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House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. I would ask all hon. members to wait until they are recognized to make comments or to ask questions.

For response, the hon. member for Scarborough Southwest.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, I would first refer the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage back to my hon. colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster in reference to proposed subsection 30.01(5), which states in part:

However, the student shall destroy the reproduction within 30 days after the day on which the students who are enrolled in the course to which the lesson relates have received their final course evaluations.

Where did I say that they would have to destroy their class notes? Once again, the Conservatives are just making it up as they go along.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Jacob NDP Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague.

SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, said it believes that Bill C-11 should be amended in order to facilitate access to creative content via new media and to ensure that creators are fairly compensated for the use of their creative content via new media.

How will artists be affected if this delicate balance is disturbed?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, it will definitely be disturbed if artists do not receive the money they deserve after the bill is amended.

Certainly if the provisions are not carried forward to new technologies, then artists are going to suffer. As my colleague from Davenport mentioned earlier, currently artists have an average income of $13,000 per year and cannot afford to lose any more.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, the riding of Burnaby—New Westminster is one of the ridings where we are concerned about the bill that the government has brought forward, Bill C-11, which was supposed to be a modernization of copyright.

We on this side of the House, as a number of our very eloquent speakers have said, are fully in support of modernization in copyright law. We have said that. Our member for Timmins—James Bay, who was the critic in the former Parliament on digital issues and continues to be the critic in this Parliament, brought forward a whole variety of very positive amendments and suggestions to the government. As we know within the NDP caucus, one of the reasons we are 102 strong is that we did extensive consultations, which the government has consistently refused to do on this bill. We got from the artistic community, from those involved in digital issues, those involved in copyright issues, a series of amendments to fix this bad bill.

As has been the trend of the government since it was elected on May 2, since it took off the sweater vest and stopped talking about moderation and approaching government in a responsible way, the government has refused to acknowledge any of the concerns raised in the artistic community, any of the concerns raised in the educational community, any of the concerns raised across this country by members in this House and by many members of the public. It has not addressed any of those issues. That is why we are faced with, instead of a bill that would modernize copyright, a bill that would in many respects take us backward in time.

I have only a few minutes left, but I will be delighted to continue the discussion at a later date. This is a fundamentally important piece of legislation that has huge flaws, huge holes, and has been approached by the government in what is a wholly irresponsible way.

Let us talk about three of the elements that would take us back in time.

We have had a number of great speakers today talking about the impact on the artistic community and that, in a real sense, this so-called modernization of copyright for artists would take them back to the dirty thirties. That was a time when the artistic community did not receive the kind of supports for the works that it put forward to benefit our country, a time when artists basically were starving artists.

Subsequent to that, over the years, we have put in a variety of mechanisms so that artists could actually profit from their work. It is not a surprise that we are the foremost advocates for our artists in this House of Commons and we have a number of artists who have gone on to become members of Parliament.

However, the government is turning back the clock, ripping away those supports which the artistic community has and benefits from. As my colleague, the member for Scarborough Southwest, said just a few moments ago, the median earnings of an artist in Canada are under $13,000 a year. For the government, in a mean-spirited way, to rip away the supports that artists have through its provisions in Bill C-11, shows to what extent the government is willing to turn back the clock.

Now, let us look at some of the other provisions that would turn back the clock.

Madam Speaker, because you come from a riding where there is a good sense of history, Victoria, British Columbia, you are aware of the 19th century and the paupers' prisons. Those paupers' prisons were established because there were draconian laws that penalized the poor, that penalized the middle class. When those people could not afford to pay their fines, they were thrown into paupers' prisons.

What we have here when we look at the bill, and I am going to reference it for the Conservative members who have obviously not yet read the bill, at page 57, it talks about the penalties that this legislation would bring forward. I will refer to clause 48, which is proposed subsection 42(3.1)(a), where it says that on conviction on indictment--that is when an individual is guilty of an offence through this bill that is brought forward--an individual is liable to a fine not exceeding $1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.

Paupers' prisons and middle-age book-burning. That is how far back the government has turned the issue on copyright. Modernization of copyright--

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. member will have five minutes left for further comments when the bill returns to the House.

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

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to speak more about the Champlain Bridge and public transit on the bridge.

As we know, the Champlain Bridge is federally owned but, clearly, the provincial and municipal governments involved want to see public transit on the bridge, particularly in the form of light rail.

We are being asked why the NDP talks so much about public transit. We currently have a national strategy. Bill C-305, which promotes a national public transit strategy, has been introduced in the House.

Why are we talking about public transit and, in particular, public transit on the Champlain Bridge? In short, it is because of the competition, the economy and the economic spinoffs that are generated by public transit.

What are the economic spinoffs for the greater Montreal area? Public transit provides 13,000 jobs on the island of Montreal and injects a billion dollars into that economy. The federal and provincial governments collect $300 million a year from public transit alone. In addition, 50% of parts for the manufacturing of personal cars are imported, compared to 10% of parts for public transit vehicles. This means that 90% of the parts used in public transit vehicles are produced here in Canada, which represents major economic spinoffs.

There are other, non-economic spinoffs as well. Promoting a transit system reduces the cost of public transit. The cost per unit for one personal automobile is two to three times higher than for public transit. That is a saving of roughly $570 million a year. Transit provides stimulus to family homes because it enhances consumer power and gets people around to major centres more easily and more efficiently.

There are many economic spinoffs related to public transit. We want to plan well in order for public transit to use the bridge and boost the economy in the greater Montreal area. We believe that, with a strategy in place, we can generate healthy economic spinoffs.

6:30 p.m.

Mississauga—Brampton South Ontario

Conservative

Eve Adams ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in response to the question posed by the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

The Conservative government understands the importance of public infrastructure and making our country and our communities more prosperous, safer and more environmentally friendly. Supporting provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure has been and continues to be a key priority for our government.

In 2007 we launched the seven year, $33 billion building Canada plan. This historic investment represented Canada's first long-term infrastructure plan.

To protect Canadians from the worst effects of the global economic downturn, the government also launched Canada's economic action plan in budget 2009. This included $6 billion in new funding programs for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure, such as the infrastructure stimulus fund and the recreational infrastructure Canada program. We also accelerated funding under our existing programs to increase the amount of investment that would occur during the 2009 and 2010 construction seasons.

Together with our partners, provinces, territories and municipalities, we have been able to make historic investments in infrastructure that are having a real impact on the lives of all Canadians.

Let me provide just one example of the difference we are making.

I am very proud of the significant contribution our government is making in public transit projects both large and small right across Canada. Many of Canada's largest cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, now dedicate a very large portion of their federal gas tax funding to public transit.

As a former municipal councillor for the Region of Peel and the City of Mississauga, I can say that the City of Mississauga undertook its largest transit expansion in its history because of the dedicated gas tax funding.

Since our government took office in 2006, we have committed close to $5 billion to public transit projects across Canada. This is an unprecedented commitment to public transit by the federal government. At no other time has the Government of Canada made such substantial investments in transit systems across Canada, but we are not finished. Under our long-term infrastructure program, the building Canada plan, funding for important infrastructure projects, including public transit, drinking water and waste water systems, green energy, national highways, local roads, and so on will continue to be provided in the coming years.

In addition, our government has made and will continue to make significant commitments to cities and communities through the gas tax fund. In fact, we recently tabled legislation to make the gas tax fund permanent. As everyone knows, that is something municipalities have been requesting for years. At $2 billion per year, this money will allow municipalities to count on stable funding for their infrastructure needs now and in the future. This allows them to plan.

The government also recognizes the need for future infrastructure support beyond 2014. That is why budget 2011 included a commitment that the government would work with provinces, territories, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and other stakeholders to develop a new long-term plan for public infrastructure that extends long beyond the expiry of the building Canada plan.

I am very proud of the unprecedented investments in public infrastructure that the Conservative government has made since taking office in 2006. We will continue to build on this momentum by working with provinces, territories and municipalities to address Canada's infrastructure priorities and challenges.

6:35 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, it is my hope that the government will not rest on its laurels.

The hon. member talked about the gas tax fund. Presently, the federal government collects 10¢ in gas taxes and returns 5¢ to the municipalities. I would hope that instead of holding on to that 5¢ it would give municipalities the other 5¢.

I was addressing the strategy and planning behind the Champlain Bridge. It is my hope that the federal government will work closely with the provinces and the municipalities surrounding the Champlain Bridge in order to do proper planning so that they actually have in place the transit system that they want. This will take a strategy, and so far I have not seen any evidence from the government that it has done proper planning in terms of working with the provinces and municipalities to offer an efficient, modern transit system.

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Madam Speaker, our Conservative government is proud to be making significant investments in infrastructure for our cities and communities across Canada.

Recently, our government tabled legislation to make the $2 billion a year gas tax fund a permanent measure, as I mentioned. I would hope, after listening to the hon. member's passion for public infrastructure funding, that he would choose to support our Conservative government in ensuring that the gas tax funding is a permanent measure.

Just last month the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced that our government would proceed with a new bridge across the St. Lawrence River in Montreal to replace the existing Champlain Bridge.

We are also committed to the long-term future of Canada's infrastructure. Going forward, we will work with our partners on developing a long-term plan that addresses priorities and key challenges.

It is clear that our government continues to recognize the vital role infrastructure plays in the creation and protection of jobs, in building and maintaining strong, healthy and sustainable communities, and in strengthening the foundation for our long-term prosperity.

I hope that the opposition parties will see fit to support our government in these very important endeavours for the benefit of all Canadians.

6:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy 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 6:40 p.m.)