Online Streaming Act

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

Sponsor

Pablo Rodriguez  Liberal

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of June 23, 2022

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-11.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 21, 2022 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 21, 2022 Failed Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (hoist amendment)
June 20, 2022 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 20, 2022 Passed Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
June 20, 2022 Failed Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
May 12, 2022 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
May 12, 2022 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (amendment)
May 12, 2022 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (subamendment)

Consideration of Motion ResumedOrder Respecting the Business of the House and its CommitteesGovernment Orders

June 23rd, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, it is very relevant. It is not lost on me that every time any member on this side—and even in the Bloc Québécois, for that matter—starts saying things that the member does not like, he jumps up on a point of order just to disrupt the interaction. That is too bad. If he does not like what I have to say, too bad.

I want to focus as well on a couple of other things that are critical in this debate on whether we return to a hybrid system in the fall.

What is not being taken into account, and I know Madam Speaker is fully aware of this, is that there have been increases in injuries within the interpretation bureau. We have received numerous reports over the last several years that there has been a ninefold increase in injuries among those people who work so hard to ensure that we have world-class interpretation in this place, and when I say “world-class”, I mean it is unlike any other around the world.

We are seeing increased workplace injuries. We have been told that those workplace injuries are going to continue as long as we continue with a hybrid system here in the House and at committee. Why the government and the NDP are proposing to jeopardize the health and safety of our interpretation bureau is beyond me, especially since the warning signs and signals have been sent.

We are seeing a diminishing pool of interpreters, for which these workplace injuries are not the least reason. That puts the bilingualism component of our Parliament at risk for all of us, especially those who are francophone in this place and those who listen in who are francophone, and calls into question the future of bilingualism and the ability of interpreters to relay what is going on to francophone Canadians. I think that needs to be strongly considered as we consider moving into this hybrid Parliament format.

It is no surprise to the House that we want to signal to Canadians that we are getting back to some sense of normalcy, but there is no reason, no science, no evidence and no rationale as to why we are dealing with this in the waning hours of this session of Parliament, all because the government House leader and the NDP House leader do not want to return to normal. That is the only alternative. They want to continue the decline in the relevance of this institution by allowing ministers and members to not be here. It is sad.

I wear this bracelet around my wrist. It says, “Lest we forget”. I have said this before in this place, because I often think about the lives that have been lost and the families that have been decimated by war. Those who have defended our country in faraway lands to allow us all the privilege to sit in our symbol of democracy did not fight so we can sit on Zoom. They did not fight so ministers can hide from accountability. They did not fight to see a decline in our democracy. They fought to strengthen our democracy and to ensure that it was sustainable for years to come, but what the government is proposing is limiting and diminishing our democratic institution.

I know the government is going to argue otherwise, but we have seen it. We have seen a lack of accountability and transparency. We have seen the government hide using these tools. We saw it with Bill C-11. We saw the chaos that ensued at committee when the chair was sitting in her living room trying to manage and deal with a complicated and substantive bill with hundreds of amendments.

It is done. It is over. Its time has come. It served a purpose at the time, but it serves a purpose no longer when no other legislatures in this country, provincial or territorial, or around the world, are using a hybrid system. It is done. It is over.

In the time I have left, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Fundy Royal, that the motion be amended:

(a) in paragraph (i) by deleting all the words after the words “motion is adopted” and substituting the following: “or adopted on division, provided that precedence shall be given to a request for a recorded division followed by an indication the motion is adopted on division”;

(b) in paragraph (p) (i) by adding after the word “videoconference” the following: “provided that members participating remotely be in Canada”, (ii) by adding after the words “resources for meetings shall be” the following: “subject to the provisions of paragraph (j) of the order adopted on Monday, May 16, 2022”, (iii) by adding after subparagraph (vi) the following: “(vii) any proceedings before a committee in relation to a motion to exercise the committee's power to send for persons, papers and records shall, if not previously disposed of, be interrupted upon the earlier of the completion of four hours of consideration or one sitting week after the motion was first moved, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the motion shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment”; and

(c) in paragraph (q) (i) by deleting all the words in subparagraph (ii) and substituting the following: “members participating remotely shall be in Canada and shall be counted for the purpose of quorum”, (ii) by adding after subparagraph (v) the following: “(vi) any proceedings before the committee in relation to a motion to exercise the committee's power to send for persons, papers and records shall, if not previously disposed of, be interrupted upon the earlier of the completion of four hours of consideration or one sitting week after the motion was first moved, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the motion shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate and amendment”.

Order Respecting the Business of the House and its CommitteesGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2022 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the NDP House leader for his version of Liberal karaoke. That was very nice, and I appreciate his interjection.

I will continue with what we talked about as far as the pairing situation, which is an option. Since, and well before, Confederation, politicians have contracted serious illnesses, suffered critical injuries, welcomed new children into their families and said tearful farewells to loved ones, among other significant life events. In short, life happens to members of Parliament, just like it does to all other Canadians.

For the first 153 years of Confederation, we ably managed to square our personal circumstances with our professional lives, even if it might not always have been ideal. As unprecedented as some aspects of the pandemic were, the demands on us to balance our personal and parliamentary responsibilities are not, and we can easily revert to the tried and true practices that we know work.

Again, on the issue of pairing within the standing rules and Standing Orders, while pairing has been largely based on a series of customs and practices, with only a tangential appearance in our rules via Standing Order 44.1, we would be open to considering proposals to strengthen these arrangements, to render them more transparent or to empower further individual members. If there were ideas on this front, I would have been happy to entertain them. Otherwise, I suspect that this will come up in the procedure and House affairs committee, as it is charged with studying and issue, which I know the Liberals and the NDP want, and that is a more permanent movement toward a hybrid Parliament.

Speaking personally, I got elected to Parliament with an understanding of what that responsibility was, and it is a great responsibility, as we know, to represent, in my case, the residents of Barrie—Innisfil.

I also understood, and my family understood, that there was a requirement for me to come to Ottawa. Being elected in 2015, and with the pandemic happening in 2020, it was common practice for me, and all of my colleagues, all of us in the House, to show up in the seat of Parliament. There is the constitutional requirement for us to be here in Ottawa.

As difficult as that was, that was a choice I made. It is a choice that all of us make. Notwithstanding some of those family pressures that I highlighted or outlined and some of the demands that go with this job, it is an incredible privilege to be able to sit in this place, to be able to come to Ottawa and represent my constituents, not just to engage in debate, not just to engage in the committee work that we do and interact with all of our colleagues on all sides of the aisle, but to actually sit in this seat and be able to vote and to stand up and be counted in person. Those were the expectations that I had when I was to become a member of Parliament and those expectations continue today.

As I said earlier, one of the issues that came up in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs was the concern that there would be perpetual electioneering in those close ridings.

I say this with great respect, that if it is one's intent to be elected as a member of Parliament, the reasonable expectation of that intent is to come here to Ottawa. If a person is not willing to do that, if they want to stay in their community to continue to electioneer, perhaps the choice that they should make is to run for mayor, council or school board trustee if they are concerned at all with any imbalance in their lives because, as we know, this is a difficult job and a difficult thing to do, to be away from our family, in some cases, 29 or 31 weeks a year.

It is hard. It is a choice we all make because we want to be here to do the best for the people that we represent and the people in this country.

It is a vast country. It is a transcontinental country, from coast to coast to coast. People get elected to be representatives in our House of Commons and the expectation was, is, and should always be that this is the place that they take their seats. Members can call me a traditionalist. Members can call me a Conservative, as long as they call me someone who believes in our institutions, who believes in the institution of Parliament and who believes in the institution of our democracy.

The challenge I have with everything that has been going on in the last little while is that we have really seen a decline in our democracy. When government ministers are not held to the same account and transparency as they typically are by being here, and not just by us as an opposition but also by the media, it poses challenges.

There is no greater evidence of that than what we have seen over the last couple of months, particularly when we were going through the WE scandal, which was happening a year and a half or two years ago. All of that was happening on Zoom, and there were technological challenges going on with that. It was difficult. It was not the same dynamic as in-person committee meetings or the same fiery exchanges we would see, which is all a healthy part of our democracy.

We saw it recently again with Bill C-11. I am not even sure how many times the chair of the committee has been in Ottawa, but she was chairing a committee virtually on a substantive piece of legislation such as Bill C-11, which the government rammed through. We saw how difficult it was to deal with the amendments going through, and the chair was on Zoom. Anybody who was watching those exchanges in the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage could see just how dysfunctional this system has become, especially when people are not present.

Some of the other things we talked about, as I said, is that we were open-minded to meeting and supporting the pairing needs of all colleagues in this House. The current hybrid system, with minor modifications, could be reactivated in the event of a serious reversal of the current trajectory of public health guidance concerning COVID-19, upon the agreement of recognized parties and House leaders, for a period of time they agree on.

That simply means that, instead of precluding some southern hemisphere variant I have heard about from the two doctor House leaders in this place, why could we not revisit this in August? Why could we not come back in September and look at the situation to see if there was a need to flip to a hybrid Parliament? We have learned our lessons over the past couple of years, and that should be an easy thing to do, so why could we not do that in August or September?

Instead, as I said at outset, here we are in the last couple of days of this session of Parliament before our summer break, and we are dealing with and precluding something none of us can predict. In fact, we can in a way because the world has moved on at this point. Public health measures have been eliminated, but not in this place. There is no reason we cannot come back in August and September to revisit this situation.

I did speak to the government House leader and gave him my word, because I will still be House leader at that point, that if there was a need at that point to flip the switch on a hybrid Parliament and get back to the virtual voting app, we would be open to it. I am not unreasonable. I can read the room. We would be open and amenable to doing that.

Some of the other things we were focused on in my May 31 letter to the other government House leaders is that the arrangements we were talking about could take effect, as I said, after the current arrangements expire, which is happening tomorrow and hence the rush for this, and be in place for a year. The House would be instructed to acquire an adequate supply of N95 face masks to allay the concerns some of our colleagues may have going forward.

This is a suggestion I made. There is no masking requirement outside of this place. I gave the example of members of Parliament, including Liberal members and NDP members, at receptions not wearing masks when they are required to, and even on the parliamentary precinct, so this theatre needs to end.

We are at a point right now where if an individual requires or wants to wear a mask, they should have the option of doing that. Those who choose not to wear a mask, just like the rest of the world and the rest of Canada is going through right now, maybe we can supply them with a higher quality mask like an N95 just to allay their fears and make them feel a little more comfortable. It should be the right of an individual, if they choose, to wear a mask. For those who do not want to wear a mask, they should not have to wear a mask. That was in the proposal.

The procedure and House affairs committee would be instructed to study these arrangements with a view of producing a report next May, ahead of the scheduled expiry of these proposed arrangements.

We believe in the work of committees. We believe in the ability of the procedure and House affairs committee to look at this and to revisit the issue, as we did a couple of years ago, but in anything the committee does, any work it engages in, it should never be under the guise or direction of moving to a more permanent system of hybrid. We should not be doing that. We need to be here in Ottawa.

The tide is turning on this. Just this past week, when the issue of Motion No. 19 came up and the government indicated, with the help of its NDP partners, that it wanted to move to a year's prolongation of the hybrid system, we were starting to see pundits and people who watch this place really start to turn on this and ask why we are not getting back to normal, why we are not getting back to a level of accountability and transparency that this place is designed and structured to do, when everybody else is returning to normal. We have seen editorials that have occurred. Here are some of the comments we have seen in these editorials:

That’s all well and good, but the government has not yet properly addressed the toll the hybrid system is taking on the support staff who make it possible for Parliamentarians to work remotely, especially the interpreters—a limited workforce without whom parliamentary work cannot function.

I addressed that earlier, and I think that we have to be empathetic to the plight of our interpreters and the interpretation bureau. It is becoming a real problem, one that is going to manifest itself if we continue down the path we are on with this hybrid system.

Just the other day, Campbell Clark of The Globe and Mail wrote about this. His editorial piece starts with this:

Another year of hybrid Parliament? No.

If the Liberal government wants to extend this semi-artificial version of the people's house, it can come back to the House of Commons in September and ask for a month. If it absolutely feels another 30 days is needed, it can ask MPs to vote again.

That goes back to the suggestion I made earlier. Why are we dealing with this now? There are so many important issues in this country that we have to deal with, such as affordability, the inflation crisis that is going on, and the fiasco going on with the government's ability to provide the most basic services to Canadians, and of course over the last couple of days we heard about Nova Scotia and political interference. Why we are dealing with this now and not in September is beyond me. This is what causes me great anxiety.

The Toronto Star talked about the decline in our democracy and how we need to get back to some sense of normalcy. That is really the theme of what I am talking about tonight, this decline in our democracy and the fact that the hybrid system is proving itself to be an old and tired system. Yes, it was needed at the height of COVID, but we need to get back to some sense of normalcy. That is what I expect.

One of the other things that we found over the course of the last couple of years was that when Canadians were not allowed to travel, when there were mandates that restricted them from boarding airplanes, the Prime Minister had no problem travelling all over the world. It was hypocritical that he could just get on his government jet and travel anywhere he wanted when Canadians were restricted by the government's policies. We have seen this over the course of the last several years. I gave the example of the chair of the heritage committee, who was sitting in her apartment. I do not know whether she has even been to Ottawa once. She may have, and I have not checked, but certainly not during the course of dealing with this substantive bill. She was sitting there while the committee was doing its work here. It created chaos within the committee. That did not deter the Prime Minister from travelling all over the world when Canadians could not.

I will give members an example of how much the Prime Minister has travelled, just in 2022. On March 4, he went to Toronto. On March 6-11, he went to the U.K., Latvia, Germany and Poland. On March 16-17, he was in Alliston, central Ontario. On March 23-25, he went to Belgium. On March 27-30, he went to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Williams Lake. On April 8, he went to Hamilton. On April 11-18, he went to Victoria, Edmonton, Laval, and Whistler. He flew from Edmonton to Laval for a morning of promoting the budget on April 13, before flying to Whistler that afternoon to start his vacation. On April 19, he went to Dalhousie, New Brunswick; April 20, Waterloo; April 22, Winnipeg; April 29, Montreal and Toronto. That is half of the list. Here comes the second half: May 2, Windsor; May 3, Montreal; May 6, GTA and Hamilton; May 8-9, Ukraine and Poland; May 17, St. John's, Newfoundland; May 20, Sept-Îles, Quebec; May 23-25, Kamloops, Vancouver, and Saskatoon; May 27-29, Nova Scotia; June 2, Siksika, Alberta; June 5, London, Ontario; June 7-11, Colorado Springs and Los Angeles; and today, the Prime Minister left for Rwanda.

Now, the Prime Minister can fly all over the place. He can go to places where arguably the virus is still active, but parliamentarians cannot come to this place. It just does not connect.

I know that the Prime Minister has a job to do, and I know that he represents Canada around the world, but he can fly to places that do not have the same vaccination status that we do in this country, and put himself at risk. He had COVID last week, and he has had COVID twice in the last couple of months. If he can put himself at risk by doing that, then there is no reason, given the safety measures that are in this place, the option to wear a mask if members choose to and the safety that is in aircraft across this country, why members of Parliament cannot be here, unless, of course, they do not want to be here, unless they want to be in their ridings to perpetually electioneer if they are in a close riding so that they can do everything they can to win the next election, or unless they want to hide behind the virtual Parliament and the voting app. It does not make any sense.

I know there are members who are flying across the country and perhaps not coming here, but we can check. There is public disclosure, and we know where people can go. People are flying to other parts of the country, but they are not coming here. Why? This is their job. This is what they were elected to do.

I am going to make a suggestion, and I may bring it up at the BOIE committee, for members who want to be here on a part-time basis and who do not want to be in Parliament. There are many situations where apartments around this precinct are being paid for, in some cases $2,500 a month, and not being used. Why are taxpayers expected to pay for those apartments if members do want to be here? I think it is a fair question. Maybe there are other expenses that are being put in, and we can certainly look at that. However, if members do not want to be here, in their proper seats, then why are taxpayers subsidizing their apartments here, which are sitting empty? I think that is a fair question to ask.

As I said, the tide is turning. I was hoping, by sending that letter on May 31, that we would actually engage in and initiate some consensus. I was really hoping that the government House leader and his partner in the NDP would actually see the sense of what we were proposing. The unfortunate reality is that they did not, and we are in the position that we are in right now, where we are dealing with Motion No. 19 and the government is going to propose closure on this motion. We are effectively going to have a few hours to debate it. I know that it disrupts the plans of NDP members to discuss this, because what they want to talk about, as is their common theme, is the Conservatives obstructing things.

The reality is that the Conservatives are doing their job. They are actually fulfilling their constitutional obligation, as is the Bloc Québécois, to hold the government to account. We were elected in this place in a minority government. The government was sent here with less than a majority, and it was not until the coalition agreement with its partners in the NDP that it actually formed a majority.

I can tell members that I went through the election and I was certain, at the time, that all the Prime Minister wanted was two things. He thought people were going to throw rose petals for the way he handled COVID and the billions of dollars that flowed through the treasury, which we are now paying for with inflation. He thought people were going to throw rose petals at his feet for the way he handled that, and he wanted a majority government, but he did not get it. The reason he wanted a majority government is that he knows, and we knew at that time, that there was a convergence of factors that was happening.

One cannot print that much money and inject that much liquidity into the system and expect that there would not be an impact on inflation and that it would not increase inflation. When we have more money chasing goods, the resulting effect of that is what we are seeing today, what was announced today, 7.7% inflation, and it is only going to get worse.

We are seeing that interest rates have gone up almost a point in the last month. The expectation is that on July 13, in order to fight inflation, the Bank of Canada is going to increase interest rates by another three-quarters of a point. We can think about the impact that is going to have on the lines of credit that people have. We can think about the impact that would have on variable-rate mortgages. If we have an affordability challenge now and Canadians are anxious and angry about their situation, it is only going to get worse as long as the Liberals continue to pour gas on a raging inflation fire.

We were predicting this a year and a half ago. It is not that we did not want to support them, because we did support many of the programs the government was proposing. The challenge was that there really was a lot of money going out and it was not targeted into those areas of the economy where it needed to be in order to support the economy. The Liberals basically let money rain. They were printing money like crazy, and we predicted a couple of years ago that this would happen.

Now, because of these converging factors, all of them, the economy, interest rates and the inflationary pressures that are going on right now, we are in a situation where Canadians are hurting, and I said this the other day. We had better start listening to what they say. I know I am listening to my constituents, but we all need to do a better job of listening and understanding where that anger and anxiety are coming from, because they are coming from fear. People are afraid right now, because debt levels are so high and interest rates are going up, and that is causing significant challenges.

We were talking about this a couple of years ago, and I remember my mom, when we were together two or three weeks ago, reminding me of something I said two years ago. She was upset about some of the government policies that were going on, and I said that until and unless it starts affecting people in their pocketbooks, people will not be concerned about what the government is doing. Now, we are at that point and people are genuinely concerned, because it is impacting them in their pocketbooks.

Many of us were projecting this, including some of our finance critics, our industry critics and others. They were standing up, and I was standing up, saying this is a disaster waiting to happen. What it comes down to is this: People of integrity expect to be believed, and when they are not, time will prove them right. Unfortunately, right now, with all that is going on, time is proving us right about the things we were predicting two years ago.

I really worry for my constituents. I worry for Canadians in general, because despite the lollipops, gumdrops, rainbows and unicorns the government is projecting right now, I do not think that reflects the reality. I know it does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground and the anxiety people are feeling, especially those who overleveraged in an inflation-induced real estate market.

I think it was CMHC that recently said that 52% of Canadians have variable rate mortgages. Just think of how susceptible they are to these increases in interest rates, and the impact that these are going to have on their household budgets and their ability to pay not just for housing, but also for the costs and inflationary pressures that are being borne right across the economy by the supply side because of the price of gas.

Gas is $2.09 a litre. For people in my riding of Barrie—Innisfil who have to go to Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan or other communities around the GTA, and who are doing that five days a week, they are putting $115 or $120 in their little cars. Business owners and construction workers, for example, are putting $245 or $250 worth of gas in their trucks and getting three or four days out of that. They are not even getting three or four days out of that when they are driving to Mississauga or Markham every day. That adds up and eats into the household budgets.

Not least, we need to be concerned about our seniors: those on fixed incomes and those who are seeing, because of the stock market right now and as a result of what is going on in the economy, their investments start to diminish. They are watching that closely. It is creating even greater fear and even greater anxiety for them.

When we sit here and talk about a hybrid Parliament and try to project or predict something that is going to happen in September, I am not sure why we are not dealing with those particular issues that are of grave importance to Canadians. We are dealing with this, when Canadians are moving on. When Canadians, health experts, legislatures around the world and legislatures in Canada have all moved on, we are sitting here debating something that we should not be debating.

There is another thing that I would say in terms of the tide turning, and it kind of gives me a chuckle. Dale Smith sits up here almost daily in Question Period. I do not know if he has missed any, quite frankly. We have been on the opposite sides of issues. I have a lot of respect for the work that Mr. Smith does. He kind of leans or works toward the government on a lot of issues. Even he, in a series of tweets over the past couple of days, has said that the acoustic injuries and possibilities of permanent hearing loss are well documented, and that this is taking an unconscionable toll on the interpretation staff.

In another tweet on June 20, he said, “Imagine telling the interpreters, 'Sorry, but you have to face the possibility of permanent hearing loss, but we can't,'” here he uses a slight expletive, “'ourselves to take reasonable COVID precautions in order for us to do our jobs', which is unacceptable”.

There were a few more tweets that he put out there.

Like me, he is a traditionalist. He believes that we are near the end of the pandemic, and that we have to return to some sense of normalcy. We actually have to signal to Canadians that this beautiful place is back to normal, and that all is right in the land. That is not to say that we do not have to be cautious or we do not have to remain diligent as to what could happen. I do not disagree that there may be some other things that we may be facing, but that does not mean that at this current moment we move into what I predict would become a permanent solution of this hybrid Parliament.

We do not move in that direction at this point. We could certainly come back in August or September to deal with it at that time. As I said earlier, we have seen a lot of hypocrisy and a lot of theatre by the government on this issue. I am not diminishing, in any way, the toll that this has taken. I had two friends who died directly as a result of COVID, but we are certainly past the point of where we were not just in March 2020, but at the height of some of the new variants.

We have a 95% vaccination rate in this country, and that is a credit to Canadians who decided to take the vaccine. I had never injected myself with anything. I was a firefighter. I never took a flu shot. I just did not feel comfortable doing that, but I did take a vaccine. I have actually taken three shots right now, and I am not ashamed to admit that. I did that because I know how concerned my mom and dad were. I wanted to make sure that I protected myself, first and foremost, but it was also to protect them as well. I made that determination for myself.

There were many Canadians who felt the imposition of a mandate or the suggestion that they should be vaccinated. Even friends of mine who took the vaccine and had adverse reactions to the vaccine were told by their doctors that they should not get another shot. In one case, someone spent three days in hospital because of a severe allergic reaction to her first dose. Her medical doctor suggested that she not get another dose because of this allergic reaction. Despite the effort of trying to get a vaccination, that effectively made her a prisoner in her own country. I was down in Florida in March with her husband and she could not come.

Order Respecting the Business of the House and its CommitteesGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2022 / 7:05 p.m.
See context

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, beginning on Friday, June 24, 2022, and ending on Friday, June 23, 2023:

(a) members may participate in proceedings of the House either in person or by videoconference, provided that members participating remotely be in Canada;

(b) members who participate remotely in a sitting of the House be counted for the purpose of quorum;

(c) provisions in the Standing Orders to the need for members to rise or to be in their place, as well as any reference to the chair, the table or the chamber shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the virtual and hybrid nature of the proceedings;

(d) the application of Standing Order 17 shall be suspended;

(e) in Standing Orders 26(2), 53(4), 56.1(3), and 56.2(2), the reference to the number of members required to rise be replaced with the word “five”;

(f) the application of Standing Order 62 shall be suspended for any member participating remotely;

(g) documents may be laid before the House or presented to the House electronically, provided that:

(i) documents deposited pursuant to Standing Order 32(1) shall be deposited with the Clerk of the House electronically,

(ii) documents shall be transmitted to the clerk by members prior to their intervention,

(iii) any petition presented pursuant to Standing Order 36(5) may be filed with the clerk electronically,

(iv) responses to questions on the Order Paper deposited pursuant to Standing Order 39 may be tabled electronically;

(h) should the House resolve itself in a committee of the whole, the Chair may preside from the Speaker’s chair;

(i) when a question that could lead to a recorded division is put to the House, in lieu of calling for the yeas and nays, one representative of a recognized party can rise to request a recorded vote or to indicate that the motion is adopted on division, provided that a request for a recorded division has precedence;

(j) when a recorded division is requested in respect of a debatable motion, or a motion to concur in a bill at report stage on a Friday, including any division arising as a consequence of the application of Standing Order 78, but excluding any division in relation to the budget debate, pursuant to Standing Order 84, or the business of supply occurring on the last supply day of a period, other than as provided in Standing Orders 81(17) and 81(18)(b), or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57,

(i) before 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at that day’s sitting, or

(ii) after 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at the next sitting day that is not a Friday,

provided that any extension of time pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1) shall not exceed 90 minutes;

(k) if a motion for the previous question under Standing Order 61 is adopted without a recorded division, the vote on the main question may be deferred under the provisions of paragraph (j), however if a recorded division is requested on the previous question, and such division is deferred and the previous question subsequently adopted, the vote on the original question shall not be deferred;

(l) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on a Wednesday governed by this order, is requested, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions on the same Wednesday, provided that such recorded divisions be taken after the other recorded divisions deferred at that time;

(m) for greater certainty, this order shall not limit the application of Standing Order 45(7);

(n) when a recorded division is to be held, the bells to call in the members shall be sounded for not more than 30 minutes, except recorded divisions deferred to the conclusion of Oral Questions, when the bells shall be sounded for not more than 15 minutes;

(o) recorded divisions shall take place in the usual way for members participating in person or by electronic means through the House of Commons electronic voting application for all other members, provided that:

(i) electronic votes shall be cast from within Canada using the member’s House-managed mobile device and the member’s personal House of Commons account, and that each vote require visual identity validation,

(ii) the period allowed for voting electronically on a motion shall be 10 minutes, to begin after the Chair has read the motion to the House, and members voting electronically may change their vote until the electronic voting period has closed,

(iii) in the event a member casts their vote both in person and electronically, a vote cast in person take precedence,

(iv) any member unable to vote via the electronic voting system during the 10-minute period due to technical issues may connect to the virtual sitting to indicate to the Chair their voting intention by the House videoconferencing system,

(v) following any concern, identified by the electronic voting system, which is raised by a House officer of a recognized party regarding the visual identity of a member using the electronic voting system, the member in question shall respond immediately to confirm their vote, either in person or by the House videoconferencing system, failing which the vote shall not be recorded,

(vi) the whip of each recognized party have access to a tool to confirm the visual identity of each member voting by electronic means, and that the votes of members voting by electronic means be made available to the public during the period allowed for the vote,

(vii) the process for votes in committees of the whole take place in a manner similar to the process for votes during sittings of the House with the exception of the requirement to call in the members,

(viii) any question to be resolved by secret ballot be excluded from this order,

(ix) during the taking of a recorded division on a private members’ business, when the sponsor of the item is the first to vote and present at the beginning of the vote, the member be called first, whether participating in person or remotely;

(p) during meetings of standing, standing joint, special, special joint, except the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency, and legislative committees and the Liaison Committee, as well as their subcommittees, where applicable, members may participate either in person or by videoconference, and provided that priority use of House resources for meetings shall be established by an agreement of the whips and, for virtual or hybrid meetings, the following provisions shall apply:

(i) members who participate remotely shall be counted for the purpose of quorum,

(ii) except for those decided unanimously or on division, all questions shall be decided by a recorded vote,

(iii) when more than one motion is proposed for the election of a chair or a vice-chair of a committee, any motion received after the initial one shall be taken as a notice of motion and such motions shall be put to the committee seriatim until one is adopted,

(iv) public proceedings shall be made available to the public via the House of Commons website,

(v) in camera proceedings may be conducted in a manner that takes into account the potential risks to confidentiality inherent in meetings with remote participants,

(vi) notices of membership substitutions pursuant to Standing Order 114(2) and requests pursuant to Standing Order 106(4) may be filed with the clerk of each committee by email; and

(q) notwithstanding the order adopted on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, regarding the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency, until the committee ceases to exist and where applicable,

(i) the committee shall hold meetings in person only should this be necessary to consider any matter referred to it pursuant to subsection 61(2) of the act,

(ii) members who participate remotely shall be counted for the purpose of quorum,

(iii) except for those decided unanimously or on division, all questions shall be decided by a recorded vote,

(iv) in camera proceedings may be conducted in a manner that takes into account the potential risks to confidentiality inherent in meetings with remote participants,

(v) when more than one motion is proposed for the election of the House vice-chairs, any motion received after the initial one shall be taken as a notice of motion and such motions shall be put to the committee seriatim until one is adopted;

that a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that this House has passed this order; and

that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to undertake a study on hybrid proceedings and the aforementioned changes to the Standing Orders and the usual practice of the House.

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise on this motion and talk about the extension of hybrid provisions for one year and the opportunity for the procedure and House affairs committee members to study the issue of either the use or the non-use of those provisions as they deem through their process and their recommendations thereafter.

I will take us back for a moment to March 2020. As the whole business of the pandemic was unfolding, it was about a week before this House shut down when I had a conversation with the House administration at that time asking what the pandemic plan was and what we had on the books. Of course, those who wrote it had put something together, but it became apparent very quickly upon looking at it that the intersection of what was planned with what happened in real life meant that the plan, frankly, was not of much use.

We then began a process, and I want to thank members from all parties, reflecting back on those early days in March 2020, as we attempted to find a way for Canada's Parliament to continue to do its business and to make sure that, notwithstanding the fact that we had this incredible public health emergency that sent people to their homes, Canadians knew that the seat of their democracy continued to function, continued to get bills passed and continued to put supports out there for them.

Before I talk about some of those supports, I want to take a moment to thank the House administration and officials who worked with us to create these tools and innovations to allow our democracy to continue to function. In an incredibly short period of time, an ability was developed to participate and vote virtually. This eventually led to a voting app and other refinements that have enabled members, whether or not they are sick, whether or not they are unable to be at the House for medical or other reasons, to continue to participate in the proceedings of the House and to make sure they are not disenfranchised and their constituents continue to be represented.

Members would remember that Canadians and businesses were reeling in those early days of COVID, and some three million jobs were lost. There was a real state of folks not knowing where things were going to go. Small businesses were left unable to serve their customers and wondering what their future would be. It was specifically because of the provisions we put in place, which all parties worked on with the House administration, that we were able to still get those supports adopted and make historic support available to make sure that businesses and individuals did not fall through the cracks.

Now we see the economy roaring back, and 115% of jobs lost during the pandemic have come back, compared to below 100% for the United States. We see us being a world leader in economic growth, number two in the G7 and trending towards being number one next year. It is absolutely evident that the supports that were put in place to make sure that Canadians did not fall through the cracks were what got us there.

When we think of the bravery of people opening a small business, taking a chance and putting themselves out in the world, putting their shingle out and hoping to survive, there are a lot of things they have to prepare for, such as the possibility that their product may not be as popular as they had hoped, or the long hours that they, and the people they employ, will have to put in to try to make the business successful. Of course, it is not reasonable for folks to expect that a global pandemic will be the thing that shuts them down. It was, in fact, those hybrid provisions that enabled people to get that work done.

The pandemic continues, but before I talk about the continuing pandemic, I will take a moment to talk about all the things that we got done, and not just those historic supports.

As the pandemic came and went, as we thought it was over last November and we thought that things might be returning to a sense of normalcy but we got hit by omicron, the flexibility of Parliament meant that we were able to continue to get the job of the nation done. We can take a look at how much Parliament was able to accomplish from January to June: 14 bills, not including supply, were presented, and we introduced seven bills in the Senate on a range of important issues. Many of the bills that we are passing now or that have just passed through the House are going to the Senate, and it is our hope and expectation, particularly with the great work that was just done on Bill C-28, that the Senate will be able to get that done as well before it rises for the summer. This was all done using the hybrid provisions.

Let us take a look at some of those bills.

Bill C-19 is critical to grow our economy, foster clean technology, strengthen our health care system and make life more affordable for Canadians in areas such as housing and child care.

Bill C-18 would make sure that media and journalists in Canadian digital news receive fair compensation for their work in an incredibly challenged digital environment.

Bill C-11 would require online streaming services to contribute to the creation and availability of Canadian stories and music to better support Canadian artists.

Bill C-21 would protect Canadians from the dangers of firearms in our communities, making sure that we freeze the market on handguns, attack smuggling at the border and implement red flag provisions to address domestic violence.

Bill C-22 was brought forward to reduce poverty among persons with disabilities in Canada and is part of a broader strategy that has seen more than one million Canadians lifted out of poverty. That is particularly remarkable when we think that it was this government that set the first targets ever for poverty reduction. After we set those goals, we have been exceeding them every step of the way, and Bill C-22 is a big part of that strategy.

Bill C-28, which I talked about a minute ago, deals with the extreme intoxication defence. It is a great example of Parliament in a hybrid environment being able to work collaboratively to ensure that we close an important loophole to make sure that the extreme intoxication defence is not used when murder has been committed.

These are just some of the bills that we have been able to put forward, and we have been able to do so in a way that empowered all members of Parliament to be able to participate, whether they had COVID or not.

To give members a sense of the challenges, not only was all of this done using the hybrid system and during the middle of a pandemic, but it was done while dealing with obstruction. We saw all the times the Conservatives obstructed government legislation. In fact, 17 times over the past 14 weeks, the Conservatives used obstruction tactics, using concurrence motions and other tactics to block and obstruct, in many cases, legislation that was supported by three out of the four official parties here. They took the opportunity to obstruct, yet despite that, we have been able to make great progress.

The Conservatives support Bill C-14, yet we ended up spending a night because they were moving motions to hear their own speakers. At the MAID committee looking at medical assistance in dying, where there was incredibly sensitive testimony, witnesses were not able to testify because of the tactics and games that were happening here in this place. However, despite all that, in a hybrid environment we have been able to move forward.

Let us look at last week. Last week there were five members of the Liberal caucus who had COVID, and one of these people was the Prime Minister. I do not know how many members there were in other caucuses, but all were still able to participate in these proceedings. Every day, unfortunately, thousands of Canadians across the country continue to get COVID. Sadly, many of them are in hospitals and, even more tragically, many of them are dying. This pandemic is still very much a reality.

What we have seen over the last two years is that every time we try to start a parliamentary session, we spend weeks debating whether we should or should not continue using the hybrid system. Parliament deserves stability. People are still getting COVID. They have the right to be able to participate in this place, and as has been demonstrated by the incredible amount of work we have been able to get done during the pandemic, from historic supports in the deepest, darkest time of the pandemic to the more recent times dealing with a whole range of legislation that is absolutely critical to Canadians, these provisions allow us to continue to do the work of this nation in extraordinary times.

I do not think we should be in a position such that every time we start Parliament, we continue to have this debate. Canadians need predictability, as we do not know where this pandemic or public health circumstances are going. Canadians need predictability until the House of Commons, through a committee process, can evaluate the utility and usefulness of the provisions outside of a pandemic reality to see if they should be extended or used. We need to have a proper, thorough debate in that venue, hearing from witnesses, hearing from parliamentarians, taking a look at what was accomplished and at what could be done better or differently.

We are already seeing big improvements in everything, from the services that are being delivered to interpretation. I look forward to PROC's work to see whether or not these provisions have utility, but until then, this measure would give us the stability for PROC to do its report and for Parliament to continue to function in incredibly challenging times.

That is why I think it is only prudent to pass this measure now. It is so that Parliament will have the stability to do its work, so Canadians will know this work will not be interrupted, and so we can focus instead on the business of the nation.

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June 21st, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 3:45 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, November 25, 2021, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment to the motion at third reading of Bill C-11.

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

The House resumed from June 20 consideration of the motion that Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Bill C-21—Time Allocation MotionCriminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 21st, 2022 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, we saw this with Bill C-11: Conservatives blocking witnesses at committee, blocking the tabling of amendments, blocking systematically improvements that needed to come to Bill C-11. Fortunately, we were able to—

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

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, much of the work was also done during the study of the old Bill C‑10, so we need to look not only at the study of Bill C‑11, but at all the debates on the Broadcasting Act.

People in the cultural community, especially those in Quebec, told us there was an urgent need to act and warned against missing this opportunity. That is why it was so important for us to press the government to move forward and pass this bill. Too much time has been wasted already.

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, when it comes to Bill C‑11, it feels like Halloween. Some members tried to scare people. They disguised themselves and it was just awful.

My colleague is absolutely right. The concept of discoverability is very important. We see that with the new digital broadcasters. There are algorithms that more or less decide what we see on the page when we open the app or the site. YouTube is perhaps the best example of that.

If the song, video or show is not available or easily found by the person who uses Netflix or Disney+, this Quebec or francophone culture will not be consumed. Rules are needed, and it will be important for the CRTC to be clear in its directives to ensure that Quebec and Canadian works are visible and relatively easy to find when the person goes to the digital broadcaster's site. If not, if those works end up 158th on the list, no one will ever see them and that will not advance Quebec or Canadian culture.

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

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments and his very pertinent question.

When we talk about cultural content, of course we think of the artists we see on stage, the actors and actresses in a TV series or film. They are the stars, the ones who go to galas and win awards. That is all fine, and we congratulate them.

However, my colleague is quite right to point out that there is a whole industry behind the scenes, including stage technicians, people who look after the sound and lighting, and people who provide the food. There is the whole administrative side, including the accountants who work for the cultural industry, for example. There are dozens of quite different jobs, and these employees do not appear on screen. They are not the ones we see, but they are there and are driving the industry forward. Their jobs enable them to bring home an income to support their families, pay the rent and buy groceries. I think Bill C-11 is good news for all those people.

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June 20th, 2022 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am going to digress a little, but it is relevant.

Caroline Rivera has been on my team from the very beginning, for the past 11 years. I am sure that Carolina, who is of Colombian heritage, would join me in congratulating the leftist winner in yesterday's presidential election in Colombia. I congratulate Colombia's new president, Gustavo Petro, and vice-president, Francia Marquez, Colombia's first Black woman vice-president.

This momentous and historic event reminded me of a quote from another Latin American politician who inspired not only his own country but also an entire continent. He said:

[Member spoke in Spanish]

[Translation]

Let us work together as progressives, as left-leaning men and women, to build a fairer and better society. Those were some of Chilean president Salvador Allende's last words in 1973 from his presidential palace.

That is all I have to share about yesterday's current events and history from down south. I now want to talk about the history that we are making right here, in the House. I am very pleased to speak on behalf of the people of Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, of Montreal and of Quebec in support of this essential and long-overdue bill. The funding ecosystem was outdated and obsolete, and the act had not been thoroughly reviewed in the past 30 years. We ended up with a broken and completely unbalanced system in which creators and our artistic industry, our artists, artisans and technicians, were penalized while others were passing go and saving $200. They were not collecting the money, but they did not have to spend it.

My point is that funding for a whole lot of our television, film and music creations flowed in large part through the Canada Media Fund, which was funded by cable companies back when they had the market to themselves. We said they were the ones with the pipeline and the container, so they would have to pay to put content in the pipeline. That is why the cable companies of this world—Videotron, Shaw, Rogers and Bell nowadays—had to contribute to a fund to support the production of Quebec and Canadian cultural content. It worked pretty well for several years, I must say. It is absolutely crucial to making sure our stories are told and our culture is shared here at home and around the world.

We reached a tipping point when the system stopped working and became unfair and inequitable. That was when new online broadcasters hit the scene. Now they are the ones pocketing mega profits by streaming tonnes of content live and online. I am talking about companies such as Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube that did not exist 30 years ago of course. They were not planned for. We found ourselves in a situation where cable companies, which had fewer and fewer subscribers and therefore less and less revenue, were the only ones paying into the media fund, so the fund was shrinking. Meanwhile, all the new digital broadcasters that were growing so fast did not have to pay a penny.

It was hurting our producers, our creators, because a large part of that money was not being invested or spent. That meant that some productions were shelved.

The other important point to remember is that we are also dealing with web giants that do not pay their taxes. They do not contribute at all to the general coffers, to our collective wealth, to help pay for our public services. Some will say that that is a whole other debate. Yes, it is a debate about the taxation of web giants, but it is also relevant here because web giants are also not paying their share in this situation. That is extremely important.

An estimated $3 billion is invested in an artistic, television, film and musical production. By requiring these digital broadcasters, these web giants, to pay their share, Bill C-11 will add more than $1 billion to this industry. We are restoring the balance, injecting money from the web giants who have, unfortunately, been benefiting for years from not paying. We need this bill to restore the balance and to support our creators in a much more effective and visible way.

There is a lot that could be done with this money. It would mean more productions, more content, more jobs. This is about our identity and about jobs in the cultural sector. It will translate into more sets, technicians, artisans, directors, screenwriters and writers. It is absolutely essential and important.

I believe that this will help us ensure that those in the music industry, who are currently paid peanuts by streaming services such as Spotify, will potentially earn more thanks to the rules that will be established. Members will recall the very frank statement by singer Pierre Lapointe at a ADISQ gala. He spoke about the amount of money he earned, a few hundred dollars, for hundreds of thousands of views or streams of one of his songs. We are obviously well aware that this system could not continue. It did not make sense and it had to be fixed. That is what we are doing, albeit a little too late. This should have been done sooner for many of our creators, but it is not too late to do the right thing. We could not continue with the existing situation.

Bill C-11 is important. The NDP was also successful in getting amendments passed that improved the government's original bill. We are very proud of that. I had a request from people in Montreal who asked us to clarify and better define the mandate of Radio-Canada International, which has unfortunately suffered cuts over the years. At the very least, they want to save what is left, so that our news is broadcast around the world in several languages.

Speaking of languages, one of the first amendments we passed to improve and amend the broadcasting bill had to do with all indigenous or first nations productions. They will receive more support, more money to share their stories, their realities and their experiences in their communities, in French and English, but also in indigenous languages, if they so desire. We strengthened those measures and have done the same for other groups of citizens, such as racialized people and people with disabilities. These were priorities for the NDP. We put forward these amendments and we succeeded in getting them passed.

Another issue is more support for community television and community radio, which are really very important in many regions and many parts of the country. I think it is important to flip the curve that put community television and radio at a disadvantage. This injects a little more money and support.

Yet another issue is enhanced protection for local jobs in Quebec and Canada, greater protection for our creators' intellectual property, more protection for freedom of expression and, to enforce all that, more powers enabling the CRTC to oversee it all for the good of society as a whole.

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June 20th, 2022 / 5:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I simply want to again applaud the expertise of the member for Drummond, who worked so hard and so thoroughly. I also applaud the brilliant idea of reviewing this law every five years.

Could my colleague tell us what he thinks the future holds for Bill C‑11 and what amendments he predicts will be made in five years?

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

Liberal

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

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

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

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

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

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

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the hon. member's reference to the TV and movie filming of Deadpool in Vancouver that made me think to rise and ask this question of him.

That is, of course, important programming and an important industry for the Vancouver area, but I want to ask him if he is aware of the fact that most of that kind of production value in Canada pays Canadian actors what is called “at scale”. They are not paid anything like what the U.S. actors who come in and get dropped into the community are paid, and a lot of the working crew comes in from the U.S. It does not employ Canadians. That is a lot of what I hope Bill C-11 may change in the future. I hope for a chance to really create a level playing ground, so that when Canada is used as the backdrop for films, even around a Canadian story, Canadians are not treated as second-class citizens.