—and of the whole world.
I understand why businesses are concerned. After all, the proposed retaliation of $3 billion is a reflection of what I would only characterize as the reaction of the schoolyard bully.
The cultural stakes are huge but the economic stakes in no way reflect that figure. No American will ever lose a job as a result of this measure. Not a single American will lose a job as a result of this measure.
I repeat, not a single American will lose his job because of this bill. Not one. Yet American trade representatives are getting ready to put Canadian jobs at risk with their policies.
The United States must surely appreciate that no democratically elected country could allow itself to be blackmailed into submission. The disagreement over magazines is in fact a reflection of a larger challenge. While acting to safeguard our culture through this measure, we are also determined to pursue a new set of international trade rules that respect culture.
Culture is not a commodity like other commodities. We need to come to a global agreement that recognizes the unique role cultural diversity must play in the state of nations. It will not be easy but Canada can and will play a leadership role in pushing for new rules on which to seek world respect for cultural diversity.
The point of all our efforts is simple. It is to guarantee that in the global world we continue to have shelf space for our own stories. Bill C-55 is about acting in support of cultural sovereignty.
Bill C-55 embodies the cultural sovereignty we are claiming as a country.
It is about acting on behalf of Canada. It is about standing up for our children. It is about ensuring that there will be an exciting array of Canadian magazines for our grandchildren to read. It is about guaranteeing that no foreign conglomerate, from no matter how powerful a nation, can get away with dumping product on to the Canadian marketplace.
I am counting on parliament to pass the legislation despite the threats. Parliament always has and always will stand up for Canada.
In closing I would like to quote a citizen of the world who really put the message in a way that I think everyone will understand and appreciate:
I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
That message came from Mahatma Ghandi. That message is as relevant in the House today as it ever was.
The legislation is about ensuring that in the world of nations there is space for every nation and there is room for every nation. That is what the legislation will guarantee and protect.