Madam Speaker, I do not have a problem with wrapping up the debate on this issue.
As I was saying, we do have some concerns with the bill in terms of regulations. Time and time again we see the notion of regulations that will be developed after the fact and we do not always get a chance to see them at committee.
My colleague from Fundy--Royal pointed out to me that it is similar to the situation that has gone on with the species at risk bill and many other bills in this place. This actually came up in private members' business yesterday with the motion we debated in terms of parliamentary reform. We need to look at and streamline our procedures. One of them has to do with the whole area of regulations. The government takes this route to define after the fact through regulations what will actually be the intent of the legislation. I and, I believe, my colleagues in the coalition share those concerns as well.
The legislation continues to protect the interests of those who are currently defined as retransmitters under section 31, including cable and satellite providers in Canada and the United States. The bill will amend that definition so that new entrants, such as Internet based retransmitters and any other currently unforeseen technology based retransmitters, will be able to qualify for the compulsory redistribution licence. As I said earlier, the bill does not define the qualifying conditions that the Internet based distribution systems will need to meet in order to receive the compulsory licence. These conditions will be required in order to rebroadcast programs but will be defined at a later date through regulations which I addressed earlier.
I want to talk about some of the comments the minister made. I appreciate that the minister was here to deliver a speech. I did have some questions for her which I did not get a chance to ask openly in the House, but I think they are questions she would be more than willing to answer perhaps in another format. I will put them on the record for her.
One of them is that the bill has been designed to address a loophole in the Copyright Act. Another loophole currently exists in terms of broadcasting. It has to do with what is called the grey market and the black market in satellite transmissions that originate in the United States and which are received here in Canada by individuals, many of them living close to the United States. A vast number of our people live close to the Canada-U.S. border. Individuals are able to buy satellite technology here in Canada to receive the beams being sent from the United States.
The same bypassing that the bill addresses in terms of Internet rebroadcasting is happening with Canadian content over foreign signals received in Canada that are basically unauthorized. Our playwrights, our producers and the people who work in the industry, and as the minister outlined, I think she said that there are 130,000 or so, are not getting their due.
I would ask the minister if she would endeavour, in the same way that she has moved forward on the bill, to move forward quickly to close this other loophole as well. All the arguments that she made in her speech, and I agree with most of them, are arguments that can be made in terms of this other loophole having to do with the satellite transmissions that originate from the United States and which are received in an unauthorized manner here in Canada.
I might add that individuals in Canada who have this technology are mainly doing so under the assumption that it is legal and proper because of the way these products are being distributed. We need to address that and see if we can get a similar resolution to that as this bill attempts to address.
I asked the minister this question once in committee and she did respond to it. This has more to do with the Broadcasting Act and it is the issue of foreign ownership. I asked her whether the government would be willing to consider a review at least of our foreign ownership policy so that our Canadian broadcasters could compete, not only head to head with each other here in Canada but also internationally. I think we have seen more and more competition arising, but they are not only competing with broadcasters in Canada but with a very large market south of us in the United States. In order to compete globally they need access to capital. They need the ability to compete. It is certainly something that needs to be addressed.
The heritage committee has been studying the Broadcasting Act and many individuals have provided us with briefs and opinions. This has been a worthwhile process. All parties are working co-operatively in committee, as often happens. However, the disappointing part of working co-operatively in committee is that over and over again at the end when the report is finished, the government either changes the recommendations or puts them on the shelf. Members of the heritage committee hope that will not happen with the Broadcasting Act review which we are undertaking. We hope the government will seriously consider the proposals being made.
I have wavered a bit from Bill C-48, but we are generally supportive of the bill. We urge the minister to move forward in a similar fashion to address the grey market and black market areas of satellite broadcasting as well. We look forward to seeing the regulations. We look forward to dealing with the bill when it gets to committee and to solve the problem hopefully sooner rather than later.