This page is in the midst of a redesign. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 15th, 2012 / 10:20 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, again, it is not reasonable for hon. members to rise in this House and say there has been no debate on this bill. On the contrary, there has been a tremendous amount of debate on it.

We reintroduced the same bill from the last Parliament in order to continue the debate that was held on Bill C-32 and on Bill C-11. We have been debating this for two and a half years. More than 10,000 consultations have been held across Canada.

My colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, can confirm that. He and the President of the Treasury Board were in charge of this file in the previous Parliament.

It is time to move into the digital age. What we are hearing in this debate is a skipping record. Vinyl records that skip are a thing of the past. We have to move toward the digital economy. We have to move on to something else and update the legislation.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just heard the Minister of Industry refer to a skipping record. There is a good explanation for that. Despite what he says and all these consultations he mentioned, the government has not heard the message. It is as simple as that.

What we are telling artists again today in Bill C-11 and what we told them in Bill C-32—and the Minister of Industry said himself that the two bills are the same—is that they will not be paid for their work. Whether we are talking about artisans or more or less famous artists, this change has not been made in Bill C-11. That is why we must continue to listen to people, not just here in Parliament, but in committee, to finally make the government understand the situation.

Time allocation always reminds me of a recent ad campaign for a credit card company, or even Club Med, which shows 30 seconds of sunshine and beautiful people strolling down the beach and asks us to imagine spending a week doing the same. With all these time allocation motions that we have had in just one year of this majority government, just imagine what we are in for until 2015. It is unbearable.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, taking Bill C-11 and Bill C-32 together, at second reading alone, we had 29 hours of debate and 31 meetings lasting a total of over 65 hours, and we heard from over 110 witnesses.

Yes, Bill C-11 is the same as the former Bill C-32, with 11 amendments made following consultation. What people do not want is an iPod tax. That is clear. Yet that is what my colleague is recommending and he is starting to sound like a broken record.

We need to move on. What we want to eliminate is piracy. When people try to cheat and pirate material in the digital era, it will be prohibited. This legislation will comply with the international standards of the World Intellectual Property Organization. People expect that. The legislation needs to be updated. After so many hours of debate, it is time to move on.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, my favourite quotation is from the hon. Minister of Public Safety. He said, “For the government to bring in closure and time allocation is wrong. It sends out the wrong message to the people of Canada. It tells the people of Canada that the government is afraid of debate, afraid of discussion and afraid of publicly justifying the steps it has taken.”

Despite Conservative rhetoric, those steps are basically to follow the lead of the United States and make sweeping changes that serve no one, except major rights holders like movie houses and record companies. The real winners in Bill C-11 would be those who hold power.

At the insistence of the Americans, the government has forgotten Canadian consumers and Canadian artists. Why are the Conservatives are not standing up for Canadian consumers and Canadian artists?

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about standing up for consumers. Then why is it her party that wants to impose a new tax on consumers whenever they purchase a digital device? Frankly, she does not know what she is talking about. She talks about the Americans because she bashes Americans out of habit. The Americans actually wish our government had taken a different track on notice and notice. They wish that we had notice and takedown. They wish we had taken a number of other measures that we rejected because we chose a Canadian approach.

However, the member is clearly just reading quotes that were handed to by her whip's office. Let me furnish her with another quote, not from Americans or big corporate interests but Canadian workers on the front lines in Canada's cultural industry.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, workers on the front lines in Canada's cultural industries, said that it applauds the government for moving forward with Bill C-11. It said that this bill will help keep over 16,000 workers in Canada's entertainment industry employed and that piracy is taking money out of workers' pockets. It said, “Canada needs copyright legislation that will protect and create jobs, stimulate the economy and attract new investment.”

That is from workers on the front lines in Canada's creative industries who support this bill, not Americans or big corporations. I wish the member for London—Fanshawe would do her homework.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, along with my colleagues I must say that I am not at all surprised that we are now dealing with time allocation for the 21st time in this Parliament. I am saddened, not surprised, but definitely saddened. The government seems to suggest that debate is somehow evil, that it is something of an impediment to its legislative agenda. We would think that the government would have learned that every time it has tried to shut down debate in this Parliament, three times already, it has actually benefited from the deliberative process here in this Parliament and ended up having to withdraw its bills or make significant amendments.

The House will remember the Internet snooping law. After debate in the House that bill never even came back because it was so flawed.

The crime omnibus bill that was before the House needed amendment. The government rushed it through with time allocation. In the end the government had to go to the Senate to have it amended.

What we do in this place is important. It improves legislation. The government has a majority and of course it will get its way. However, the deliberative process here matters. The government should respect Parliament and allow us to do our jobs.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it simply lacks any and all credibility to suggest that we are anti-debate with regard to copyright.

Again, this legislation has been before this Parliament for two years. This debate was started by our government two and a half years ago. There has been an incredible deal of consultation outside Parliament, within Parliament and at two stand-alone legislative committees. We amended our own legislation with 11 substantive amendments that would strengthen this legislation after having debated and consulted with Canadians after we tabled our legislation. This bill has been before this House now for two years. There has been more than enough debate on this. It is time that we move forward.

I am more than pleased to read a number of quotes into the record. Here is what the Edmonton Journal had to say about this legislation, “...something had to be done. It's been 13 years since the last changes were made—arguably 22 years since substantive reform—...it's a different universe out there.”

This copyright bill is a welcome start. It's time to move forward.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the Conservative backbenchers cherry-pick quotes from testimony that I sat through. I had heard a very different set of testimony from all the people they are quoting. However, it is a larger issue. It is the contempt for Parliament that this government shows again and again.

Yesterday, the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's said that our participation in this debate was not legitimate, that there was no legitimacy for members of Parliament to do their job. The fact is that it takes them a day of having to listen again to the problems with this bill. That is what debate is about.

I ask my hon. colleague to at least be truthful on this. The Conservatives did not work with anybody on amendments. They did not listen, so it is our right as opposition to point out the flaws of the bill. That is the democratic process. If he does not like the democratic process, they should just shut this place down.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, just because we do not agree with the NDP amendments does not mean we are not open to amendments. In fact, we included 11 amendments in the legislation that did not come from the government. They came from testimony at the legislative committee. We outlined in every single one of those 11 amendments why we put them in, the organizations and individual Canadians who advocated for them, and why they strengthened the bill. These were ideas that came from outside Parliament into Parliament. It was very democratic.

With regard to respecting Parliament, we offered every opportunity for members of Parliament from other parties to participate in this process. We set up a stand-alone legislative committee in the previous parliament and this Parliament so that work would not be interrupted at the heritage and industry committees. Everybody could come together and focus on this legislation in a substantive way.

We have been debating it for two years. This conversation was had by this Parliament for six months prior to that, so for two and a half years we have been debating and considering it, which is more than any other piece of legislation in my 12 years in public life. Therefore, this legislation more than passes any and all standards with regard to transparency, debate and time considered than any bill that has been seen in my lifetime.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would agree with the Minister of Canadian Heritage that the bill has had consideration in contrast to a bill such as Bill C-38 that has had none.

My concern is with the approach that the government House leader has taken. We find ourselves on the day of a vote that was not previously on notice. We had notice yesterday of time allocation but we had no idea if it was two or three or four days. There will be extensive votes tonight because there are a lot of substantive amendments to be reviewed.

It would show more respect to opposition members and to all parties in the House if the government House leader were to allow bills to have proper notice. People have plans, such as a charity event in memory of my daughter's best friend. I am sorry to bring up a personal matter. We all sacrifice things so we can stay in the House for late votes. More notice would have shown more respect.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I feel awful for the personal circumstances of the leader of the Green Party. I compliment her for her substantive approach to this legislation. She tabled her amendments and we did consider them in previous processes.

To put it bluntly, at some point we have to call the question. After two years, it is time to call the question. Canadians, consumers and organizations require this legislation in order to have certainty in the digital age so that they can move forward.

I have a long list of organizations that support this legislation, not all aspects of the bill because it is a balancing act, but support key elements of this legislation to ensure that it goes forward. For example, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations said that the government has demonstrated a commitment to Canada's education community, that students across Canada are greatly encouraged by this legislation and that the government has a clear understanding of how this bill will impact Canada's students, educators and researchers.

I have a great deal of respect for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands in the way that she has approached this legislation in a substantive way. After two and a half years of consideration, two years of debate on the specific bill, it is time to call the question.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the minister is talking out of both sides of his mouth. If he had respect for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands he would have allowed debate on these amendments. Independent members of the House who did not sit at committee came forward with amendments. Our party looked at them and found some of them interesting and others very problematic. The problematic elements deserve to be debated. That is the role of Parliament.

The Conservative government is dismissive of the role of parliamentarians. It ridicules the work of parliamentarians. Time and time again the Conservatives have shut down debate. Thank God we have principled opposition here. The Conservative bill on snooping accuses average Canadians of supporting child pornographers because they had the temerity to challenge the government.

Why does the hon. member show such disrespect for the issue of debate?

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, two years of debate is not disrespect for debate. Two years of debate is the most substantive debate that Parliament has seen on any bill in the last 12 years. That is disrespect for debate?

The member and I both know that, with regard to the amendments put forward by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, none of them were new. All of those proposals were seen in the consultation before we drafted the bill, after we drafted the bill in the last Parliament or in consideration of Bill C-11 in this Parliament. There were no new ideas there. We had seen them all before. We decided that was not the right balance that we represented and presented in our legislation.

In terms of respecting Parliament, we did not ram it through heritage or industry committee. We established a stand-alone legislative committee chaired by an NDP member of Parliament. It was hardly us ramming something through when an NDP opposition MP chaired the committee that considered the legislation.

We have debated this for two and a half years. The bill has been before this Parliament for two years. We have considered different points of view. We arrived at our legislation. There is a five year reconsideration of this legislation built into the law in order to bring it back to Parliament for further debate on a go-forward basis. The idea that we are not respecting Parliament when we have involved Parliament all through the process and will in the future is ridiculous.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the Minister of Canadian Heritage now for almost half an hour and he consistently says that there has been debate for two years, two and a half years. That seems to be his yardstick for when it is reasonable to bring in time allocation.

On Bill C-38, the government just rammed through in six days of debate an omnibus bill of 425 pages, dealing with everything from gutting environmental regulations to old age security to changing EI, fundamentally changing how we govern this country.

Would the Minister of Canadian Heritage agree with me that two years may seem to him adequate debate, but if that is the standard then certainly six days is not enough?

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the point has been made by the Liberal Party, our party, the Green Party, and even the Bloc that if the NDP members want to have substantive debate in the House of Commons on all issues, including copyright, then they might want to be honest with themselves in terms of how they approach legislation. The NDP had its finance critic consume three days of debate in a mindless filibuster, the only purpose of which was to shut the Liberals out of the debate. That was the game the NDP played. If the NDP really wants to have substantive debate, one member of Parliament taking up 13 hours of debate, which is about equal to the time for 50 members of Parliament to speak on legislation, is not the way.

In this Parliament, that was the greatest act of games on the budget that I have seen in years. It was done by the NDP frontbench finance critic, who proudly stood in the House of Commons and played games with the budget debate, which the member for Hamilton Mountain now says is so important that we get into the details on these things. If that is the case, then why did the NDP have one member of Parliament speak for three days' worth of debate in a cynical game just to block others from having an opportunity to speak? That was the NDP approach. Before the NDP throws stones at others, the member should realize she is standing in a very large, fragile glass house.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I agree on that last point in regard to the budget tactic, if one wants to call it a tactic. I do not quite understand it myself.

I bring to the attention of the minister a list of some of the bills where time allocation has been brought in: Canada Wheat Board; the pooled pension plan; copyright; gun registry; back-to-work legislation, not once but twice; financial system review act; and the budget bill itself. The government is using time allocation in order to pass all of its legislative agenda and tries to come up with some rationale to justify what is inappropriate behaviour.

Does the minister not recognize there is a role for the government House leader to sit down with opposition House leaders and try to time things so the government does not have to bring in time allocation? Time allocation puts severe limitations on opposition members.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader does negotiate and has negotiated on these matters. He does it all the time, through two minority Parliaments and now this majority Parliament.

On the substance of what we are talking about right now, copyright, we have considered opposition voices. We did not invoke time allocation. We had stand-alone legislative committees. We brought in individual Canadians to consult on this legislation before we even drafted the bill, because we realized that in our first Parliament, in 2006-08, copyright was approached in the wrong way. We took a new approach with Bill C-32, now Bill C-11, the bill before us.

We asked Canadians at the front end what ought to constitute effective copyright reform. Those consultations came in. Tens of thousands of Canadians participated. It was an open, incredibly democratic process where Canadians could freely discuss this legislation, and we arrived at Bill C-32.

We negotiated with the opposition House leaders. The government House leader reached out to the opposition House leaders. We created a stand-alone legislative committee to debate the bill for the past two years. Call the question.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the great work of my hon. colleague on this file. As a member of the international trade committee for the past six and one-half years, I know the importance of bringing archaic legislation into the 21st century.

We have had ample debate. I will mention the opposition's tactic last week of moving to adjourn. If it was so important to have debate on the budget, why would the opposition move to adjourn?

On this specific issue, I think it is important that the minister inform the House of why we need this legislation to be brought in accordance with WIPO and to meet our international trade agreement and obligations in the future.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, this is about what is in the best interests of Canada, Canadian consumers, Canadian creators and their rights, needs and obligations in a digital environment.

As I said at the outset, it has been essentially 22 years since Canada has had sweeping amendments to Canada's copyright law in the way this bill proposes. We believe in a system that will best serve Canadians' interests. As I have said a number of times, individuals and organizations have come forward and spoken out in favour of this legislation for their own purposes. This is a balancing act. Certainly there are those who wish they had amendments a little different from the way our government has designed the bill, but we think we have an effective and responsible balance that will serve Canadians well into the future.

The Canadian Media Production Association, which represents thousands of jobs across the country, said it applauds the government's copyright reform. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada, which is responsible for Canada's video game industry and roughly 15,000 high paying jobs across the country, many of them in Montreal, congratulated the government on its copyright legislation. It said that it will help protect Canadian creators and that it is good public policy and is essential to our economy.

This bill is critical to the success of Canada's digital economy. It works. Let us get it done.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, almost as an aside, I would like to offer my condolences to the Liberal Party, because when the Minister of Canadian Heritage reaches out and says that he feels bad for the Liberals, I think those guys are in a really rough spot.

We are talking about 23 amendments that were brought forward by the independent members who were not able to sit at the committee, and we are talking about one day of debate.

The minister said he has heard all these amendments before and he is not interested, so we should just shut down the debate. However, every individual member of Parliament has the right to participate and bring forward legislative amendments, and these are worthy of debate. There has been a single day of debate. That is what it has been. It might go a couple more hours before we go through them.

As I said, the New Democratic Party went through these very carefully. Some of them are very interesting and some of them we think are very problematic, but that is our role.

This is not about obstruction. This is about allowing every member of the House to participate on a substantive piece of legislation that affects all Canadians.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member said it is not about obstruction. Right and that is why the NDP put forward one speaker for three days, 13 hours and blocked others from speaking. That is not obstruction from the NDP, but with--

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have been on the copyright issue since 2004. We have never put a single speaker up. He is talking about another bill. Will he just speak to the issue of shutting down the independent members?

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

There have been references to other bills that are before the House in a relative sense in terms of time allocation. I think that has been part of this half-hour debate.

The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP can reference Bill C-38 and other things, but when we do it, it is against the rules. Anyway, whatever, that is the member for Timmins--James Bay.

The reality is, the amendments that were put forward, particularly those from the leader of the Green Party, were serious and substantive amendments, and I understand that. However, the ideas represented therein were not new. They were considered by our government and had been considered over the past two and a half years, throughout this entire process.

We certainly do respect that, but if the NDP's idea concerning debate is just ongoing, never-ending, continuous debate and members can keep putting forward amendments to change “us” to “them” and “we” to “they”, and then condemn us for not considering sometimes frivolous amendments, it is nonsense. We have been debating this for two and a half years. We have considered the ideas. They are thoughtful ideas. They are just reasonable differences of opinion with some of the amendments that were put forward by the leader of the Green Party.

It is not obstruction to say we have had two and a half years of debate, and now two years of debate on a specific piece of legislation. We have considered it. We have thought about it. We have tabled our legislation. We gave signals to Canadians in the election campaign. We put it in our throne speech. We put forward the legislation. We invited Canadians in at the front end through our consultations.

Let us just get on with it, pass this legislation and serve Canadians' interests.

Bill C-11—Time Allocation MotionCopyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?