Mr. Speaker, I want to take just a moment to congratulate a constituent of mine by the name of Sandra Benedetto, who did the Sporting Life walk this weekend to raise money for cancer research. She raised a lot of money, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate her and some of her neighbours for taking on that initiative.
We are back here yet again talking about copyright reform. This is something we have been doing a lot. We did it in the last Parliament and we resumed it in this Parliament. It was one of the mandates, one of the things we earmarked in our throne speech as being extraordinarily important to the economy.
As members know, the government has been focused on jobs and the economy since it was first elected in 2006. We knew, as we went through the global economic downturn, that we had to start modernizing a number of the things that were holding back the economy. Of course, the Copyright Act was one of those pieces of legislation that was holding back our economy. We knew Canada had some international responsibilities that we were not able to live up to because Parliament was unable to modernize the Copyright Act.
I am very excited that we are at a point where we are actually seeing progress on this and that very soon a modernized Copyright Act will make it through this place and hopefully through the Senate, and Canadian creators, producers and those who create wealth and jobs in this country can continue to do that and continue to have the confidence that their government will support them and that legislation will be in place to help make sure they can continue to prosper.
I had a great opportunity this weekend to visit the Toronto International Film Festival, which had what was called the Next Wave film festival for Ontario's young filmmakers. It was a collection of the finalists from across the country. It was young filmmakers who were given the task of creating short five- or six-minute films in all kinds of different categories.
I cannot tell members how impressed I was by the quality of the productions I saw there. I am even more impressed that two constituents of mine made it to the finals, Joseph Procopio, a grade 12 student, and his two sisters in another category, Susan and Katherine. They won in their category. I want to congratulate them, as well.
I bring up the Toronto International Film Festival and our young creators because it is one of the things that helps define the city of Toronto and helps to define Vancouver. The importance cannot be understated of the entertainment industry to both Toronto and Vancouver, and to smaller towns across this country, for the hundreds of thousands of jobs that this sector creates.
This sector has been asking us for increased protections, not only so that we could live up to the international treaties we have signed but so that the works and the investments they put in could actually be protected in this country. That is what this bill would do. This bill would enable or increase some of the protections that the industry has been requesting for the longest time.
When we talk about large films, often we talk about the stars. A couple of years ago in my riding, in my hometown of Stouffville, one of the final episodes of the West Wing came to town. They were pretending my hometown was New Hampshire. Everybody was excited to see Jimmy Smits there as the Democrat nominee, but what struck us most was the hundreds of other people who were in support of the production, the hairstylists, carpenters, electricians and security personnel who were there. These are the people who are part of these productions, and these are jobs across this country, hundreds of thousands of jobs that are at stake if we do not actually get our act together.
Now 400 film, television and interactive media companies across Canada represent 130,000 jobs, and that is $5.2 billion. They support this legislation. They support it because they know it is the right thing to protect them. It is the right thing to protect our producers, creators and the people who actually create wealth and jobs in this country.
Who else supports this legislation? There are the 38 multinational software companies, including Corel, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, IBM and Intel, and 300 of Canada's business associations and boards of trade support this legislation. The students of 25 universities across Canada support this legislation. The entertainment software industry, representing 14,000 jobs, supports the legislation and is wondering why it has taken so long to get the legislation passed.
When we talk about the process, until recently, until we brought the budget forward, I do not know of any other piece of legislation that has received more input than this particular piece of legislation, over two Parliaments. We have heard from hundreds of witnesses. We have heard dozens of speeches in this place. It became almost ridiculous, on the opposition side, that they were actually recycling the same members and some of the same speeches two and three times on this particular piece of legislation. That is how ridiculous it became, the effort to try to stop us focusing on the economy.
We are not just seeing it on this particular piece of legislation, unfortunately. We are seeing it on a whole host of legislation, which is targeted toward improving the economy, creating jobs and helping bring even greater investment to this country. What we see from the opposition, time and time again, whether it be on this legislation or on the government's economic action plan, is that its main focus is not to help Canadian business, not to help Canadian consumers and not to help those who invest in this country and create wealth in this country. Its main job, it seems, is to do whatever it possibly can to try to get to this side of the House.
That is all it cares about. Its members will say anything, they will do anything, they will misrepresent the truth any way they possibly can, in the hopes that Canadians will not pay attention. That is one of the massive disrespects that side has done with respect to this particular piece of legislation.
We have heard from the opposition that students would be visited by the copyright police and their notes would be somehow gathered up and burned because of this piece of legislation.
Of course, that is not true. It has never been true. It will never be true. The legislation would do no such thing. In fact, through this updated legislation we would actually provide even more help to our students. However, we would protect the content producers as well. By ensuring that digital locks are respected we would be protecting our creators. That is what this legislation would do.
We are also going to go after those people, the enablers, who take the hard work of our creators and of our artists and then put it over the Internet. Those are people who absolutely provide no benefit, who basically steal from the creators. The legislation would update that and would ensure we go after those people.
Our notice and notice, which is another important piece of the legislation, would also help ensure that those creators' copyright is not being infringed.
Ultimately, what would the legislation do? The legislation would bring more investment to this country. It would bring more opportunity. It would protect the people who have worked so hard to create all the things we use, be it an album or a piece of music, be it an artist like these two young students I talked about. It would facilitate even greater investment in our economy.
It is about time this Parliament passed this piece of legislation, because our creators have been waiting a very long time. One of the things we heard from them is that the Canadian culture is strong. It can compete with anybody. All they need is the protection in place from the government to protect their hard work. That is what this copyright legislation would do. I hope the opposition will join with this side of the House and continue to focus on jobs and the economy and get this legislation passed as soon as possible.