moved that Bill C-55, an act respecting advertising services supplied by foreign periodical publishers, be read the third time and passed.
Mr. Speaker, only a few moments ago in this House we prayed for guidance in our deliberations. There is probably no better place where that guidance should be applied than in the government's law on magazine publications.
This is a critical decision for future generations and the vote which we will undertake in a couple of days will really chart a path for the future of the country.
In order to carry out our responsibility to the Canadian public, the Government of Canada introduced a law on advertising services provided by foreign periodical publishers.
What members of the House will be voting on is not about bound sheets of papers. It is not about a business interest. It is about the capacity of future generations of Canadians to have a chance to tell their stories.
We will be voting on an important expression of our culture and how we define ourselves as Canadians going proudly into the 21st century.
Some would have us believe that our magazines, our music, our films, our books are just about making money. They are wrong. They are about culture. Magazines, books, movies are vehicles for transmitting the intangibles that are the essence of a civilization: ideas, values, perspectives and the ability to see and celebrate our own experience and the experience of others.
Let me be very clear. Bill C-55 is not about building walls around Canada. Bill C-55 is not about keeping out the ideas and the expressions of other nations. Bill C-55 does not in any way limit access to American magazines or the access that Canadians have to reading those magazines. What is at issue is not newsstand space for foreign magazines. What is at issue is ensuring that Canadians continue to have access to stories that reflect their country and that they continue to have access to a genuine Canadian lifeline.
This legislation will allow future generations to have a choice. This is about choices, including Canadian choices, a choice of reading articles that reflect our culture and who we are. Canadians not only have the right to protect our cultural identity, we have the duty to do so.
In these past months some have alleged that we have not played by the rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. In August of last year Canada complied completely with all aspects of the World Trade Organization ruling on Canadian periodicals. We acted to repeal Tariff Code 9958. We moved to amend the Excise Tax Act. We altered the administration of the postal subsidy and we lowered the postal rate for foreign magazines.
Bill C-55 complies with the letter and the spirit of all our international obligations, our Canadian rights, and, more importantly still, our commitments to the future of our own country.
Bill C-55 is a well considered measure intended to meet a very difficult challenge. It focuses on a very specific commercial activity. It contains absolutely up to date provisions on the application of the law. In fact, over 100 laws contain similar provisions.
A measure of the balance of Bill C-55 is reflected in the fact that it has received the support of four of the five parties in the House.
I know that my colleague Suzanne Tremblay, who gave a lot of consideration to—