Madam Speaker, I wish to intervene because what I am hearing is totally wrong, and people should not be allowed to say such utter nonsense.
First of all, this morning I took great pride in being in this House to consider Bill C-32 which concerns phase II of the copyright modernization process. For many years, the performing arts community has been waiting for this bill, and the government had to do something to update the existing legislation.
As I said this morning, in committee we worked long hours and heard more than 65 groups of witnesses from across Canada, people representing performers, radio, television and various educational institutions and museums. We did a very thorough job in committee because we felt that all the groups and associations that appeared before the committee had important things to say and some very specific recommendations to make.
We made a point of carefully listening to and considering what was said, bearing in mind the objective of Bill C-32 on copyright, which is to introduce new rights, including neighbouring rights, for performers, to add other mechanisms and forms of legal recourse for artists, and, as far as book distribution is concerned, to make some major changes to prevent parallel imports.
We also did a major job in committee when we considered this bill with all the amendments. The Bloc Quebecois alone proposed 75 amendments. The government also worked very hard on proposing amendments after hearing all these groups. However, I must say that while the committee worked very hard on this bill, the Reform Party members were conspicuous by their absence. They did not attend the discussions on the amendments, and were absent throughout the process of determining what was useful and what should be included in the bill. Today, they stand up and say that this bill was hastily cobbled together and that there were some last minute amendments.
I may recall that this bill goes beyond political considerations. This bill concerns performers and the very important cultural industry, and the official opposition will not tolerate members in this House criticizing the work of a committee and its approach, while they were conspicuous by their absence.
Today, people who worked with very specific objectives in mind are being accused of proceeding with undue haste and proposing amendments at the last minute. Speaking for the official opposition, I say no, that is not what happened.
I wanted today to be a memorable day in this House when, at last, the Copyright Act, which goes back to 1924, was revised the first time in 1988 and is aimed at serving the interests of creators and authors as well as the interests of those who use their works, will now follow the legislative process and move on to third reading.
I strongly urge the Reform Party to rise above its own partisan considerations and this attempt at obstruction, and work on this bill, instead of trying to make political mileage at the expense of creators, young people, students and our pages, no less. Talk about rhetoric!