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

Sponsor

Status

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

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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

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

June 23rd, 2021 / 3 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister appealed to opposition parties to be progressive and pass his bills. The opposition has enabled the passage of nine bills since June 1, including Bill C‑10, which would have died without the Bloc Québécois. Now it is the government's turn.

Sick people often need up to 50 weeks of special EI benefits. That is what our Bill C‑265 provides for. In order for it to pass, the Prime Minister has to give it a royal recommendation. Now I am appealing to his progressive nature as well as to his sense of compassion.

Will the Prime Minister grant a royal recommendation?

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege and pleasure to speak tonight to this important bill. I am going to take a bit of a different slant on this.

As members know, I was first elected in 2019, so I am a relatively new member of this House. This period of time just before the session ends for the summer is a very busy time, as I understand. This is my first experience with it. It is the first time I have gotten to see the government trying to complete its agenda, which is kind of lagging. What I have been expecting is the very best the government has to offer to get its agenda through before the House rises for the summer.

My background, really briefly, is that I come from the accounting world, and specifically the management accounting area. Efficiency was one of the things I really focused on. I worked in a manufacturing plant and I helped people figure out the easiest way to do their job so that it required the least amount of labour and we could produce the best product, most efficiently, at the best price. Essentially, it is where I learned one of my mottoes, which is “Work smarter, not harder.”

As I have watched what has gone on here in the last couple of weeks from my lens, a relatively new lens, I have witnessed the exact opposite of efficiency. It has been quite fascinating. In fact, I imagine that when our Prime Minister was on his way back from his vacation trip to Europe a couple of weeks ago, he had to stop in a quarantine hotel like all other Canadians, except that he of course stayed in a special hotel that was close to his house and was only there for a few hours—but I digress. He probably would have called his government House leader to ask how things were going and how the legislation was coming along. Unfortunately, the government House leader would have had to give him the sad news that nothing had happened, that in fact everything had stalled out because of the many mistakes made by the government. In fact, everything was in chaos, as he could see if he looked at Bill C-30 or Bill C-10 or anything else.

As we look at this bill, the government House leader has denied many times that the Liberals are going to call an election shortly, saying it is the event that just is not going to happen. However, in April, on this bill, the Liberals seemed to suddenly realize that they needed to pass something, and that is where Bill C-12 came into the picture. They needed to pass something just in case the event that is not going to happen happens.

After months of inaction on this bill, suddenly there was a big panic. Why is the government willing to ram through a flawed bill just before the summer? It is just in case that event that is not going to happen happens. Of course, the Liberals could wait until September, but here we are instead. It is the last panic time before the event that is not going to happen happens. This is hypocritical, and it is very disrespectful to our democracy.

I want to look at Bill C-12 through my new eyes. I had a front-row seat to this bill because I am on the environment committee. I have been able to see this first-hand. One of the questions I was asking myself was, “How do we have success when creating a new law?” Of course, the first step is to write a good bill. When the minister came to our committee, the first thing he said was that he was open to amendments. I am assuming he said that because he knew that the bill was not well written and that it had many flaws.

He just opened the floodgates, because there were 114 amendments that came to committee, and 17 of those came from the government itself. The bill was only 10 pages long at that point. That is over 11 amendments per page, or four per clause. That is a lot of amendments. Those numbers alone should prove that this bill was flawed.

Every morning we are led in a prayer by the Speaker, and one of the lines in that prayer is “Grant us wisdom....to make good laws....” I cannot sit back and watch this law come into force. It is a bad law. The number of amendments also showed that this was true.

The second way that we could have success when creating a new law is to get feedback. There was a lot of feedback. There were 75 briefs received by the environment committee, which is great. A lot of Canadians put in a lot of hard work to write reports and provide information to the committee. The bad news is that only eight of those briefs were received before we started our study. That was because the study was jammed in. It was rushed into committee with a very short deadline.

That means that 67 briefs were received after we did our study. It means that the work of many Canadians was ignored, and the government was happy to ignore it. It was not particularly interested in listening to the views of people who submitted the briefs. It had a plan, an idea of what it wanted to accomplish, and that is what it was going to do.

The third way we could make sure to have success in creating a new bill is to let the committee do its work. The first thing the government did was make a deal with the NDP. It did not want the committee to get bogged down in any details of actually providing useful information. It wanted to be able to ram things through.

The Liberal-NDP coalition did exactly that. It rammed this bill through the committee. Almost every single vote at the committee was marked by the Liberal-NDP coalition. The Liberals and the NDP made no bones about their coalition.

The NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley posted to his Twitter before the clause by clause started, “[T]he NDP will be proposing amendments that the government has agreed to support.... We have also jointly agreed to a number of other amendments.”

What was the practical result of this? The New Democrats and the Liberals fell silent. They did not ask questions. I am not even sure they read many of the amendments or even understood what they were. They had a plan. They just knew to vote for this and not vote for that. Therefore, it fell to the Conservatives and the Bloc MPs to scrutinize these amendments. As for me, I asked reasoned and thoughtful questions of the departmental experts as to the consequences of certain amendments, but the problem was that there were 114 amendments, as I said.

As I also mentioned, the government put forward 17 of its own amendments. That means that on 17 separate occasions, the minister messed up drafting the bill and he needed his MPs to fix it. That is like us buying a new car, driving it off the lot and just as we are leaving, the salesman says he has scheduled 17 appointments for us to come back for maintenance because the dealer messed up and there are a bunch of problems with the car. Therefore, we drive it off the lot, go back tomorrow and the dealer starts fixing it. It makes no sense.

The Liberals and the New Democrats on the committee were only interested in their amendments. They refused to engage with us on our amendments. To prove my point, there was kind of a funny example.

Subsection 7(4) of the original bill required that the minister would set national targets five years in advance. The government and NDP wanted to change that to 10 years in advance. The problem was the Greens put forward an identical amendment and because they got there first, we dealt with their amendment first.

As was the practice of the government and the NDP members, they did not want to support anyone else's amendments and certainly not the Greens'. Therefore, the Green amendment was voted on and was rejected. Next up was the government amendment that was literally identical. The chair, rightly so, ruled that it was inadmissible because we had just dealt with this at committee and we had decided not to proceed with it. That was a big problem. Everybody wanted to vote for that second one because the members actually wanted the amendment. However, I do not think they read the first one from the Greens, which was the same, and they did not realize they had just voted down, essentially, their own amendment.

In the end, after a very long discussion and a lot of time wasted, the government members finally realized that instead of saying 10 years, they could say “9 years 366 days”, which was different enough to get it passed. I found that quite humorous, that the government members were not able to accomplish this.

I have an amendment that was read tonight, and it is in a section of the bill referring to the work of the advisory body, specifically the annual report that it has to submit. My amendment would require that the minister make the annual report public and, further, that the minister publicly respond to this report. It would require the government to actually take action, which is something we all know the Liberals are quite allergic to. The Liberals tried to make an amendment on this section at committee, but theirs was sloppy and it left the legislation in very bad shape.

Essentially, the Liberal-NDP amendment added words but it did not remove redundant words, so the bill as it is written right now makes no sense in that section. It still includes a long sentence that should not be there and it starts with a partial word. It just does not make a whole lot of sense. My amendment allows that wording to make sense again.

The Green Party put forward some really good amendments. The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was quite frustrated at committee. I want to quote her because it is quite telling. She said:

I have to say that this is the most dispiriting process of clause-by-clause that I've experienced in many years. Usually amendments are actually considered, people actually debate them and there is a good-faith process....

I condemn this government for what it has done: for telling people like me, who believed in good faith that there would be an actual appetite for change to improve the bill and who accepted it and prepared amendments, only to show up here and watch Liberals stay mute, the NDP stay mute and march through their amendments, passing them in force, and not listening and not caring about the possibility that other amendments might work.

What happens when there is a flawed committee process? Flawed legislation results. Bill C-12 is flawed legislation.

Government Business No. 9—Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 7:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, we live in a democracy, so it is up to citizens to decide who will champion their cause. If we look at Bill C-10, for example, the Liberals have sided with the Bloc, the NDP and the Greens to jam a bill through that quite honestly most Canadians do not understand. When they find out that their right to freedom of expression, as laid out under subsection 2(b) of the charter, is at risk, they will not like it.

It is up to the NDP to decide: Are they here to carry water for the government, or are they here to stand up for their constituents? Unfortunately, in this case, they do not seem to be doing much of anything. If I were a constituent of the NDP and I asked what they got, they would say they got an interim objective assessment in 2026 that the official from the Department of Environment and Climate Change said does not amount to a lot.

The government does not stand up to scrutiny. When will the NDP?

Government Business No. 9—Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 7:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. There seems to be a bit of a sense of electoral urgency in the air, so let me just say that I have always appreciated the honour to be their representative, and I will always keep fighting for their interests. I am thankful also to my family, who allow me to continue that work.

If we hearken back just to the Government Business No. 9 debate when it originally opened up, we had the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and me. I was interrupted part way through for the proceedings of this place. It happens all the time, so I do ask those watching at home to know I am continuing my speech. In essence, I was giving a litany of concerns raised by the committee process, which was hastened by the Liberals literally steamrolling through along with the NDP. It was a process where people who wrote in to the committee were not heard. There were no indigenous witnesses. In fact, even the Assembly of First Nations' brief along with over 70 other briefs were not translated and sent to the committee until after the period of amendment. This is something that has been raised by a number of people as being a concern, telling people they did not matter.

Returning back to my comments, I was speaking specifically about the need for different aspects to be included in the bill. I will just start where I left off.

What we wanted to do was to include in the assessment report a summary of the measures undertaken by the provincial governments to achieve the national emissions targets. Once again, that seems obvious. However, once again without any debate, the Liberals and the NDP rejected it. There were no reasons given. They just voted against it. Their changes would be to include only the key measures that the federal government was implementing together with the provinces. However, since the provinces will be doing many great things on their own, should there not at least be a record of them?

The Liberals truly believe that the provinces are subordinate to the federal government and that, unless something is done by Ottawa, it is not important. That is not what we believe. A Conservative government would work with the provinces to reach our climate objectives. We believe that the provinces are partners, not punching bags.

There is another problem that I am hearing a lot about, and that is how the big push towards transportation electrification is affecting our electric grid.

Now, I support electric vehicles. Our party included an electric vehicle mandate in our secure the environment plan. We are not against electric vehicles, but Canadians are questioning whether the grid can handle this change. That is why we proposed that the assessment report in the bill include an assessment of the grid's ability to deal with increased demand.

We cannot move forward if we do not have the full picture. This was another reasonable proposal that was rejected by the Liberals and the NDP. We persevered nevertheless.

A lot of concern about the bill, including from me earlier on, has been about the formation of the advisory group. A significant number of briefs, witness testimony and amendments from other parties were about this very topic. We came up with what we believed was a reasonable approach: Instead of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change appointing all 15 members, he would simply appoint six, then the Minister of Finance would appoint three, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry would appoint three and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations would appoint three.

This would allow a more whole-of-government approach and for different ministers to put forward the priorities from their ministries into the advisory body. Conservatives believed this was the best way to ensure a wide variety of voices, not a body that includes people devoted to destroying a way of life for many Canadians, yet, sadly, the Liberals and NDP rejected it. Why did I list all these changes and talk about why the Liberals and the NDP rejected them without even debating them? It is because I wanted to show how much of a farce this process was.

Everything I mentioned was thoughtful and reasonable. We did not come in with a “Liberals admit they are terrible and should resign” amendment designed to be defeated, no. We came in with good ideas that the Liberals and NDP refused to even debate or consider, all of this after the minister said he was willing to work with all parties. Yes, sure. It was not just the Conservatives affected by this bad-faith deal between the Liberals and the NDP. I have already mentioned how an identical Green Party amendment was defeated. By the end of the process, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands had started to withdraw her own amendments because it was clear the Liberal and NDP members were not even interested in listening.

The Bloc Québécois put forward many great amendments, not ones that Conservatives generally supported, but thoughtful and productive. The Liberals and the NDP opposed them all without debate, except for one at the very end and the NDP decided to support adding a five-year parliamentary review. No one could have watched that process in committee and not be sickened by what they saw. The Liberals and the NDP not only rejected any suggestion that was not their own, but a great deal of witness testimony to boot.

Indeed, the few amendments the Liberals proposed and supported did not do anything. Many were just spelling out that the minister must do things that the minister could already do. The biggest joke of them all was an amendment that the target of net zero by 2050 did not mean net zero could not be achieved earlier, which zero people thought was the case, yet before we were called just as bitter as the Liberals, we voted for a couple of government amendments we thought were good. We came in willing to work in good faith. Unfortunately, the government and the NDP did not.

What did the NDP get for seemingly selling out to the government and agreeing to be its coalition partner in all of this? It was not much, as it happens. Basically, every environmental witness and brief stated there needed to be a 2025 target in the bill, a milestone target. In fact New Democrats themselves said that over and over in debate on the bill, but did they get that by making a deal with the government? No. Instead, they got a 2026 interim objective, which is not actually a thing in the bill and only exists in the NDP amendments as a topic that must be reported on.

In the bill, targets have teeth. They must have plans and reports. The interim objective does nothing. That is what New Democrats got for their undying allegiance in this. They also say that they got the advisory group to be more independent. What that really means is they simply added the word “independent” to the name. Seriously, that is all they did, just added a word. The minister still appoints all of them and decides what they will do unilaterally, but the word is in the title, so it must be true. It would be funny seeing what little the NDP members gave up in exchange for their loyalty if it was not so sad.

I am sure the NDP member will rise after me and proclaim New Democrats made the bill better, that they got the Liberals to make these nothing changes and that means they are doing really good work. The reality is that the Liberal government pulled one over on the New Democrats, gave them almost nothing and got their dignity in return. They will have to answer to their friends in the environmental movement for this sellout. I expect some of those meetings will not be pleasant.

That is how we got to where we are. The Liberals and NDP rushed the process, refused to listen to witnesses or briefs, refused to debate anything and refused to consider any ideas not their own, and that is just disgraceful. While we, the Bloc and the Greens were trying to debate, trying to do the thing we have all been elected to do, the minister accused us of filibustering the bill.

There were over 150 amendments and they were moving through at less than 10 minutes each. We were not filibustering, we were asking questions and debating, the kind of thing one would expect to do at committee scrutiny. To the Liberals, I guess daring to ask questions is tantamount to heresy.

We saw what they did to Bill C-10, stopping debate and passing laws in secret. That is how they want this place to run: a rubber-stamp for their Liberal ideas. I reject that. My constituents sent me here to represent them and to try to make the country better, and yes, to debate.

Therefore, I did ask questions during debate, and it is not my fault the Liberals and NDP refused to. In the Liberal world, even asking questions is apparently now a filibuster, because how dare we question the member for Papineau, whose ideas are perfect as they are and should never be challenged no matter who someone is. Well, I will because that is what I was sent here to do. I will ask those questions.

Since I wrote my speech, we had a closure motion pass today. As I said, the process the government chose was to put forward a bill and let it drag along and drag along. I would have constituents ask about Bill C-12 and I would tell them the government just really has not decided to move it forward.

Suddenly Liberals get to the end of the session and they start remembering there is a bill they have to do. They rush it through committee, a process I have explained, as well as how difficult it was on the witnesses, and even for members. I am sure there are lots of things Liberals would have wanted to ask more questions on so they could do their job as backbenchers holding the government to account, but they could not. They agreed to a strategy and they stuck with the NDP faithfully.

Since then, this very night, the minister tried to say Liberals supported the Bloc Québécois in their parliamentary review. That was fundamentally out of synch with any sort of reality. It contradicts exactly the testimony we heard earlier. The closure motion did not just cut off debate for myself but for all members, including those backbench Liberal MPs who maybe thought their constituents deserved to see their members of Parliament in action, asking questions, showing up to debate and putting forward their own ideas.

Let us be mindful, the House leader actually called the Conservatives out for filibustering a bill. We were asking questions, and he had the gall to say that we were holding things up. In fact, the Minister of the Environment a week ago Wednesday, wrote to different parties and asked us to finish the bill, which we were almost finished anyway.

We finished it Wednesday night, waited to see what happened Thursday and nothing. Eventually, our chair for the environment tabled it Friday and then Liberals said that they wanted to debate it as early as Monday, so we expected it. Then we found out that Government Business No. 9 suddenly springs out of nowhere. It sounded like they did not even want to debate Bill C-12, they just wanted to have something on the Order Paper, maybe because they knew it would not be ready in time.

What I am saying is the Liberals are in control of the agenda. One of the few things the government largely still has control of is the agenda on this place. Despite all their talk about us filibustering, they did not bring the bill forward. In fact, we did not even debate debating the bill, as in this motion, Government Business No. 9, until yesterday, a full week and a half after the bill was tabled.

I hope I have impressed upon members tonight that the government has slowly tabled a bill that many witnesses did not support, and then decided to let it languish on the Order Paper. When the Liberals finally realized they had to get the engines hopping, they jammed it through with only six hours of debate. Then they jammed it through again at committee. Now they are jamming it through today, so that even Liberal members do not get the ability to hold their own government to account, let alone all other members in this place.

I am deeply dissatisfied with the government. Canadians should see that the Liberals, by their own actions, have used a process whereby Canadians do not feel heard and their representatives do not feel needed. This is a minority Parliament. No political party was given an absolute majority in deciding the views of all Canadians.

This is where we are supposed to debate ideas and to force compromise. Instead, the Liberals and the NDP have linked up and said that they do not need to hear from anyone else. During a minority, that is a shame. Shame on the government House leader and the Minister of Environment for doing so.

On this side of the House, we will call out what we see. On this side of the House, we will fight for ideas that help our environment and help us meet our targets on climate change, not simply talk about them and talk a good game. After an election, a Conservative government will do what is right on the environment and do right by Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again, I get to speak to you while you are in the Chair. To anyone who is tuning in right now, I wish all the best to the Speaker in the Chair right now. I know that the next chapter of your life will be very fulsome. It has been wonderful working with you. Hopefully, we will be able to work together again in September.

I will continue with some of my thanks. I know so many people are involved in making sure that this chamber can run. I am thinking of all the House staff, the interpreters about whom we have heard so much, making sure we are not popping in the mike, the technical support folks for the hybrid virtual Parliament who have been very busy, and the table staff, especially one of my favourites, André Gagnon. I have always said that he is going to be stuck in my living room forever, because one of my favourite photos is of him and me at my second swearing in. Thanks to all of the great people working in our House and making sure the democracy of Canada continues.

It truly has been a great pleasure serving in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd session, as the deputy House leader for the Conservative Party. There has been a lot of learning to do and a lot of procedural things, as well. All of us are working together to get that done.

I thank my colleague who spoke before me, because when we talk about results, that is something we really focus on. I would like to see results. When I first got here in 2015, we would talk about the government. We would talk about what we had done in government for nine and a half years, and some of the positive changes that we saw here in Canada. Some very good legislation was put forward. Every single time I was on a panel, I recall that the words used against me were, “Ms. Vecchio, that's rich.” Those were the words of our Liberal government members, all of the time: “That is rich,” any time we asked for something to be justified or asked for verification on things.

The government just does not want to answer. When we see an omnibus bill like this budget implementation bill, we should not be surprised. When we try to have debates, we should not be surprised when we do not get answers. I know that shortly we will be going into Question Period where that will continue.

In this Parliament specifically, we have seen things, such as the WE scandal, prorogation and Bill C-19 being done wrong. I want to focus on that. As of yesterday, Bill C-19 was reported back and tabled in the House of Commons. The fear that I have, and the fear that I think so many other Canadians should have, is that we are putting forward bills that have no witnesses coming to talk about these things. When we wanted to discuss Bill C-19, there was a motion to have important organizations representing everyone from seniors to people with disabilities look at this legislation and ask what it means. We were looking to speak to chief electoral officers who were on the ground and could talk about some of the things we needed to do.

What would a pandemic election look like in London North Centre or London West? I am looking at the member of Parliament for London West right now. What would it look like for London West? What would it look like for Elgin—Middlesex—London? I am seeing that special member look at me right now. I would like to thank her for all of the work that she has done. It has been great having a person beside me in London West who is part of the government and who has always ensured that when I give her a call, she knows what is happening in Elgin—Middlesex—London.

On behalf of all the constituents of Elgin—Middlesex—London, on behalf of my municipalities, I know I can call that member and say that we need an announcement, and the member for London West will ensure that announcement is made. If it is sitting on a minister's table, she is one person I know who can get it done. I really appreciate all of her hard work.

Moving on, when I am talking about some important things, I see that we are truly not doing what we should always be doing. We talk about due diligence. Last night, I got to listen to the member for Winnipeg North talk about the Conservatives and how awful they are. Although the word “corrupt” was not being used, he loved to use the word “obstruction.”

I will tell Canadians what obstruction looks like. Obstruction looks like 101 days in a filibuster when we are talking about prorogation of the government. That is what obstruction looks like. I love looking at the member, because he is laughing. I think it is because he knows exactly what I am getting at. He knows. He has been in politics for over 30 years. He knows how to wing this. He knows when we are playing these games, and we know that when the member for Winnipeg North is coming to a committee, the plan is to filibuster. When some of the greatest speakers who can speak 700 or 800 times in Parliament are brought in, we know the government is bringing in the big guns to filibuster. I would like to commend my colleague for Winnipeg North because that is exactly the type of work that they are able to do.

We have seen committee reports delayed. As the former chair of the status of women and as the former shadow minister of the status of women, I am really concerned that the defence committee could not table a report. Why it could not table a report, I think, has to do with the obstruction in committee. There has not just been obstruction in the Procedure and House Affairs committee. There has been obstruction in the committees for defence, ethics and any other committee in which the reports and information going forward are not to the liking of the government. That is just the type of thing that I have been seeing.

I do a lot of outreach as well in my riding. When reflecting on this budget, what do we see and what is important? I like to go out and speak to my constituents. We do a lot of householders. We do a lot of mailers and get a lot of information back. I would say that we probably got the most information back ever from replies to our last householder. We looked at that data. Do not worry. We were not using Liberalist. We actually looked at this data in our own office to see what my constituents were saying. I did not send it off to somebody to ask them to please look at it analytically and then let us know, while targeting my voters. I actually wanted to hear what they have to say. It is not just about how I am going to get their vote the next time. I want to be sure that I am serving them with a purpose.

However, 66% of our respondents believe there should be an increase in health care funding to the provinces. The government can talk about the funding put forward through this pandemic when it comes to health care. It did have to put some forward, but why? It was not prepared for a pandemic. It had taken some of the money and it had taken some of the programs. We know that the system to alert us of a coming pandemic and its impacts was not there. The information we should have been able to receive was not there because of some cuts and things they were doing while thinking that it was not important.

Sixty-six percent of our respondents believe there needs to be more money put into this health care system, but in this budget we do not see an increase in health care. We can see some things when it comes to pandemic spending, but as the former speaker talked about, we need to look at long-term plans as well. They cannot just be short-term. They cannot just be about how we get people voting for us today. It is about how we can provide good lives and better opportunities for them.

Coming from a farming community, one thing I always talk about is sowing the field. How do we prepare the field so that people can be the best crop possible? How do we encourage great growth? I look at all of these programs coming forward from the government and I am very concerned. What do we see for these people moving forward? I look at my son, who is 27 years old, and know that if he were to try to purchase a house in Elgin—Middlesex—London and put down the $20,000 he has been able to save, it would get him nothing. Why? It is because we have seen a 46% increase in housing prices in my area alone.

Those are some of the things that I think the government needs to tackle, along with the fact that we see inflation going higher and higher. That inflation is going to impact us greatly, especially if the interest rates go up.

I look at my own children who want to buy houses. The rates for getting a mortgage are awesome, but how can they buy houses when the prices start at almost half a million dollars? How are they ever going to get into the housing market and out of renting? I think that 55% of renters have been paying more in the last six months than they were before. How are people able to move forward and go up the housing ladder? How will they be able to go from being renters to being home owners and into those next homes for retirement? How will they be able to do that? I just do not see the path, unfortunately. I am very concerned with that.

We have 73% of respondents who were concerned about Bill C-10, which we voted on last night. At about 1:30 a.m. we saw that some amendments went through. We also saw the bill pass, unfortunately. I can tell colleagues that in my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London this was an issue about which I heard from tons of my constituents. They said they did not want Bill C-10, and that they believed it needed to be amended. The amendments we put forward did not, unfortunately, go through.

Finally, 86% of respondents were concerned about the level of debt in this budget. These are the types of things I talk about.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-30.

I want to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his incredibly compelling speech, and he did a fabulous job. As well, to follow up on his comments, all the best to you, Mr. Speaker, in the future.

As I was walking up to the House today, I was given to thought. I thought about my family, my staff, my friends and the people of Essex, and the impact that Bill C-30 would have on each and every one of them. Each of us will be affected by the bill. I want to give many thanks to my family, my staff and my constituents of Essex for the opportunity to be in this place to speak to Bill C-30.

Fifteen months ago, after the government's failure to heed the early warning signs of the pandemic ravaging Asia, Parliament was shut down for three weeks to flatten the curve. These many months later, the government's record is characterized by bad ethics, poor decision-making, undemocratic measures and huge deficits.

The government, propped up by the NDP, Bloc and Green Party, has repeatedly failed Canadians, from its early and repeated power grabs, its failure to shut down international flights in the early stages of the pandemic, its failure to secure PPE and its disastrous back-scene procurement and rollout. On top of that, we had the ill-conceived Canada student support program and the resulting WE scandal that led to the prorogation of Parliament to avoid scrutiny. For 15 months, we have seen the Liberals reward their Liberal buddies with contracts and now judicial appointments.

Only the Conservatives, as the official opposition, have stood against the Liberal excesses. The NDP has voted with the Liberals basically at every turn, even joining with them to shut down committees to help the Liberals avoid scrutiny. At a time when Canadians needed true leadership, ideology partisan interests have trumped principle.

Why am I mentioning this record in a speech on the budget? Because post-COVID, Canada needs an economic recovery plan and, yet again, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc-Green Party alliance has failed to offer anything but shiny baubles. The record speaks for itself. The NDP-Liberal budget is a massive letdown for workers in my riding of Essex. This is not a growth budget, and it fails to put forward a plan to encourage Canada's long-term prosperity.

I have three children just entering adulthood, and my first grandchild was born just a few weeks ago. I think of families in my riding, generations that have made their home in Essex County, and I wonder if my children and their children will be able to have the things that previous generations took for granted: a well-paying job, affordable housing and saving for their children's education. I am receiving hundreds of emails from constituents who remember the Canada of my youth. They tell me that they have no heart to celebrate Canada this year. They see the writing on the wall.

Rampant corruption, unchecked, has tarnished our hallowed halls. Bill C-10 threatens our Charter of Rights, and deficit spending and high debt always leads to tax increases and program cuts down the road. It is an open question if we will be able to protect our social safety net and our senior's pensions, who should be able to enjoy their retirement worry-free.

As the government continues to print money against Canada's GDP, as Conservatives predicted, inflation has risen to 3.6%. The cost of housing has soared and, as I said previously, putting it out of reach for many young families. As the cost of living rises, so does the cost for basics, like food, which hurts the lowest-income Canadians and seniors on fixed incomes the most. The government spending today borrows against our children's future. It is not a cliché; it is a simple reality that everyone who has a personal or household budget to manage understands.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted that a significant amount of the Liberal spending in the budget will not stimulate jobs or create economic growth. The Conservatives support getting help to those who have been hit the hardest by the failure of the Liberals to create jobs. In fact, the Liberal government has spent more and delivered less than any other G7 country. Canada's Conservatives were very clear that we wanted to see a plan to return to normal, that would safely reopen the economy and get Canadians back to work.

It is very clear that the Liberal-NDP budget was more about partisan politics than creating jobs or growing our economy. With their uncontrolled spending, the Liberals made it clear that they had no plan to return to a balanced budget. Throughout the pandemic, the Conservatives have made emergency support programs better for Canadians.

Alas, unemployed Canadians are hoping to see a plan to create new jobs and economic opportunities for their families. Workers who have had their wages cut and hours slashed are hoping to see a plan to reopen the economy. They were let down.

Layoffs at the Fiat Chrysler plant in Windsor mean that expectant mothers will see their maternity benefits cut, with all the money going out the door in income support. What has the government done for them?

Small business owners have been devastated by repeat lockdowns. Many have closed their doors permanently. Many are hanging on by the slimmest of margins.

Gyms like Xanadu in my riding have petitioned the government for ongoing aid. I have stood in the House for them. It will take months for them to recover, if they do at all.

Many hair salons and barbershops, many of them owned and operated by women supporting their families, do not qualify for business support.

Travel advisers went 15 months without any revenue. What does this budget do for them? Absolutely nothing.

Manufacturers in my riding whose entire business model is based on cross-border transactions have experienced losses of major contracts because the government did not see fit to deem them essential despite repeated appeals to their government. It is a tone-deaf government that cannot not grasp the concept that we cannot export goods without the free movement of the people who make and sell them. The effects of this will be felt for years. It will take many years for manufacturers to get back to where they were.

While they brag about the numbers, the Liberals fail to understand that the stuff manufacturers are working on now was negotiated two years ago, before the pandemic. Manufacturing is 13% of Canada's GDP. This sector is the largest contributor of taxable income. In Essex and Windsor, 54,000 jobs are represented in this industry. Eighty-five per cent of those goods produced go to the United States of America.

Manufacturers have done a good job. They were mandated to keep open and they did everything required, yet the government did not see fit to recognize their good work. When I first raised this issue with the minister in the House, and other government officials appearing before the special committee on Canada-U.S. economic relations, the government's response revealed its total ignorance and outright indifference.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the loved ones who have been separated by the Canada-U.S. border closure. Even when changes were made to broaden the definitions, many were left out or could not afford to quarantine for 14 days. To make matters worse, the government then added quarantine hotels and exorbitant costs with unsafe substandard care. The human toll has been deep. Here are but a couple of examples: grandparents unable to meet their grandchildren for the first time; parents looking to be with their son, graduating after 10 years.

The simple fact is that this budget does nothing to secure the long-term prosperity for Canadians. It does nothing to help my excellent riding of Essex. Canada's Conservatives got us out of the last recession. Canadians who are worried about their future know that we can and will do it again.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:40 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, what a pleasure it is to address the House on such an important piece of legislation. To be very clear, in budget 2021 the government has outlined a plan to allow us to finish the fight against COVID-19, heal the wounds left by the COVID-19 recession as much as we can, and ultimately create more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days and decades to come.

This is critically important legislation, and we would encourage all members of all political stripes to support it. Within it is a continuation of the government's focus on the pandemic. In the last federal election, Canadians wanted Parliament to work well together. They wanted us to come together to do the things that were necessary to facilitate a more positive environment for all Canadians, and being thrown into a pandemic made the priority fighting COVID-19: the coronavirus.

From the very beginning, our Prime Minister and this government have made it very clear that fighting the pandemic was our number one priority. We put into place a team Canada approach and brought together all kinds of stakeholders including different levels of government, indigenous leaders, individuals, non-profit organizations and private companies. We brought them all in to hopefully minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus.

It is because of those consultations and working with Canadians that Canada is in an excellent position today to maximize a recovery. The statistics will clearly demonstrate that. We have a government that has worked day in and day out, seven days a week, and is led by a Prime Minister who is truly committed to making Canada a better community.

I have, over the last number of months, witnessed a great deal of frustration from the opposition, in particular the Conservative opposition. The Conservatives continuously attempt to frustrate the process on the floor of the House of Commons. There was a time when all parties inside the chamber worked together to pass necessary legislation, and worked together to come up with ideas and ways to modify things so we could better support individuals and businesses in Canada. However, that time has long passed. The degree to which we see political partisanship on the floor of the House of Commons today is really quite sad.

Yesterday was embarrassing. I know many, if not all, of my colleagues found it embarrassing and humiliating to see one of Canada's most noble civil servants at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. The New Democrats and the Bloc joined with the Conservatives to humiliate a civil servant who should be applauded for his efforts over the last 12 months. He was publicly humiliated by being addressed in the manner he was, on the floor of the House of Commons, and it was distasteful. I say shame to the NDP, the Bloc and the Conservatives.

There were alternatives. If they did not want to take shots at the civil service, they could have dealt with it in other ways. For example, the Minister of Health provided the unredacted information to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was made up of parliamentarians from all political parties. Instead of passing the motion they did, they could have passed a motion for that committee to table the documents they wanted from the civil service. After all, the civil service provided the unredacted copies to that committee, not to mention that documents that had been redacted for national interest and security reasons were sent to another standing committee.

The political partisanship we are seeing today is making the chamber, for all intents and purposes, dysfunctional. We have seen the official opposition, less than a week ago, come to the floor of the House of Commons and within an hour of debate attempt to shut down Parliament for the day. It actually moved a motion to adjourn the House. The opposition is oozing with hypocrisy. On the one hand, it criticizes the government for not allowing enough time for debate, and on the other hand it tries to shut down the chamber in order to prevent debate.

If we were to look up the definitions of the words “hypocrisy” and “irony” in Webster's, which I have not, I wonder if they would describe what we are seeing from the opposition party, which moves concurrence debate, not once or twice but on many occasions, so that the government is not able to move forward on legislation, including Bill C-30, which we are debating today. That legislation is there to support Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Members of the Liberal caucus have fought day in and day out to ensure those voices are heard, brought to Ottawa and ultimately formulating policy that will take Canada to the next level. However, we have an official opposition that I would suggest has gone too far with respect to its resistance and destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons.

I have stated before that I have been a parliamentarian for approximately 30 years, the vast majority of which were in opposition. I am very much aware of how important it is that we protect the interests of opposition members and their rights. I am very much aware of the tactics opposition parties will use, but at a time when Canadians need us to work together, we have an official opposition that is acting as an obstructive force. When we talk about how Bill C-30 will be there to support small businesses and put money in the pockets of Canadians so they have the disposable income necessary to pay the bills that are absolutely essential, the Conservative Party continues to play that destructive role. It continues to focus on character assassination and on ways to make something out of something that is often not real. The Conservatives are more concerned about political partisanship than getting down to work, which was clearly demonstrated last Thursday. They are more concerned about character assassination, as we saw the official opposition, with the unholy opposition alliance, take personal shots at a national hero, someone we all know as the Minister of National Defence. This is unacceptable behaviour we are witnessing.

We have critically important legislation before the House. We can think about the types of things Bill C-30 would do for Canadians. If we want to prevent bankruptcies from taking place, we need to support this legislation, as it supports small businesses through the extension of the wage subsidy program, a program that has helped millions of Canadians, supporting tens of thousands of businesses from coast to coast to coast.

This is the type of legislation that we are actually debating today. It is not the only progressive, good, solid legislation that we have brought forward. Yesterday, through a closure motion, we were able to push through Bill C-10. We can imagine that legislation not being updated for 30 years. It is a major overhaul. We can think about what the Internet looked like 30 years ago, compared to today.

The Liberal government understands, especially during this pandemic, and we see it in the budget, the importance of our arts community, whether it was with Bill C-10 yesterday, where the government had to push hard to get it through, or the budget implementation bill today, where we are again having to use time allocation. It is not because we want to, but because we have to.

If we do not take measures of this nature, the legislation would not pass. The opposition parties, combined, often demonstrate that if the government is not prepared to take the actions it is taking, we would not get legislation through this House. The opposition parties want to focus on electioneering. We have been very clear, as the Prime Minister has stated, that our priority is the pandemic and taking the actions necessary in order to serve Canadians on the issue. It is the opposition parties that continuously talk about elections.

In my many years as a parliamentarian, in the month of June we have often seen legislation passing. It happens. It is a part of governance. One would expect to see a higher sense of co-operation from opposition parties, in particular from the official opposition party, not the obstruction that members have witnessed, not the humiliation that we have seen on the floor of the House of Commons at times.

Liberal members of the House are prepared to continue to work toward serving Canadians by passing the legislation that is necessary before the summer break. We still have time to address other pieces of legislation. Minutes prior to going into this debate, I was on a conference call in regard to Bill C-19. Again, it is an important piece of legislation. I challenge my colleagues on the opposition benches to come forward and say that we should get that legislation passed so that it could go to the Senate.

I mentioned important progressive pieces of legislation, and the one that comes to my mind, first and foremost, is this legislation, Bill C-30. Next to that, we talk a lot about Bill C-6, on conversion therapy. We talk a lot about Bill C-10, dealing with the modernization of broadcasting and the Internet, and going after some of these large Internet companies.

We talk about Bill C-12 and net zero, about our environment. We can check with Canadians and see what they have to say about our environment and look at the actions taken by opposition parties in preventing the types of progressive legislation we are attempting to move forward with.

We understand that not all legislation is going to be passed. We are not saying the opposition has to pass everything. We realize that in a normal situation not all government legislation is going to pass in the time frame we have set forth, given the very nature of the pandemic, but it is not unrealistic for any government, minority or majority, to anticipate that there would be a higher sense of co-operation in dealing with the passing of specific pieces of legislation. Bill C-30 is definitely one of those pieces of legislation.

Unfortunately, some opposition members will have the tenacity to say they are being limited and are unable to speak to and address this particular important piece of legislation. Chances are we are going to hear them say that. To those members, I would suggest they look at the behaviour of the Conservative official opposition and remind them of the Conservative opposition's attempts to delay, whether it is through adjourning debates, calling for votes on those kinds of proceedings, concurrence motions or using questions of privilege and points of order as a way to filibuster, which all happen to be during government business.

Bill C-3 was a bill that initially came forward a number of years ago from Rona Ambrose, the then leader of the Conservative Party, about judges. We can look at the amount of debate that occurred on that piece of legislation. It is legislation that could have and should have passed the House with minimal debate. It was hours and hours, days, of debate. Even though the Conservatives supported the legislation, even back then they did not want to have the government passing legislation.

Their purpose is to frustrate the government, prevent the government from being able to pass legislation, and then criticize us for not being able to pass legislation. What hypocrisy this is. Sadly, over the last week or so, we have seen the other opposition parties buy into what the Conservative opposition is doing, which has made it even more difficult.

As much as the unholy alliance of opposition parties continues to do these things and frustrate the floor of the House, I can assure Canadians that, whether it is this Prime Minister or my fellow members of Parliament within the caucus, we will continue day in, day out to focus our attention on the pandemic and minimizing its negative impacts.

We are seeing results. Over 32 million vaccine doses have been administered to Canadians. We are number one in first doses in the world. We have close to 35 million doses already in Canada, and we will have 50 million before the end of the month. Canada is positioning itself well, even with the frustration coming from opposition parties. We will continue to remain focused on serving Canadians, and Bill C-30 is an excellent example of the way in which we are going to ensure that Canadians get out of this in a better position. We are building back better for all Canadians.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:45 a.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege to rise again tonight to speak to Bill C-10. It is always an honour to speak from the unceded traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and to serve the community of Nanaimo—Ladysmith within the traditional territory of the Snaw-naw-as, Snuneymuxw, Stz'uminus and Lyackson First Nations. Hych'ka Siem. It is National Aboriginal Peoples Day today, a day to celebrate the rich cultural heritage, the languages, the governance structure and the traditions of the indigenous people of Canada.

I spoke to many organizations about this bill. As an independent party called the Greens, we do not have the same ability to question witnesses in committee, so I held my own meetings and asked my own questions. One of the meetings I had was with APTN and indigenous producers. I want to talk tonight about the importance of indigenous voices in our broadcasting system. If we left this content up to the United States, our views of indigenous people would continue to be the Disneyfied view seen in Pocahontas and spaghetti westerns. It is really important that indigenous voices are heard.

In the early 1990s, my father found a letter written by a woman in 1898 named Elizabeth Shaw. She wrote a scathing 18-page letter about the residential school system and the abuses that were happening at the Port Simpson school. We made a documentary film about her and a number of indigenous people were involved with it.

Afterward, indigenous people told me about some of the other experiences they had and they wanted to make films as well. I said that it was not really for me to tell their story. That is what they should be doing and I helped facilitate it. I worked with a lot of indigenous producers, young people and older people. These people were interested in getting into media production, and I facilitated training and mentorship so they could tell their stories.

What came out of that? I worked with a young guy, Don Claxton. I worked with his sister Dana Claxton as well, who is an indigenous artist, and played music with their sister, Kim Soo Goodtrack. They had an idea for a show. That was in the late 1990s and, lo and behold, APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, was born. We produced a pilot for the first preschool show on APTN. I worked with them, a whole bunch of first nations and an indigenous technical crew, who we trained, to create 64 episodes of a show called Wakanheja.

The idea behind CanCon is to hear these important indigenous voices. We need to make sure that the independent producers creating Canadian content have access to the Canada Media Fund when they are producing for social media streamers like Netflix and others, rather than just for the Canadian broadcasters, because that is where a lot of this production is going.

I heard a lot of discussion about freedom of expression and that some YouTubers have to go down because Canadian content goes up, that somebody has to go down because somebody is going up. I do not know how many times I heard that at committee during filibusters. A Conservative member gave a great example of somebody they know who does coupon clipping and gives how-tos, and that is great. I looked at the top 100 Canadian YouTube producers and there were people doing nails, gaming commentators and spoof videos. There was lots of content that could be produced anywhere. People knew it was Canadian because they would drop an “eh”, say “get 'er done” or say “about” wrong, but that is not what the idea behind CanCon is all about.

This commercial content drives advertising dollars, and that is what the commercial Internet giants are all about: selling advertising. That is what the algorithms are designed to do. What is important in CanCon is indigenous voices, stories from Canada's north, Canadian documentaries, stories of new Canadians and emerging Canadian musicians. These are the programs that need to be discoverable, and that is what discoverability is about. It is about learning about each other and about Canadian stories, not being inundated by American culture or the dominant culture.

I missed my late show tonight. I want to talk about a Canadian story that needs to be shared and understood. In recent decades, Canadians have learned more and more about our former government's attempt to commit cultural genocide, to commit genocide, to wipe out indigenous cultures through the residential school system. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has reported extensively and provided a path forward with 94 calls to action.

What most Canadians are unaware of is a parallel set of institutions, the racially segregated Indian hospital system operated by the federal government between the 1940s and 1970s, and those hospitals have their own horror stories. I first heard about the Nanaimo Indian Hospital about 15 years ago, and many people in my community have no idea it ever existed.

In 2013, I was commissioned to produce a film for the Hul'qumi'num Health Hub about cultural safety in the health care system within the Hul'qumi'num speaking areas. Part of that film was to give health professionals an understanding of the history of institutional racism in health care and why indigenous people did not seek help when they needed medical attention.

I interviewed elders who spoke about the trauma they experienced in the Nanaimo Indian Hospital. I heard about painful treatments and I heard about people going into the hospital who were never heard from again. As part of the research for the film, I spoke with researcher Laurie Meijer Drees, who is the co-chair of the First Nations Studies Department at Vancouver Island University. She has documented the oral stories of people who have been in these hospitals, and wrote a book entitled Healing Histories: Stories from Canada's Indian Hospitals.

Of course, not all these stories were bad. Some people went to the hospital sick, were given antibiotics and returned home feeling better, but the horrific legacy of the Indian hospitals was based on treating all indigenous people as wards of the state. Consent for medical treatment only came into being for the general public in the 1960s. However, as wards of the state, indigenous people were not asked to consent for their hospitalization or treatment. The system patronizingly viewed them as lacking the capacity to give consent.

An indigenous person could be arrested by the RCMP for not going to the hospital if instructed to do so by a doctor. That twisted, racist mentality facilitated and led to women being sterilized without giving consent and patients being subject to experiments with medication without their prior knowledge.

These hospitals were underfunded and understaffed. Family members and communities were not updated on loved ones in the hospital. People died, children were shipped off to residential school or adopted out and family members were never informed. Some children were taken to hospital and years later no longer knew who they were, what their real names were or where they came from.

Most of what is known about this dark history comes from oral accounts told to researchers and shared through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but the medical files are locked and researchers have not been granted permission to access them. Apparently the reason given is that those records contain personal information. It is important to protect personal information, however, we do not need to expose personal information to get to the bottom of what happened.

To heal from those past traumas, we need to know the truth. The truth is sealed in those medical records, and it is incumbent upon the government to give researchers and independent adjudicators appropriate clearance, access and analysis of this data to conduct a full independent inquiry. I am looking forward to a first nations producer, an indigenous producer, creating a documentary about this and having members of this place finding this through discoverability on YouTube. These are stories we need to hear. These are the truths we need to hear. We also need to hear about the rich cultural heritage of indigenous people.

Let us talk about censorship. We are worried about censorship. The real concern about censorship is these large corporations. On May 5, red dress day, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, family, friends and loved ones were posting about their missing loved ones. Thousands of those posts disappeared.

Right here in my community, I know Lisa Marie Young went missing years ago. What happened to all these posts? They were all pulled by Instagram. This is happening with other things like Black Lives Matter, Israel and Palestine, Sheikh Jarrah and SOS Colombia. I heard one of the Conservatives say that their posts were missing, right-wing posts, but this is clearly not Conservative posts.

Freedom of speech is important to me and we need to uphold it, and this bill would do that.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:40 a.m.
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NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have watched my colleague in meetings with stakeholders. I have watched him in the House. I have watched him in the media, and he really is a friend who is fighting hard for the cultural sector in Canada. The work that he has done to stand up for our artists and our writers and folks who are in the creative sector is outstanding. While I am disappointed by the Conservatives' attempts to derail this legislation, I am not surprised. We know that they have never been friends of the cultural sector. That has been very clear all the way along. I am surprised by how badly the Liberals have managed this.

Could the member speak a little more about what he would have done to make sure this legislation was treated with the urgency and the importance that I know he thinks Bill C-10 has?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:30 a.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate this evening on such an important issue.

I just complimented my colleague from Drummond, and I also have some kind words for my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona. She did a masterful job on Bill C‑10 at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Her assistant, Laveza Khan, also worked very hard on it, and my assistant Samuel Fortin-Pouliot worked very hard too. I commend everyone. They truly put in the work, as they say.

I agree that we absolutely needed to amend the Broadcasting Act. It has been 30 years since that act was passed. It had become completely archaic and obsolete, and it still is. It does not fit with today's reality and the current context with the new digital broadcasters. I think we need to keep that in mind when we debate this bill.

That is why the NDP has always worked and remained in touch with various actors and stakeholders in Quebec's cultural sector, in particular the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and also ACTRA, Unifor and Music Canada. They have always counted on us. We worked with them to try to improve this very important bill.

Since the Yale report was released a few years ago, we have come to understand how necessary it is to update the Broadcasting Act and bring it into the 21st century. As progressives and New Democrats, we agreed with the broad strokes of the Yale report. It is so important, because it is a matter of cultural sovereignty. What we need to do is ensure that major new digital broadcasters participate, invest and contribute to the production of original Canadian and Quebec content. That is not what is happening.

It is vital to understand the ecosystem that we have been dealing with and continue to deal with, in the hope that it can change, and why the principle of this bill is so important in the first place. We have a system based on conventional broadcasters and cable companies that contribute to a fund to ensure we can invest in telling our stories on television, in film and other media.

However, big players, new players who are no longer quite so new today, had not contributed at all. It is great to be able to bring them to the table and force them to contribute to the growth and development of Quebec, Canadian and indigenous culture in general, just like conventional broadcasters.

Unfortunately, the bill that was presented to us was botched from the beginning. The NDP was prepared to collaborate. We have always been prepared to collaborate, to make amendments and improvements, to resolve the problems with the bill so that it best meets the needs of the cultural industry and our artists, artisans and technicians. We also want to make sure it best meets the needs of the public, because we need cultural content that brings us together and that we have some control over so that we can tell our stories, which our fellow citizens in Quebec and Canada love to hear. Think of all of the big television, movie and music success stories that we know of.

Unfortunately, we had to deal with very bad communication from the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who on numerous occasions could not for the life of him explain his own bill.

He was attacked under various pretexts by the Conservative Party and was unable to reassure the public and to continue in a constructive and positive direction for this bill.

Obviously, there has been a lot of talk about freedom of expression. It is an important issue, and we are not going to sweep it under the rug and say we do not care about it. As members of the NDP, as New Democrats and progressives, if there were a bill on the table that called into question the freedom of expression of people, of Canadians, we would obviously be very concerned.

The NDP has a strong track record when it comes to protecting freedom of expression and the rights of Canadians. This is not something we take lightly. We did our work in committee, as well as in the media, in the public sphere and in the House, to raise these issues and to take the time needed to get legal opinions, to hear from experts and to get the notices of compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms from the Department of Justice. Those notices actually came twice, before and after the removal of clause 4.1.

We have always been in favour of the principle of the bill. We hope it will pass because our cultural sector will benefit when Internet giants contribute to and help fund the production of original works that tell Canadian and Quebec stories.

We did our work. We were open to arguments because we wanted to be absolutely sure we were protecting freedom of expression. That is what we did, and the NDP is committed to supporting the cultural sector and our artists, artisans and technicians. At the same time, we wanted to be absolutely sure everything was charter compliant and would in no way interfere with individuals' right to keep expressing their opinions and posting whatever videos they wanted on social media. Doing that work was very important, and we did it in a reasonable and responsible way. Unfortunately, there were some closure motions that prevented debate in some cases and violated our rights as parliamentarians.

The way the Liberals have been managing this bill strikes me as rather strange. They imposed closure on a committee, which has only ever happened three times. Despite this gag order, they had to resort to a supermotion. The Liberal government treated this bill as if we had neglected it and taken it lightly, while it was too important for equity in our Canadian programming ecosystem and for the defence of programming and content in French, as well as in indigenous languages.

We want our television, film and musical artists to have the chance to pursue their activities and be properly paid for the work they do, especially musicians on YouTube, and we want them to continue to tell our stories. It is a question of jobs and a very important economic sector. The cultural sector accounts for tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

What is more, culture is what defines us. It says who we are, what our vision of society is, how we approach the issues, social discussions and debates. It also gives us a chance to change our perspective and world view, and a chance to change the world.

I find it sad that on June 21, we still have to talk about this. The Liberals should have managed their agenda better.

However, I think that this bill does ultimately achieve the objectives that matter to our cultural sector, our artists and our artisans. The NDP will always be there to defend them.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Tim Louis Liberal Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am learning to speak French. It is important to me.

I know just how important Quebec culture is to Canada. How will Bill C‑10 support artists and culture in Quebec and Canada?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:15 a.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have finally reached the end of this bill on which many people have worked very hard in the past few months. I commend the members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage who have been working hard since Bill C‑10 was introduced.

As we have said many times, this bill was not perfect when it was introduced. I used a metaphor, comparing this bill to a brand new paint by numbers. We had a lot of work to do.

The way it works is that we all vote in favour of a bill and agree to send it to committee. The House of Commons speaks and democracy does its job. At that point, it is our responsibility to work on improving the bills that are introduced and that must be studied in committee, and we made the decision to work on this bill, even though the task was, quite frankly, monumental.

We decided to do this work even if the task was altogether daunting. We committed to do it and we did. It was going relatively well until the withdrawal of clause 4.1 gave the Conservatives the opportunity they had been waiting for. It was the perfect opportunity to speak out against a possible attack on freedom of expression.

The support of various experts who already did not have a very high opinion of this bill, which obviously had an impact on web giants, was all it took for the Conservatives to come down on Bill C‑10 like a ton of bricks by pointing out all of the problems with the bill and demonizing it as much as possible.

I am rather pleased that we are in the final stages of this bill, particularly because we have pretty much covered all of the arguments and the list of witnesses and experts on which the Conservatives based their fearmongering.

My colleagues have said this repeatedly, and I will reiterate that the Broadcasting Act and Bill C‑10 contain several provisions that specifically exempt social media users, regular people like us and the people we care about, from the Broadcasting Act regulations.

The provisions in Bill C‑10 apply only to broadcasting undertakings. However, if entities that use social media sites like YouTube also engage in broadcasting, we have to regulate those broadcasting activities.

That excludes the activities of users who share content and little videos with each other or who have somewhat more organized channels that might even earn them an income. This does not apply to those people, as specifically stated in Bill C‑10.

The campaign of fear has run its course. It has slowed the progress of this extremely important bill since April, with what is commonly known as organized filibustering. Who will pay for that? The artists, creators, culture and the cultural community in Quebec, but also in Canada. The only ones to profit from it are the Conservatives, who oppose the bill, despite the fact that the other parties of the House are working hard to improve it and move it forward. I remind members that this bill was imperfect, but certainly not as bad as what the Conservatives have been saying for weeks and weeks.

There is another principle that I would like to revisit. I am reminded of the mother who watches a military parade go by and notices that one soldier is walking in the opposite direction, against the parade. Upon realizing that the soldier in question is her son, she wonders why everyone else is marching in the wrong direction. That is kind of what this reminds me of.

Sooner or later, when someone realizes that they are the only one who thinks something and nobody else thinks what they think, they might consider a little open-mindedness. They might accept that they have expressed their point of view, that others disagree, that we are all working in a democratic system and that the majority is supposed to rule. They can tell themselves that they fought hard and that, even though they tried hard to defend their point of view, they now have to be a good sport and stop trying to sabotage things.

That is not what happened, however. This attitude prevailed to the very end. We saw the filibustering, at times very disgraceful, and we have reached a point where Bill C‑10 may be in jeopardy. We will have to keep our fingers crossed. I intend to stay hopeful until the end, but I think this could have gone better. We could have done much more and been more noble in what we needed to accomplish. Again, it is our artists and culture that are at stake.

The web giants are earning billions of dollars on the backs of our creators. It is only fair to subject them to the same rules as broadcasters operating in Canada and Quebec.

How many times have the Bloc Québécois been criticized for throwing up their hands and supporting closure with the Liberals? It is awful. I must say that we had to swallow our pride since we are against the use of closure motions. Nonetheless, it is a parliamentary tool that exists. It is not perfect and it is certainly not noble, but neither is systematic filibustering.

Sometimes, the only way to respond to a questionable tactic is to employ another tactic that may also be considered questionable. It definitely is frustrating to come up against a gag order. We have been there as well. However, a bill for artists, for culture and for the industry deserves the right tools. If someone is standing in the way, we will use the procedural moves at our disposal.

The Conservatives will probably take the heat for a long time for scuttling the bill, if it were to fail. Quebec's motto, on all of its licence plates, is “Je me souviens”, or “I remember”. Quebec artists and those who have a lot of influence in the cultural sector will remember.

Culture does not cost anything. In an interview with a local paper in her riding, the member for Lethbridge said that Quebec artists were outdated, that they were stuck in the 1990s and that they were reliant on grants because they produce things people do not want. That is not true. Canada's cultural industry generates billions of dollars in economic spinoffs every year. The industry costs nothing; it brings in money. The industry is valuable, and not just in terms of money. We are talking about our identity here.

I will end my speech on a positive note. Just now, we voted for something positive.

Bill C‑10 was not perfect, and the Bloc Québécois believed that it was important not to wait another 30 years to amend the Broadcasting Act.

This evening, we voted to include a sunset clause in the bill, which ensures that the act must be reviewed every five years. We live in a world that is evolving at an incredible pace. Where will technology be in five years? We have no idea.

It is very important to set a limit and to give ourselves shorter deadlines for a mandatory review of the Broadcasting Act. It should be reviewed more frequently than every 30 years. In my opinion, it is one of the best ideas that we have had. We will have the opportunity to review the bill every five years and to correct whatever flaws may remain in the legislation, if it is passed.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech, and I must say that it was shockingly chock full of fearmongering. I have seldom heard anything like that. On top of that, these words are from a former journalist. He himself said that he had been a journalist for 30 years.

I remind my colleagues that facts are important in journalism. They have clearly chosen party lines over the facts in this debate.

My colleague mentioned a few times that he was interested in Bill C‑10 and that he was fairly familiar with it. My colleague from Edmonton Strathcona said that there are numerous places in Bill C‑10 and in the act where freedom of expression is explicitly protected.

Could my colleague explain exactly which clauses in Bill C‑10 could potentially undermine freedom of expression? What are the specific sections he is referring to?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:10 a.m.
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NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I did notice the member spoke almost not at all about the bill, which is interesting because that is why we are here. Since I am sure he has read the bill and has read the act, he knows there are numerous places in both the act and the bill where freedom of expression is explicitly protected.

While the Liberals may not be trustworthy, members will recall that the Bloc, the Green Party and the NDP also support this legislation. New Democrats have always stood up for freedom of expression. They have a long history of that, and they have always stood up for net neutrality. The only party that is against this legislation is the Conservative Party.

I have heard from one Conservative MP that he has raised over $3,000 by fearmongering abound Bill C-10 in his riding. Would the member share how much money he has raised in his riding by fearmongering on Bill C-10?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 22nd, 2021 / midnight
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Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, Toronto's CN Tower is a Canadian landmark that is known worldwide. When it was completed in 1976, it was the highest free-standing structure in the world. It is 553 metres tall, or about 1,800 old-fashioned feet high. That is the length of five and a half football fields. It has actually been named a wonder of the modern world, right up there with the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. The CN Tower gets a lot of attention, and tons of people visit it: two million a year.

Some of those visitors got more than they bargained for on July 16, 2001. On that day, two radical activists decided to do a dangerous illegal stunt. The two men scaled the outside of the tower and unfurled a banner. That banner bashed the Liberal government and the U.S. government for allegedly being killers of the planet. Not doing enough to fight climate change was the charge. The men had to be rescued by firefighters, and they were later charged and convicted for their dangerous stunt. The court heard that the whole ordeal cost CN $50,000, but the two men only had to pay $3,000 in fines in total. I guess the punishment did not quite fit the crime.

Who were those two men who created such havoc and made headlines worldwide? They were both Greenpeace activists. One was a British guy, Chris Holden. The other fella has really climbed to new heights. He is now a Liberal cabinet minister, the heritage minister. Two decades after his last dangerous stunt, this radical guy is pulling another one. In some ways, it is even more dangerous than his first stunt. He wants to censor our online free speech.

By now many Canadians have heard of Bill C-10. It is actually interesting that hundreds of bills are discussed in the House and most people do not pay attention. If we mentioned a random bill, the average Canadian likely would not know what it is about and probably would not care. We realize that a bill is controversial when regular folks know about it and know it by name and number. I did a virtual meeting with students from a grade 6 class a couple of weeks back and they knew about Bill C-10. They were very concerned about it. They should be.

I have a special interest myself in Bill C-10. I worked as a journalist for three decades in radio, TV, newspapers and news magazines, so free speech is in my DNA. For many years I was an opinion columnist for the Toronto Sun chain. Opinion columnists at Sun Media were the lifeblood of that organization. Every survey we did showed that many people bought the newspapers, and sometimes just to read one of the regular columnists.

I am not going to bore anybody by dissecting the intricate legalese of Bill C-10. Lots of lawyers and legal experts have argued the finer points in detail. I know the government will tout this bill as being all about supporting Canadian content. It has already done that. It claims it is not out to stop free speech in any real way, but I do not believe it. Most Canadians do not either. It is no wonder that we do not believe it. The government has earned a reputation, and it is not a good reputation. It cannot be trusted. I do not trust it and Canadians do not trust it.

The Prime Minister and his Liberals have a long string of botched files, ethics violations, broken promises and cover-ups. They failed to quickly close our borders when COVID hit. Then they failed on quickly getting Canadians vaccines. They tried to do a deal with the communist Chinese regime to get vaccines. Of course that failed miserably.

The Liberals have failed on many, many fronts: the SNC-Lavalin affair, the WE scandal, cash for access, cancelled energy projects, disgraced cabinet ministers and MPs, blackface, the trip to the Aga Khan's private island, no serious plan to open our international border and cover-ups galore. Ler us consider a recent one. It is about the Winnipeg National Microbiology Lab and a refusal to provide vital documents to a key parliamentary committee. Look for that to be in the headlines for a long time.

Is it any wonder that Canadians do not trust the Liberals? Is it any wonder they cannot be trusted with something so sacred as free speech? Is it any wonder that people do not trust the minister proposing Bill C-10, a guy with a radical past, a guy who got hauled off in handcuffs and was convicted by a court of law?

We have already seen censorship raise its ugly head on the Internet. It is already happening at an alarming rate. I bet every Canadian with a computer knows someone who has had a social media post flagged or deleted by big tech. It could have been for something as simple as a personal opinion about COVID rules. I bet many of us know people whose social media accounts have been suspended or even shut down by big tech. It is ridiculous that some self-appointed 20-something is a judge at a big tech firm like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

It also seems like conservative voices are the ones often targeted by these censors. It is strange how that works. Can members imagine what kind of censorship will happen if the Liberal government controls our online speech? I shudder to think of it.

Some people might say that since I am a member of the official opposition, of course I will slam any Liberal bill. Well, it is not just the official opposition. There are a lot of people against this Big Brother bill. Every constituent I talk to wants me to fight against the bill. I cannot recall one person coming to me to say, “Hey, Kerry, you have to support Bill C-10.” In fact, I have heard so much opposition to the bill that I decided to start an online petition against it. I was inundated with people signing it. I told them that I would send a letter of protest directly to the Prime Minister on their behalf, and that is exactly what I did.

Speaking of opposition to Bill C-10, members should check out what Tim Denton said. He is a former national CRTC commissioner, and he is also the current chair of the Internet Society Canada Chapter. Mr. Denton had this to say:

C-10 is clearly intended to allow speech control at the government’s discretion. Ignore the turn signals, look at where the wheels are pointed. They are pointed at your right to communicate freely by means of the internet.

This is scary stuff. Who would members trust to pass judgment on this bill, our heritage minister, with his radical past, or Mr. Denton? I know who I would trust.

How about the comment from Peter Menzies? He is a long-time journalist and former CRTC vice-chair. I worked in journalism with Peter. He is a good guy, a smart guy. He has summed up the Liberal bill really well. He said that Bill C-10 “will place the internet under the control of the...CRTC. Its nine unelected, unaccountable commissioners will decide if your Facebook post or Youtube video is appropriate internet content.” My former colleague goes on to point out that the heritage minister “has promised more legislation to establish another regulatory panel to oversee what sort of things people may say on social media. All of this constitutes an outrageous abuse of government authority”.

We can see where this legislation could go. Maybe a person does not like a government program or a policy or a politician and speaks out. Maybe they will get blocked or cancelled. There is a lot of cancel culture out there to go around, and the legislation before us would only make things worse.

The bottom line is that the Liberal government cannot be trusted with our free speech. The minister, with his radical, checkered past, cannot be trusted with our free speech. Our free speech is too sacred to be imperiled by this terrible, dangerous legislation. Canadians are saying that loud and clear. Bill C-10 must be defeated. Our very democracy in Canada is at stake.