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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 24th, 2011 / 10:05 a.m.

Conservative

National Strategy for Dementia ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-356, An Act respecting a National Strategy for Dementia.

Madam Speaker, I am honoured today to introduce my bill, an act respecting a national strategy for dementia.

The bill has its roots in my own family's experience with my mother. Long before her death at 83, in 2003, she began struggling with obvious memory loss. What started with forgetting things on the stove and forgetting appointments got worse by forgetting meds, forgetting language, changes in mood, loss of initiative and aggressive behaviour.

My father, sisters and wife learned the overwhelming challenges of being her caregiver.

My mom is not alone. Over 500,000 Canadians suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other related dementia. An estimated 1.1 million Canadians will have these diseases within a generation.

My bill would develop a comprehensive national plan to address all aspects of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia. It would encourage more research, prevention and specific help for caregivers.

I know a national dementia strategy is a non-partisan issue. I urge all MPs from all parties to help make this bill the law of our land.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Pension PlanRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-357, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan (arrears of benefits).

Madam Speaker, these last few years have been incredibly difficult for seniors. They have worked hard all their lives and played by the rules. However, now their retirement savings are threatened through no fault of their own by downturns in the economy and employers who are trying to avoid their pension obligations.

The least we can do as legislators is to ensure that the money to which seniors are entitled through government pensions will be there for them in their retirement. That is why I am introducing legislation today that would allow for full retroactive benefits plus interest when someone applies late for benefits under the Canada pension plan.

The CPP is a pay-as-you-go contribution-based program that is funded solely by employers and employees. It is absurd that a person who is late in applying for his or her pension under the CPP is only entitled to 11 months of retroactive benefits. It is not the government's money.

This bill would put an end to this insufficient and unfair period of retroactivity, and would do the same for disability pensions or a survivor's pension and a disabled contributor's child benefit. This is something that should and could have been corrected long ago.

I urge all members to support this important bill today. By definition, seniors do not have a lifetime to wait.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Stelco Inc. Acquisition ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-358, An Act respecting the acquisition of Stelco Inc. by the United States Steel Corporation.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to introduce a bill regarding the acquisition of Stelco Inc. by the United States Steel Corporation.

U.S. Steel acquired Stelco in 2007, but it was not long after that the Government of Canada had to take U.S. Steel to court for failing to live up to the employment and production commitments made by the company under the Investment Canada Act.

I have raised issues related to U.S. Steel on numerous occasions in this House. I have raised the lockout of members of USW Local 1005, the denial of pension indexation for Stelco retirees, access to EI benefits for the locked out workers, and of course the inadequacy of the Investment Canada Act in protecting Canadian interests in this foreign takeover.

Sadly, it has been impossible to get full accountability because the agreement signed between U.S. Steel and the Government of Canada has never been made available publicly.

It is for that reason I am introducing this bill today. It would require the Government of Canada to publish all written undertakings given in the right of Canada under the Investment Canada Act in respect to the acquisition of U.S. Steel.

Furthermore, it would require the publication of all correspondence between the minister and the company regarding the enforcement of this agreement.

The Investment Canada Act demands that a foreign takeover have a net public benefit, but the public is being kept in the dark. That is simply not good enough. That is why my bill would finally bring accountability into the light of day.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Health of Animals ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Madam Speaker, I have a petition supporting my private member's bill, Bill C-322.

The petitioners, primarily from Saskatchewan, say that horses are ordinarily kept and treated as sport and companion animals. They are not raised primarily as food processing animals, and they are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used at any time in the food chain, and I would like to emphasize that. The drug, which is phenylbutazone, is administered to probably about 80% of the horses on this continent. Once that drug is introduced, that animal is no longer fit for human consumption.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to bring forward and adopt Bill C-322, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise today to present a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians from all across Canada who call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known and that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial or occupational causes combined.

They point out that Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world and spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry, both domestically and abroad.

Therefore, these petitioners call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities in which they live; to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad; and to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam convention.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce two petitions.

The first one is signed by hundreds of individuals from my riding and my area in support of an aboriginal man whom they believe to be wrongly convicted.

It speaks to a Mr. John Moore, who was accused and convicted of second degree murder in a case where the Crown agreed he was nowhere near the scene of the crime and the trial determined he played no part in the crime.

As Mr. Moore was convicted in 1979 by an all white jury, which resulted in a 10 year prison sentence and a lifetime on parole, the undersigned in this petition call on the government to recognize that this was a wrongful conviction, overturn the conviction and enter an acquital.

Animal CrueltyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, the second petition wants the Criminal Code and provisions within the Criminal Code to be strengthened to prevent animal cruelty.

The petitioners believe the current laws are inadequate to prevent animal cruelty and that the Criminal Code provisions on animal cruelty have not changed much since 1892. The undersigned call on the government to present legislation to increase penalties for animal cruelty under the new section of the Criminal Code, extending protection to all vertebrate animals and limiting the slaughter of stray and wild animals without lawful intent.

Employment InsurancePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from a number of constituents in the Fraser Valley.

There are a number of severe potentially life-threatening conditions that do not qualify for disability programs because they are not necessarily permanent. Therefore, the petitioners call upon the House of Commons to adopt legislation that would provide additional medical EI benefits at least equal to maternity EI benefits.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, if Question No. 176 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 176Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

With regard to the Fishery (General) Regulations, SOR/93-53, under the Fisheries Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. F-14 in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador: (a) how many infractions such as charges and warnings have been issued since 2007, pursuant to section 22 of the above noted regulations, identifying those infractions pursuant to section 22(7) of the above noted regulations; and (b) what is the breakdown of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) Fishing Areas in which each of the above noted charges were issued in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from November 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Resuming debate. The member for Richmond—Arthabaska has five minutes remaining for questions and comments.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am interested in the views of my colleague from the Bloc Québécois that were laid out for us when Bill C-11 was being debated the last time in the House of Commons.

I understand from his remarks that he disagrees profoundly with the federal government in its treatment of the copyright legislation. He believes that Bill C-11 is riddled with flaws from one end to the other. In fact, there is very little merit in the bill whatsoever. It would require a great deal more analysis and study before we could safely say that it would be ready to be implemented as such a critically important piece of regulatory legislation to govern and guide something as important as copyright in this country.

I would like my colleague, in the few moments he has left, to expand and summarize for Canadians the legitimate reservations he has about this legislation.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. Indeed, that is what my recent speech was about. That is also what the Bloc Québécois has noticed, along with creators in Quebec, in particular.

Almost a year ago, on November 30, 2010, 100 or so artists came here to the House of Commons. The member for Winnipeg Centre perhaps met a few of them. They told us that Bill C-32 at the time—now Bill C-11, which is a carbon copy of that bill—made it possible for some people to take works belonging to creators and artists without their being compensated for their work. No one here in this House would want to work for free.

Furthermore, when artists are not compensated for their work, they do not have the motivation or ability to continue to create more works. It is not only artists who are penalized, but also consumers, because they will lose the artists they love if those artists are not compensated for their work.

The current bill allows just that. The bill does not acknowledge that there are new technologies that allow people to copy music without compensating the artists. At the time, when we had blank cassettes and CDs, the artists received a levy. That is not done with iPods and MP3 players. That is a huge flaw in this bill.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, specifically in northern regions like mine, we are concerned about the concept of digital locks and how that would reflect on distance education. I have three post-secondary institutions in my riding. I would like to hear the member's comments on digital locks inhibiting distance learning and the education process.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, that will definitely be the case. I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. We recently met with university students who spoke to us about this issue. Not only will the bill harm creators and artists, but it will help large corporations use digital locks. That will keep people at home from transferring music—or electronic versions of other things like books, etc.—that they purchased legally on the Internet or elsewhere. These things would no longer be transferable because of the infamous digital locks.

What this bill does not do is fairly compensate creators. The bill also harms the education system by solely favouring large corporations. In responding to questions, the minister often lists a group of companies that support Bill C-11. And we see that as a serious problem. We cannot accept this bill as is. More and more people are seeing that it is full of flaws.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the debate on the Copyright Act.

First, I will congratulate my good friend and colleague, the member for Timmins—James Bay, who has been working on copyright legislation for, I think, the last three Parliaments, and trying to find a way to find a balance.

It truly is a balance between those of us who are consumers and those who are creators. I must admit that I am only a consumer of materials not a creator. I can neither write songs nor do I write poetry. The members who have been in the House when I sing “O Canada” probably recognize that I do not sing that well either, at least not well enough that someone would pay for it.

However, there are many folks across our great land who are indeed creators. They write, make movies, create music and do it wonderfully well and want to engage in it as a career. They want it to be their life's work and deserve to be remunerated by that life's work. I think all hon. members would agree that they deserve that. The difficulty with the act is that it does not address those Canadian creators in a significant way that would help compensate them for all of the hard work that they do, because, indeed, it is hard work.

I do have the good fortune of having a younger brother who is a creator. He writes music and does it very well. He deserves to be compensated if that work is put on the market and sold or copyrighted. He deserves some sense of remuneration for that.

We saw in the past, levies on cassettes. I betray my age when I talk about cassettes because they are what one might consider to be the dinosaurs of the technology age, let alone eight-tracks and reel-to-reel. That would really betray our age for those of us who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

We have been copyrighting other folks' work for a long time. That is how we give remuneration back to those individuals who create it. It is important because we want them to continue to do the things they have done in the past, which is create new works to entertain us, because that is really what they do when we buy that material, whether it be music, a book, a movie or whatever form it happens to be. The reason we want to consume it is for personal enjoyment. If those creators are not remunerated, we will not be the beneficiaries of that entertainment because it will stop. We will lose that creative class.

That reminds me of professor Richard Florida, who is an American but who has been in Toronto for a number of years now. He wrote a report about seven years ago about the creative class and what it meant to the economy and how we could have creative class clusters. He actually used my old hometown of Glasgow as being one of the new European creative class enterprises. He talked about literally hundreds of billions of dollars of economic spinoff from the creative class. When I thought about it, it dawned on me that it was more. In Glasgow, it was the opera house. We had all these wonderful performers from around the world who sang tremendously well. Looking at the stage, one would think maybe there were 40 performers. That is probably a high number. We might wonder what the economic spinoff of that would be until we think about set design, which carpenters needed to do; lighting, which electricians needed to do; costume design required designers and the folks who make the costumes; and it goes on and on. Therefore, when we look at that creative class and the opportunities for economic development from that, it is one of the key things the government continues to talk about.

There is no question that this world has a fragile economy. Members understand that on that side, as this side does as well. One would think that we would not want to impinge upon a piece of society that can generate economic activity for us.

Denying creators an opportunity to make a living is clearly what will happen. I heard that in the previous Parliament when I had artists coming to me and talking to me about the previous bill, which was very much like this one. They talked about how the bill did not address the needs of Canadian creators.

Our legislation should be written for us, Canadian consumers and the creators of that particular piece of work, whatever it happens to be. However, it would seem that there are pieces in this legislation that are being driven by large movie producers in the United States. That does not benefit Canadian creators. That is not helping our folks who are actually engaged in this work.

Why do I say that? Well, it really hinges on one piece of the legislation, and that is what is called a “digital lock”. For some of us, digital locks seem like an odd thing. We understand the idea of a padlock. I think those of us in the 40th Parliament understood padlocks well. There was one on the front door here when the government prorogued on numerous occasions. I remember the Parliament being prorogued and the padlock being on that door more than once.

If we are equating the digital lock to prorogation in this House, where we padlocked the people's House, that is not a good thing. If we are equating digital locks to what we have seen in Parliament with time allocation and closure, that is not a good thing.

The creators are telling us that the digital lock is not for their protection and is not for ensuring they can go forward in creating new works and making a living at it.

Are we asking the creators to get a second or third job instead of simply doing the work that is in their very soul? When they create works, when they write songs or poetry or novels, it comes from deep within them. Are we going to send them off to work three shifts some place and tell them to write the book at some other time or in their spare time at night, because we will not be helping them to protect their work and get remunerated?

If we are headed down that road, I do not know why we do not just take patents off medicines. We could say that it is for the general public good and we should all get them without having to give compensation to the folks who actually have the patent. That is what we are saying about creators, that they are not allowed to patent their music. Creators ought to be able to keep it copyrighted and find a way to make a living at it because that is really what they are trying to do.

The digital locks are insidious. Young folks today, as many of us know, are extremely adept at using the digital world. Some would argue that they are better at it than us. When I say us, I mean folks who look more like me, who are somewhat mature and who do not necessarily know how the digital world works. I will freely admit that I could not transfer music from the computer to an iPod or from an iPod to an MP3. I could not do that in four months of Sundays. I do not have the faintest idea of how to do that.

I am sure I could probably learn but it is not something that I necessarily want to do. My goodness, if I were to sit down with my young nephew, who I think is about nine now, he would certainly know. It is amazing how young folks know how to do work in this digital world in such a fashion that it betrays the actual age that they are.

Ultimately, we need copyright legislation that balances us as consumers and those who are creators. We on this side of the House want to help the government with amendments to make that happen. Our copyright legislation, as it stands today, is archaic and it needs to be changed. We. on this side of the House. are willing to help the government. Many times the Prime Minister has said that if we have good ideas we should put them on the table. What we are saying to the government is that we have some brilliant ideas and all it needs to do is listen to those ideas and then put them in the legislation. We would then have a copyright act that acts on behalf of creators and consumers, and that would help Canadians across the board from coast to coast to coast.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague clearly explained the challenges facing creators, yet I see no reaction from the other side of the House. It defies all logic.

Are there not major economic interests behind this? For example, in the negotiations between Canada and the United States, if we offer enormous concessions to the Americans regarding copyright and distribution of cultural products in general, we might get some crumbs in return. I see no other logic behind this bill, because there is nothing in it to protect creators. This bill only protects businesses that deal in cultural products, particularly large American and multinational corporations.