Mr. Speaker, the government has proposed a very interesting change in MotionNo. 13. It certainly is a massive improvement over what was contained in the proposed legislation and the legislation coming out of committee.
Of all the people who contacted my office-and perhaps this is true of the Liberal and Bloc offices-the people who were the most concerned about the copyright legislation, believe it or not, were not the people who were concerned about the collectives and not
the people who were concerned about the money aspects of neighbouring rights and so on. The greatest outcry of concern seemed to come from the people who were concerned about access to geneology.
We do not want to beat the issue to death. The reality is that only this morning we received a number of these motions, this one included. We have not had an opportunity to seriously digest what the government is attempting to achieve.
I give the government at least a passing grade in that it has made a very significant improvement to the legislation as proposed. For the reason that we created our own proposed amendment, Motion No. 15, we feel very comfortable with it. We think it would achieve what the people concerned about these issues, the archivists and the genealogists, want to achieve.
As we said before, though, in the arduous process we have been through we have heard from a lot of people and there has been a lot of discussion. I do not know if the parliamentary secretary would agree with me, but this is a relatively substantive amendment. It is a major clarification of what was contained in the proposed legislation. It begs the question, if that is the case, as to why we did not have something of this nature prior to this point.
Clearly we have a badly flawed process and a badly flawed bill, particularly in light of the fact there was so much concern on the part of genealogists and people concerned about the issue who were coming into the offices of all members involved in Bill C-32.
The whole issue of following geneology, following family trees and recording history, is something that has come into focus but not into vogue. I do not want to say vogue because that sounds stylish. It certainly has come into focus for a lot of people around the world.
Last summer when I was in England I had the good fortune of tracing my father's heritage. I tried to get my hands on documents over there. I looked through the various databanks. It was personally rewarding. To that extent I understand people who are keen on the idea of geneology.
To be very precise, our amendment to the proposed legislation states:
The archive may make a copy of an unpublished work that was deposited in the archive before coming into force of this section unless the author of the work advises the archive in writing that the work is not to be copied-
I am not a lawyer but as the legislation was explained it was to create a situation where there would be a bank of information that would simply not be available to people for 50 or 60 years.
We want to make sure there is not an undue infringement of copyright of people's writings. On the other side of the coin there must be structured access to any legitimate request for copies for information purposes of the archive and for purposes of geneology.
-except where the archive receives written notification from the author that the author has given permission to the person for whom the copy is to be made to obtain the copy, in which case the archive may not make a copy of the work unless it receives such a notification.
People were explaining to me that there would be a problem because many people do this as a hobby. As a result it is not revenue producing. As a matter of fact it is probably revenue spender.
The ability to be able to transmit information, either by E-mail or by fax, and the ability to make a photocopy of that information, place it into a fax machine or scan it into a computer, is a very important issue. I am not sure it will be handled with the same liberalism in Motion No. 13.
It will be interesting over the next period of time to see the input we will receive from the people who are concerned about these issues, assuming that the government will force through Motion No. 13 and not vote in favour of our Motion No. 15.
This speaks to the whole issue of the availability of information to concerned people. It speaks to the whole issue that the Reform Party has been attempting to drive home all day, that we must have a balance between the people who have a legitimate use for control of their creation and the people who want to have access to that information.
It would have been most helpful if the government had not at the 11th hour-as a matter of fact it was past midnight-come forward with the amendment. That really is an unfortunate part of the process. If the government motion had been out in the public domain and if we could have received responses from people who are concerned about the issues of geneology and the retrieval of archival information, we would have been able to vote with more intelligence on the government motion. We would have been able to decide whether it would do the job.
As a consequence, it would be my recommendation to my colleagues in the Reform Party that we vote in favour of Motion No. 15. We have crafted that motion with the help of legal services. We believe it will achieve the objective we want to achieve.
Unless there is some time between the debate, now that this is out in the public domain, and the opportunity for concerned people to have their say on the issue, we will be inclined to vote against the government amendment. We will be very happy to change our position if the people concerned about these things have an opportunity to give us their input.
We have said this again and again all day and probably on the next group of motions I will be saying it again. This is a process which is designed to protect the creators of work, whoever those creators are and whatever their work may be. It will give them protection. At the same time it will give people the freedom to use
it so they will be encouraged to generate more work. That is really what the bill is about.
Because of that, although this is a partisan House and many parts of this debate are partisan, the bill should be non-partisan. It should reflect the values of all Canadians in a very technical way. It is not an emotional issue like many of the hot button issues we get into in the House. We are trying to create a balance.
I hope the government will do its part. We will do our part to distribute the government's wording. We will elicit input from people concerned about these issues so we can vote intelligently when the time comes to vote on these motions.