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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

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Wai Young Conservative Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on jobs, growth and future prosperity. Today we announced new measures to help part-time students access post-secondary education and training.

Would the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development please update this House on what she is doing to ensure that Canadian students and their families can access post-secondary education and training?

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that we have made changes to allow part-time students to have greater access to student loans and grants.

In fact, 8,000 part-time students will now qualify for student loans, and a further 1,500 part-time students will be able to access the Canada student grants program.

This is in addition to the previous changes we made that stopped the accumulation of interest on loans for part-time students while they were still studying. That is another great example of how we are helping students continue with their education in Canada—

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, now that unrestricted long guns are no longer covered by the Criminal Code, it is a question of ownership and retailing, which is an area of provincial jurisdiction.

Why is the minister interfering in an area of provincial jurisdiction by trying to stop the provinces from requiring retailers to keep a list of their sales of unrestricted weapons? Why does the minister not just mind his own business?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is wrong. The long gun registry has ended. The requirements for businesses and individuals to register their long guns has been abolished.

CFOs operate under federal jurisdiction. We expect that they will follow the directives of the RCMP commissioner, who is also the Commissioner of Firearms in this country.

The long gun registry has ended. We expect the letter and the spirit of the law to be adhered to.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, Biwaase’aa is the after-school program for aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay. It provides healthy food, recreational activities, first nations cultural teachings and emotional support to some 500 students in seven elementary schools. It does this for $5 per day per student.

By all measurements, it is a program that should be replicated, not cut, yet the government has cut funding after a decade of success. It finds billions for limos, gazebos, jails and jets. That is no problem. Why is it cutting valuable programs like Biwaase’aa?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on ways to maintain the essential work we do to make Canada a better place for first nations, Inuit, Métis and northerners, but in better and more efficient ways. We are achieving reductions by reducing the costs of operations while protecting services in communities as much as we possibly can. We are working closely with all our employees to make sure this transition happens in the least disruptive, most effective and most transparent way possible.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

May 15th, 2012 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government knows that the natural resources sector is a cornerstone of Canada's economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic growth for small rural communities in every corner of this great country.

These communities are found in British Columbia, in Ontario, in the Atlantic provinces and even in Quebec. I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Can he tell this House about Quebec's latest natural resources plan?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for that very astute question.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Oliver Conservative Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the northern plan explains the important role played by resource development in Quebec. While Quebec is proud of our resource heritage, the NDP leader calls it a disease. The NDP leader must apologize to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians throughout the country who work in the resource sector.

Air TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport met with Quebec's municipal affairs and intergovernmental affairs ministers about the Neuville airport. Finally.

As I have been doing in this House since November, they pointed out to him that the entire region is against the project and asked him to take action on this issue. The minister apparently said he was aware of the many problems that this airport is causing residents. It is about time, because planes have already started flying over the town.

Can the minister tell us if he now intends to meet with the mayor of Neuville and use the authority conferred on him by the Aeronautics Act to intervene in this matter?

Air TransportationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member will get the same answer that she has had since November.

Yesterday, we did in fact have a meeting with Quebec government ministers about a number of issues, including the Neuville airport.

I would like to point out that the mandate of the Minister of Transport is to promote the economic development of the aviation industry in a manner that is stable and safe. There is no question of safety in this case. Even if there were a regulatory change —and none is foreseen—it would in no way concern Neuville, as it is a matter that we consider settled. If the mayor did not believe in the airport, he would not have signed an agreement after proposing seven possible locations.

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the federal government is withdrawing its funding for affordable housing is shameful. Despite desperate needs, the government is going to terminate operating agreements for these housing units. By 2016, thousands of Quebec families will lose the financial support that helps them afford appropriate housing. This morning, I presented part of a petition, with over 6,000 of a total of 27,000 signatures, condemning these cuts, which will affect the most vulnerable people in Quebec.

Does the government intend to renew this funding or is it going to again make the less fortunate pay for its deficits and absurd budget choices?

HousingOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is completely absurd. It is our government that stabilized the housing market by allocating almost $2 billion over five years for affordable housing. It is our government that helped these people in need. Unfortunately, the Bloc opposed every initiative that we took to help these people.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Gatineau has seven minutes to finish her speech.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that so many members will hear my speech on Bill C-11.

Before question period, I congratulated my colleagues from Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, Timmins—James Bay and Jeanne-Le Ber, who are very passionate about this issue, and I congratulate them publicly again.

Why are they so passionate about it? I am going to give you a few facts that can sometimes be a little surprising. We often say that the government opposite does not like arts and culture because they are not big business, like oil and gas; arts and culture are not as important.

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, or ACTRA, estimates that the arts and culture industries in Canada contribute $85 billion a year to our economy. That represents 7.4% of Canada's gross national income and supports 1.1 million jobs, or about 6% of the Canadian labour force. These industries and the jobs that depend on them can survive only in an environment where intellectual property is protected.

Despite the important contribution of these industries, the average income in 2009-10 for an artist in Canada was only $12,900 a year, which I find very sad. A 2008 report by the Conference Board of Canada indicated that the cultural sector generated approximately $25 billion. We are talking money and taxes. That is three times the $7.9 billion investment in culture by all levels of government in 2007.

How much does the federal government invest in arts and culture? A meagre 1.6% of total government spending.

I was struck by another telling statistic in connection with this entire issue of copyright and the reform of copyright. In 2008, the Statistics Canada survey on household spending found that Canadians spent $1.4 billion on attending live artistic performances, twice as much as on sports events. And we know how much the government opposite likes to talk about sports and how little it talks about arts and culture.

What does such a change mean? When we look at the bill, it seems rather complicated. That is why I strongly disagree with the government's move to once again force the adoption of a time allocation motion. That forces us to shorten the debates and limit my colleagues' speaking time and right to speak here in this House. Most of my colleagues are here for the first time. It is highly likely that this is the first time in their lives they have heard about the Copyright Act.

In the summary of the bill we see that some changes have been made to the Copyright Act to:

(a) update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards;

We know that the Internet is now a major player when it comes to copyright because a great deal of created material is on the Internet, including movies, music, books, you name it.

The summary also indicates that these changes to the Copyright Act will also:

(b) clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;

(c) permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;...

Thus, these amendments to the Copyright Act change many, many things.

The kinds of changes being made to this legislation can be categorized into three main groups: changes defined as sector-specific reforms, compromise provisions, and no-compromise rules regarding technological protection measures.

The NDP is looking to strike a balanced approach. Our party is seeking a balanced system between the rights of creators and those of the public. I hope that all the members of this House want to ensure that the public has access to as much information as possible while protecting copyright, which goes without saying.

With this bill, and with our friends opposite—with whom we are less and less friendly—we get the impression that any efforts have instead focused on meeting the demands of the big owners of American content. They are the big global players in this area. I am referring to film studios, record companies, developers of video games, and others.

Will Canadians one day have a law that meets their needs? That much is not clear, and this legislation will certainly not do the job.

I only have one minute left, which is very little time. I would have liked to discuss a great many things about this bill, which is riddled with shortcomings and defects. Amendments have been proposed, and it is my hope that they will be seriously considered so as to prevent foolish things from occurring. For example, students who are enrolled in distance education because they reside in remote areas would be forced to destroy their notes after a certain number of days.

There are things in the bill that make absolutely no sense. I want to commend those people who work in the area of arts and culture. I particularly salute those people who work very hard for the City of Gatineau and the Maison de la culture de Gatineau, whose board I had the pleasure to chair for a number of years. They do extraordinary work when it comes to disseminating arts and culture. They help new artists, along with well-known artists, to make a name for themselves.

Let us therefore protect artists and, at the same time, ensure that the public enjoys the best possible access to arts and culture.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her speech and for all the work she does in the House.

We on our side have said from the get-go that copyright legislation should balance the rights of artists and their need to be paid with the rights of consumers and their needs. We feel that, on a number of different levels, the government did not get that balance right.

I am wondering if my hon. colleague could speak to the issue of the importance of fostering a vibrant arts and culture sector in her community and what that means both to the economy and to the community as a whole.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague, who is also doing an absolutely phenomenal job in this area. He is an artist, a musician I very much like listening to.

The figures I cited earlier are absolutely incredible. It is often said that arts and culture are the poor cousins of the economy, but that is definitely not as a result of their impact in our communities. ACTRA estimated that the arts and culture industry in Canada injected $85 billion a year into our economy, which represents 7.4% of Canada's gross national income. That is not peanuts. People attend more shows than hockey games or anything else.

And yet it seems that artists and people who work in the cultural field are forced to spend their lives fighting for money, whether from the Minister of Canadian Heritage or from Quebec's Minister of Culture. I see that in Gatineau. It is a constant struggle, and artists always get the impression of having to beg, of being poor cousins. And yet they ultimately inject an enormous amount of money into the economy.

There are activities and shows in the Outaouais, in Gatineau, among other places. Year after year, for example, L'Outaouais en fête fights for a minuscule grant from Canadian Heritage and is unable to get it. It seems that it is asked for much bigger guarantees than what big businesses are asked for—oil companies, banks or other businesses—on the grounds that it is part of the cultural sector. And yet it is an extraordinary economic organization. It is excellent for us. It represents us in Canada, in Quebec, among other places, where culture and the arts are flourishing so well.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier my colleague mentioned the contribution that artists make to the economy. However, we know that most artists are not Céline Dion or Bryan Adams. They do not make millions of dollars. They earn only a few thousand dollars a year.

How will the bill, as it currently stands, affect the careers of most artists?

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, what a good question.

In my speech, I talked about the $85 billion that is injected into Canada's economy. However, and this is shocking, by comparison, the average salary of Canadian artists is $12,900. That is terrible. It is below the poverty line.

When you look at a bill like this one through the eyes of an artist, of a person who works in the cultural sector, you may well wonder whether you will see any part of those billions of dollars. The answer is "no" because, in our view, the Conservatives' bill is so unbalanced that we get the feeling its purpose, once again, is to protect the big fish, the major American studios, for example, the major American record companies and so on.

Has anyone looked at this bill through the eyes of a Canadian or Quebec artist? I very much doubt it. This is really not a balanced bill. That is why we have introduced a number of amendments. Unfortunately, as is the case with all other bills, everything has to come from this government, and what comes from other parties is fundamentally bad.

It is unfortunate that the Conservatives have this attitude, because we will be inheriting an act that cannot achieve the objectives for which it was drafted.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to this bill. I am pleased that our government is getting closer to delivering on its commitment to modernize the Copyright Act.

I would like to invite all of my colleagues to join me in ensuring the swift passage of Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. By supporting the legislation, we will be delivering on our government's commitment to modernize the Copyright Act in a way that balances the needs of creators and users.

The road that has led us to where we are today has been a lengthy one. Once we pass the legislation, this will be the first time in more than 15 years that we have completed a comprehensive overhaul of the Copyright Act. During this time, we have heard from thousands of Canadians and have had ample time to debate copyright modernization.

As my colleagues may recall, the copyright modernization act was first introduced following the largest consultations of their kind in Canadian history. In the summer of 2009, we set out to hear the views and opinions of Canadians from across the country. We leveraged new technologies to provide as many people as possible with access to this important process. We hosted interactive and web-based discussions. We held live events from coast to coast in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Gatineau, Peterborough, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Finally, we also accepted written submissions.

The response we received was impressive. Around 1,000 Canadians participated in the live events. More than 8,000 submissions were made, the website received 30,000 unique visits. We had more than 2,500 online forum posts and hundreds of followers on Twitter.

Based on this response, it was clear that Canadians from all walks of life understood the importance of modern copyright legislation, and this is still the case. During those consultations, Canadians told us about how copyright impacted their daily lives. Canadians told us about the importance of copyright to the digital economy and its effect on Canada's global competitiveness. Furthermore, Canadian creators and users told us that they needed clear, fair and predictable rules.

Our government listened to all of this and we responded with the introduction of the copyright modernization act in 2010 and its reintroduction last fall. We have responded with legislation that takes a common sense, balanced approach to copyright modernization. This approach considers the needs of both creators and users of copyright material. We have responded with legislation that reflects a uniquely Canadian approach to copyright modernization, an approach that takes into account the perspectives that Canadians have shared with us as creators, consumers and citizens during our consultations.

I would like to highlight four specific things we heard during the consultations and highlight how our government responded.

The first thing we heard was that Canadians thought that technological neutrality was an important guiding principle for copyright modernization. They emphasized that Canada's copyright regime must be able to accommodate technology that did not yet exist. They told us that any copyright reform must reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape. We responded. The copyright modernization act includes a number of exceptions that are technologically neutral. They reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape. They will stand the test of time.

The second thing we heard was that Canadians wanted to make reasonable use of content that they had legally acquired. We responded. The copyright modernization act includes a number of exceptions that facilitate commonplace private uses of copyright materials.

The third thing we heard was that Canadians did not think it was fair that one could risk facing huge penalties for minor copyright infringement. We responded to this, too. The copyright modernization act would create two categories of infringement to which statutory damages could apply. The first category is commercial and the second category is non-commercial. For non-commercial infringement, the existing statutory damages in the Copyright Act will be significantly reduced. The copyright modernization act also introduces proportionality as a factor for the courts to consider when awarding damages.

The fourth thing we heard was that Canadian copyright owners wanted new rights and protections to sustain business models in a digital environment. We responded to this as well. The copyright modernization act would implement the rights and protections of the Internet treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. These include a making available right, a distribution right, moral rights for performers and protections for digital locks and digital watermarks.

These four things are just examples of what we heard during the 2009 consultations. There are numerous other things we heard and we responded to. Perhaps the easiest way to sum it all up is to say that the 2009 consultation demonstrated to us the importance of a balanced approach to copyright modernization, an approach that balances the interests of all Canadians, creators and users alike. This is the approach we will be delivering to Canadians by passing Bill C-11.

Large scale national consultations have been held, legislation has twice been introduced and debated, witnesses have testified and submissions have been received. Committees have studied the bill at length and a number of technical amendments have been made to improve the clarity of certain provisions.

The bill is back before us. We need to pass the legislation and deliver results to Canadians. The fact is that after 15 years, it is time to turn the page on this chapter of copyright modernization.

Our government recognizes that new challenges may emerge in the future for the Copyright Act. That is why we have included in the bill a mandatory review of the legislation every five years. This five year review will ensure that Canada's copyright regime does not fall back into the outdated state it is today. However, before we can think about all this, we need to first modernize the Copyright Act by passing the bill.

Canadians from all walks of life have an interest in modern copyright laws. The benefits of copyright modernization are many. However, Canadians will not enjoy them until we have passed the bill.

I urge all members to join me in supporting the swift passage of the copyright modernization act.

Copyright Modernization ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments of my colleague. He would have us believe that this is a very balanced bill and that based on the consultation, the government has weighed in to protect both consumers and artists. However, when one examines the bill, this is not the case.

We could argue quite well that the real winners in Bill C-11 are the recording industry and major movie studios. In fact, this is one explanation why the technological protection measures, or TPMs, provided in the bill virtually trump all other rights to allow record companies and movie studios to strengthen their ability to generate enormous profits.

Would the member respond to that criticism? It is not just us saying this. People who have been very involved in the bill's process are very concerned that it favours these very large players.