Evidence of meeting #37 for Canadian Heritage in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was subamendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Patrick Smith  Senior Analyst, Marketplace and Legislative Policy, Department of Canadian Heritage
Thomas Owen Ripley  Director General, Broadcasting, Copyright and Creative Marketplace Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage
Philippe Méla  Legislative Clerk

May 28th, 2021 / 1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I just wanted to clarify.

I realize not everybody has this subamendment yet, but there are some key words in here that I'm wondering if Mr. Boulerice, for example, or Mr. Champoux didn't quite catch. We were talking about social media whose programs are primarily uploaded by users—primarily uploaded by users. It's a very specific subamendment that speaks to individual users.

I think the subamendment is a minor tweak to Mr. Champoux's amendment, but it actually helps us get this whole bill back in line with the memo that was produced by the deputy minister's office back in December, which talked about how social media was exempt from this particular bill but could be regulated if, in fact, it was acting as a broadcaster. However, it would still provide the exemption for individual users, so Mr. Champoux is quite correct.

This is about individual users. This is about freedom of expression. This is about freedom of speech online. It's not about trying to find a loophole for big broadcasters or big streaming giants to use social media tools to get around the various different big government rules that we're trying to put in. It's another example of identifying specific individual users and putting more tools in place to protect the individual users.

I'll come back to this again. I just think we have to be really careful. I hear so many comments about how we don't think the CRTC would do this or it's not in the CRTC's nature to do that. I just don't think it's wise for legislators to put legislation in place that would leave any question whatsoever about whether the CRTC might be inclined to do something it shouldn't do.

That's all this is. It speaks very specifically to those whose programs are primarily uploaded by users. It's very specific. I'm not entirely sure why there would be a problem with that.

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Before we go any further, folks, this is just a reminder. When we're on this subamendment put forward by Mr. Aitchison, I'm going to do a brief paraphrase, without using the exact wording.

Basically, on line 2, on page 8 of the general amendment, on the subamendment Mr. Aitchison wants to include “excluding social media services” and in part (vi) also wants to speak of the exception of social media services.

It's a light paraphrase. I apologize.

I'm going to go to Ms. Dabrusin.

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

With this subamendment, which I don't believe we have the text to yet, as we've talked about before, I was just wondering if we could have a brief suspension. Beyond the fact that we're close to the one-hour health break point, it would also give me a chance to look at where we are with this whole debate.

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Okay, we'll do that.

I don't have anything back from the translation bureau as of yet regarding the subamendment, but—

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Chair, before we break, I just have a point of order, or rather a question.

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

I just want to finish that sentence.

I'm not sure when we'll get that back from translation. What we'll do is, when we come back, I'll get Mr. Aitchison to repeat it one more time.

Mr. Housefather.

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

I'm sorry, Mr. Chair. Just in terms of speeding things along, I just wanted to query where Mr. Aitchison got the original translation. Mr. Aitchison probably didn't translate it himself, and his office may have sent it to the translation bureau to start with.

Can we just get a clarification? Was it the translation bureau that did the original translation?

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

No, I do not believe it was translated by the translation bureau. It was translated, and I understand we have to get it checked now.

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Yes, that is correct. I'm sorry. We have to get it checked.

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Housefather Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Thank you. I just wanted to check.

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

What we can do is read it into the record again, Mr. Aitchison, when we return.

Folks, I know it's normally five minutes, but let's do the off-screen, on-screen business.

Go off screen for your break, and when you're ready to come back in—I ask you to please keep it within five minutes—turn your screen back on.

Thanks everybody. We'll break for about five minutes.

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Welcome back, everybody.

We just received an update from the translation bureau. I want to explain something to you before we go any further, because it looks like the translation bureau is quite swamped, and as of right now, it's going to be a while.

However, as was pointed out to me—and I did not realize this—we've contacted the law clerk's office. The law clerk has people working for the translation bureau—within the law clerk's office, not the translation bureau office itself. I hope this becomes crystal clear.

We have asked the folks who work in the law clerk's office who are translators to have a look at the subamendment. They will get to us as soon as possible. Hopefully, that will be shortly. I like to think that still respects the motion that we passed to have this quality-tested.

Mr. Champoux, since I see your hand is up. It was your motion to begin with, and I hope that satisfies what you were hoping for on the translation side, sir.

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Chair, would it be possible to have the version that Mr. Aitchison provided to the committee with a translation? It hasn't been checked, but we could use it as a working tool, provisionally of course, so as not to slow things down unduly.

Could we have a look at this version to see whether we are happy with it for the time being?

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Let me try this one more time.

Is it okay if I have the clerk send everyone the initial copy from Mr. Aitchison? I need unanimous consent. Does anybody disagree with that? Okay, there is no resistance.

Madam Clerk, the version that was sent to us by Mr. Aitchison, can you please send that?

I will also let everyone know when we receive the actual quality-tested translation from the law clerk's office.

At this point, I think I left off with Mr. Aitchison. I don't see his hand up, but he was next in line to speak.

Mr. Aitchison, would you like to speak? You have the floor.

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

I'm happy to talk ad nauseam, but I don't want to sicken you all.

I'm just going to say, Mr. Chair, that at the commencement of our break, you indicated that you thought maybe I could reread my subamendment to Mr. Champoux's amendment into the record, but I question whether that's necessary anymore if, in fact, a printed copy, though not checked for translation, is being sent out to everybody. Will that suffice?

I defer to my colleagues who maybe don't want to listen to me any more than they have to.

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

I thought you wanted to speak further on it. I was going to ask you to read it into the record.

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

I may yet, but I just.... That's what you were asking me to do.

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

I've just been notified that it has been sent. You have it.

Again, while you're looking that over, I will tell everyone who is looking upon us through all things Internet that what we're working on right now originally was an amendment from the Bloc Québécois, from Mr. Champoux. It is what we call BQ-23. In the middle of the debate, we had a subamendment to BQ-23 proposed by Mr. Aitchison.

Right now, you all have a copy of that. I can see you all studiously reading it.

While you read that, I would just like to take this moment to thank the people who join us each and every meeting and do such a wonderful job. In addition to our committee clerk, as well as our legislative clerk, I want to say thank you to Mr. Thomas Ripley, director general, broadcasting, copyright and creative marketplace branch; Mr. Drew Olsen, senior director, marketplace and legislative policy; Kathy Tsui, manager, industry and social policy, broadcasting, copyright and creative marketplace branch; and Patrick Smith, senior analyst, marketplace and legislative policy.

Folks, I don't see any hands up for further discussion right now. Because you have a general understanding and because of the fact that you do have the subamendment, I'm going to go to a vote on the subamendment because, even as a former TV weatherman, I can't delay it any further.

While we do that....

I've just been told to wait by the legislative clerk.

Monsieur Méla.

2:10 p.m.

Legislative Clerk

Philippe Méla

I'm sorry, Mr. Chair. I would just like to review the amendment. I think there is a mistake in terms of lines and where it fits, so I will take a few minutes. The French version doesn't see much change. The English is where I'm getting that.

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Rayes.

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

That's exactly what I wanted to say. There would appear to be a mistake. I'd like some clarification.

I see subamendment 1 and subamendment 4 in the document I received from the clerk. Is that a mistake, or am I the one who's confused?

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

No, I think that is the version we received from Mr. Aitchison, I believe.

Our clerk sent out, by unanimous consent, what she received from Mr. Aitchison, so that's what you have right now. We still don't have the quality-checked version from members of the translation bureau.

Mr. Rayes, do you want to continue? I see your hand is still up.

It appears that we have to work through that right now, before we move along. In the meantime, for the sake of clarification, perhaps Mr. Aitchison would like to read it again. I know I asked earlier for Mr. Aitchison to read it into the record.

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

I would be happy to do that.

I'm sorry. I'm going to correct you again on the pronunciation of my name.

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Oh, you have my apologies. You know—

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Aitchison Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

You've been doing it so well for so long and then, I don't know, maybe you're tired. I understand. It's been a long day.