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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague.

As we have seen, a great deal of money—millions of dollars—will be lost within the artistic community. These people protect and promote our culture and our heritage, both within our borders and beyond, and this bill takes away their profits. This makes absolutely no sense.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member thinks it is time for us to update the copyright laws. Could she also comment specifically on the sections of the bill that deal with enabling and piracy and the notice and notice regime?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, we agree that the law should be updated, but not in this way. We could strike a better balance between the rights of consumers and the rights of creators, something that this bill does not do. I will again ask the government: why not accept our 17 amendments? We could have helped you find that balance, but you unfortunately refused to listen.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I would like to remind hon. members to address their questions and comments to the Speaker, not directly to other members.

There is enough time left for a brief question. The hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will address the question to you, but I trust that my colleague will reply because she is part of the generation that understands the digital civilization.

I am interested in another aspect. If I have understood correctly, students who do not destroy their course notes after five days will be presumed guilty of copyright infringement.

It is a bit like suspecting someone of murder because they bought a bread knife. The logic is about the same. I am wondering if such regulations would bear the scrutiny of the courts.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is disturbing to think that students who forget to destroy their notes will be penalized to that extent. When I was a student, life was very stressful.

Days go by quickly, and it is easy to forget that 29 or 30 days have passed, and that the notes have to be destroyed. The penalties are too severe and we must re-examine this matter.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it really is a pleasure to rise in the House today as part of this debate on Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. Like so much of the legislation we are discussing in this session, this legislation is long overdue and badly needed by a sector of the Canadian economy that is absolutely fundamental to our future growth and to job creation in this country in the years and decades to come.

It matters for the artists of this country who have yet to emerge, cut their first album, produce their first painting or write their first play. It also matters for the superstars we all enjoy today who want to take their creations even further. Feist, Cirque du Soleil and dozens of artists that all of us in the House admire enormously are among those who stand to benefit from versions of this act, which is above all focused on modernization in a sector where being up to date has always counted as much as anything else, because the methods by which artists transmit their works to the world have always been changing.

In my remarks, I want to review the path that we have taken in coming to the point of bringing this bill before the House and remind hon. members that copyright is at the heart of our democratic system. It is at the heart of our society and our values, in that it allows us to bring art creations before a larger audience and ensure that creators and artists benefit and are able to be part of a value chain, part of businesses that ultimately form an enormous and growing industry in this country.

It goes all the way back to the time of Queen Anne. One of the first copyright statutes was as far back as 1708. Hon. members on my side of the House will take some pride in the fact that it was a Tory government at that time in England, which is not surprising.

The first legislation in this country came at a very formative stage. In the 1830s, long before the British North America Act was passed, this country was legislating in this field. The original Copyright Act goes back to 1921 and was not updated in any thorough way for a long time, because media had not changed as dramatically, through much of the 20th century, as they have in recent decades. This measure is now urgent.

The legislation in previous Parliaments, as hon. members know, did not come through the legislative process and receive royal assent. I would like to take some time to reflect on how this bill has reached the point at which we see it today.

It is most important to emphasize that this bill built on input from literally thousands of Canadians, and many of the consultations took place in 2009. The response to them was remarkable, demonstrating not only how important copyright is to the digital economy and our global competitiveness but also that Canadians understand how important this is to their lives. If we are not up to date and modern in our legislation in this field, Canadians literally deprive themselves of self-understanding through the best art, stories and representations of the way we live in this country that are available. We are each serving our own quality of life in supporting this legislation.

Through the consultations, the government heard many views from copyright owners, artists, individual copyright users, innovative companies, teachers and students.

The teachers and students told us they need greater flexibility to make use of copyright materials to maximize the opportunities provided by new classroom technologies. That is a fair point.

Copyright owners told us Canada's copyright law needs to reflect international standards in rights and protections to allow them to sustain business models in a digital environment and a globalized context.

Consumers told us that they want to make reasonable use of content they have already bought and paid for.

Furthermore, from all the feedback we received it became abundantly clear how important it was going to be to design a copyright bill that balanced the interests and needs of the full range of interested parties. None of these constituencies was going to get everything it wanted out of this bill; each would have to strike a balance with all the other major interested parties.

Following the consultations in spring of 2010, during the 40th Parliament the government introduced Bill C-32, also a copyright modernization act, and after second reading the bill was referred to a legislative committee. That committee heard Canadians' views over the course of 17 days of witness hearings. In that time, 70 individuals and organizations appeared and 150 written submissions were received, and two key messages emerged: first, the bill struck the right balance between various stakeholders, in the view of the vast majority of those taking part; second, Canada urgently needed to pass an updated copyright legislation to bring ourselves up to date.

Unfortunately, the 40th Parliament was dissolved. Members opposite will know more about the reasons for that than we do on our side. It was an unnecessary election, and it had a cost in terms of the timeliness of legislation and a further delay in the passing of this bill. Therefore, to facilitate swift passage in this Parliament, the government introduced a bill without changes in order to reiterate its support for balanced legislation and to facilitate the modernization of the act.

Then a second legislative committee went to work studying the bill, and it has reported back. That committee held seven more days of witness hearings and heard from 40 additional witnesses.

During clause-by-clause review, the committee adopted several technical amendments. I call these amendments “technical” because they address specific legal and drafting issues in the bill, while preserving the overall balance. They have improved the clarity of several important provisions of the bill. Obviously this world is changing; as a result, the technical background to many of this bill's provisions is changing, and we had to ensure that the bill now before this House matched the intent of the bill and the reality in this sector.

Some of the technical amendments tighten up the language of new measures to fight online piracy. For example, the provisions that create a new civil liability for so-called enablers—services that enable online piracy—have been strengthened. It has also been clarified that an enabler would not be able to benefit from any of the safe harbours in the bill that are intended to apply to legitimate Internet intermediaries when they are playing a neutral role.

We have also cleaned up and corrected ambiguous wording in some aspects of the bill, fully in line with the government's stated intent. For example, it is now specified that new exceptions for copying for private purposes apply only for the private purposes of the person who makes the copy, not for some other person's private purpose. Other technical amendments would reassure Canada's information and communication technology sector that exceptions designed to foster innovation through activities such as security testing, interoperability and encryption research would not provide inadvertent loopholes for malicious activities. The last thing we wanted to do is allow those engaged in piracy to enter, as it were, back into this game through the back door.

Finally, the safe harbours provided to Internet intermediaries have been amended to ensure that the conditions that must be met to receive shelter are aligned with industry best practices. These are just some of the examples of improvements made.

This June will mark the two-year point since the predecessor of this bill was first introduced. That is a long time. It is clear we owe it to all those who participated in the consultations in committee hearings to move forward with this important legislation. Time does not stand still on these issues, and this Parliament will no doubt return to this issue with subsequent amendments and with subsequent legislative measures in this field. However, it is vital to Canada's competitiveness and to the well-being and prosperity of our artists and our cultural industries that this bill now move ahead. Without this legislation, everyday Canadians will not be certain that they are on the right side of the law when they do something as simple as recording a television program for later viewing. Without this legislation, copyright owners will not have legal protection for the digital locks they use to protect their investments in a digital marketplace.

With these modernizations, an already vast industry in Canada will stand every chance of growing, of achieving record levels of growth and taking the richness and all of the diversity of Canada's cultural industries to a much larger audience inside this country and well beyond our borders.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague.

The issue facing us at committee was that very clear and realistic amendments needed to be made in order to ensure balance, but the government continued to attack that idea. I finally understood where the Conservatives were coming from when the member said that they did not want any back doors for these pirates to get in, because we could not understand why they did not want to work with us to clarify the provisions for people with perceptual disabilities.

Blind students trying to access a work on their Kindle should not be criminalized, yet the Conservatives put provisions in there that said they could only access a work as long as they did not unduly impair the technological protection measure, as though they actually thought it was a digital lock that people were picking. I was wondering why they were so adamant. Does the member really believe that blind students, deaf students and people with perceptual disabilities are somehow opening a back door to piracy? Why would the Conservatives not accept those reasonable amendments to protect the rights of people with perceptual disabilities to get the kind of education they have a right to? Why does he think that they are in league with pirates?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that is not what I said or implied. However, that is his modus operandi, so we will let it pass.

The bottom line is the NDP is not as convinced, and certainly not as principled, on the issue of cracking down on piracy. It does not accept that artists would be the ones to benefit first and foremost from an industry that is regulated by the rule of law, from an industry where artists are able to reliably protect their creations under a modernized law. The artists agree with this. Loreena McKennitt said that the changes proposed in the government's copyright bill were “fair and reasonable”.

Michael Geist, someone with whom I am sure the member opposite sympathizes, said:

The bill will require careful study, but the initial analysis is that there were some serious efforts to find compromise positions on many thorny copyright issues.

We stand with the balance we have struck.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, Canadian research chair, Michael Geist has suggested that an easy way to fix this would be to amend the bill to make it okay to circumvent a digital lock if the purposes for which a lock is circumvented are lawful. Let us quote Mr. Geist fully. Let us talk about the fact that he found a fundamental flaw that the Conservatives were not willing to address.

In this situation, my question is this. If other countries saw fit to make changes about circumventing these locks under circumstances such as education, why did we not do the same? Why is that such a bad thing in certain circumstances?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the needs of educational institutions and the needs of a new generation that want to engage with electronic media more intensely than any previous are heavily taken into account in striking the balance that the bill strikes.

The member opposite will have to agree with us on this side that the modernization the bill represents, the struggle to balance the needs of those school children, of the independent consumers with those of the corporate sector and artists themselves who want to get paid for their work has been well struck in the bill.

It is unacceptable for us to allow further delay. The last update in modernization in this area took place before the first Google search had taken place, before Facebook and Twitter were created. We need to legislate in this field, and this bill would do the job.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Speaker, would the member elaborate on how this will help with the ability to compete in the global digital economy that is so critical for stakeholders in the industry?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, this really is the most exciting part of the bill. We all believe on this side of the House that modernization, combined with the unprecedented agenda of trade and investment liberalization that the government is pursuing in all parts of the world, stand to make our cultural industry stronger and more visible both to us in Canada and worldwide. We cannot always find the artists we want in a timely way online or on television because the structures are not there and the financing is not there to bring them to us. It will also take these artists to audiences, billions of people, around the world who have yet to hear everything they want to hear from Canada. Therefore, this is a trade and economic measure as much as it is a cultural measure.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I have the pleasure of addressing the House on the subject of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act. This has already been pointed out, but I would like to remind the House that, while the English title speaks of copyright, in French, we refer to “le droit d'auteur”, the author's right.

That difference is quite interesting, because we are seeking to find a balance between the author's rights and the user's right to make copies. In a well-constructed law, it should be possible to find a balance between these things that appear contradictory at first.

As the official opposition critic on industry, I would like to highlight some facts regarding the contribution of arts and culture to the Canadian economy.

It is said that arts and culture contribute $85 billion a year to our economy and support 1.1 million jobs. If we look deeper, we find that the average salary for an artist in Canada is only $12,900 a year. So, when we talk about this bill to amend the Copyright Act, we want to be certain that the new legislation includes remuneration for the creators and artists who work in this industry. After all, they are the ones who create the content that consumers, users and educators make use of later.

People who work, who are in an industry and produce a device or any kind of commodity, expect to be compensated for their work, for the product they produce. That is the problem with Bill C-11. Creators will lose income that their content should generate. As well, those who produce things expect the product to be protected somehow, not used in a way in which they did not intend it to be used.

It seems that those who produce artistic creations, such as music or photos, would no longer be compensated. Consider the book industry. I recently spoke to people from the Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois. The Quebec book industry is worth $800 million per year, yet writers earn an average annual income of just $10,000. Despite relatively low earnings, the existing legal framework enables many people interested in writing—and making music—to earn royalties for their work.

I believe that, in our society, people should be compensated fairly for their work.

That is what is interesting about arts and culture, because it is a very important sector in Canada. Indeed, Canadian artists do not have access to a huge market, as do our neighbours to the south, for instance.

We therefore need to ensure that our artists are properly supported so that they can continue to tell our stories and share Canada's culture with the rest of the world, since that culture is rather unique and very interesting.

These artists are always passionate and often have very unique ways of expressing what it means to live here in Canada, of singing about Canada and of talking about Canada's different regions. Incidentally, I am from Quebec and of Acadian heritage. It is thanks to artists from Quebec, whom I know well, and Acadian artists, for instance, but also artists from other areas of Canada, that we are able to express what it means to be Canadian, to be a Quebecker, Albertan or Ontarian, to name a few.

These artists are, or at least should be, a great source of pride. As such, we must recognize that in the bill to amend the Copyright Act. We must ensure that we have legislation that reflects the needs of Canadians and does not give in to foreign demands that do not necessarily correspond to Canadian values. We have to make it easier for culture to grow here and ensure that it can be protected.

Like the government, we recognize that the Copyright Act has to be modernized; there is no denying it. Earlier, my colleague, the digital issues critic, said as much, as we all have. Technology is changing faster than the law can. It is changing very quickly. There are more and more means of communication and copying. We have to deal with this rapidly changing technology. We know that.

We would expect a bill that modernizes legislation to support fair compensation for the creators of content and accessibility to this content for users, and also to strike a balance between these interests. Bill C-11 does not seem to strike that balance. It even adds locks, barriers, things that do not necessarily help achieve that balance. According to a number of witnesses, these things could potentially create barriers to innovation.

I would like to remind the government that we must try to strike a balance. The NDP believes that the Copyright Act can strike a balance between creators' right to fair compensation for their work and consumers' right to reasonable access to content.

I hope that we will strike that balance one day. However, at this time, Bill C-11 does not seem to do that. Therefore, I am sorry to say that I will be voting against it.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on her excellent speech.

I would like her to talk about what this type of bill, which is supposed to apply to all new technologies, could do to the next generation of creators. It has taken some time to bring in reforms. We proposed several amendments and they were all rejected outright.

What can this type of bill, which does not really stimulate creativity or job creation in this area—as was hinted at earlier—do to the next generation of artists, creators, authors and composers?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, who was a musician in a former life. I believe he still is because once a musician, always a musician.

In fact, my colleague raises a very good point. Paying royalties to artists is in fact an investment in our culture. When we make an investment it will pay dividends and promote job creation. If we take away this investment, or these royalties, we nip all hope of job creation and cultural expansion in the bud.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, although the Conservative government continues to say that the proposed changes to the Copyright Act will protect the best interests of Canadian consumers, the reality is that the Conservatives have based their policy on the concerns of large copyright holders, especially those in the United States.

My colleague is quite right: the real winners with Bill C-11 are the major movie studios and record labels, not Canadian consumers nor the artists.

I wonder if she agrees with my hypothesis: maybe the government attacks women, seniors and now artists as a way of creating more criminals to suit its prison agenda.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a very broad question.

I pointed out—and I would like to reiterate—that we must ensure that our laws, including copyright laws for instance, really reflect the reality in Canada and Canadian culture. Unfortunately, this government has a tendency to want to copy the United States. But this is not the United States.

In Canada, we have a very unique culture that needs to be nurtured and enriched. Indeed, by having copyright, by granting royalties to our artists and creators, we can ensure that Canadian culture is promoted beyond our borders and supported here at home.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, just in that last question we heard everything that is wrong with respect to the opposition. Its members are so concerned with trying to get over onto this side of the House that they will say anything and do anything. It does not matter how wrong they are or how far from the truth it is, they will say it. They will stoop to any level in order to get over here. That is the problem with the change of leadership that party has had. It has gone from a principled party to one that cares about nothing and will stand for nothing.

One of the members said that we were creating new prisons, which is not true. We are rebalancing the criminal justice system, which I know they are against.

Why is the hon. member so concerned about Canadian artists that she does not believe that they can compete with anybody around the world, when four of the top five artists on Billboard in December were Canadian artists, when some of the highest grossing movie producers are Canadians and when some of the best films in the world are Canadian?

What is it about our artists that the opposition members are so concerned about that they do not think that they can compete with anybody around the world and—

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. Time is getting on.

The hon. member for LaSalle—Émard for a short response, please.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can I give a brief answer to such a long question? I will do my best.

I would like to emphasize to my colleague opposite that it is true that Canadian culture is full of success stories. However, the question is whether these people still live here now, if they were able to develop their talents here, or if they went somewhere else while people continue to enjoy the products they are developing elsewhere, creating jobs elsewhere. I have to wonder about that.

This does not change how proud I am of our artists, but I want to know if this is creating jobs here, for people here at home.

Bill C-11--Notice of time allocation motionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are debating Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act, a bill that puts forward a balanced approach that would create jobs, promote innovation, and attract new investment to Canada.

Today is the 11th day that the bill has been in debate since September when it was introduced. It has also been the subject of extensive committee hearings in this and the previous Parliament. Special legislative committees have heard from almost 200 witnesses.

Despite that extensive debate and study, I must advise, Mr. Speaker, that an agreement has not been reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) concerning the proceedings at report stage and third reading of Bill C-11, an act to amend the Copyright Act.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at those stages.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak to this extremely important legislation.

I would be remiss if I did not preface my comments by mentioning the previous member who spoke talking about where our artists are working, whether they are successful and whether they are able to work in Canada. The reality is that for world-class artists, it is not Canada and it is not the United States. It is the entire globe.

We live in a global economy and our artists do well when they can work on a global scale. We do not have to be so parochial that we cannot see beyond our neighbour, beyond our provincial boundaries or beyond our country's boundaries. If we want to be successful today, we need to work on a world scale. Our artists are able to do that because they have been supported and nurtured by both provincial and federal governments in this country and are first class artists in their own right. The idea that we would deny them competition, deny them the ability and that we would keep them poor and enslaved is totally unfathomable to me.

In our government's last Speech from the Throne we announced our intention to reintroduce and seek swift passage of legislation to modernize Canada's copyright law. I am proud to say that we are well on our way to fulfilling this commitment.

On September 29, 2011, our government introduced a modern, forward-looking copyright bill, a bill that would promote innovation and job creation, a bill that would help attract new investment to Canada. In short, this bill is a good news story for Canada.

Bill C-11 represents a balanced approach to copyright reform that would give creators and copyright owners a full range of rights and protections needed to compete on the world stage. At the same time, the bill also recognizes the many ways in which Canadians can make use of copyrighted material.

Today I will draw attention to the many ways in which Canada's creative community would benefit from Bill C-11.

The bill provides a clear framework that would allow creators to take full advantage of the vast number of opportunities presented by today's digital world. This is important. As the Canadian Publishers Council has stated loud and clear, we all benefit from strong and precise copyright legislation that provides incentives that protect rights holders while in this highly competitive economy. This bill would do just that, which is why it has received so much support across this great country.

The copyright modernization bill would bring Canada in line with international standards by implementing the rights and protections of the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaty. The bill would also ensure that creators are able to control the first sale of every copy of their work. In doing so, Bill C-11 would protect the incentive to create and would give copyright owners effective tools to fight against piracy.

As I mentioned earlier, these provisions have been greeted with widespread support, including from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, which described our government's copyright legislation as good public policy and critical to the success of Canada's digital economy.

Considering the clear benefits of Bill C-11, it is no wonder that its swift passage is being urged on and encouraged by so many Canadians. The bill is long overdue, as the copyright modernization bill has already undergone a very extensive review.

In the last Parliament, more than 70 witnesses appeared before a legislative committee and over 150 written briefs were submitted.

Earlier this year, the committee tasked with studying Bill C-11 heard from an additional 50 new witnesses and it also received approximately 100 new written submissions.

The committee recently completed a clause by clause examination of the bill. It adopted some amendments that clarified certain provisions and some of them reflect recommendations put forward by members of the creative community.

Let me tell the House about some of those amendments.

As mentioned, Bill C-11 would give creators and copyright owners the tools to go after those who enable infringement, while maintaining a balance with the rights of consumers. The government's efforts to target those who enable and profit from copyright infringement has been applauded by members of the creative community.

However, the committee recognized the concern expressed by these groups that the enablers provision should be strengthened. Specifically, they were worried that the language used in the bill may have inadvertently allowed large-scale enablers to escape liability. The committee has responded to this concern. It adopted amendments that close any loophole that may have existed that could have inadvertently afforded protection to enablers. In doing so, we are sending an even clearer message that facilitating copyright infringement is not welcome in Canada.

Because Bill C-11 is about balance, the new rights and protection it includes for creators are accompanied by a number of exceptions for use, including exceptions that would allow Canadians to benefit from digital technology. For instance, the bill would allow Canadians to time-shift and format-shift. This would enable them to enjoy legally obtained copyrighted material at the time and in the way they choose, as long as it is done for private purposes.

These exceptions have elicited widespread support, especially from those devoted to the teaching and education of our children. The Council of Ministers of Education has stated:

This legislation provides the clarity we have been looking for.... It is excellent that the bill allows students and educators to use Internet materials in their learning and teaching without fear of copyright infringement.

It is worth just taking a look at that phrase one more time. One of the great challenges in this piece of legislation was to find a balance between reliable, honest Internet use and copyright infringement. We needed to find a balance that would allow our educators and our students to access the Internet; however, we also needed to protect the rights of the people who own that copyrighted material. Every single minister of education in Canada has agreed that this piece of legislation finds that balance.

I realize that we have a number of people in the House who appear to think they know more than every single minister of education in this country, but the reality is that this has been embraced by the education community. It has been looked at, as I said earlier in my remarks, as a balanced piece of legislation. It has received extremely widespread support.

However, the committee also recognized concerns raised by some copyright owners that these exceptions could be misinterpreted. Copyright owners indicated that people might think it is legal, for example, to copy a movie from someone else's personal collection to their own tablets as long as the recording is being used for private purposes. This of course was never the intent of the bill's format-shifting and time-shifting exceptions.

In response to this concern, the committee adopted an amendment that makes it crystal clear that these exceptions would only apply when it comes to the private purpose of the individual who has legally obtained the copyrighted material other than by borrowing it or renting it. It would ensure that the measures proposed in Bill C-11 would work the way they are supposed to.

All the amendments I have described support the overall balance of the bill. These changes ensure that the rules of copyright are clear and predictable. The needs and the interests of both consumers and creators have been carefully considered.

Copyright clearly plays a critical role for Canada's creative community. It needs a modern copyright regime that reflects the reality of the digital age. The bill we have before us today would do just that. Bill C-11 is a common sense approach to copyright. It would bring the Copyright Act in line with our G8 trading partners.

Bill C-11 in its current form would provide our nation's creative economy with the edge needed to thrive in the competitive global market. It would, in the words of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, lay “the foundation for future economic growth and job creation”.

It is time we brought Canada's copyright law into the 21st century. I urge my colleagues on every side of the House to join me in supporting the bill. This is timely, good and balanced legislation.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I pose a question to my colleague across the way, I just have to make a comment on the fact that the government, yet again, is going to shut down debate in this House on something that is vitally important to Canadians. Shame on it. This is a party that said in opposition that it would have open debates, that it would encourage that debate, and here we have Parliament about to be shut down again.

My question is for my colleague. Digital locks was one of the things that the minister and others said they had to put in place because of our international responsibilities. However, time and time again evidence has been brought forward that it is not required.

The question is: Why is the government selling out consumers and bringing forward the false premise that we had to do this when we do not? Not only is there less money for artists, with the $20 million gone, but also a false premise that we had to put the digital locks on consumers.

Report StageCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the hon. member's comments are not only incorrect; they are misleading.

Let us just go back for a moment to bringing this to a vote in a timely and responsible manner. In the last Parliament more than 70 witnesses appeared through the committee and 150 written briefs were submitted, and in this Parliament we have had 50 new witnesses and we have received 100 written briefs.

We can have debate, and I think that is what we are all here for. There is nothing wrong with debate. However when debate becomes delay for the purpose and only the purpose of delay, then it is not progressive, it does not do anything to enhance this legislation and it is not legitimate in this place.