Evidence of meeting #3 for Canadian Heritage in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was media.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Hélène Laurendeau  Deputy Minister, Department of Canadian Heritage
Jean-Stéphen Piché  Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Cultural Affairs, Department of Canadian Heritage

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

That is a good question. You are right to say it is a fast lane, but it is not an instant lane either.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

I understand.

February 26th, 2020 / 4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

You understand there is still a whole set of procedures to follow, but that is one of the options we are looking at.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

How long do you think it will take for these digital broadcasters to participate in our system? What is your game plan in terms of timeframes?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

I have said it before and I will say it again. I intend to introduce legislation on this issue by June, or even sooner if possible. We are not in control of all the mechanics of the decision-making process on this issue. Nevertheless, I hope that by the end of the year we will have new mechanisms in place, but it is not up to me alone. We will need support, and I will be counting on you and your team.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Perfect, thank you.

Do you think these digital broadcasters, these Internet giants, should contribute through the Canada Media Fund?

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

You saw in Ms. Yale's report that there is a proposal to create one fund rather than several. These different funds are, in a way, representative of a time when things worked somewhat in silos, whereas now that is much less the case. It is one option. Will it be the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm Canada or a new fund, as recommended in the Yale report? We are looking at all of that right now.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

I hope that you will not consider creating private funds or funds that would be outside the regulatory framework, because then we would have fewer tools to ensure, for instance, a minimum amount of French-language content.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Honestly, this is the first time anyone has ever talked to me about that.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

I am happy to be in the vanguard.

I am going to go back to the Liberal Party's promises on tax fairness. Just now, Mr. Blaney brought up the issue.

You declared that you were going to force companies like Netflix to pay the GST, but that doesn't bring in a huge amount of revenue. It does not automatically bring in revenue for cultural creation or for creating Quebec and Canadian content.

Which measures are you going to take? Are you going to insist, to fight so that these Internet giants not only ask their customers to pay the GST, but also pay their own taxes in Canada?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

In terms of contributions to Quebec and Canadian cultural content, I am not sure that income tax is necessarily the way to go, because it goes into the consolidated funds. We can always go to see our colleague in finance to shed light on it for us.

In my opinion, it is much more useful for the arts and culture sector to arrange for them to contribute to one or other of the funds specifically designed for creating cultural content.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

As a representative of the people, do you not find it a bit of a shame that Simons in Montreal or Pratt & Whitney in Longueuil pay income tax, whereas Apple, Google or Facebook pay none in Canada?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

As you know, my colleague in finance is responsible for income tax matters. Clearly, he will be able to answer those questions much better than I can.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

I don't know why I sort of expected that answer.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Perhaps it's because I am not the Minister of Finance.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

We in the NDP have noticed that there is a kind of flaw in the Yale report. They are trying to include digital broadcasters and put them under the same umbrella or give them the same hat, so that they can contribute. The internet service providers, the ISPs, are conspicuous by their absence. It is as if they are not intended to be part of this.

Do you share our concern that those major players would not be contributing at all to the creation of content in our system?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

The group of experts that Ms. Yale chaired is an independent group and it made recommendations to the government. We are currently examining those recommendations with our colleagues at the department. We are studying various aspects of the new system that we want to build. This is one recommendation among others, and it is one of the aspects we are examining.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Now, we're going to go to Mr. Waugh, who is generously splitting his time with Mr. Shields.

I'm assuming you're starting.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Is it five minutes?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

It's three minutes, sir. Nice try. I like that, but I'm afraid you have three minutes.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Minister, for being with us.

Do you agree with all 97 recommendations in the Yale report?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

I think the real question is whether we're looking at them all and analyzing what each of them would mean in terms of the new system we want to build. That's what we're doing. It's not a question of liking or not liking, really. It's what—

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Your government commissioned this. You're looking at it. We had both co-chairs here on Monday.

I found number 26 interesting, indigenous ownership of broadband networks, when last week at the CRTC hearings, it was anything but bringing anyone in. The telcos wanted full control, whether they were Rogers, Bell, Telus or Shaw. How would you recommend number 26, indigenous ownership of broadband networks, to the committee here today?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

I would invite you to ask my colleague Minister Bains that question, because this is not under the purview of my ministry.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Thank you.

I find it kind of hypocritical. Your government, in the last four years, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on social media, Facebook and such.

One of the points is:

Support local journalism and develop business models that facilitate private giving and philanthropic support for professional journalism and local news.

You have spent hundreds of millions of dollars outside of Canada, on Facebook, Twitter and so on, and at the same time you've thrown $650 million to the media.

Also, we don't know which media got the $650 million. The money that was spent by your government in the last budget, where you promised $650 million to media, where did it go? Can you share one, two or three with us?