Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this.
I want to make sure I had a chance to explain my position on this bill, especially since Mr. Bigras has spent a lot of time on this.
When I was first asked to speak to this bill, when it came forward at second reading, I did so with some trepidation. I mean, who among us wants to speak out against reducing violence on television as it impacts children? None of us wants to do that.
When I had a chance to actually look at the bill...as a lawyer, I look at it from that perspective. I think most of us will agree that when you look at proposed subsection 10(1)(1), it's a power much broader than simply restricting violence on television as it relates to children. It's a very broad power. Virtually all the witnesses at our committee agreed that it was so broad that it amounted to a power to censor that would be given to the minister. That in itself caused me some great concern.
I agree that it's unfair to link this bill with Bill C-10, because one deals with direct or indirect public funding of violent programs on television, and the other one doesn't.
I do agree that our focus needs to be on media literacy and on encouraging parents to become involved in the lives of their children. When Mr. Bélanger first requested that we have young Canadians, children, come before us at this committee, I met that proposal with some skepticism.
I believe he was right in bringing them to our table. They gave us a much different perspective from that which we might have as adults. Most of the children there I think acknowledged that it's virtually impossible to regulate all of the violent programming available to them. We have the Internet, new digital platforms that arise virtually every year, and even on television, because of time shifting and different time zones, it's virtually impossible to regulate all of that.
The focus has to be on parents taking an interest in the lives of their children. I was somewhat shocked when even some of our young Canadians admitted that they could watch virtually anything, whether it was on the Internet or on television, because their parents really were never there to control what they were watching. Not one of them could say that their parents were using the V-chip to control their viewing. To me, that's a failing of parents, some parents. I think that's where a lot of the effort has to be.
I want to commend Mr. Bigras for bringing this forward, because I believe there is some programming on the Internet, in video games, and on television that is perhaps still inappropriate for children during normal viewing hours. I had a young family for whom I was very critical. We took some very dramatic steps to make sure they didn't view inappropriate programming.
Given that, though, I would encourage Mr. Bigras to take this up with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and perhaps work with them in implementing some changes to their code that he and they might deem appropriate to fulfill his objectives. This bill will not do that and, just by its plain drafting, is so broad that I think it fairly attracts the label of being a censorship bill.
I'll be voting in favour of the main motion, but I do commend you, Mr. Bigras, for bringing forward an issue that to me is very important and I think to most of us is very important. This should not be construed as not being concerned about violence on television as it relates to children. That's not at all the case.