Madam Speaker, it is good to speak to this amendment today. It is an important one. I do not know if it slipped in without being noticed by the government but for some reason the government has seen fit to leave it in here.
It is concerned about one of those rising free trade issues of all times, the case where used textbooks could slip across the border in incredible numbers, flooding the market with cheap textbooks. It happens all the time that thousands of businesses go broke. Every day I get phone calls about this.
The reason it is a concern is that this specifically mentions university textbooks of a scientific, technological or scholarly nature. This provision is in there in case used textbooks become a problem. Again, I can hardly imagine that happening. Even if it were to become a so-called problem, what a delightful problem it would be.
I was in university for a while. The reasons I left will be left not discussed today. I was in university for some time. What does a person do when they get into university? The first thing they do is get courses assigned and textbooks.
People get their textbooks. They rush down because there is always a certain number of used textbooks available. They are available for first come, first serve. They are half price. If a person charges in there, they can get a scientific novel, a dissertation that is already highlighted and ready to go at half price.
When talking about a $1,600 bill for textbooks, what a plum to know there are plenty of textbooks, hopefully a plethora of textbooks, a cacophony, lots of textbooks all available at half price.
The member from Peace River asked what the number one priority is of a student. There is no doubt what the number one priority is. It is scholarly activity.
Jana is one of the many pages who serve us in the House of Commons. They do a wonderful job. I asked this young lady what her priorities are, what is catching her attention these days. They are getting near the end of term. They are here on a scholarly enterprise. They are here to learn and they also learn in university.
"I live to work at my scholarly activities". I said: "You look a little tired this morning. Is it possible that you have been working too hard?" She said yes, she had been working too hard. She had been up to three o'clock in the morning studying some obscure topic that probably most of us would not even understand.
I am sure that with the use of a textbook and friends of both sexes they worked together to get to the studies at hand, using every asset at her disposal and pouring herself into her work. I was impressed. I am sure that at about one or two o'clock this morning she was thinking to herself "where are those used textbooks?" It was weighing heavily on her heart. I am sure she was thinking "if they cut off the supply of used textbooks, what shall I do, I will have no opportunity to further my education". She could be relegated to spending evenings in fruitless activities or who knows what.
I think of Jana when I think of this clause. I think what a sad thing it would be if this clause were to pass unamended. It would make it impossible for her to use any of these used books.
I jest somewhat of course. However, the intent of my remarks is sound. People going to university have a limited income, limited access to books. Almost all of them are striving to make ends meet and it is a tough job. These pages here are just like everyone else. They are trying to make ends meet as well.
Why would we want to restrict the access of used books to these people and others, that it could suddenly become a problem? I do not think people who are attending university need to be concerned about limited access. I say if used books can be found by the bus load, bring them in and sell them at half price, let the students benefit. After all, many scholarly books are only scholarly for that short university period. Let us recycle them, use them up and give the students a break.