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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7:15 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, adjournment proceedings allow for additional information to be given and for us to receive better answers than those given during question period. We know that it is called question period and not answer period.

My question from March 16 was basically about CD sales, artists' royalties and the fact that the Minister of Industry bragged to the CBC about having downloaded 10,000 songs onto his iPod. He said iPod, not MP3. It seems his MP3 is an iPod. He was bragging publicly about his 10,000 songs, and he was proud. I am also proud of him because downloading 10,000 songs is fine, but they have to be paid for. The artists who made them have to be paid. We have to pay the creators. We cannot benefit from digital technology that way, walking around with 10,000 songs in your pocket and not paying the artists.

Music is not free. The creators must be paid for their work. That is what we saw earlier, during the vote on providing a levy to artists from the sale of MP3 players and iPods. This motion was passed by a vote of 156 to 147. It is likely that the 156 members who voted for the motion were from this side, while the 147 who voted against it were from across the way. It is the Conservative Party that does not want to pay for music. They do not want creators to be paid for the work they do.

Yet musicians do remarkable work. They work hard, and often alone. We cannot imagine how hard young musicians in an entry-level band must work. They have to have other jobs, because they do not earn much money from the music they make. To become a good musician, it takes years of study. Musicians have to start at a young age, often 7, 8 or 10. After years of studying, they find a job in a corner store or grocery store, and every night they sit alone for hours on end, composing music and writing songs on their computer or by hand. Then they get together with their bandmates once a week to rehearse. They practice every day for months and years. Sooner or later, they get a gig: a stage is available, but they have to pay for it. So they pay for it. Once again, they do not make any money. Before they have even made their first CD, imagine the years of hard work, the years of practice, the sleepless nights, because it is also a passion, and all the time they spend practising their songs. When we have a CD in our hands, we cannot imagine the hours of work that went into it, but it does take a long time.

Some people think it is free. The Minister of Industry thinks it is free. He should be ashamed. He was unable to say whether he had downloaded those tracks legally. My question here in the House is this: did he download those 10,000 songs legally or not?

7:20 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, the comments made by the member are borderline. They are ridiculous and certainly inflammatory. The member alleges that the Minister of Industry has illegally downloaded songs on to his iPod with absolutely no evidence. I would guarantee the minister has paid for the music on his iPod, because he is a pretty upstanding guy and he understands these things.

This is nothing but a smoke show. Where was this passion for artists when we brought in Bill C-61 in the last Parliament for copyright? If the same members who stood tonight in favour of the iPod tax or the tax on digital memory would have stood up for copyright to protect the artists that the member now claims to support, we would have had a regime to protect them, to protect intellectual property and to protect cultural creations like music. However, the member did not do that, neither did her party and neither did the other opposition parties. They used it as a wedge issue.

Now she stands up and says that she is here to support artists. She is not here to support artists. She voted in favour of a tax. All the opposition parties voted this evening in favour of a tax, a tax on digital memory, a tax on iPods, a tax on PDAs, a tax on anything that stores digital memory.

Here is some news for the people at home. If people have devices that not only store photos, but also store music, 100% of the opposition members think those people should pay a tax for the music, even if they bought it for photos. However, that is their solution because they like taxes. They think they can wave a wand over things and make money appear, and it does not harm anyone. We could take millions and millions of dollars from Canadian consumers, create a great fund to hand out and take credit for, but it would not harm anyone. It is nonsense. When will those members stand up for consumers?

Instead of making outrageous allegations against the Minister of Industry, why does she not talk to the consumers in her riding and find out how much more they think they should have to pay for these devices. What do they think would be fair? It is nonsense and it is ridiculous. She should get in touch with her constituents. I can guarantee her that they do not support an increase in tax on iPods and all forms of digital memory devices.

Let us put it this way. I will give the member the opportunity to apologize for the outrageous allegations she made against the Minister of Industry.

7:20 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I cannot get over the fact that he asked me to apologize.

He does not understand, and he is not familiar with his file. Bill C-61 was never voted on here. If I remember correctly, it was introduced on June 5, 2007, but died on the order paper. It was never debated at all. It did not get past first reading. Nobody talked about it. His government introduced it, but never reintroduced it.

Speaking of copyright, if that bill was so good, he should reintroduce it. We have been waiting years for the government to introduce a copyright bill in the House, but nothing has happened yet.

I will repeat my question. The Minister of Industry was never able to state publicly on CBC that he legally downloaded 10,000 songs. Every time he was asked the question, he started laughing. Did the Minister of Industry download those 10,000 songs legally?

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, the member had an opportunity to apologize for an outrageous allegation, suggesting that the Minister of Industry has stolen music, but she did not. That is outrageous and I wish she had taken the opportunity to apologize.

In fact, her party did not support Bill C-61 and neither did the other opposition parties. If they had, we would have had a new copyright regime in this Parliament instead of using it as a wedge issue.

With respect to my not understanding the file, I understand consumers. I understand people at home are working hard and paying a lot of money in taxes. I think they pay too much tax, but all the opposition members see is opportunities to tax: here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax, tax. I understand that, and I will not be party to a regime that thinks we can tax people as much as it wants and there will not be implications. It is nonsense.

7:25 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:25 p.m.)