I'll begin, Mr.Chair, if that's all right with you.
Thank you very much, and good day, colleagues. Thank you for allowing both of us the opportunity to speak to the committee about our government's Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-32.
With this bill, the Harper government is keeping its promise to introduce legislation to modernize Canadian copyright law, protect and create jobs, foster innovation and attract new investments to Canada.
The act strikes a balanced approach. It is both consumer and creator friendly. It is the result of an unprecedented consultation process. We've received submissions from over 8,600 Canadians. There were face-to-face meetings in nearly every major city in Canada, and we took into account the views of artists, performers, shoppers, surfers, business people, and students.
Today I can confidently say to you that this bill represents what we feel is the best compromise for the betterment of both creators and consumers that we could possibly reach. Frankly, for a bill of this scope, balance is our only option.
Mr. Chair, on Monday I delivered an interim report to Canadians on the progress our government has made on developing Canada's digital economy strategy. As a government, we are committed to encouraging further engagement and growth in the emerging digital economy.
Digital media is poised to transform our economy in ways we have not yet imagined. Worldwide the digital media sector is expected to grow to $2.2 trillion over the next five years.
To flourish in a global digital economy, Canada is not only going to need strong technological industries, we're also going to need to equip our labour force with the digital skills necessary to embrace and succeed in an era of new media, services, and commerce.
Bill C-32 is an important brick in the foundation we are building to support the digital economy of tomorrow.
Technology continues to evolve quickly. New devices and products are constantly coming on the market, and it is important that our Copyright Act be adjusted to that evolving digital environment. Our government anticipated this situation.
That's why this legislation has been drafted as technology neutral, to stand the test of time and adapt to the technologies of tomorrow. It removes barriers to the smooth introduction and adaptation of technologies like the network personal video recorder and file computing.
In the classroom, it ensures that online lectures, Smart Boards, tablet computing, and other innovative technologies, and, most importantly, the students they benefit are not going to be disadvantaged under the law.
Our kids can learn in a multitude of ways with the aid of a multitude of technologies. With this legislation we'll be able to better equip them with the tools they need to learn, so that they can grow into the digitally skilled and tech savvy workforce Canada needs to be competitive in, in the digital age.
These amendments are needed not only for the schools, but also for all Canadians who are involved in activities such as home schooling by parents, distance learning or skills acquisition.
The bill ensures that Canada's students will benefit from material that has already been made publicly available online as a powerful learning tool in the classroom wherever that classroom may be.
To sum up, Mr. Chair, this is an important and essential piece of legislation. It is Canada's foundation for the digital economy of tomorrow, and what Canadians need now is the timely passage of this bill. We cannot wait any longer.
I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone in this room that the last time the act was updated we were waiting for Titanic to come out on VHS so we could watch it at home on our VCRs. Times have changed.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.