House of Commons Hansard #195 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.


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Hamilton East Ontario


Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

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—

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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. minister knows she is to refer to other members by their riding and not by their surname. I know she will comply with standing orders in that regard.

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Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Rimouski—Mitis could not be here today, but I know she has given the matter careful consideration. I simply wanted to add her voice to that of all the other political parties, the New Democratic Party, the Progressive Conservative Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the Liberal Party.

What counts is that, when we look at the policies of all the governments since Confederation, establishing structures to protect our culture is not a partisan thing.

Successive governments have understood the delicate balance needed to build a nation. Conservative governments and Liberal governments, supported by members of the opposition, have historically and continue to understand that as a nation we reserve the right to protect our culture. That has been well understood by parties which recognize that when we share the world's longest undefended border with the most powerful nation in the world, when most of us live only 100 kilometres from that border, when most of us share the love of the movies and magazines that come across that border, the challenges those things represent for our children must be balanced in law.

The average Canadian child will spend more time watching television than they do in a classroom, an average of 23 hours a week. Part of the role of government is to make sure that when they are watching television, when they are reading books, when they are perusing magazines, when they are experiencing films, they have choices that include the choices of their own country. That is what this legislation is all about.

Canada has played by the rules. We ensure that the legislation protects the interests of all magazines that are currently publishing legally in Canada.

Over and over again we have shown our willingness to listen. Over and over again we have demonstrated friendship with our American neighbours, but we maintain respect for our cultural sovereignty. The approach we have taken to this bill is fair. Canadians appreciate and understand fairness.

Almost all political parties have expressed support for this bill because they understand that for us to survive as a nation we need to have national leadership in areas of cultural diversity and cultural respect.

The support of those who work in the community, in every single magazine organization across the country, those who are at the front end of delivering Canadian content, support and understand why we have taken these measures.

For more than 100 years successive governments of different political stripes have ensured that policies are in place to respect diversity of expression. We need Canadian ideas, Canadian information and a Canadian point of view.

These policies have been balanced to create a market for American cultural products that is the most open market in the world.

The government spends an enormous amount of time on this matter. I think in this House alone we have had more than 50 people who have risen to speak to this matter.

We considered the legal, the cultural and the trade aspects of the issue. We weighed a host of possibilities. We thought long and hard about the cost of taking action and the greater cost of doing nothing.

What cabinet approved was a viable solution to meet the needs of Canadians to defend our culture and to meet the desire of Canadians to respect international law and to fulfil our international trade obligations.

To those opposite who are wringing their hands, saying “Do something else”, where are the options that they can provide? In reality, do something else means do nothing. Quite frankly, doing nothing is not an option and has never been an option.

Successive governments of different political stripes have always acted when Canada's cultural identity is at stake. Our cultural wealth and diversity is not an accident of the marketplace. It is not simply an issue of consumers. It is the result of a deliberate commitment to provide a healthy public space for our own voices.

There is also a larger purpose. Culture is a reflection of our society. It is our window to the world. It is also a reflection of our soul and the way we see ourselves as citizens of the world.

Canadians value our cultural sovereignty and will not allow any other country to tell us what legislation we can or cannot pass. That would be abdicating our rights as a sovereign nation.

Then there are those critics who say “This is no big deal. There really is no risk”. Imagine if the roles were reversed. What if over 80% of the magazines on American newsstands were Canadian? What if Canada said “That is not good enough. We want it all”. They would scream blue murder from Waikiki to Wall Street to Washington.

The United States has a huge cultural presence in our lives. That is a fact. No matter how challenging, Canadians will continue to carve out our space for the diversity of Canadian stories and the reflection of our culture. That too is a fact of life.

To use an analogy that I think the Americans will understand, let us reflect on Borg in Star Trek trying to turn everyone in the universe into one grand mass, one huge brain, one completely dominant culture. The Borg says “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated”. I am here to tell members that resistance is not futile and that Canadian cultural diversity will not be assimilated.

Then there are those who say we are just against American culture. That is plain ridiculous. We fully appreciate the many wonders of American culture. We watch TV shows. We go to Hollywood movies. We read American magazines. All we want to ensure is that there is room for Canadian voices in Canada and around the new globalized world.

It is okay for Canada. It is okay for the United States. We expect the United States to act in its own interest, but it is equally okay for us to act in our interest.

I would like to come back to an important point. Canada is, and continues to be, the world's most open country when it comes to foreign cultures. Some people are concerned that the government wants to ban American magazines. That is not the case. We simply wish to stop the American practice of dumping and siphoning off Canadian advertising revenues.

One party opposite raises the issue of free speech. I agree. The legislation is about free speech and freedom of expression. It is about Canadians having the choice to speak to each other through Canadian periodicals. It is about ensuring a magazine industry which allows for freedom of Canadian expression. It is about making sure that hundreds of scholarly magazines, religious magazines, farm magazines and economic magazines do not disappear. It is about ensuring the survival of magazines full of Canadian commentary, editorial slants and letters to the editor. In short, Canadian content.

Certain justice loving Canadians have said that Bill C-55 could do enormous harm to Canadian advertisers. The truth is that Canadian advertisers will continue to do business in an environment that is almost the same. In this regard, the bill changes nothing.

Certain Canadians who are not opposed to the bill in principle are worried about its possible repercussions and cost. They feel that we should not step in to help the Canadian periodical industry for fear of raising American ire against too many other Canadian industries.

I want to repeat it in English because I think a member opposite made reference to it. Some people say we should do nothing because the stakes we are facing in other industries, and in particular the steel industry, are higher. To do nothing would be to lie down to the schoolyard bully. To do nothing would set the stage for a regime where no international laws are respected. To do nothing would say that might means right. To do something firms the right of the steel industry, the right of the plastics industry, the right of the agricultural industry to play by fair international rules.

What we understand and respect is fairness. We believe in the final analysis that our American friends will also respect that fairness.

If we withdrew every time Americans got annoyed, we would be the laughing stock of the United States—

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An hon. member

And of the whole world.

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Sheila Copps Liberal Hamilton East, ON

—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.

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Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There are a number of questions we in opposition would like to ask the minister relative to Canadian job losses and U.S. sanctions. I seek unanimous consent of the House to ask the minister questions for 10 minutes.

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The Deputy Speaker

Does the House give its consent that there be a period of questions for 10 minutes following the minister's speech?

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Some hon. members


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Some hon. members


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Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will use up my 40 minutes. I am very pleased to speak to the bill today. The bill is not about Canadian sovereignty. We already know that we are a sovereign nation. The bill is about putting Canadian jobs at risk. If I had the opportunity to ask the minister, the question I would ask is whether she could assure the country that thousands of Canadians will not lose their jobs if the U.S. retaliates.

Reform opposes Bill C-55, unlike all other parties in the House. I have waited patiently for five days to speak to this bill. Time allocation was invoked this past Monday. It is ironic that even though the amendment by the minister was not debated we still voted on that amendment on Tuesday. I guess that is the way things work in the House.

First let me address the issue of time allocation before I make some comments on the minister's amendment which we should have debated in the House this past Tuesday. For the 49th time the government invoked time allocation. It is becoming a habit of the Liberal government. I remind members of the government what they used to say about time allocation or closure. I will quote a few of the members from Hansard .

In October 1989 the member for Ottawa West was quoted in the Toronto Star as saying:

This government had shown it has no respect for the public process, no respect for parliament and no respect for the opinions of the public.

The current House leader thought differently of time allocation when he was in opposition. He said:

—I am shocked.... Perhaps I should not be shocked.... This government has used closure on dozens and dozens of occasions. This is just terrible. This time we are talking about a major piece of legislation.... Shame on those Tories across the way.

That was in the November 16, 1992 edition of Hansard .

My last quotation in reference to closure was by the current Minister of Foreign Affairs in an article in the April 1, 1993 edition of Toronto Star in which he said that it:

—displays the utter disdain with which this government treats the Canadian people.

Let me speak to the amendment which the House did not have the opportunity to debate. Reform does not support the amendment to Bill C-55 put forth by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. This amendment is redundant. What does the amendment change? It changes absolutely nothing so it was unnecessary.

The actions taken by the government are contradictory if we examine them closely. On the one hand the Liberal government is calling for time allocation and trying to fast track the bill. At the same time it is putting forth an amendment to slow down the process at the implementation stage. Talk about mixed messaging.

What does the government really want? Are members opposite not convinced about the bill? Does the government not have any faith in Bill C-55? What does the government want in reference to Bill C-55? Does it mean the government wants to leave it on the shelf after it passes both houses? If that is the case why is it invoking time allocation and fast tracking it through? It is indeed a strange and unusual way to pass legislation.

By fast tracking Bill C-55 the government is sending a strong message to the United States that it is ready to risk a real trade war. Will the third reading have any effect on today's negotiations to avoid a trade war? I hope the government knows what it is getting into.

Peter Foster in the March 10 edition of the Financial Post gave a very accurate account of what is currently happening. He said:

What is really going on at the political level is a gigantic game of chicken. Politicians are merely revving their engines and trying to look as determined as possible while facing each other from opposite ends of the trade drag strip.

Who will be the real causalities if the U.S. retaliates? The real casualties will be the working people of this country, real Canadians, real Canadian jobs: jobs in Hamilton, jobs in Montreal, jobs in Toronto, jobs in Windsor and jobs in other parts of Canada.

Reform is not willing to put thousands of jobs of Canadians at risk. Therefore the Reform Party is the only opposition party that opposes Bill C-55. As members have heard from the minister, the government is trying to wrap itself around Canadian culture, Canadian sovereignty and the Canadian flag in defence of Bill C-55.

Canada is a sovereign country. Bill C-55 is not about protecting Canadian culture. If we examine Bill C-55 closely, it is really about putting Canadian jobs at risk and putting Canadians out of work. We have already heard that retaliation may amount to $1 billion to $4 billion. How many jobs will that be?

Bill C-55 had a terrible beginning. The publishers were consulted by the government but the other half of the industry, the advertisers, was not. From the very beginning the industry was divided and it continues to be divided to this very day. Publishers support Bill C-55 and the advertisers oppose it.

The government should take Bill C-55 back to the drawing board. It is poorly put together.

Another glitch we discovered this past week is the impact Bill C-55 will have on other ethnic split-runs in Canada which the ministry knew nothing about. It was too busy concentrating on American split-runs. The department does not know how many international split-runs are currently operating in Canada. This bill is so broad that it may affect numerous magazines already in circulation in Canada.

On that very note, I want to clarify some things that were said in Monday's question period. I pointed out to the heritage minister that her magazine bill, Bill C-55, would shut down the Chinese language World Journal and Ming Pao magazines. In her response, the heritage minister claimed that both magazines would be grandfathered and therefore unaffected by Bill C-55.

The grandfathering clause, clause 21 of Bill C-55 requires that a publisher “lawfully supplied such advertising services during the year before the day on which this act is introduced in the House of Commons”. The real question is did World Journal and Ming Pao magazines lawfully supply advertising for the Canadian market? The fact is they did not lawfully supply advertising for the Canadian market.

During the February recess the heritage committee travelled throughout the country listening to Canadians on the subject of culture. We tried to answer the question of what is Canadian culture. I was present at a meeting in Montreal. An interesting discussion took place between two well-known Canadians, Robert Pilon and Pierre-Marc Johnson.

Mr. Johnson stated that the history of Canada has shown that we can compete. Satellites of today are opening doors to everyone in the free world. Globalization will impact on everyone. There is no way of isolating oneself to this changing world. Mr. Johnson went on to state that he was all for openness and that “we as Canadians need the same openness in other countries. We need both work and trade openness in cultural goods. We need cultural products from the rest of the world. We need to move from defence to offence”. What does that really mean? In other words, let us promote our culture around the world instead of trying to protect our culture.

The heritage minister needs to heed the advice of the defence minister. In a speech delivered January 27, 1997 the defence minister said, “Perhaps in a new digital world, policies of cultural promotion make more sense than traditional policies of protection”.

I would like to read the concluding paragraph from an article entitled “Advertising Canada's Culture: Why the New Policy on Magazines Is Not Up to the Task” from the C.D. Howe Institute:

Canada should vigorously defend its right to promote its culture through subsidies, tax breaks, and sensible content requirements and definitions aimed at ensuring the continued availability to Canadians of products from their own culture, and, in general, a fair competitive environment for domestic cultural productions that are demonstrably of special value to Canadians. Canada should also insist that government policy be able to treat magazines containing Canadian stories aimed at Canadians differently in certain respects from those produced for a foreign audience. But by clinging to measures that increasingly restrict access to information, that threaten Canada's commercial interests, and that possibly accelerate, rather than prevent, cultural assimilation, the federal government instead risks taking Canada down a path toward poorer cultural and economic health, and is diminishing the chances of arriving at a negotiated agreement with other countries on the proper line to draw between free trade and culture.

I say again, Bill C-55 takes us down that path toward cultural assimilation.

I would now like to tell the House what Canadians are saying about the heritage minister's magazine legislation. I will quote from an Ottawa Citizen article written by Chris Cobb on January 13:

Deputy U.S. trade representative Richard Fisher gave notice to Canada's ambassador in Washington on Monday that the U.S. would target the country's steel, wood and textile industries if Canada goes ahead with the new magazine law.

This is from an article written by Peter Morton in the January 12 National Post :

The U.S. has raised the stakes in its battle with Ottawa over so-called “split-run” magazines by expanding its list of threatened economic reprisals to include Canadian steel, textiles and clothing worth billions of dollars.

This is from the Canadian Press on January 21:

The president of Canada's second largest steel company has asked the federal government to kill its “split-run” magazine legislation, the CBC reported Wednesday. John Mayberry, president of Hamilton based Dofasco, wrote to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and three of his key ministers saying he fears the legislation would damage his steel company. Steel exports to the U.S. account for 10% of Dofasco's sales, according to the letter. Mayberry is also concerned sales to the U.S. based car manufacturers, which also have production in Canada, could be hurt. “I appeal to you to stop this bill immediately”, Mayberry says in the letter.

From the Ottawa Citizen of January 13, “Do the bidding of Canadian media giants, Rogers and Telemedia”.

From the National Post , January 12:

Don Belch, vice-president of government affairs at Stelco Inc., said he is not surprised that Canadian steel ended up on the list because it has such a high profile. Canadian steel exports to the U.S. through September last year totalled about $2.8 billion.

From the January 22 Globe and Mail :

Last week a top U.S. trade official warned Canada that the United States will slap sanctions on Canadian exports of steel, wood products, plastics, and textiles and apparel if the magazine law is enacted.

Many of the targeted companies, including Hamilton based Dofasco Inc., have complained loudly to Ottawa that the legislation is needlessly putting them at risk. And, they want the government to back off before the United States hits back with punitive tariffs.

In the January 12 National Post :

Sergio Marchi, the trade minister, told the Ottawa Citizen over the weekend that the government is interested in negotiating with the U.S., but still has no intention of withdrawing the legislation.

“If you want to retaliate, you might just as well do it now” he said. “Don't wait because we ain't yanking the bill.

From an article written by Chris Cobb in the January 13 Ottawa Citizen :

The U.S. trade official accused the Canadian government of doing the bidding of Canadian media giants Rogers and Telemedia, who are at the helm of an inefficient industry that does not want competition.

There are some recent articles. There was an article written by Robert Fife in the National Post on March 8:

Roger Gallaway, a Liberal MP from Sarnia, Ontario, says he will abstain because 40%—

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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member knows that even when quoting somebody, he cannot use the name of a member of this House. He must refer to the member by name of the constituency or by title. I know he would want to comply with the rules. This is the second time this morning. I do hope that hon. members would avoid this misuse of the rules. I think he means the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.

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Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I shall refrain from using the member's name. Anyway, we know who he is and I will continue. He says that he would abstain from the vote because 40% of Canada's $5.9 billion plastics industry is in his riding—that is a lot a money—and that 85% of the goods are exported south of the border. He is also concerned about aspects of the bill that limit Canadians' rights to advertise in whatever publication they choose. This is a quote from him:

It is telling people how they can spend their money. I think there is a dangerous step there in terms of freedom of speech and quite frankly I don't think telling people how to advertise is going to influence what Canadians read anyway.

This quote is from a March 11 article written by Rosemary Speirs:

A few Liberal MPs are starting to get cold feet, notably the member for Hamilton West, normally a staunch supporter of the heritage minister, but like her, a representative of Hamilton's threatened steel industry.

The trade minister is said to be anxious, behind his bold front in public.

I will continue with the same article.

After she left the environment ministry, the heritage minister watched two of her previous attempts to stand up to the Americans—her ban on the gas additive MMT and her moratorium on the cross-border transport of PCBs—go down to humiliating reversals.

We know that has cost taxpayers a huge sum of money.

This time however, the Prime Minister appears to have dug his heels in. He is no doubt aware that the whole Canadian cultural community is anxiously watching the magazine precedent.

The last article I will read is from the March 11 Ottawa Citizen , by David Warren. The concluding paragraphs read:

Though a mindless torpedo to our actual interests, Bill C-55 makes sense as a party power play. The Liberals are trying to preserve a Canadian media establishment beholden for its survival to the Liberal Party. Even if they can't possibly succeed, they want to be seen helping their old reliable friends.

The Liberals get their moment of seedy rapture, wrapping themselves in the red Canadian flag. We get to pay for it.

Let us look at the realities of Canada. We all know that Canada's beginnings were with trade. Remember the Hudson's Bay Company. Over the years and still today our economy is fueled by trade. We have heard often that 83.5% of all goods and services produced in the country head south. It is a fact that our economy is directly linked to the U.S. economy, whether we like it or not. That is a reality check.

To support this position I would like to read parts of a speech given by our international trade minister to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This took place on February 9 this year.

I quote the Minister for International Trade:

We live in exciting times. Around the world, trade barriers are falling down, opportunities are opening up and the possibilities for Canadians to create better lives for themselves and for their children are greater than at any time in our history.

Technology is collapsing distances, and there is an ever-smaller distinction between international and domestic markets. We are able both to buy from and sell into markets that had previously been closed to us.

For a trading nation such as ours, these developments are to be welcomed. They provide Canadians with rewards for their labour, markets for their products and hope for their future.

First, we have benefited from liberalized trade because our economy is so dependent upon trade. In fact, we depend more upon trade for our prosperity than any other G-7 country.

Forty per cent of our GDP and one in three Canadian jobs depend upon our ability to sell our goods and services abroad.

Between 1992 and 1996, our exports grew roughly four times faster than our GDP. Due in no small measure to this performance, the Canadian economy created more than 1 million new jobs—450,000 last year alone. The connection between our trade figures and our employment figures could not be clearer.

There is a relationship between trade and job creation according to the international trade minister. I continue from his speech:

This is something that we need to stress. Trade is not an abstraction. It produces real jobs for real people and is not just happening on the international stage—it is happening locally, in our communities and in our neighbourhoods.

As a result of earlier rounds of trade talks, we have opened our economy and enhanced our opportunities. And, as country that depends so heavily upon trade and investment, we have benefited from more open markets.

He made one more key point:

The real challenge in trade policy, therefore, is not protectionism versus liberalization—closing or opening our borders—but to recognize our interconnectedness and learn to manage our national differences.

Canada stands today as a trading powerhouse at a time when the world is embracing freer trade as never before. We are in the right place at the right time, and our future has never been brighter.

By experiencing firsthand the benefits of trading abroad, many of the concerns about liberalization are put into perspective. And far from seeing trade liberalization as something to be feared, Canadians have come to see it as something to be embraced.

We can see that our international trade minister understands trade, what an open door policy is all about, what promotion is about rather than protection. Like most Canadians, he knows our economy is based on trade. That is what Bill C-55 is about. It makes no sense. It takes a protectionist approach. I cannot understand why the trade minister has defended Bill C-55 in public. Defending Bill C-55 contradicts his position.

At a meeting I asked the international trade minister if his department had done a risk assessment on this bill. Of course I did not get an answer. Knowing what he does I find it hard to believe this government would not do a risk analysis to consider the potential outcome if the Americans retaliate. In essence Bill C-55 is not about culture protection. It is anti-free trade and it puts Canadian jobs at risk.

I would like to examine some of the myths we have heard from across the way about Bill C-55. The first myth I would like to dispel is that Canadian magazines do not want subsidies. The fact is the Canadian magazine industry receives a postal subsidy of almost $50 million annually, a significant portion of which goes to Rogers and Télémédia, the dominant Canadian periodical publishers. Another fact is that Canadian magazines effectively offer their advertisers a taxpayer funded 45% discount through section 19 of the Income Tax Act.

Myth number two is that U.S. magazines crowd out Canadian periodicals. Often heard is the statistic that foreign magazines capture 80% of the news stand space. This figure reflects the fact that English language Canadian magazines do not rely on news stand sales to generate revenue. Of the top 28 Canadian based English language magazines, only 5% are distributed through news stand sales, 59% are distributed through controlled circulation, with the remaining 36% being sold through subscriptions.

The third myth is that Bill C-55 is needed to protect the Canadian magazine industry. The fact is that a study commissioned by the federal government revealed that small Canadian niche magazines are not vulnerable to competition in a deregulated industry.

Another fact is that Canada's two dominant periodical publishers, Rogers and Télémédia, are large, immensely profitable corporations as evidenced by both their financial statements and their massive Bill C-55 lobbying effort and ad campaign.

In 1997 the magazine publishing arm of Rogers, a $2.6 billion conglomerate, generated operating profits worth 10.4% of revenue while Télémédia, for the nine month operating period May 31, 1997, had operating profits of 11.7% of revenues.

The fourth myth is without Bill C-55 a flood of U.S. split-run magazines will swamp the Canadian market. The fact is that since October 1998 Canada has had no law prohibiting split-run magazines. Yet not a single split-run magazine has entered the Canadian market during that time, at least the ones the government knows about.

The fifth myth is that split-run magazines will discount advertising rates to scoop up advertisers who would otherwise be forced to use Canadian magazines. The fact is Bill C-55 permits Time Canada, a U.S. split-run magazine, to operate in Canada. Far from scooping Canadian advertising revenues, Time Canada charges higher advertising rates and carries fewer advertisements than its major Canadian competitor Maclean's . A comparison of Time Canada and Maclean's reveals that many companies place the same advertisements in both magazines.

Another fact is that magazine advertising as a percentage of total advertising has declined from 11% to 6% over the last 30 years. These advertising revenues have not been scooped by split-run magazines. Rather, advertisers have switched to other media because of a lack of appropriate Canadian periodicals to reach their targeted market.

As a study commissioned by the Canadian government concluded, the major reason for the underdeveloped state of magazines in Canada is lack of available advertisers, titles and little or no Canadian title coverage for many editorial segments. The advertising community will avoid recommending the magazine medium if lack of advertisers and available titles prevents proper execution of plans.

The last myth is that Bill C-55 complies with international trade rules. It is a fact that it does not comply with trade rules.

Bill C-55 is not just about advertising. It is about magazines. Bill C-55 discriminates against foreign magazines, contrary to previous World Trade Organization rulings. It is as simple as that.

The question is why are these publishing giants crying poor while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to push Bill C-55 through parliament instead of exploring viable alternatives.

There is no doubt that the two trades are heading closer and closer on a collision course. I have been told that negotiations are occurring as we speak.

To put this in perspective, I want to read two letters for the record to illustrate how serious this matter is and to show that Bill C-55 may launch Canada into a trade war with the United States.

The first letter comes from the United States Senate committee on finance dated February 5 and written to Charlene Barshefsky, the United States trade representative.

The second comes from the committee of ways and means of the House of Representatives dated February 9 and written to the Canadian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Chrétien.

I wonder if reading the letters now is a good thing considering we are almost at 11 o'clock.

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member will have six minutes if we interrupt at this point in his speech, which the Chair is prepared to do. Perhaps we will call it 11 o'clock and start with Statements by Members. The hon. member can resume his remarks after question period.

JusticeStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, Paul Gervais is a child molester and pedophile. Yesterday an Ottawa area judge handed him conditional sentencing for molesting nine teenage boys. These boys will be scarred for life by the horrible acts Mr. Gervais committed. Mr. Gervais, on the other hand, is home free.

That is an affront to all victims of sexual abuse. It is a terrible insult to the children Gervais attacked.

Violent offenders and sex offenders should never, under any circumstance, be given conditional sentences. Before criminals, particularly violent ones, choose to commit a crime they should know they will be dealt with strictly by the law.

We as lawmakers have a responsibility to build and protect the justice system which at the very least does two things, protects victims and deters criminals. The victims in this case have been victimized twice, once by Gervais and once by the courts.

I call on all members of the House to show their compassion and exercise their authority to put an end to conditional sentencing.

PolandStatements By Members

March 12th, 1999 / 10:55 a.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago Canada and Poland belonged to opposing military blocs, deploying millions of troops on the two sides of the Berlin wall. Today in a ceremony in Independence, Missouri, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will make their formal entry into NATO.

Ten years ago the obstacles Poland had to face in the dawn of the post-cold war era seemed insurmountable. Polish citizens had to virtually undo 40 years of history.

Poland is today a perfect example of a thriving and effective democracy. Poland is leading by example in the transformation to free markets among the emerging nations of eastern and central Europe.

Canada has long recognized the potential of the citizens of Poland. Poland is now our most important trading partner in central Europe. Two way trade between our two nations now stands at over $311 million annually, more than double what it was just six years ago.

The over 800,000 Canadians of Polish origin join me in welcoming Canada's newest ally. We commend this government for ensuring that Poland takes its place among the NATO group of nations.

Chris FullStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank one of my constituents, Mr. Chris Full, who donated two weeks of his time to review the reconstruction of a sanatorium for children in Vladimir, Russia.

At the invitation of the Canadian Volunteer Advisors to Business he used his skills and Canadian experience to identify and correct mistakes in the design of this facility. He also produced a business plan for completion of the project as well as recommending a list of reliable Canadian suppliers for medical and diagnostic equipment.

Chris is typical of the highly skilled volunteers who donate their time to the Canadian Volunteer Advisors to Business which provided almost 23,000 days of assistance last year to developing nations, emerging market economies and Canadian aboriginal communities. Their volunteers are part of Canada's effort to stimulate development in disadvantaged economies.

Once again I want to congratulate and thank Chris Full for efforts that will improve the lives of children in Russia.

Learning Disabilities Awareness MonthStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, a time when we can come together to focus, direct and strengthen the efforts of all Canadians toward meeting the needs of persons with learning disabilities. These needs include access to education, employment and social development.

It is ironic that the government of Ontario will allow school boards to cut funding for special education by closing schools and denying those with learning disabilities the chance to learn.

This constitutes a violation of their basic and fundamental human rights.

I call on the province of Ontario to do everything it can to keep schools open and provide the proper funding in order to do the right thing for the most vulnerable in our society.

National Kidney MonthStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Réginald Bélair Liberal Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the month of March has been designated National Kidney Month. During this month, the Canadian Kidney Foundation will once again focus its efforts on raising Canadians' awareness of the importance of organ donation. The kidney is a vital organ. A person whose kidneys have failed must undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant.

More than 20,000 Canadians suffer from kidney disorders. For many, the only option is a transplant. Unfortunately, there is a serious shortage of organs available in Canada for transplant.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to sign an organ donor card and to tell their families of their decision.

Please join me in lending support to the Kidney Foundation of Canada during National Kidney Month.

Endangered SpeciesStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, Endangered Species Day just past, and yet an environmental holocaust is taking place. Every day two to three species of animals, plants and fish become extinct. They are lost forever. The Bengal tiger, the black rhino, the cheetah and, closer to home, the eastern cougar and Vancouver Island marmot are on the brink.

Thirty-four thousand species of flora and 1,100 species of birds are on the brink of extinction. One-half of all species will disappear in the next hundred years.

Canada does not have an endangered species act to penalize offenders and enforcement officers are understaffed.

There are solutions. In South Africa an ambitious program to marry private interests and public interests has saved dozens and dozens of species, expanded habitat and improved biodiversity. We need to look at this model to save the species in our country.

If we save these species we will save ourselves. If we do not, we will surely meet the same fate and we will become Homo sapiens, the exterminator.

Business InvestmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members know, under the leadership of the Prime Minister and as a result of the work of the finance minister, Canada has been getting the economic fundamentals right. Just how right and how good Canada's brand name is was once again demonstrated by the release yesterday of an international cost comparison study conducted by the management and consulting firm KPMG.

This international study compared data on typical costs of doing business for nine industry sectors, including manufacturing and service operations in 64 cities around the world located in the G-7 countries and Austria.

The KPMG report is good news for Canada as it demonstrates that among the eight countries Canada offers the most cost effective locations for new business investment. The challenge now for all of us is to spread this good news message to business communities around the world. Fortunately we have a tremendous product to sell.

Bill C-68Statements By Members

11 a.m.


Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday I met with five angry police officers. They are angry because federal funding cuts are imperilling essential police services while hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to implement Bill C-68. They are angry because the money already wasted on a registry of personal firearms would have been more than enough to upgrade the vital CPIC system.

They are angry because the closure of the RCMP training depot in Regina, even if it is only a temporary measure, guarantees that the force will continue to be short-staffed for years to come.

They are angry because underfunding of forensic services means that laboratory results which used to be available in a matter of days now take several weeks.

They are angry because in addition to diverting vast sums that could be used to fight crime, the firearms registry is generating public ill-will which hinders the ability of officers to do their jobs.

Camille LaurinStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the man who came to be known as the father of Bill 101, Camille Laurin, has passed away after a long illness.

Mr. Laurin did much to enrich Quebec politics. With him, people knew what the sovereignist movement was all about.

As a kind of socio-linguistic therapist, his desire was to make not only Quebec but all of Canada aware of our special position in North America. He knew how to make political choices and stick to them, and contributed greatly to enhancing the worth of the French language.

We respectfully salute the accomplishments of Dr. Camille Laurin, and offer our most sincere condolences to his family.

Social PolicyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Louise Hardy NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, we are told the United Nations deems Canada as being one of the best countries in the world in which to live and the best for food, but not for the aboriginal people living either off or on reserve, not for the poor and not for those living in isolated northern communities.

These are the people who are paying the cost of this Liberal political agenda. The deregulation of airlines and forcing Canada Post to make money has forced up the price of goods in northern and isolated communities. Abandonment of social housing has left off reserve aboriginals to die in the garbage dumps and on the main streets of this rich country.

We expect this government to make Canada the best place for all our citizens and to put homes, health and justice as high on its agenda as it puts the giant world of business.

Canadian EconomyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is good news about the economy this morning.

Statistics Canada announced that the number of jobs increased in February, which means that we are still on the road to economic recovery.

These results follow seven consecutive monthly increases and they bring to 1,620,000 the number of new jobs created in Canada since we took office in 1993.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged from January, at 7.8%. This is the lowest rate since June 1990. It should be noted that we are talking about an increase in the number of full time jobs here.

In short, Canada is well managed. The federal government's economic and financial policies are working. Results clearly show that we must stay on this road to economic growth.

Big Brothers And Big SistersStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to pay tribute to Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations across the country, and in particular in my home riding of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

It was with great honour that I was chosen to be the honorary chairman of the annual bowl-a-thon in my riding that took place last weekend, which raised over $38,000. Similar events took place across the country.

I am very thankful for my experience as a big brother with Matthew Jardine. For many years volunteering my time to this organization was an important event in my life. In return, Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations have given me a great sense of community and pride.

Being a big brother is probably one of the most positive experiences a person can enjoy. I feel tremendously rewarded by having been involved in this program.

Today I urge all hon. members of the House to donate time and, where appropriate, money for this worthwhile program. Big Brothers and Big Sisters enriches the lives of all those who choose to make the commitment to be a big brother or a big sister. In this day and age, with so many people facing challenging times, particularly young people, having a stable influence in their lives and a person who cares is what is so unique and fantastic about these organizations.

My main hope is that more people will become involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters so that the number of organizations will grow throughout the country for the benefit of all those involved.

I wish Big Brothers and Big Sisters continued success as they enrich the lives of so many.