I am being heckled that mine was vaudeville. That is a good heckle, but it is not true.
At that juncture, artists would go into a studio, record an album and receive benefits from the sale of that album. Regardless of the format, that template had been set and pretty much followed through the age of cassette players and CDs. There was a revenue stream realized by the creators of the music. They would go out on tour, and their concerts were opportunities to promote the music and hopefully sell some of their product at merchandise tables afterward or hope that people would be motivated to buy their music in various stores.
At one time there was a great Canadian institution like Sam the Record Man and today we have seen the downscale of HMV. Many independent record stores have closed their doors because the industry has changed so much. There were companies that invested in artists over the years. Sony Music used to have branches in the country. It would work with and invest in up-and-coming artists so they could hone their skills and bring their music to a broader audience. There is no longer that type of investment, because the industry has changed so much.
I have a young fellow who is fairly musically inclined. He is studying music at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, but he also plays in a little rock band, Back Pocket Material.
Number one, a person can go into a studio now, and the digital technology is there. A group can go to a friend's house and record absolutely excellent-quality sound. At one time, only professionals could create that kind of sound, but with the digital technology now, it is really at everybody's disposal.
Rather than laying down tracks and creating an album, the band wants to get music recorded so they can put it on the Internet and get it into the hands of potential fans so that they can hear the music and get it for nothing. Hopefully, if fans get it for nothing, they'll get excited about the band's music and will come out to the shows and pay admission. That will continue to come back to the band; the band will continue to grow and improve, and hopefully it will pursue a career in music. However, it is just a completely different approach to developing this craft than we would have seen even 10 years ago, and certainly 15 years ago.
As I said, there has been some contrary opinion. Just reading through the testimony from committee, we have seen contrary opinion being shared by a host of individuals and groups. The Canadian Research Chair, Michael Geist; the Retail Council of Canada; the Canadian Council of Archives; and the Documentary Organization of Canada strongly oppose this legislation.
The main aspect of the legislation is the digital locks provisions. They find it overly restrictive. They believe that similar restrictions that have been placed in the United States have proved detrimental to the development of artists, so they are very concerned about that. The critics would have liked some amendments brought forward.
On the other side of that, large business groups, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives have expressed support for the bill, which doesn't surprise me. We have seen a tendency on the part of the government that when the Canadian Chamber of Commerce sort of barks, then these Conservatives tend to jump, whether that is on the skills development agenda, EI reform, or whatever it might be, and that seems to be the path the government follows.
Still, big players in the industry: Google, Bell and Rogers have all expressed support for the bill, in principle, but again, concerns around the digital provisions and the digital lock-out provisions.
Really, with the digital lock-out provisions, there is potential to make criminals out of ordinary Canadians. If a mom buys a DVD and has a movie for the kids, and she wants to put that on her iPad or she wants to put that on her computer and play it in the van, and many of the new vans are now equipped with that type of technology, she compromises herself and puts herself at risk for being charged for making a copy of that. Taking any kind of recording and having it burned onto a CD, after paying for the music, but just taking it and putting it in a different format now places an individual at risk of being charged criminally.
There was a chance to step back from those measures. Amendments were put forward at committee that would have averted that, but those amendments were totally disregarded.
I should not be surprised. I have been here long enough now and nothing about this should surprise me. The fact is that we were here for 23 hours, voting on amendments to a 450-page budget bill, a bill that impacted on the environment, on fisheries and oceans, on natural resources, and on many different sectors with changes in 70 different pieces of legislation, which went through. Not as much as a comma changed during the course of that debate. There were 800 amendments put forward. They were grouped into 150-odd groups for voting purposes, but there were 800 amendments and the government found none of them worthy.
When the government brought forward the omnibus bill on crime, my colleague from Mount Royal put forward a number of amendments in particular areas. There was one aspect of the bill that he was in total support of, and he offered the amendments only to enhance and improve that aspect of the legislation. They were totally dismissed by the government.
When the bill came back here for report stage, we know that the Minister of Justice tried to enter those exact same amendments at report stage and was ruled out of order by the Speaker. We know that when the bill went to the Senate, those amendments were put in at the Senate. Those changes were made, I believe, because they were in contravention of the charter. They did improve the legislation.
Therefore, the government used the back door. It used the Senate—