the people he has actually been elected to serve. This is just an idea.

Of course, the minister has said that he will not reveal how he is planning to change the rules until after the bill passes through Parliament. By doing this, he is leaving both Canadians and parliamentarians completely in the dark about what his legislation is going to look like in practice. It begs this question: What content will the Liberal government deem to be Canadian enough on people's social media? Will it have to be made by Canadian citizens? In that event, what about permanent residents or people here on study or work permits? Will it have to be produced in Canada? What would that mean for Canadians living abroad who make social media content? Will it have to be only in an official Canadian language? What would that mean, then, for cultural groups in Canada who speak another language?

Perhaps, and I suspect this is the actual plan, the Liberal government will require that content producers subscribe to a certain set of values to be truly considered Canadian content. The Liberals already demand faith-based groups to adhere to the Liberal Party's stance on certain issues to meet the eligibility criteria for the Canada summer jobs program. Therefore, it would be fair to assume that they will likely do the same in determining what content would be considered Canadian on the Internet or on social media.

The most alarming power given in this legislation is slipped into an unassuming clause buried in the text of the legislation that quietly allows the CRTC to create regulations “respecting such other matters as it deems necessary for the furtherance of its objects”. These 14 little words give the CRTC a blank cheque to act however it likes and arbitrarily create regulations whenever it feels it is necessary. CRTC bureaucrats are not elected officials, and they do not answer to Canadians. They should not be able to unilaterally create new regulations. It would be undoubtedly undemocratic to give them such broad, sweeping powers.

Under Bill C-11, the minister responsible assured Canadians that amateur content such as cooking videos or cat videos that people upload online would not be regulated under this proposed regulation, but officials at YouTube Canada were quick to respond to this comment by asserting that they had studied the legislation and the bill certainly would give the government the power to regulate amateur content.

I certainly know who I would believe with respect to that. That means that any content posted on any social media service could be subject to these arbitrary standards. One thing is clear. The Liberals are determined to censor our social media content, and that, by itself, is wrong.

On top of that, with the legislation being this broad, it is impossible to discern why something could be censored or the motivations behind it even. The Liberals are essentially saying to Canadians that they are going to censor what social media content we can access. They will not even tell us how they are going to censor it, but that it is okay and to just trust them on this one. I do not think so. I do not think most Canadians think so. We have seen far too many examples of the government trampling on charter rights to trust it.

We have seen how, under the Prime Minister, the government tested facial recognition technology on millions of travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport without their knowledge or their consent. What happened to freedom?

We have seen how the government has been collecting cellphone data since the beginning of the pandemic without the consent of Canadians. What happened to freedom?

We have seen how, during a largely peaceful protest in downtown Ottawa, the government invoked the Emergencies Act to use unjustified and extraordinary powers against its own citizens. What happened to freedom?

We have seen how the government has discriminated against people based on their personal medical choices to bar them from air travel, despite a complete lack of scientific evidence. What happened to freedom?

In a recently revealed submission to the Department of Canadian Heritage, Twitter protested the recent proposals that would allow the government to block website access on the Canadian Internet saying that the measure would be similar to the kind of censorship found in places like China, North Korea and Iran. The submission goes on to say that the proposed measure “sacrifices freedom of expression to the creation of a government run system of surveillance of anyone who uses Twitter”. What happened to freedom?

The government is obviously not interested in respecting the rights or freedoms of people. The alternative to Bill C-11 is freedom. The only solution is to keep the government out of the equation.

Canada has long been home to many renowned actors, film makers, artists, performers and social media icons. It is belittling of the government to think that the only way Canadian art and culture can survive is through punitive legislation that forces people to watch it. The quality of Canadian content speaks for itself. The last thing it needs is to be propped up by a Liberal censorship regime.

Without government intervention, social media can continue to be a free market of ideas, content and information. Under this system, individual Canadians are left to decide for themselves what they want to see on social media. They will watch what they want to watch and ignore what they do not. Only under this self-regulating system can freedom truly exist.

Therefore, I move, seconded by the member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be not now read a third time but that it be read a third time this day six months hence.”

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2022 / 1 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Muys Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, if I may, as my hon. friend opposite did, before I begin my remarks on Bill C-11, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize my father, as Father's Day is coming up this weekend. I thank him for all his love, guidance and support over the years. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is not feeling 100% himself. However, my three brothers, my mother, all of our extended family and I know he will be back to 110% soon. I just want to say we love him.

I am happy to rise today to speak about Bill C-11. Although I believe the Broadcasting Act needs to be renewed, I am deeply concerned with Bill C-11 because, in many ways, it is simply a revival of the flawed and failed Bill C-10 from the previous Parliament.

The government claims that Bill C-11 is being introduced to protect Canadian content creators. However, the bill fails, as many such entrepreneurs are opposed to this legislation. The bill fails, for example, Chad, who lives in Upper Stoney Creek in—

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2022 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Tim Louis Liberal Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said, in plain language, that means that any users, even digital-first creators with millions of subscribers, are not broadcasters. They will not face any obligations under the act. Any suggestions otherwise are simply untrue.

With this approach, the experience for users creating, posting and interacting with other user-generated content will not be impacted whatsoever, while still standardizing the treatment of commercial content such as TV shows and songs across the platform. We studied this and it is very clear. It is a little hard to explain in legalese, but the bottom line is that music content creations are exempt.

The other misinformation that has been floating around is on freedom of expression issues. Just to be clear, clause 12 of the online streaming act explicitly states that any regulation the CRTC imposes on platforms through the Broadcasting Act cannot infringe on Canadians' freedom of expression on social media. It states:

For greater certainty, the Commission shall make orders under subsection 9.‍1(1) and regulations under subsection 10(1) in a manner that is consistent with the freedom of expression enjoyed by users of social media services that are provided by online undertakings.

Freedom of expression is protected under the charter and would be protected in the online streaming act. Artists are at the forefront of protecting freedom of speech. It is our arts that allow us to push these conversations. Every single arts stakeholder I have met supports this bill and free speech. I am putting that misinformation aside.

I am a recording artist. The arts sector is how I was proudly able to make a living for my entire life before having the privilege of serving my community and my country as the member of Parliament for Kitchener—Conestoga. As an artist, I felt support from fellow Canadians. I felt support from Canada. We are proud of our artists, and they deserve our respect and support.

During the pandemic, we turned to our artists to make sense of the experiences we were going through. It was the stories, the books, the shows and the music that got us through the pandemic. I have said on more than one occasion that science is getting us out of the pandemic, but arts is getting us through it. We need to support our arts sector. It is one of the hardest-hit sectors in all of the economy and is taking the longest to recover as we move out of the pandemic. That is another reason this bill is so important. We need to show our artists that we support them.

I sit on the heritage committee and was at every meeting on Bill C-11 and at every meeting on Bill C-10 in the previous Parliament. I have studied this. I met with countless stakeholders, individuals and organizations, and they are expressing the fact that the Broadcasting Act needs to be updated. Our arts and culture industry is telling us how vital and urgent this legislation will be for it, and we are listening.

I try not to get political in the House, but I find that politics has been creeping back in. The Conservatives have used every tactic in their tool box to delay and block Bill C-11. They did not allow the committee to get to clause-by-clause with their filibustering. They went as far as to filibuster their own study motion at one point. They said they had questions for the CRTC and then filibustered a whole meeting while the head of the CRTC and officials sat there and could not appear to answer the very questions we wanted to ask. The Conservatives said they wanted to hear from the Minister of Canadian Heritage and then filibustered a whole meeting while the minister sat there. He could not appear to answer the questions we needed to ask. It has been deeply disappointing, because those stalling tactics are wasteful and prevent us from helping our artists.

I will not stop advocating in support of our artists. I appreciate the co-operation of every party except the Conservatives. We have worked together to move things forward. We have co-operated, we have contributed to amendments and we have had conversations. I truly do not understand why the Conservatives are supporting the foreign tech giants over our own Canadian artists.

I would like to quote Marla Boltman from an organization called Friends, who summed it up very nicely. She said:

Requiring contributions from foreign tech giants that extract billions of dollars from our country will help sustain our industry while driving investment and innovation in the creation of Canadian content that continues to reflect our diversity of voices and who we are as Canadians. Foreign contributions will level the playing field between Canadian broadcasters and foreign platforms.... If you benefit from the system, you must contribute to it.

I could not agree more.

Bill C-11 is about fairness. It is about supporting our cultural sector. It is about having the power to shape our culture and make sure that everyone can see themselves in our culture. It is about being proud of who we are and being proud of Canadians. That is why I think it is important to keep moving on this important legislation, and why I will be supporting it.

I just want to say that, as a musician myself, some of my earliest memories of playing were in our small apartment on the piano. My dad would pick up his bass. He used to play bass in the day. That is part of the way I learned how to play music, just playing some rock and roll songs. I actually thought my dad wrote all those Beatles' tunes we used to play. I did not find that out until later.

As it is Father's Day, I want to say a personal happy Father's Day to my dad and to all the fathers and father figures out there who have supported the next generation of artists.