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

In committee (House), as of May 12, 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

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)

Extension of Sitting Hours and Conduct of Extended ProceedingsGovernment Orders

May 2nd, 2022 / 6:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, if I am saying something that is unparliamentary or inappropriate, I would expect the Speaker to call me out on that and tell me to discontinue. I did not hear that in what you said. I understood that you are personally concerned about some of the things I was saying, but I do not think I did that.

Nonetheless, I think I am only feeding back what I get. This is the Conservative Party, whose members have called the Prime Minister a trust fund baby in the House. It causes me to be critical, and if they cannot take it, I am sorry, but this is the reality of the situation. They had better learn how to do that.

I will get back to the motion. This motion is about making sure that we have the proper tools in place for legislation to get through. We are talking about the budget. We are also talking about Bill C-11, the modernizing of the Broadcasting Act; Bill C-13, an update to the Official Languages Act; Bill C-14, on electoral representatives; and Bill C-18, enhancing fairness in the Canadian online news marketplace. These are the pieces of legislation this government has deemed to be the priority moving forward. What we are seeing from the other side are Conservatives not wanting to let the legislation go through.

I am sorry if my saying that is offensive to anybody, but the reality is that on Bill C-8 alone, there have been 12 days of debate since report stage was introduced. Two Green Party members have spoken to it. Two NDP members have spoken to it. Three Liberals have spoken to it, and five Bloc members have spoken to it. Does anyone know how many Conservatives have spoken to it?

It is more than four or five. Do members think it is ten? No, it is more. Do members think it is twenty, thirty, or forty? No, it is more. Fifty-one Conservatives have spoken to Bill C-8 since the report stage of that bill was introduced. They cannot tell me that this is not a political game for the Conservatives to be obstructionist. That is exactly what they are doing, and they do it day in and day out.

The NDP has finally seen beyond it. New Democrats do not want anything to do with it, and they want to actually work on behalf of Canadians. Then they get criticized for not following along with the games the Conservatives are playing. That is literally what happens.

When the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman was talking about closure being put on this motion, he said something very interesting, and I would like to read it from the blues. He said, “We [already] just voted on the closure motion to ensure that there is a vote on Motion No. 11. Motion No. 11 is going to be coming into force whether we like it or not. The government, with [their] unholy alliance with the NDP, will get its Motion No. 11 through and we do not feel like it is necessary to sit there and debate this...long, drawn-out process.” Then why are they going to put us through this? They will make every single second of debate go on. They will not let this collapse.

The member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman just said himself that he knows this is going to pass and that debating it is absolutely pointless, yet he wants it to go on. Why is that? It is because he wants to push this on as long as possible, along with the rest of the Conservatives and the Bloc, so that we cannot get legislation debated and ultimately passed. That is not our job here. Our job here is to work on behalf of Canadians. The Conservatives' job is to criticize the legislation, to try to improve the legislation, not to put up roadblock after roadblock at every single opportunity they have, which is what they are doing.

I find it interesting that the Conservatives have on a number of occasions talked about how this government does not want to work. This is not a new motion. The timing of it is slightly earlier than normal, but we always have a motion like this to extend sitting hours. I would like to read some quotes.

The member for Mégantic—L'Érable said, on May 28, 2019, to a similar motion, “We are not opposed to working late every evening. We want to work and make progress on files.” In a similar debate two years earlier, on May 30, he said, “We want to work late, and we are prepared to do that and to collaborate with the government”.

The member for Lethbridge on May 1, 2017, said, “The Liberals would like to stop sitting in the House of Commons on Fridays. They would like to move us to a four-day workweek.... The Liberals want Fridays off. They [want to have] a four-day workweek [and that] is more than enough.”

The then leader of the opposition on May 29, 2017, said, “We know they want Fridays off and we know [that this] is a big deal to them. They do not want to be working Fridays. They do not realize that Canadians work five days a week, and many times [they work] more than five days a week.”

We are asking to work more than five days a week, which is exactly what the then leader of the opposition said in May 2017. That is the interesting part about all of this. One cannot help but wonder why, if they want to speak to all of this legislation at great length, and if they want to put up 51-plus speakers on every piece of legislation, they would not be interested in sitting into the evenings to do that. We certainly are. They accused us of not wanting to do it.

April 26th, 2022 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Thank you very much.

My next question is for Facebook.

Thank you, Ms. Curran, for being here today.

I want to talk a bit about what happened in Australia. As you know, the Australian government brought forward legislation that would force Facebook to pay publishers of news media if Facebook hosted, or users shared, news content. As you know, Facebook retaliated and banned news links from being shared by Facebook users in Australia, and shut down Australian news pages hosted on the Facebook platform, in a protest to the Australian law that the government was looking to bring forward. Ultimately, Facebook had cut off the ability to share news publications online from users or otherwise. An agreement was reached shortly afterwards, but it did take this extraordinary step to ban the sharing of news publications.

We know that the Liberal government brought forward a similar bill to what the Australian government did. Bill C-18 has some similarities. It's called, in short, the online news act. You may be familiar with it. There's also Bill C-11, which aims to control what Canadians see when they open their social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Ms. Curran, is it reasonable to believe that Facebook could do the same thing in Canada as it did in Australia and prohibit the sharing of news, should the Liberal government move forward with bills such as Bill C-18 or other iterations of it?

An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official LanguagesGovernment Orders

April 6th, 2022 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, French in North America is under pressure on all sides and especially online, which is why we introduced Bill C‑11.

However, Bill C‑13 gives francophones the right to work in French.

April 4th, 2022 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Awesome. Thank you so much, Chair. I apologize to the committee.

I started out by welcoming the witnesses, and of course thanking them for the good work they're doing.

Thank you for giving us your time today. I also acknowledge the good work that artists have done, not only to keep us entertained throughout the pandemic but long, long before that, and contributing to the arts and culture within Canada.

There are a great variety of artists, and I think those voices deserve to be celebrated across this country, no matter their platform or the artistic expression of their choosing.

We've heard from a variety of artists at this committee, but I don't want to assume that either of you have listened to the different discussions that have gone on here.

Darcy Michael is a comedian and a digital first creator. He offered some really interesting comments that spurred a few questions from me.

Again, coming back to the fact that you probably haven't listened to all of the testimony that has been shared here, I would like to read a quote from his time, and then I have a question for Mr. Beaulieu.

Mr. Michael said the following:

Some of you might not be aware of this, but for some reason that no one has ever been able to explain to me, comedy is not a recognized art form in Canada. As comedy is not recognized as an art form, unlike musicians, actors, dancers and writers, comedians are not eligible for grants in Canada, which meant that the pandemic left no options to help me or my family. So I pivoted. I decided to take the concept of my sitcom to digital platforms like TikTok and Instagram, partially to entertain myself during those early dark days of the pandemic, but also because I wanted to prove the concept of the show—not in hopes of networks changing their minds, but because I'm bitter and I wanted to prove them wrong. I did. Fast-forward to today. Eighteen months after first joining TikTok, across all social media platforms, I have three million followers. Our TikTok channel alone averages 40 million to 60 million views a month. For the first time in my career, I'm reaching Canadian households that I could have only dreamed about before. Not only that, I own 100% of my content. I'm 100% in creative control, and I keep 100% of my profits. With platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, artists can be in control of their creations, their content and their businesses. Of course, networks and record labels are crying foul, because they can no longer take advantage of the starving artist. Being a content creator online has single-handedly been the best decision I've ever made. [...] Before pivoting to being a digital creator, I was making ends meet as an artist, but just barely.

He went on to say:

Not only has our success benefited us financially, but by my working directly with Canadian brands across our social media platforms, in just the last 12 months, we've helped put over $500,000 in sales back into the Canadian economy. That's from one channel on TikTok.

He further went on to say:

Bill C-11 will directly affect my ability to earn an income. [...]

I just think that we need to make an amendment to that one portion of the bill. I don't want to be included. I don't want to be paying 30% to something that I don't benefit from as a digital creator. I think it's a second tax. I think that by the end of the day I'll be paying 80% tax on my income. That isn't fair.

Mr. Beaulieu, you commented on the taxation scheme within Canada and how greater benefit might be afforded to artists. I didn't hear any specific mention of digital artists. I believe that they need to be considered, because they fit within the grand framework of Canadian artistry in this country.

We've heard from many artists who have succeeded by pivoting to these creative platforms. They already pay an income tax from their income as an individual. Now they're concerned that there's going to be an additional 30% that they'll have to pay with Bill C-11 passing, which causes them to fall under the CRTC and having to contribute to the arts fund.

My question for you is, would a 30% tax on top of the income tax that they already pay help digital first creators to better earn a living?

April 4th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Lisa Hepfner Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Thanks very much.

I'll pick up where my colleague Mr. Uppal left off.

First of all, Mr. Ripley, you keep talking about this survey that your department did. I'm wondering if you have some sort of summary or report that came out of that survey. Maybe you can provide it to the committee so that we can have use of it for our study.

I'd like to ask you also about digital creators. This question might be prefaced on whether or not Bill C-11 receives royal assent. I'm wondering if digital producers could be considered producers under the SAA. Could the Status of the Artist Act possibly serve as a model for collective bargaining for digital producers?

March 30th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I want to thank all the witnesses for coming today. All of you are inspiring in terms of the work that you do. Thank you very much.

Given that these hearings are on the Status of the Artist Act, I'm not going to deal with Bill C-11. I'm going to deal with the Status of the Artist Act.

I'm going to start by talking about the FCCF, an incredible organization that I've had the pleasure of working with on several occasions.

Ms. Morin, I know all the work your organization does for the francophonie across Canada, and I thank you for that.

In your speech, you mentioned the essential nature of arts and culture, particularly within the Canadian and Acadian francophonie. What do you mean by “essential”?

March 30th, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Gonez, I can appreciate the challenges you faced. You highlighted that it is certainly not a level playing field. The current government is claiming that with Bill C-11 they're going to level the playing field, but under this bill they'll be requiring people such as you, digital-first creators, to contribute to the art fund. Right now under the CRTC, that requirement is 30% of revenue right off the top. That's not 30% of profit; that's 30% of revenue.

They're saying that a measure like this will help to level the playing field, but they haven't clearly said that in the same way you pay into it, you'll be able to pull out of it. Under the current terms, there's actually no allowance for that. So they're happy to take your money, but they won't be happy to give any of it back in the form of grants.

I'm just wondering how something like this might hinder you as a digital-first creator.

March 30th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Brandon Gonez Chief Executive Officer, Gonez Media Inc.

Thank you so much.

As you heard, my name is Brandon Gonez. My experience is unique. I spent several years in the traditional system, working for all the major networks, including CTV and Global News here in Canada. However, I quickly learned that there were limitations on the types of stories I could tell and the growth opportunities available.

I decided to go out on my own and launch my own digital media company, called Gonez Media Inc. Part of this is The BG Show and News You Can Use, which live primarily on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

After launching, I immediately saw the huge opportunity that online platforms can provide. Every day, I'm able to export Canadian stories to a worldwide audience at absolutely no cost. Our growth has been remarkable. I started just over a year ago and today, I employ 10 people and run a full studio in Toronto. As an independent creator, I also have the opportunity to tell stories that matter to me to represent local and diverse communities whose stories aren't often shared in legacy media.

This committee undertook the study of the Status of the Artist Act to consider whether there are other mechanisms the federal government should be looking at in order to support artists and creators. What stands out to me about the act is that, like many other regulatory frameworks, it doesn't apply to digital creators like me, because it became law well before the Internet existed as we know it today.

The Internet has fundamentally changed the relationship between creators and audiences—in my opinion, in a very good way. It has given me and so many others the opportunity to build our audiences and our businesses without government assistance. I encourage you to take this into consideration when it comes to your evaluation of the Status of the Artists Act and other legislation, like Bill C-11, which you will eventually be asked to study.

I am here today to advocate for the next generation of creators, who will ultimately be Canada's biggest cultural export.

Thank you for having me today. I look forward to answering any questions you may have about my path from the traditional broadcasting system to where I am today, as the CEO of my own entertainment company, leveraging the power of the open Internet to create Canada's number one online news and entertainment show.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to get my colleague's thoughts on the concerns being raised by YouTube and Michael Geist, foremost expert in Canada on the Internet and e-commerce, concerning the threat that Bill C-11 would be forcing streaming platforms to push Canadian content. It sounds great, but as a consequence it may actually downgrade that content abroad, which I think would be very concerning to our online content creators.

Can I get the member's thoughts on that?

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Corey Tochor Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Mr. Speaker, be it across the floor or at committee, when Bill C-11 gets there, I wonder what the coalition partners are going to ask. How are they actually going to scrutinize the bill when their partner, the Liberal government, is proposing it? In the case of Bill C-10, we did see some questioning from the NDP on that government bill, and ultimately, thankfully, Bill C-10 was defeated. I have less hope for this bill.

I have less hope for the freedoms that Canadians have relied on and expect to have in their country. After the bill passes, we will have an Internet tsar that will tell us what we can and cannot post and what content we can watch. Meanwhile, I have highlighted how problematic it is that through technology we are going to be able to do an end run around that.

What would this bill actually accomplish? I believe that in the end it is going to limit people's choices, not expand them. It will not expand a creator's ability to tell Canadian stories, and that is what needs to happen first. We will see when this bill gets to committee.

I know some members have questions for me and I am going to cede my time and allow them to ask those questions and have a proper debate. I do hope that we have a proper debate at committee, because we have heard from too many Canadians that the bill is wrong.

To the Canadians who are watching, please consider contacting your Liberal or NDP-Liberal government MP at their office and explain why this censorship bill is not right for Canada.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Corey Tochor Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Madam Speaker, it is good to hear the NDP members defending themselves on crossing the floor. I think they are going to have to defend themselves a lot, because I believe history will show the follies in the move they have made to prop up the government.

There were also problems with the last time this bill was before the House as Bill C-10. Now it is Bill C-11, but Bill C-10 was at committee. At that time, the NDP did not cross the floor, but the bill never became law, thankfully.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Corey Tochor Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to take part in this important debate.

Thinking back in history about failed regimes, what did they do? In the dying days of these governments, they censor the public. They take over broadcasters. They print money. They put down protesters and stifle free speech. How that relates to this government, to this failed regime, is that I believe Bill C-11 follows in those dangerous footsteps that we have seen around the world in different parts of history when failed regimes overreach.

We even heard this after the preceding speech by the member for Thornhill. The question was about going onto Netflix and not finding Canadian content. The problem is that with VPN and different technologies, we can pretend that we are anywhere in the world, so we are trying to regulate something that cannot be regulated. Unfortunately, that is going to make an uneven playing field for some.

We all want Canadian content. We all want Canadian content to be produced to tell our stories. It has been pointed out that it is not the creators but the portal or the streaming services, but the bill unfortunately is an analogy with different parts in history when governments burned books or banned books to be sold. Authors could write all the books they wanted, but only government-approved books were sold, and in government-run stores.

This is the problem we have with the government. It is overreach. The Liberals think they can regulate everything in our lives. Many Canadians have reached out to me to say that they disagree with this approach. They disagree that we need the censorship that comes with Bill C-11. They disagree with the CRTC not reporting to Parliament, to all of us, but to the Prime Minister.

It is troubling that an order in council will clarify the instructions on the bill. That is quite frightening. Also, on the backdrop of what the last week and a bit have been, we have had the NDP prop up the government and then literally almost cross the floor to support the Liberals in their endeavours. With the floor-crossing NDP supporting the Liberals, the bill will pass.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Melissa Lantsman Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to have the opportunity to rise in this place on behalf of the good people of Thornhill to speak to issues within Bill C-11, the online streaming act. It is a new name. As many will remember, in the previous Parliament my colleagues in this place spoke to the issues in a different bill: That was Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act.

While this new bill has a new title, the very same issues exist in this bill as did in the last. It is almost the same bill, with a different name and the same problems. Those problems were an admission of the former heritage minister: He said it was flawed. It was a flawed bill that nevertheless passed the House only for Canadians to be spared its overreach by an election the Liberals deemed the most important in history. That, of course, brought us to almost the same result, with the same bill by a different name. This bill is a near copy of the government's deeply flawed Bill C-10. It fails to address the serious concerns raised by experts and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

While we will hear members opposite claim that there is now an exemption for user-generated content, which is one of the major concerns the minister admitted was deeply flawed, the new bill would do the same thing as the old bill and would allow the CRTC to regulate any content that generates revenue, directly or indirectly. That means virtually all content would still be regulated, including independent content creators earning a living from platforms such as YouTube, Spotify or even TikTok, which is a favourite of some members in the new government arrangement.

Let me be absolutely clear. Conservatives support creating a level playing field between large, foreign streaming services and Canadian broadcasters while protecting the individual rights and freedoms of all Canadians. That is fundamental. We also know that Canada is home to many world-class writers, actors, composers, musicians, artists and creators. Creators need rules that do not hold back their ability to be Canadian and global successes. With this all being true, there are those who are rightfully warning that digital creators, those we celebrate as Canadian stars, could lose foreign revenue if the government forces digital platforms to promote Canadian content. That means cutting into revenue that Canadian content creators earn, which is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

The online streaming act would skew the algorithm our online platforms use to match them with viewers' personal preferences. That force-feeding of Canadian content that the government chooses, rather than what might match the viewers' preferences, is no doubt a problem: When they force people to watch something that they may not want to watch, in an effort to promote it, they might be doing the exact opposite. It would suggest that if they force content on viewers, a conclusion could very well be that the forced content is not actually popular, leading of course to potentially less promotion abroad of what was irreparably deemed unpopular by the government or the CRTC.

This is actually disadvantaging our talent, which is arguably one of our greatest exports. Yes, as many in the House know, videos that few people watch are actually harder to find. They do not pop up. They are not promoted. If people do not select the Canadian content the government decides it wants them to watch or that it has offered them, people click on something else, leading to perhaps the dreaded thumbs-down rating. This, of course, knows no boundaries, and it would be deemed less popular here and abroad. Again, the government will say it is not doing that and that it will not regulate YouTube users and TikTok users who post their content, but that is not what the bill says.

The bill would give the authority to the CRTC to regulate any content. Even if people were to take this at face value and believe it, why would the government not make that scope in the bill more clear? Why would it not make it more prescriptive? If it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it is probably a duck. Hiding behind the complexity of legislation, as the minister has, should be a concern to every single Canadian who generates content that this bill would regulate and every single Canadian who watches it.

It should be of great concern that the CRTC is being tasked with administering the act. It is a body already stretched to its limits in this country. A fair question to anyone supporting this bill would simply be that if the CRTC lacks the capacity to carry out its current mandate effectively, how can it be expected to take on the entire, infinite Internet? Knowing all that, the CRTC would be handed the power to develop the rules and regulations. It could make those up as it goes along, because guess what? The bill does not stipulate it.

This act would bestow on the CRTC the ability to determine its own jurisdiction without constraints, again despite it having no capacity to even do it.

Let us put that very serious issue aside for a moment and pretend the government bill does not do what it says it is going to do.

When the government sticks its nose in where it does not belong, we find ourselves up against a difficult reality that has become a recurring theme for the opposition.

If this bill is passed, Canada will become the first democratic country to enforce its Internet regulation law. Canada will also become the first country to regulate online content created by people living in Canada.

We will be in good company with dictators from countries like Iran, Turkey and North Korea when it comes to protecting personal freedoms, because the government is not comfortable with a vast, open communication space that exists outside its control.

That is control the government could potentially exert over the tens of thousands of digital first creators who have found a way to earn a living and export their talent globally. We should be celebrating these accomplishments. We should be encouraging their spirit of entrepreneurship. We absolutely should not be punishing them with the demands of this legislation under the guise of creating a “level playing field”, as the government says, “where web giants will pay their fair share”. What we would actually get is like the disappointment we get in a cereal box: We would get an Internet czar, which sounds alarming because it is alarming.

It is important to remind members of the House that the Broadcasting Act was not meant to regulate the Internet. Many will say that this modernization of an act that was put in place for radio and TV will somehow boost the Canadian arts and culture sector. To that, I say I have a bridge to sell them. It is not going to happen. That is not how it works. More regulation has never, and will never, incentivize more artistic creation, let alone more wealth and success for creators, because one thing is for certain. When the government-instructed bureaucrats pick winners and losers, there are no winners in this realm or in any other in the history of government. Having the government pick winners, based on how Canadian content is viewed or how it decides what we will watch, is an imposition on our freedom to choose what we actually want to watch. It also does not lead to more Canadian content.

Bill C-11 is a solution looking for a problem that does not exist. I hope members of the House will carefully review every aspect of this bill because, as a member before me said, it is going to have grave consequences for generations to come. There is a lack of clarity in this bill on what it is going to do. Instead of promoting our Canadian creators, it actually punishes them.

I hope that members of the House will think of their rights and freedoms on the Internet before they agree with the current government's illogical pursuit to control what we see online.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Gerald Soroka Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak on Bill C-11, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.

I have received many concerns about this bill from many of my constituents. They are worried this bill is against the freedoms their ancestors fought and died for. In their view, Bill C-11, which is also known as the online streaming act, is an overreach that would slowly erode their freedoms and eliminate their free speech.

This bill would give the CRTC enormous powers by putting the commission in charge of regulating streaming services and video sharing sites as well as traditional broadcasters. Will the regulator be prepared to handle sweeping jurisdiction over audiovisual services around the world? Where is the evidence the CRTC has the expertise to address these issues?

Matt Hatfield, campaign director of Open Media, stated, “The online streaming act continues to give the CRTC the power to use sorely outdated 1980s ideas about what 'Canadian' content is, to control what shows up on our online feeds and what doesn't.” By making the CRTC the de facto regulator of the Internet, the Liberal government's strategy poses a serious threat to innovation, competition and freedom of expression.

There are still concerns the law could apply to people using and posting content on social media. It is simply a “just trust us” approach. It is all there in the text of the new legislation, which looks remarkably like the old legislation known as Bill C-10.

While the bill numbers have changed, the purpose of Bill C-11 has not. The bill states its purpose is to add online undertakings for the transmission or retransmission of programs over the Internet as a distinct class of broadcasting undertakings. The reason for that is so the CRTC can determine the proportion of programs to be broadcast that shall be Canadian programs.

Canada is home to many world-class writers, actors, composers, musicians, artists and creators who need rules that do not hold back their ability to be a Canadian and a global success. The Liberals claim there is now an exemption for user-generated content, but this legislation would allow the CRTC to regulate any content that generates revenue directly or indirectly. That means virtually all content would still be regulated, including independent content creators earning a living on social media platforms like YouTube or Spotify.

The term “web giants” is frequently used by the Liberal government when talking about Bill C-11 and broadcast reform. According to Facebook's Ad Library, at the time Bill C-11 was tabled, the Liberal Party of Canada's Facebook page spent $4,233,000 on paid ads since June 25, 2019, and the Prime Minister's Facebook page spent $2.8 million on paid ads. How does the Liberal government justify its attack on so-called web giants in speeches while it keeps putting money into Facebook to promote itself?

If this bill passes, Netflix, Prime, Apple Music or Stitcher accounts would be required to ensure the discoverability of Canadian content. What exactly are the details? Public Works and Government Services Canada's own annual report on Government of Canada advertising activities from 2020 to 2021 shows that the Liberal government spent $11.6 million on advertising on Facebook and Instagram, $3.2 million on Twitter, $2.8 million on Snapchat, $1.5 million on Linkedln, $377,000 on TikTok and $265,000 on Pinterest. Why does the Liberal government say one thing and spend taxpayers' money in another way?

Dr. Michael Geist, Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa said, “for all the talk that user generated content is out, the truth is that everything from podcasts to TikTok videos fit neatly into the new exception that gives the CRTC the power to regulate such content as a 'program'.”

There are many issues with Bill C-11 for digital-first creators that are said to be given to the CRTC. It is too broad and could include every piece of content online. Most alarming is that there is still room in the bill for the government to force platforms to put approved Canadian content ahead of independent Canadian content and artificially manipulate the algorithms. This bill only has downsides for digital-first creators. While the traditional media industry gets their funding doubled, the requirement for streamers to pay into the creation of Canadian content could see some services leave Canada.

Digital content creators in Canada have been successful in building platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and others that export Canadian content to the rest of the world, not only bringing revenue from other countries back home to Canada but also hiring local taxpaying Canadian workers. These achievements should be supported, celebrated and encouraged.

Bill C-11 is presented to support the future of the broadcast industry but ignores all the global reach of Canadian digital success stories in favour of an outdated delegated broadcast model. The only thing that Bill C-11 will succeed at is falsely swaying the procedures of social platforms. This could eventually have a negative effect on Canadian content. What it will do is marginalize the people who, through their hard work and dedication, are making an impact by sharing Canadian content worldwide. YouTube's algorithm, which applies across borders, detects whether a video has been watched, ignored or turned off partway through, as well as whether it gets a thumbs-up or it is disliked. This influences how the content is promoted, not just in Canada but beyond its borders.

Bill C-11 subjects streaming companies, such as Netflix, to the same rules as traditional Canadian broadcasters. It would force web firms to offer a set amount of Canadian content and invest heavily in Canada's cultural industries, including film, television and music. Because of our relatively small population, will they make these financial investments to create Canadian content?

The bill will also update the 1991 Broadcasting Act, which predates the Internet revolution that changed the way people watch film and video content and listen to music. The government says the bill would not regulate user-generated material and would give platforms room to decide how they promote Canadian content, yet critics warn this could lead to the regulation of people posting videos on YouTube. In 2020, Oxford Economics calculated that YouTube contributed $923 million to Canada's gross domestic product, including payments from ads alongside YouTube videos and royalty payments to music labels.

I question whether the government should even get involved in determining what constitutes Canadian content. With Bill C-11, it would seem the Liberals don't want to hear from digital-first creators and their thoughts on the destructive impact Bill C-11 will have on them if passed. If passed, Canadians could see fewer services offered, more government regulation of what we can watch or listen to online and a loss of jobs.

Bill C-10 was problematic. Its replacement, Bill C-11, is no better and should be scrapped. We Conservatives support creating a level playing field between large foreign streaming services and Canadian broadcasters, while protecting the individual rights and freedoms of Canadians.

In closing, we Conservatives will continue to bring forward amendments to protect Canadians' free speech and the livelihoods of independent content creators by carefully reviewing every aspect of Bill C-11, and we expect the Liberal government to allow the full study and review it requires.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

March 29th, 2022 / 5 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I know my colleague from Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon has a very large riding that is home to many first nations with a very rich history and culture. My own riding is home to the Coast Salish people, who speak Halkomelem.

I would like to ask the member about the provisions in Bill C-11 that are going to allow first nations and indigenous people across Canada to have the ability to access broadcasting services, and probably do so in their own language, and what that is going to really mean to those individual communities. Would he not agree with me, considering the deep, rich, cultural history of his riding, that this is a very positive aspect to Bill C-11?