This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. minister's comment about the tone that I took.

The minister is still missing something when he talks about digital locks. He is missing perhaps the fact about consumers who get around a digital lock when they have already paid for the material but do not pass it on and sell it to somebody else. The government says that it will enforce it against them, it will allow the enforcement. This is a government choice. It is not as if the government is saying this is not it at all but somebody else, which is what the minister is suggesting.

The government is making a choice about what will happen if someone messes with a digital lock even if that individual has already paid for that material, be it a movie, a song or whatever, even though that is not considered an infringing purpose. The intent is not to cause damage to the creator, to have the individual lose income. People simply want to enjoy the thing they paid for. That is what I see to be wrong with the government's approach.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about an important aspect of Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.

Copyright is not only about creators and users; it is also about the companies that act as mediators and intermediaries to connect users and creators across the globe. Never has this been as true as it is today, given the proliferation of new services on the Internet. They have quite simply changed all of our lives. Canadians are now accustomed to having a wealth of information at their fingertips.

The marvel of the 19th century was Alexander Graham Bell's electrical speech machine. The Internet will be looked on as the marvel of the 20th century. Information is becoming accessible everywhere, connecting everyone. Not only is the Internet changing the way people communicate, it is also enhancing the global economy.

The importance of the people who connect others through technology has long been recognized in Canada. Bill C-11 follows this theme, while reflecting the evolution of technology. It delivers safe harbour or shelter from liability under copyright law to those who merely provide the platform and tools that let people use and find things on the Internet. Bill C-11 recognizes the absolutely vital role played in realizing the potential of the Internet by mutual intermediaries such as Internet service providers and search engines.

Safe harbours are also formally recognized by Canada's trading partners that signed the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty. All agreed that the mere provision of physical facilities did not in itself amount to a violation of copyright.

In the digital environment, it is crucial that neutral intermediaries are not held liable for the activities of their customers. So long as they are simply providing a connection, caching, hosting or helping to locate information, they should be exempt from copyright liability. Bill C-11, by providing clear limitations on their liability, would ensure that these services would continue to provide users with open access to the dynamic online environment.

At the same time, ISPs are in a unique position to facilitate the enforcement of copyright on the Internet. Because ISPs are often the only parties able to identify and warn subscribers accused of infringing copyright, the bill would require all of them to participate in the fight against piracy. The bill would bring into law what is sometimes called the “notice and notice” regime. This system is currently used on a voluntary basis within Canada's Internet service industry.

Under this system, when an ISP receives notice from a copyright holder that a subscriber might be infringing copyright, the ISP forwards the notice to the subscriber. I am proud to say that notice and notice is a uniquely Canadian solution to this problem. It would ensure that we would not view a truly neutral Internet service provider in the same light that we would an actual copyright pirate.

An amendment made at committee stage has clarified the safe harbour provisions so that the strongest efforts are made to catch only the true Internet pirates. At the same time, the bill clearly would not allow us to tolerate negligence.

During the clause-by-clause review of the bill, the legislative committee adopted technical amendments that would ensure that the notice-and-notice regime would be appropriately implemented. These amendments clarify that an ISP must send the notice “as soon as feasible”, rather than the previous language, “without delay”.

The committee did its jobs in this case and improved on the proposal it had before it. All of this would ensure that delays in forwarding notices due to circumstances beyond the ISP's control would be taken into account by any court.

Only ISPs that fail to live up to the notice and notice requirement would be liable for civil damages. Again, this approach to addressing online infringement is unique to Canada. It provides copyright owners with the tools to enforce their rights while respecting due process and protecting users.

Another amendment made at committee clarifies the responsibilities of Internet service providers and search engines to not interfere with monitoring software on websites, such as those that generate data sometimes used to monetize web traffic.

The bill requires ISPs and search engines to comply with instructions on websites relating to caching and indexing, as long as those practices are in line with industry standards. To avoid imposing an overly onerous burden on Internet intermediaries, amendments were adopted to clarify that ISPs and search engines must comply with these instructions, but only when they are specified in a manner consistent with industry practice.

We strongly believe that the bill, as amended, would encourage even greater participation of Canadians in the digital economy and would deliver incentives to Canadian businesses and creators to invest in digital technologies.

Copyright modernization is an important element of a strengthened economy and with other initiatives will position Canada for leadership in the global digital environment.

One of the other initiatives, for example, is the Minister of Industry's recent decision to open up the 700 megahertz spectrum to auction. That announcement also included a focus on tower sharing and stronger rural deployment, meaning greater coverage for people everywhere in Canada. It also included opening up our telecom sector to increased global investment, a measure that we see in the budget implementation bill, which also needs to be passed swiftly by Parliament.

Further, we have put a priority on ensuring wider broadband deployment. We intend to reach a target where 98% of Canadians will have access to broadband infrastructure. That is 98%. We are investing in programs to help students, communities and businesses adapt to the digital economy. We are moving forward with consumer protection measures, such as anti-spam and do-not-call measures.

Through these steps and, most critically, steps being taken by Canada's private sector digital economy leaders, we are becoming an increasingly digital nation. As I have mentioned, copyright reform and the broader protection of intellectual property is an important element of Canada's digital economic shift. In passing this bill, we would enhance Canada's capacity to innovate using digital technologies, help build a world-class digital infrastructure, provide the best conditions for the growth of our information and communications technology industry, and foster Canadian creativity.

With a riding like Kitchener Centre in Waterloo region which is home to the offices of Canadian digital giants like Desire2Learn, OpenText, Google, RIM, and others, I am keenly aware of the benefits of these new copyright provisions for all Canadians. I urge all hon. members to join me in supporting this bill so that the copyright modernization act can lead the way toward even newer digital marvels in the 21st century for all Canadians.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am worried about this bill. For 10 years I was a recording musician. I have authored a number of books that are used in courses in universities. I have also taught distance education courses. I am very worried that the people who I know through these various careers are going to be harmed by these provisions.

I think that artists are going to lose money, students are going to be punished, and textbooks are going to be burned. This worries me. I am wondering if the member could allay my fears.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that the business of the opposition is to try to provoke as much worry as possible in Canadians all across the country. I would like to read for the member a few things that have been said about this bill which will allay not only his worries as he professes them, but the worries of Canadians all across the country.

I will begin with one of my favourite artists, Loreena McKennitt. She is an artist and creator of great renown around the world. As written in the Stratford Beacon Herald, she said that the changes proposed in the government's copyright bill are “fair and reasonable”.

The Canadian Photographers Coalition, creators of great intellectual works, welcomes the government's copyright reform legislation. It said:

These amendments should allow Canadian small business photographers the opportunity to generate additional revenues for their commercial work.

Perhaps my friend would be less worried if he knew that the Canadian Intellectual Property Council said:

We applaud and fully support the government's efforts to update Canada's copyright regime.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said, “We congratulate the government” for protecting “our creative industries and men and women working in film and television production across Canada.”

I could go on. I hope that will allay some of my hon. colleague's worries.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier the Minister of Canadian Heritage cited the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, CASA, as one of the groups that was supporting his bill. I find that interesting because I have a quote from CASA and I would like to know what the hon. member has to say about it. CASA in fact said:

While we are happy to see that the pro-student aspects of C-11 were preserved by the committee, it is a shame that the committee did not approve amendments that would strengthen user rights, including allowing for non-infringing circumvention of digital locks.

CASA, like a number of other organizations, believes that C-11's absolute protection for digital locks will undermine many of the user rights created by C-11. Under the legislation, if a digital lock were placed on a work, it would be a violation of copyright to circumvent it, even if the activity would otherwise be permissible.

I would like my hon. colleague's comment on that and why he thinks the minister cited this group when it clearly is not 100% in favour of this bill.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my friend's question gives me the opportunity to quote directly what was said by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations:

--the government has demonstrated a commitment to...Canada's education community.

Students across Canada are greatly encouraged....[T]he...government has a clear understanding of how this bill will impact Canada's students, educators and researchers.

In answering my colleague's question, I would also take the opportunity to say that the reality is that by giving people the ability to have digital locks on the products they create, we are allowing them to give locks for different levels of usage. If there were no such locks, creators would need to charge the highest price for the highest and most extensive use of their product. However, by allowing digital locks, they could give graduated access to their products, some of them at much lesser cost than if it were going to be used by dozens or hundreds of people. In the end, this will be a boon for consumer pricing.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are talking a lot about digital locks, which is understandable because they are one of the easiest things to see. When there is a digital lock, people see it and they know that a right is being protected under a padlock. We talk about this a lot, but I wonder whether people, the legislator, have not focused on this much because the corporations, the multinationals, are focusing on it in order to protect their works.

There is no doubt that the major multinationals in this world have been installing locks for decades, rightly or wrongly. They have been installing locks whether they have the right to or not. That is the issue. When we look at this legislation, we get the impression that those with the loudest voices and the most money are the ones who were heard: in other words, the major lobbies and the major industries.

That is rather pathetic because people forget that creation and culture are essentially the story of individuals, of people who have ideas, people who are encouraged to think differently and to see the world in a different way. Without arts and culture, everything would be black and white and that would be dull.

Today, all of these creators help form our identity, what is known as Canadian cultural heritage and Quebec cultural heritage. Creation is what matters. This is crystal clear, considering the whole process related to Bill C-32. I was not a decision-maker in the process at the time, but I once worked in the cultural industry. Now that I am a decision-maker in the process linked to Bill C-11, I can say that the Conservatives did not listen to creators. Instead, they listened to lobbyists and large corporations that have assets and want to invest here and there—major networks, cable, antennas—big business. That is fine, because it is important to have business. We need a way to disseminate people's ideas and our heritage.

The saddest part of all this is knowing that the Conservative government is behaving as it always does: blindly and lazily. Listening only to those who shout the loudest is the lazy way. Copying whatever the Americans are doing is also the lazy way. Our colleagues across the floor seemed to take an attitude of crass laziness towards the witnesses who appeared before us, telling us their stories and telling us about how they live—the people from the industry who create the heritage that makes us unique. We are all proud of our heritage. Whether one is from Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia or the Maritimes, we all have an identity that we want to protect. It is what distinguishes us from our neighbours.

Unfortunately, when these people come to the table, the questions they get asked are totally incoherent. These witnesses come to complain about the fact that they have lost—or will lose, if the bill passes—their broadcast mechanical, and the person across from me says that they are selling music to radio stations. The witnesses explain that they are not selling music to radio stations, that they are just suggesting music for the stations to play and that they are happy with that. Then they get asked why the radio stations should have to pay, since they are happy that the stations are playing music.

This system has been around forever, and it works well. According to radio stations and music producers, the system has always worked well. Then the government stomps in, saying that it is no good and that since the radio station people would rather not pay, then they do not have to pay anymore. The government tells artists that it is enough. Basically, that is what is happening. It happened with broadcasters, and with the transfer of use of cultural or literary material in schools. There were agreements, like Copibec—systems, shared royalty collection systems, a common management system for those rights.

These systems were working very well. Then the government came out and said that this was no longer how it was going to be done. Honestly, there was no problem. In general, the education sector was not complaining and did not feel that it was paying too much. When it is your job to teach young people and show them how to think independently, paying copyright fees to someone who is transferring knowledge via a page in a novel is not a problem. You pay the author. There has never been a problem with that. And then someone comes in like those guys over there, asking if people would rather stop paying, and all of a sudden people start thinking about how much they would save.

We are all aware that the education sector is searching for money wherever it can find it. And so, if the education system can save $3,000 a month, there is a lot of interest. Wow. Off we go. Thanks very much, ladies and gentlemen. Things were working quite well, and then—badabing—here comes the government and it is all over. This heavy-handed approach relies on listening to the industry rather than the creators. Unfortunately, when the creators are not heard, the ones that are heard the least are those in Quebec.

I have heard the hon. members opposite say that they recognize the Quebec nation, but I look at Bill C-11 and see that it is a worthless gesture. They care nothing about how they do business or about how Quebec's creative people make a living. It is not important to them; they want to do this, so they do not listen.

When the Minister of Canadian Heritage appears on Quebec television and sweetly rhymes off the names of Éric Lapointe and other artists, it is all a sham. Everyone in the arts watches him but does not wish him well, in fact.

As my colleague from Davenport was saying, the artists are losing $20 million. That is horrendous. And then what can we say about the other losses coming from adding sections 29.22 and 29.24 to the Copyright Act, a fine law that has served us well, by the way. These sections make it possible to make all the copies anyone might want, as long as they are not given to another person. What a big, fat joke.

The entire music industry in Quebec is outraged, because, once again, no one has been listening. There is no willingness to try to understand. No, they want to copy the big players, like Sony in the United States.

In reality, Quebec artists will now be like hawkers who sell their wares on street corners. They will no longer be able to earn a living by selling their music, as they did previously. They will have to put on shows.

We keep hearing that people such as stage technicians are pleased with this bill. Yes, I understand that they are pleased; that is obvious. However, I do not believe that sound engineers working in a studio or people who create music but do not put on live shows are happy with it. And when I hear that Canadian photographers are pleased, I can understand that, because there are no big corporations that take a cut in that sector. But there are in the world of music. Honestly, the only word that comes to mind to describe the bill is “lazy”. That is the reality.

The impact of this bill is clear: artists will lose about $50 million. How is it that we are interfering once again in a process that worked for artists? That bears repeating. Without getting into the specifics, a few years ago, the Copyright Board of Canada told the radio people that the situation regarding recorded music made things difficult for musicians and artists and that solutions had to be found to improve things. Radio broadcasters were asked to contribute a little more by paying mechanical rights. Previously, radio broadcasters made a copy and played the LPs on a turntable. Now that music is downloaded from the Internet, they have to pay a royalty if they make a copy for their operating system.

The broadcasters agreed because if you want to make cheese, you have to feed your cows. Cows have to eat. If we want music, then artists have to be able to make a living. The government is swooping in, cutting left and right and it is over. Broadcasters will be able to make copies without paying. Copyright is indeed very complicated, which is why I cringe when I think about these slapdash amendments, when people have not had the chance to attend these debates in committee.

How can the government just swoop in today and say that the broadcasters will not have to pay these mechanical royalties anymore without any proposal, promise or agreement to tell the musicians that we will look into it?

If I were an artist with a guitar, as my colleague was saying, I would do better here in this House. Honestly, what are artists supposed to live on? The Conservatives have said nothing about an alternative to paying mechanical royalties. Nothing.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher not just for his speech today but for the work he has done in his riding and in Quebec on behalf of artists. He is a champion of the arts and culture community. That community contributes to the economy of Canada in a handsome way. It is an important part of our economy, yet most artists live on less than $13,000 a year.

My hon. friend spoke about the importance of creating a better situation for artists. There was an opportunity to begin to create a middle class, a sustainable solid middle class, for artists in our country, but the bill missed that opportunity. What is worse, it does not provide any options. Once it pulls money off the table, like the $21 million in the broadcast mechanical, it does not offer any solutions to artists. We just heard the minister say earlier today that there are other ways. However, we do not see those measures for artists.

I would like my hon. colleague to comment more fully on that.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and return the compliment because he really is a very skilled, dynamic and attentive man. When I get the chance to work with people like him, I feel like things will really be different when we are across the way.

There is essentially no proposal for recovering these royalties. There are solutions that could be explored to address this $20 million shortfall, but there is nothing and I find that incredible. We can make suggestions, but it is clear that this government is an expert at rejecting suggestions for every one of its decisions and offending people along the way, whether in Davos with regard to old age security or at this committee in announcing that it is cutting $20 million.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we concur with the thought that, during the process of committee stage, there was the sense of expectation that the government would in fact be open to amendments. The Liberal Party has consistently advocated, as have others, that there are some serious flaws in the legislation, so there is this sense of disappointment that the government did not respond to the need to amend the legislation.

Here is one of the biggest concerns I have, on a personal level. Going back to the days in which we had record players, we could take some of our favourite songs from four or five records that we might have purchased and put them on a blank cassette, so we could listen to them. Fast forward now to today when we are talking about the digital locks. There are a lot of people who are concerned as to why the government is not standing up for their right to be able to make copies of the items of music they have actually purchased, so they can continue to listen to, in this case, that favourite song they might have recorded.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

The subject of digital locks is a very old one. Some people may recall certain measures that were taken by Sony Music on a Céline Dion CD. When people put it in their computers and tried to copy it, the CD completely froze their computers. Things have evolved a great deal since then, and I think that protecting one's work is very important.

It is very interesting to note that when one buys a song on iTunes right now, the song includes a number of copying licences for devices like iPods and other MP3 players, and another quantity of reproductions, albeit very limited. This takes that flexibility into account. This is the kind of modern approach that we should be drawing inspiration from, rather than creating legislation that refers to technological changes that are already five years old.

Motions in AmendmentCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, we live in a global, digital world . And yet, Canada's copyright regime has not been updated since the late 1990s, before the dot-com era and before tablet computers and mobile devices gave us access to thousands of songs, moves and apps at the touch of a button or the swipe of a finger.

Modernizing Canada's copyright laws is an important part of the government's strategy for the digital economy. Each year that Canada goes without modern copyright laws, the need for such modernization becomes more evident.

The explosive popularity of social media and new digital technologies—such as tablet computers, mobile devices and digital book readers—has changed the way Canadians create and use copyrighted material.

This is the third time that we have tried to introduce copyright legislation, and thanks to this government, we will finally update our act so that it is in sync with international standards.

I want to emphasize the fact that, since 1997, the government has tried to modernize the Copyright Act three times, four counting the Liberals' attempt in 2005. Parliament began its study of the Copyright Modernization Act during the last session. Bill C-32, the Copyright Modernization Act, was the latest attempt. The bill died on the order paper at the end of the last Parliament in March 2011.

Bill C-32 was the result of eight weeks of open consultations held across Canada in 2009. Many Canadians and stakeholders had the opportunity to voice their views on copyright. Before the end of the session, the legislative committee heard over 70 witnesses and received over 150 submissions. Several thousand online submissions were received during the online consultations. The bill was drafted in response to one of the farthest-reaching consultations of its kind in Canadian history.

The government acknowledges the extensive review and input already provided on the bill, as introduced in the last Parliament, and thanks all stakeholders and parliamentarians for their contributions. The process has sent one clear message: Canada urgently needs to modernize the Copyright Act.

By reintroducing this bill without changes, the government is reiterating its support for a balanced approach to copyright reform. The bill strikes a balance between the rights of creators and the rights of consumers. The new copyright system will encourage the emergence of new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research and development work and artistic creativity contribute to our dynamic economy.

For creative industries, this bill provides a clear, predictable legal framework that allows them to combat online piracy and roll out new online business models. The film industry has suggested that billions of dollars are lost every year to online piracy, even of films that are not yet available in theatres. Last year, the film industry contributed nearly $5 billion to Canada's economy and provided up to 35,000 full-time jobs.

For high-tech and software companies, this bill provides the certainty they need to develop new products and services that involve legitimate uses of copyrighted material. Canadian software companies have openly said that they prefer to launch new products for consoles because they know that as soon as a PC version is planned, up to 90% of video game sales are lost, sometimes even before the products are legally available on the market. Without the ability to protect their products against theft, thousands of Canadian jobs will be at risk, today and in the future.

For educators and students, this bill opens up greater access to copyright material by recognizing education as a legitimate purpose for fair dealing. New measures will allow more efficient ways to teach, conduct research, and deliver course material and lessons using the latest technologies.

It will also allow teachers to distribute publicly available material from the Internet. For entertainers and commentators, this bill includes parody and satire as purposes to which fair dealing applies.

I would like to clarify what fair dealing is, since there are so many poor interpretations out there. Fair dealing is a long-standing feature of Canadian copyright law that permits certain uses of copyright material in ways that benefit society and do not unduly threaten the interests of the copyright owners. Nevertheless, fair dealing is not a blank cheque.

Currently, fair dealing in Canada is limited to five purposes: research, private study, news reporting, criticism and review. To recognize the important societal benefits of education, parody and satire, the bill is adding these three elements as new purposes to which fair dealing applies, as we said before.

The bill will give Canadian creators and consumers the tools they need to increase Canada’s international competitiveness and will implement the rights and protections of the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties. The bill will allow the creation of user-generated content using copyright materials, such as mash-up videos, for posting on a blog or video-sharing site. This bill legitimizes activities that Canadians do every day.

For instance, the bill recognizes that Canadians should not be liable for recording TV programs for later viewing, copying music from CDs to MP3 players, or backing up data if they are doing so for their private use and have not broken a digital lock. The bill also ensures that digital locks on wireless devices will not prevent Canadians from switching their wireless service providers so long as existing contracts are respected. This will not affect any obligations under an existing contract. Finally, it also provides greater opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain works in an accessible format.

In addition, as a result of the committee's examination, a series of amendments to the bill were proposed in order to address certain concerns.

For instance, it was decided to clarify the fact that the provision regarding those who enable copyright infringement applies to anyone who facilitates piracy, even if that was not the original intention.

We wanted to limit the number of lawsuits against non-profit organizations that export adaptations for people with visual impairments to another country by mistake. This amendment is meant to protect Canadian organizations that might be sued for accidental violations.

The clause concerning those who enable copyright infringement will be amended to address concerns about how sites used purely for the purpose of piracy are protected. This amendment will not affect search engines.

In addition, safe harbour for those who enable copyright infringement will be eliminated. We want to clarify the scope of permitted injunctions against search engines and clarify the time frame for notices of violation by replacing the words “without delay” with “as soon as feasible”. We also have to clarify how service providers and information and education technology store and index information to permit indexing without liability. We also have to clarify that the clause on access to copies for format shifting and time shifting applies only to personal use, including personal use by households.

Lastly, we want to change the wording to ensure that copyright holders can apply under each of the international treaties that Canada is a party to.

This bill also mandates a review of the act every five years to ensure that the legislation is up to date, applicable, and in step with technological change as Canada's economy moves forward. The proposed changes will enhance copyright holders' ability to benefit from their work. Internet service providers, educators, students and entrepreneurs will have the tools to use new technology in innovative ways. Measures like these will ensure that Canadians can prosper.

TibetStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 14, 1995, the Dalai Lama recognized the 11th Panchen Lama, the second-ranked spiritual leader of Tibet, who was then six years old. Three days later, the boy was kidnapped by the Chinese authorities, who still refuse to divulge any information about his health or whereabouts.

This situation reminds us that the Tibetan people's long march to self-determination is far from over. China continues to respond to Tibet's calls for freedom with violence, unwarranted arrests and exile. Many Tibetans have even set themselves on fire as a cry of despair for the whole world to hear.

While the relationship between Canada and China is important, it must not be sought at the expense of human rights.

Long live the Tibetan people.

JudoStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize one of Canada's great young sport stars.

Whitney Lohnes, from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia in my riding of South Shore—St. Margaret's, recently won a gold and silver medal in Judo at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. She also medalled at the Pan-Am Games and won a gold medal at the 2011 Canada Games.

Whitney is currently studying at Concordia University in Montreal and training with Olympic coaches and national team members in the hopes of representing Canada in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

Ms. Lohnes is a recipient of the 2011 Roland Michener Canada Games Award received by two Canada Games participants in recognition of their strong leadership skills, athletic and scholastic excellence.

In closing, I congratulate Whitney on her many accomplishments and wish her continued success in all of her future endeavours.

Maternal and Child HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was Mother's Day, a day to reflect not only on our own mothers and our own children but on mothers and children the world over.

Recent cuts to CIDA's budget threaten Canada's commitment to maternal and child health in the world's poorest nations. No mother should have to watch her child suffer or die from a preventable disease. Every woman should have access to adequate and free postnatal care so that she lives to see her children grow.

Canada's contributions to life-saving, cost-effective interventions, like vaccine delivery, improved nutrition and the prevention and treatment of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, must be protected.

At the upcoming international forum, A Promise to Keep, I call upon the government to protect and renew our commitment to maternal and child health. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that Canada still cares about the health and survival of our world's most vulnerable people.

BasketballStatements By Members

May 14th, 2012 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Mr. Rich Goulet, a man whose achievements have been recently recognized through his induction into the Basketball BC Hall of Fame.

Rich has been a successful high school basketball coach for 43 years, the last 33 of them at Pitt Meadows Secondary School in my riding. His many accomplishments include winning the 1989 and 2000 B.C. Triple-A Championships and the 1983 Double-A Championships. In fact, he is the only coach in the Basketball BC Hall of Fame to win both triple-A and double-A high school championships.

Rich has also coached numerous provincial teams that included some notable basketball players such as Steve Nash and other talented university players.

Clearly, Coach Goulet is committed to the sport of basketball but more impressive is his commitment to moulding teenage basketball players into confident and productive young men. Hundreds of young men and their parents owe him their thanks.

I invite my colleagues here in the House of Commons to join me in thanking Rich Goulet for his service to Canada.

Royal Canadian NavyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize three individuals on the Burin Peninsula in the riding of Random—Burin—St. George's.

The Royal Canadian Navy has a total of 32 commissioned ships with commanding officers in its fleet, three of whom are from rural communities on the Burin Peninsula.

Lieutenant Commander Sid Green is commanding officer of HMCS Shawinigan, while Lieutenant Commander Michele Tessier is commanding officer of HMCS Nanaimo. Both were born and raised on the Burin Peninsula in the town of Grand Bank renowned for its connection to the sea.

In addition to Lieutenant Commanders Green and Tessier, there is a third commanding officer from the Burin Peninsula. Commander Arthur Wamback from Marystown is commanding officer of the HMCS Fredericton.

All three are shining examples of the fine men and women from Newfoundland and Labrador who serve in all branches of the Canadian military.

The residents of the Burin Peninsula are justifiably proud of these wonderful individuals. I ask all members to join me in showing appreciation for their service to our country.

Rights and FreedomStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I recently attended the citizenship ceremony in Lethbridge when 70 people became new Canadians. They came from many different countries, and every person had a story, but one thing was common among them, they had all chosen to become Canadians.

Among them was the Walsh family who had fled Zimbabwe with nothing but their suitcases after their house, farm and business were seized simply because the Walsh's were Caucasian.

New Canadians infuse fresh vitality to our national pride. Besides contributing skills to our economy and riches to our culture, they inspire us with a profound sense of gratitude. They know and remind us how lucky we are to be Canadian, where we can own property and enjoy the fruits of our labour, where we have freedom of speech and can worship according to the dictates of our conscience, where we can participate in politics and choose our government.

May we cherish these freedoms and use them well so Canada will continue to be a beacon to all the world.

Pauline Beaudry Foundation in WeedonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Rousseau NDP Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, the NDP celebrated its first year as the official opposition to an austere and regressive government.

Judging by polls taken in recent weeks, it is becoming increasingly evident that not just Quebeckers but Canadians across the country reject the moral and economic doctrine that the Conservative Party is trying to impose.

Whether we are talking about human rights or labour rights, disregard for the fundamental principles of respect, humanism and democracy is unfortunately evident in the day-to-day proceedings of Parliament.

Sadly, I must visit my riding in this unfortunate and disconsolate atmosphere. However, I have met courageous people who are hopeful and optimistic that we will see better days; 2015 will be an important year.

For that reason, I would like to congratulate the Fondation Pauline Beaudry in Weedon for last Saturday night's fundraising dinner that my wife and I attended. Ms. Beaudry, the mother of nine children, helps dozens of people in Haut-Saint-François with psychological or financial difficulties and those who are isolated. She provides support, resources and comfort when today's society and governments have forgotten their responsibilities.

Veronica Herman Award for Best FilmStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize a group of students from St. Patrick's Catholic School in my riding.

Haley Chisholm, Cole Weninger, Adam Balint and Liam Rice won the Veronica Herman Award for Best Film, grade 7 to 8 at this year's Toronto Kids International Film Festival for their short film titled “Virus”. Their motion picture was crowned the winner by film industry professionals.

Just less that 10 minutes in length, their mystery story is based on a student named Adam who finds himself at a new school where students follow the rules and never deviate. On his first day, Adam tries to find out why everyone is acting so odd and robotic. It is soon discovered that the principal was spreading smoke throughout the school and brainwashing the students. Mystery solved.

This is truly an original and brilliant piece. I applaud the creativity of these four students who wrote, produced, edited and starred in their high definition production. Their dedication and hard work has paid off. I look forward to seeing many more winning films from these students in the near future.

I congratulate them all.

Freedom of ReligionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, four years ago today, seven Baha'i leaders in Iran were abruptly taken out of their homes and arrested. In a flagrant violation of international law, the prisoners were held for 20 months without any charges being laid. Some were placed in solitary confinement for months. They were finally given an inhumane sentence of 20 years in prison for espionage.

However, we all know that these seven innocent Iranians were arrested for nothing else than for being members of the Baha'i faith.

Baha'is in Iran have suffered a systematic relentless campaign of persecution. Over 200 Baha'is have been killed, hundreds more imprisoned and the Baha'is in Iran face social, economic and cultural restrictions. Iranian authorities continue to undermine the rights of freedom of religion through the persistent and pervasive persecution of religious minorities, such as Baha'is, Christians, Jews, Sufis and Sunni Muslims.

Members from all sides of the House will come together this evening to participate in an important and timely debate on the human rights situation in Iran. We continue to urge Iran to uphold its international obligations to allow for freedom of religion and to respect the fundamental rights for all of its people.

LaSalle Royal Canadian LegionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 28, I attended an event organized by the ladies auxiliary of the LaSalle Royal Canadian Legion. They had invited veterans who live at the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Hospital for the occasion. It was an opportunity for everyone there to socialize and share a good meal.

A Montreal pipe band added pomp and circumstance to this joyous celebration.

I salute Mrs. Vera Sherlock, volunteer par excellence, as well as all the ladies auxiliary who visit the veterans on a weekly basis.

I want to thank the members of the legion in particular for providing a meeting place where everyone is welcome and activities for the veterans who served in the army. I want to thank the LaSalle Canadian Legion for its community involvement with the veterans and their families.

Tourism WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, May 14 to 20 is Tourism Week in Canada, a national initiative that showcases the economic impact of travel and tourism from coast to coast to coast.

Tourism is one of the few industries that drives economic growth in every region across the country. Travel industry employment provides vital incomes for individuals and families and serves as the economic lifeblood of communities across this great nation. The tourism industry employs more than 600,000 Canadians and contributes more than $78 billion to our economy annually.

This week I invite my hon. colleagues and all Canadians to celebrate tourism's contribution to the Canadian economy.

Sudbury Race for DiabetesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, along with 2,300 other runners from across northern Ontario, I participated in the SudburyROCKS!!! Race, Run or Walk for Diabetes. The event is the largest competitive running event in northern Ontario, with events ranging from a one-kilometre event for kids to a full a marathon.

The race day is important in two ways. First, the event raises much-needed funds for the Canadian Diabetes Association; and second, by encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle, the event is helping beat diabetes by raising funds.

I am very proud to share with all members that I finished just seconds outside of my own personal goal of completing the five-kilometre race in 35 minutes.

I would also like to acknowledge Elaina, the eight-year-old girl, and her mom who started in front of me and who finished the race in 33 minutes.

I would also like to thank the Sudbury Rocks!! Running Club, which organized the event, as well as all other event sponsors and volunteers who made this great event possible.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2012 promotes jobs, growth and economic prosperity for all Canadians. We do this by keeping taxes low, so that businesses will expand and hire more people.

However, it was no surprise on March 29, after only a few hours of review, that the tax-and-spend NDP declared its opposition to this pro-jobs and pro-growth plan.

Tonight we will implement a key part of economic action plan 2012 by supporting Bill C-38. This vote will implement a plan that will help create more new jobs on top of the more than 750,000 net new jobs that have been created since July of 2009.

Instead of playing silly procedural games, maybe the NDP should start acting responsibly, focus on the economy and support a real plan that will create jobs and growth for all Canadians.