House of Commons Hansard #268 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was goods.

Topics

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:05 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an extreme honour to rise in this great House representing the people of Timmins—James Bay and to speak of their concerns.

I am pleased to speak tonight to this bill dealing with counterfeit goods. This is the kind of work we really need to do in Parliament.

The issue of the threat of counterfeit and bootlegged goods is major for economic innovation. It is certainly a question of intellectual development of technologies, such as those in the mining sector.

People in my region were concerned about Falconbridge, the great former Canadian company that was taken over under the Conservative government's watch. People were concerned at the time that it would be taken over by a foreign state-owned enterprise. They were concerned about the intellectual property. Falconbridge had made exceedingly progressive development with respect to ore bodies. These are issues of other interests taking over the intellectual property and undermining Canadian innovation.

We have to deal with the issues of knock-offs, counterfeit goods and unsafe products that are coming in at the border.

We have to put what we are actually talking about in context. We are talking about copyright and trademarks. We are talking about bootlegged items. We are also talking about generic goods and competition.

It is important that we are able to differentiate between the criminal knock-off elements and bootlegged products. Certain rights holders will claim counterfeit or copyright infringement because they feel it is a threat to their economic business model.

One of the fascinating things about innovation is that today's corporate best citizens were yesterday's pirates. Probably the best example of the most militant when it comes to taking on piracy is Hollywood and the Motion Picture Association of America. It lobbies strongly in the United States and the United States is more than willing to twist the arms of any of its allies around the world if they are seen as being a threat to Hollywood.

The market did not go out to California because the weather was nice. The market was in the east. Hollywood was set up because it was beyond the jurisdiction of the Thomas Edison corporation, which had the copyright on motion picture cameras. The market went out to Los Angeles because it was basically a free country there. It was outlaw country. Hollywood was set up outside the jurisdiction so the Thomas Edison corporation could not get them on stealing intellectual property and Hollywood developed. It is an interesting story.

John Philip Sousa tried to stop the development of the roller piano because it was seen as a threat to the livelihood of live musicians. We do not have roller pianos anymore. The American Music Publishers Association denounced the development of the gramophone because it undermined the need for roller pianos.

The pirates who were taking away from live musicians were then threatened by the development of the record player. People only had to buy the record player. They did not have to worry about the copyright that was being paid to the publishers.

Then radio came along. The record industry went after the radio industry because it believed the radio industry was stealing its intellectual property, which was in fact quite accurate. Between 1928 and 1931, the sale of recorded music dropped by 90% in the United States. Part of that drop was a result of the depression, but the other reason was the technological threat posed to the music industry, which was faced with two options at that time. The first option was to try to shut down the commercial use of radio. The other option was to remunerate the artists for what was being played on the air. The record industry rebounded.

FM radio was invented in the 1930s. It was certainly much superior to AM radio. For about 40 years congress did not push for the development of FM radio because RCA had bought up all the licences for AM stations. FM radio was seen as a threat to RCA's business model.

I am not in any way diminishing the issue of counterfeit goods. What I am talking about is the complexity of the issue that is going to face our people at the border. I am very glad we are going to have laws that deal with this because it is where the shipments are coming across.

However, we are asking our border guards to differentiate at times between very complex issues and sometimes there are competing interests. For example, we had a landmark case in the United States under the DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, between two garage door opener companies. I think it was Chamberlain Group, Inc. that had invented a garage door opener. If people lost their garage door openers, they were stuck and had to buy a whole new system. Then Skylight Technologies, Inc. came along and said that it would make a generic garage door opener. That was considered a bootleg product and it went through the United States court system.

It is interesting. The U.S. has very heavy protections for intellectual property. However, if we look at what the U.S. courts have ruled on intellectual property, very similar to Canada, France and Europe, it is the balancing act between innovation and sometimes things that are seen as economic threats and actual economic innovation.

In Bonita Boats, Inc. v. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc., there was a unanimous court decision by Justice O'Connor, who said:

From their inception, the federal patent laws have embodied a careful balance between the need to promote innovation and the recognition that imitation and refinement through imitation are both necessary to invention itself and the very lifeblood of a competitive economy

Two years later, Justice O'Connor repeated similar views in the Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. He said:

It may seem unfair that much of the fruit of the compiler's labor may be used by others without compensation. As Justice Brennan has correctly observed this is not “some unforeseen byproduct of a statutory scheme”.... It is, rather, “the essence of copyright”...

What we are hearing might seem somewhat contradictory, in that copyright is not just a protection to the creator, but it is also a limitation on the rights of the creator to say that an innovative economy is going to develop through imitation.

This goes back to the beginning, in 1841, when Lord Macaulay, during the copyright debates, referred to the people trying to bring laws in as the “knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men”. People were actually ripping off the books and selling them cheaply on the streets of London, because it was the book wars at that time.

Lord Macaulay also said that it was important they would not just create monopoly rights for a small clique of book owners because the development of the English identity would not be possible unless they opened up the market, that they had to create enough of a space to allow the innovation and the proper remuneration to the creators, but they could not create a simple monopoly right that would limit future competitors, today's pirates who are coming in and wanting to get into the market.

I am using the word “pirate” in the sense that we are defending the people who are dealing in bootleg products and bringing in unsafe products.

What I am talking about is the need for us to also recognize that when we have trademark and counterfeit and copyright protection, we will have conflicts that go through the courts between some of the upstarts and some of the big players. It is not in the interests of the big players to ever have competition. We have to ensure that happens. Therefore, when we look at our laws, we want to ensure they happen in a form we can differentiate.

I mention this again because a lot of this will be dealt with at the border where there will be a lot of judgment calls being made. It certainly is important that we give our border officials the ability to seize the goods at the border that need to be seized.

It is funny. When I look at the government's record on standing on intellectual property, it has been a little less than competent. We have a number of examples.

In December 2006, the famous member for Beauce met with the U.S. ambassador, David Wilkins, according to what came out in the WikiLeaks documents. He promised him that our copyright legislation would be just in line with the United States and even promised to show the legislation to U.S. officials before it was brought to Parliament. That would have been an extremely terrible breach of the privilege of the members of the House.

Fortunately, the member for Beauce never got the chance because he went and lost other documents at his girlfriend's house, and so he went back to the backbenches. That little incident did not happen.

We are being told that we need this legislation because of the U.S. 301 watch list. This watch list is a special trade list for countries that are far beyond the norm—the outliers. The countries that are on the 301 watch list are like Yemen and North Korea. They are the countries that the U.S. trade officials say are beyond the laws of intellectual property. They are countries where bootleg products and corrupt practices are the norm.

In April 2009, the special assistant to the now President of the Treasury Board, Zoe Addington, the director of policy for the minister, met with the U.S. trade officials. Again, this comes to us thanks to WikiLeaks, “In contrast to the messages from other Canadian officials, she said that if Canada is elevated to the Special 301 Priority Watch List (PWL), it would not hamper — and might even help — the [Government of Canada's] ability to enact copyright legislation.”

This is staggering. The right hand of one of the key ministers of the government tells American officials to put us on the most notorious watch list as though none of the intellectual property standards in this country were legitimate at all and that we are a complete outlier.

What does that do for Canada's international trade reputation? Here is a government that promotes trade to Canadians in the House. Although the Conservatives do not have much to show for it, they are always promoting their trade agenda. Yet, they go to our number one trading partner and beg them to put us on an international watch list as an outlier country. Can members guess what happened? A couple of weeks later, Canada was added to the 301 watch list as a country that could not be trusted because of its abuse of intellectual property.

Now, we did not hear a peep from government members standing up for the Canadian industries that are actually trying to work in the United States and Europe. They did not defend the fact that we did have intellectual property rights and that we did respect intellectual property. No, the Conservative government was promoting us as an outlier.

However, it was interesting when the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents the biggest intellectual property groups in the United States, such as the Googles and Yahoos, went before the United States trade representative to give a special hearing and spoke up for Canada. There was no Canadian representation there, but we had the Computer and Communications Industry Association saying that the very legitimacy of the U.S. 301 watch list was obviously being put in question by the dubious plan to have Canada listed as an international outlier. They said that the attempt to use trade policy to force through domestic policy was fundamentally flawed.

This is what we have seen again and again with the Conservative government.

However, continuing on with intellectual protection, do members remember the famous iPod press conference? The present Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and the President of the Treasury Board, the one who was begging the United States to damage our trade reputation, stood at a mall tilting at windmills. It was like they were Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, raising their fists for consumers, saying that they would stop that dreaded NDP $75 iPod tax. I think they meant the $21-billion NDP iPod tax or whatever it was, but they would never allow this iPod tax. This was a job-killing iPod tax. They stood out there like two ridiculous figures doing this dance while people at the mall were wondering what they were talking about.

They were talking about Canada's long-standing levy on blank cassettes and CDs, which was seen as a model around the world for allowing some manner of remuneration to artists for the massive amount of copying that was going on. This was actually considered an extremely progressive step.

I met with the Copyright Board and found out what it was looking at. There was no such thing as a $75 job-killing NDP iPod and carbon tax. No, it was talking about a $3 levy on a $200 iPod that would have gone into a fund for artists because we know that there is all manner of copying going on.

That fund, according to the Copyright Board, would have created a $35-million fund for the artists to continue their work. We see how the entertainment industry in Canada and North America has been devastated by the development of digital culture. This is not against digital culture, but the market has not been able to recover. We need new models to re-establish the incredible arts community, but we had these two ministers doing a song and dance of deceit over this $75 tax, they were calling it. At the time, nobody believed it.

The Edmonton Journal said that the New Democratic Party's position on the levy was “perfectly reasonable”, and that the Minister of Industry misrepresented its content and that the NDP's position was thoughtful and it upheld basic Canadian values. The National Post said, “The government's nonsensical, 'Boo! Hiss! No new taxes!' response…is just dumb”.

Of course, we did not know just how dumb it was when it turned around and, wait for it, what did it put on the iPod? It put on a tax. It put its own iPod tax on, so boo hiss dumb. How dumb can the Conservatives get if they get their two key ministers to stand out there and do a ridiculous song and dance to defend consumers while they are undermining the rights of artists and taking $35 million out of the recording industry that is promoting Canadian entertainment, and then turn around and put an iPod tax on.

The government has failed in some key areas of intellectual property. I am glad to see that we are going forward right now and dealing with the issue of counterfeit. I hope that the Conservatives will actually be able to see through some of the problems in terms of ensuring that we have the resources.

I would like to follow up on my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley, who asked a very straightforward question. If the Conservatives are cutting $143 million from border security, how will they be able to deal with the counterfeit and bootleg products that come in? I talk to rights holders and they tell me that when they go to a mall in Toronto and see piles of bootleg DVDs and CDs, who do they call? The RCMP? They do not have the resources. The Toronto police will not do anything, so what it creates instead is a culture where the rights holder is forced to go to litigation.

If it is a big player, it can go to litigation, but if it is a small player, it is very difficult. If the player cannot stop the product, if it is not going to seize the product, but can go to litigation, it is a recipe that puts rights holders continually at a disadvantage.

I would like to think that within this House we could work on a bill that would ensure that there are other resources to seize the products that need to be seized, but that we are not getting caught up in battles between rights holders as to what is legitimate and what is generic. We have also seen in Europe where medicines have been seized. It was claimed they were counterfeit when they were not counterfeit; they were generic. These are important things because they have actually become part of trade disputes, and our front-line officers will have to deal with it.

That being said, in the New Democratic Party, we want action on the bootleg goods that are threatening not just the health and safety, but the innovation of our economy. It will be the balance. Going back through copyright and trademark infringement laws across the world could be issues that we need to have balanced. Fortunately, we see the word “balance” in the dictionary. If we were looking up antonyms we might see the Conservative Party of Canada.

What we need to have here is, out of the work of all the committee members in this chamber, to ensure that we have the right balance and then we have the resources and the tools. If we say we will be serious about dealing with the counterfeit and bootleg products that are undermining our economy, then the police and the appropriate authorities would have the power to deal with this as it comes through.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments on this very important issue and the substance of it. Just returning to his last point, which has been raised before, it is a legitimate question as to whether or not the CBSA, the responsible agency, has adequate enforcement resources to interdict counterfeit goods. It is an important question.

What I was simply trying to put on the record before is the full factual picture rather than a torque and spin picture about CBSA resources, which represented a budget of $1.06 billion in 2005 and in 2012 had grown by 27% to a budget of $1.835 billion. Therefore, even after the economies that the member has mentioned, which are real, after reductions there will still be a net increase in the budget of CBSA of about $260 million since 2005, since this government took office. That is a net real and absolute increase in fiscal resources, about a 26% increase in the number of full-time equivalents at the CBSA.

There will be a reduction. I am trying to confirm the number. I think it is in the range of about 300 actual positions, but that will still mean a net increase over 2005 of about 600 full-time equivalent positions at the CBSA.

The member raises some very legitimate points. I am just trying to ensure that the debate on the question of resources is based on fact and not spin.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate hearing from my hon. colleague and I certainly appreciate hearing his numbers. Unfortunately, whenever we talk to anybody dealing with the border what we are seeing are the cuts. The fact is we have more and more issues with trade at Canada's border, particularly between the U.S. and Canada, and the number of vehicles coming over. Therefore, when we are looking at $143 million cut, we are talking about front-line workers. That issue has been raised again and again. We are not just talking about counterfeiting; we are talking about guns.

The former mayor of Toronto, not the one who is hanging out in Rexdale all the time but the one who was involved with American counterparts about the gun trade, talked again and again about the rise of gun violence in Toronto being from the products that have been brought in across the border because they are not being examined.

I appreciate my hon. colleague. Regardless of parties, we all have a stake in dealing with the counterfeit culture at the border. We also have a stake in dealing with the criminal activity that happens there and we need to make sure that the CBSA has the necessary resources.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Timmins—James Bay for his speech, in which he raised several key points. Since this debate seems to be focused on numbers, I want to ask him a question about the Conservative's double-talk. They are so adept at speaking out of both sides of their mouths, they are starting to look like the Liberals.

On the one hand, the Conservatives announced budget cuts that will save the government $4 billion in order to balance the budget. On the other hand, every time we ask the Conservatives a question about the impact of these cuts on jobs, we get answers like the one given by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who said that these were not cuts; in fact there would be an increase, a net increase.

If the government is spending more money and hiring more people, why did it say it had to tighten its belt to eliminate the deficit? I wish someone would explain this.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, what my hon. colleague is seeing is typical right-wing economics. The Conservatives are the same people who rack up the deficits. They rack up the outrageous spending. They have magic numbers that will bring it all back down. They rationalize and find savings. I think their great line in the last number of years is that they will stop the gravy train. I am sure when they put Rob Ford and his brother into the Senate they will be able to help us stop the gravy train in the Senate, but it is the same set of magic numbers that they are always dealing with. I think they said in Toronto they found $1 billion worth of savings. It is a similar kind of math that I am hearing from the government on a weekly basis. Therefore, I certainly think the Fords are well-equipped to come into the Senate with the Conservatives. They have the same kind of mathematical skills.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:30 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to ask my colleague a question. He works very hard on the committee I chair.

My question this evening concerns Bill C-56. I asked one of my colleagues this question earlier on and he answered it quite well. Nevertheless, I would like the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay to say more about the potential dangers of counterfeit products. For example, my Liberal colleague talked about counterfeit airbags and other assorted auto parts.

What are the dangers associated with counterfeiting, and particularly, what are the risks to the safety of Canadians who think they are using products that meet Canadian standards, when they are really using fakes?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

June 12th, 2013 / 8:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issues are very serious. Part of it is this new globalized world. We have allowed our manufacturing sector to be dismantled and shipped off to all manner of sweatshops. I go into all the dollar stores and I see all of the products that are coming in.

The ability to create bootleg products and move them in en masse has become very easy. The fact that the wiring might not be proper and might be put in a child's room, and the fact that there are ladders that look North American but might not meet the standards are the issues. It is also because we are now dealing with a much larger globalized economy. Our manufacturing base has been moved offshore. We do not have the ability to ensure basic standards are met.

It is not just in the creation of counterfeit goods. We see it with the horrific death toll in Bangladesh from the products that are being sold in Loblaws and Your Independent Grocer. All those cheap clothes are being made and sold and lives are being lost doing that because there are no oversight provisions.

We have not lost; we have given up. We have given away our ability to maintain an effective and good manufacturing sector. The devil comes in along with the cheaper prices. We are leaving it to our border guards to try to find these counterfeit products, but they are not going to be able to get through it. It does put people at risk.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:35 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member and ask him a question.

Counterfeiting is so commonplace that it has become a real drain. Major companies, such as aluminum producers, have protection systems, known as ISO systems, in place. For example, there are certain international safety standards for bicycle helmets. They come with compliance logos.

However, we know that many of our small businesses and our manufacturers have closed down because of counterfeiting. We have no idea just how widespread this is. People order products online and resell them on the Internet. These products arrive in large quantities. People take embroidered items, add their logo and away they go. What is more, it is all tax-free. These activities represent billions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

I would like the member to comment on that.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly better equipped to speak about it in terms of what it has done with our entertainment industry. When we make Canadian films and they are already being knocked off and sold, the effect on the artist is incredible. There is not that much of a margin. I think it was the story of Bon Cop, Bad Cop, where one of the makers of the film said people were going door-to-door selling knock-off copies.

What is happening is serious. Unfortunately, with the kind of borders we have, the porous nature of the economy and the ease of making imitations now in the world of 3D printers, who knows what is going to happen next?

What happens now is that the rights holder is forced to go to litigation, which is very difficult, especially if they are going for litigation against a company that is set up in Asia. How do they even know where that bootlegger is? That is a real problem.

There was a young woman who created an amazing design, and the next thing she knew it had been ripped off and was on handbags. How did she get recompense? She could not because the handbags were created in Taiwan, for instance, or another country. She had created the artwork here and it was being sold on handbags around the world. The ability of a single artist to get strength and support just does not exist.

There is a real need, especially for small innovators, to have some kind of ability to have access to an agency or a group that can advise them and stand up for them. It is affecting innovation, particularly at the small business level and the small artist level.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today. It is a privilege to speak in support of Bill C-56, combating counterfeit products act.

One of our government's top priorities has been to help build safer communities for all Canadians. Now, more than ever, safe communities and economic prosperity go hand in hand. That is why our government has a robust agenda in place to disrupt fraud and to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities face severe penalties. That is why, for example, we passed Bill C-59, so that criminals convicted of white-colour crimes can no longer be released from prison after serving only one-sixth of their sentence.

Similarly, counterfeit crimes are becoming more prevalent. They are a tangible threat to our economy that undermines innovation and the integrity of Canadian brands. It is not so simple as when one's aunt or cousin goes to China or Taiwan and buys a knock-off watch or purse, or when one buys something similar out of the trunk of a car in Toronto. That is only the tip of the iceberg. Counterfeiting threatens economic growth and job creation, as well as the health and safety of all Canadians. With this legislation, we are standing up for Canadian businesses and consumers to ensure they do not become victims of counterfeit crime by vast criminal organizations.

Bill C-56 deals with counterfeit goods and the ability of our border services and law-enforcement officials to take on this steadily rising problem. By counterfeit, we mean fake replicas of an original product. More specifically, it is an unauthorized reproduction of goods that are protected by a trademark. By registering these rights, the trademark owner is protected against the unauthorized use of the intellectual property. That means that any reproduction of the intellectual property owner's trademark is protected by Canadian law. Copies produced without the consent of a copyright holder are commonly known as pirated goods.

Let me be crystal clear: counterfeit goods are illegal. However, until now, rights holders have not had strong recourse to do anything about the theft of their intellectual property. The ability to enforce intellectual property rights and apply penalties on those manufacturing and profiting from intellectual property infringement has not been as comprehensive as is required in today's globalized world. Bill C-56 intends to rectify this. Commercial large-scale counterfeiting and related crimes pose a very serious threat to the health and safety of Canadians. They involve a vast array of products, ranging from clothes to medications to toys, cosmetics, batteries, electronics, books and multimedia.

Counterfeiting is on the rise in Canada, as it is in the rest of the world. These activities used to be localized, centred on high-end luxury designer goods. They were knock-offs closely resembling legitimate goods. However, this has developed into a worldwide industry that is much more dangerous than before. This is due to the technological process and the increase in global trade. Another reason is the perception by some that counterfeiting and piracy are victimless crimes. I assure members that they are not.

Canadians are often the innocent victims, purchasing goods they believe to be legitimate and safe. However, Canadians need to be confident that the products they buy are genuine and safe and will not cause harm to themselves or their families. The harm associated with the trade in counterfeit goods is significant. It not only includes health and safety risks posed by goods of inferior quality, but decreased consumer confidence in the marketplace, lost tax revenue for the government, and lost profits for intellectual property owners who suffer as a result of such infringement.

Bill C-56 would target the manufacturers and distributors of counterfeit and pirated products, those who profit from this crime. We are going after large-scale operations that victimize Canadian consumers.

Our government knows that the most effective way to stop the proliferation of counterfeit goods is by targeting those who create and sell the goods. Bill C-56 is designed to ensure that federal agencies and rights holders focus their efforts on those criminal operations that seek financial gain from the sale of these goods and not the individuals who purchase these goods for personal use.

For several years, Canadian businesses and industry associations have been relentlessly recommending changes to Canada's intellectual property legislation to better address the modern practices involved in counterfeiting. Our government consulted, and we listened. In 2012, the recommendations were discussed during hearings of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, and we are making strides in addressing these needs.

We highlight the importance of protecting intellectual property to foster an environment that encourages economic prosperity, innovation and competition. In the rapidly changing global economy, protecting intellectual property is essential for international trade and overall economic growth. It is critical to ensuring that Canada remains competitive. The RCMP calculated that more than 4,500 cases of intellectual property crimes were investigated in Canada between 2005 and 2012. The retail value of counterfeit and pirated goods seized by the RCMP increased from $7.6 million, in 2005, to a staggering $38 million in 2012, a fivefold increase.

Other countries are also reporting an upward trend in both counterfeiting cases and total retail values. This is important. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is convinced that organized crime groups are involved in counterfeiting in Canada, especially as these crimes see high profit margins and low risks of being caught. Organized crime groups typically use the Internet to acquire and sell counterfeit goods and are mostly involved in distribution operations, which are usually routed from the United States and Asia.

The exponential growth in the use of technology such as the Internet has increased the often unsuspecting consumer's accessibility to products which may be counterfeit. Counterfeiting is an issue of safety for Canadian consumers, as well as an issue of ensuring economic prosperity for Canadian businesses. We know that there is great profit to be found in counterfeit goods. Sophisticated organized crime groups involved in the lucrative sale of illegally produced counterfeit products may subsequently reinvest their products into other illegal activities, such as drugs and firearms, which threaten the safety and security of our communities.

The legislation before us today would go a long way to enhancing our efforts to combat this serious crime. The best way to stop illegal counterfeiting is to curtail the commercial distribution and sale of counterfeit and pirated goods in Canada. This bill would increase the capacity of the Canada Border Services Agency to deal with these crimes at the point of entry into Canada. It would allow border service officers and law enforcement officials to disrupt the availability of counterfeit and pirated goods in our markets.

The Canada Border Services Agency will now have the authority to detain these goods and alert the companies that invested in research and development to seek remedy in the courts. This would result in diminishing the financial incentive of organized crime groups seeking high profits with low risk. The bill would also help reduce trade in counterfeit goods by providing new enforcement tools to strengthen Canada's existing intellectual property rights enforcement regime both at our borders and within Canada, as well as bolster our existing protections against commercial counterfeiting activities. At the same time, it would ensure robust protection for Canadians who own or travel with items for personal use.

In the last couple of years we have taken concrete action to protect intellectual property, including passing the Copyright Modernization Act. However, more needs to be done, which is why this bill is imperative. Currently, a number of Canadian laws protect intellectual property rights.

As I mentioned earlier, an intellectual property right generally gives the holder protection against unauthorized use of their product. The Trade-marks Act and the Copyright Act allow intellectual property owners, be they individuals or companies, to institute civil proceedings when their rights have been infringed upon. However, these civil proceedings are so difficult, long and costly that the majority of victims feel that it is pointless to undertake them.

Bill C-56 intends to change that. It would provide rights holders with new tools to protect their intellectual property rights and take effective civil action against infringers. It creates new offences for trademark counterfeiting similar to those already in place for copyright piracy. As well, it would provide new criminal offences for the commercial possession, manufacture or trafficking of trademark counterfeit goods and copyright-infringement copies.

With this bill, rights holders would be able to file what is called a “request for assistance” with Canada Border Services Agency, which in turn would enable border service officers to share information with rights holders regarding suspect shipments. Border service officers would also have the authority to detain suspected shipments and share information with the rights holders. The bill would also strengthen the Trade-marks Act to support enforcement activities and better align Canada's intellectual property regime with international standards.

Counterfeiting is a very serious intellectual property violation that hurts us and like-minded countries. Canada has pledged to provide effective legal protection in accordance with the international agreements with our allies, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

National security and economic prosperity go hand in hand, and protection of our intellectual property is integral to this. Once passed, Bill C-56 would provide new tools to border service and law enforcement officers to enhance the security of Canada. It would reduce the presence of counterfeit goods in Canada, thereby protecting the integrity of our economy, supporting Canadian growth and job creation and helping to protect Canadians from the health and safety risks posed by harmful counterfeit goods.

In summary, this new legislation would protect Canadian consumers. It would protect Canadian manufacturers and Canadian retailers. It would protect the Canadian economy from the health and economic threats presented by counterfeit and pirated goods coming into our country.

Our government focuses on what matters most to Canadians, and our government will continue to stand up for Canadian consumers and businesses, ensuring that they do not fall victim to trademark counterfeiting. We will continue to create strong, modern rules to protect our economy and the health and safety of Canadians.

The bill before us today is just one more way we are moving forward with our plan for safe streets and communities, which is one of our key priorities on behalf of all Canadians. This plan focuses on strengthening legislation, tackling crime, supporting victims' rights and ensuring fair and efficient justice.

Today, with this legislation, we are covering off all the bases of the plan. We are strengthening current legislation by introducing new tools for rights holders to protect their intellectual property rights and take civil action against infringers. We are tackling serious and organized crime and are closing off one more avenue of financial profit for those who undertake illegal activity. We are supporting the rights of victims, not only those innocent Canadians who buy the counterfeit products but those rights holders whose trademark rights are illegally infringed. We are ensuring fair justice by giving rights holders the ability to pursue civil action.

Now is the time to implement legislation that will definitively address this issue. I therefore urge all members of the House to support the bill before us today and to work toward its expeditious passage.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, this bill has all of a sudden become a priority for the government. We are about to adjourn for the summer, and the government suddenly brings in a government bill. According to the member, it is a priority and must be passed very quickly.

I do not understand that. The Minister of Industry introduced this bill on March 1, 2013. Why did they wait so long to debate this bill here in the House and have it studied in the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my goodness, we really have to hand it to the NDP. On the one hand, the NDP members complain about the lack of action by the government, and when we do act, they complain about the lack of action by the government.

On this side of the House, we remain focused on what matters most to Canadians. Safe streets and communities; jobs, growth and long-term prosperity; and the protection of intellectual property and trademark are important facets of the growing economy we have here in Canada.

Let us not forget that over one million net new jobs have been created since July 2009. That is not an accident. If it were up the NDP, we would be taxed and would be spending our way to the way Greece is now. Instead, we here in Canada are enjoying great prosperity, thanks to the leadership of our Prime Minister and our great Minister of Finance.

Canada has a lot to offer the world. Under the leadership of our current Prime Minister, we are that model of leadership and efficiency.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, although we believe that this is going in the right direction, we understand the concerns.

I remember that for awhile, it was Hilfiger. I am sure a lot of people remember that. People would say that they got a good deal on a Hilfiger item, and it would turn out to be a knock-off. We understand that this type of legislation needs to be updated and that we need to have better direction and stronger legislation.

However, Smart & Biggar, Fetherstonhaugh, Barristers and Solicitors, Patent&Trade-mark Agents, talk about the specific legislation. They say how important it is to pass it but that it needs “significant improvements...in particular to the proposed border measures”. They go on say that there should be “robust debate” and amendments before passing such a bill.

The government decided to table this on March 1, and all of a sudden, it turns around and says that it is going to limit debate. The professionals say that there must be robust debate.

Will the government give time for this legislation to go through the proper channels without further limiting of debate? Will the government make the appropriate amendments? Will it be receptive to appropriate amendments?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill has been debated and debated.

Let me just say that we had consultations before the industry committee. Our government has consulted widely on this issue. The time to act is now. For the NDP, there is always time. Our government is a government of action. We know what is important to Canadians. We recognize our international obligations in the G8, and we recognize our intellectual obligations and trade-mark obligations under treaties we have signed with other countries.

This is important to Canada to remain competitive. This is important for Canadian manufacturers so that they can protect their trademark and intellectual property.

I do not know anything about the Hilfiger incident the member was talking about, because I do not hang around in those kinds of circles where people are buying illicit products.

It is important for this government, as we remain focused on what matters most to Canadians, to protect Canadian industry so that we can have robust job creation in this country.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was listening with great attention to the speech of my colleague. Counterfeit products are harmful for Canadians, their families, businesses and our economy. They are a real disease, but not in the way the NDP interpret disease.

They deceive consumers and decrease confidence in the marketplace. They are often of poor quality and are dangerous to the health and safety of Canadians. They disrupt markets, lead to loss of tax revenue for governments and raise costs for legitimate Canadian businesses.

How will the bill help reduce the trade in counterfeit goods?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my friend hit the nail on the head. I mentioned this during the course of my speech. Counterfeit goods are not about buying a pair of counterfeit Hilfiger jeans or about buying a knock-off watch. We find these goods in our automobiles. We find them in prescription drugs we buy through the Internet. Not only are they dangerous to our seniors, to our children and to people who drive automobiles, but they take away jobs. I know that the NDP members do not care a whole lot about job creation. They also do not believe in paying their taxes, so they do not really care when the government is losing out on tax revenue, because they do not pay taxes anyway.

The NDP members have to get their heads out of the sand. I see the House leader over there shaking his head. I can hear it all the way over here.

Job creation on this side of the House is important to our government, and that is why we have created over one million net new jobs since July 2009. We believe in protecting Canadian manufacturing and the Canadian economy, and that is why Bill C-56 needs swift passage.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. friend about the way in which he thinks Bill C-56 is working in relation to what are known as parallel imports. We are not talking about materials that were illegal where made but where copyright has been accessed. There has been a Supreme Court decision on this matter. The way in which the bill has been drafted leads experts in this area to be concerned that parallel imports may fall under the ambit of the act and be treated as criminal activity when, in fact, they are not. I wonder if my hon. colleague has any comments.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. In terms of parallel imports, when the bill appears at committee stage, there will be robust discussion. I would encourage members of the opposition to discuss the issue of parallel imports. I know that there was a court ruling on it. It is something the bill does not speak to directly, but it is something that should be discussed at committee stage. I look forward to a robust discussion at that point by members of the committee.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to know what the member opposite was insinuating when he said that he does not hang around in those kinds of circles where people are buying illicit Hilfiger products.

What is this arrogance all about? What does he mean by that?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Adler Conservative York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if it is arrogant that our government is passing a bill to protect jobs, trademark and copyright in this country, I take great umbrage to that question. We on this side of the House remain focused on what matters most to Canadians, and that is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. It is through trademark and copyright protection that we will protect our manufacturers and create jobs in this country, which is important to us. We know it is not important to members of the opposition.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we are attempting to manage the affairs of the House by consulting with all parties and members to see if there are ways we can accommodate everybody's desire to participate in the debate. Based on those consultations, I would like to propose the following motion for unanimous consent.

I move that, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, on Thursday, June 13, 2013, (a) during government orders, the House shall consider the second reading stage of Bill S-6, An Act respecting the election and term of office of chiefs and councillors of certain First Nations and the composition of council of those First Nations, followed by the second reading stage of Bill S-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco); (b) when the House resumes debate of the second reading stage of Bill S-16, no more than two members of the Conservative Party, ten members from the New Democratic Party, two members from the Liberal Party and the member for Richmond—Arthabaska may speak, after which every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment, and if a recorded division is demanded, the vote shall be deemed deferred to Monday, June 17, 2013, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions; (c) if the proceedings of the second reading stage of Bill S-16 are not completed before the ordinary hour of daily adjournment, the House shall continue to sit for the purpose of completing the proceedings; (d) after 6:30 p.m., no quorum calls or dilatory motions shall be received by the Speaker; and (e) upon the conclusion of proceedings at the second reading stage of Bill S-16, the House shall take up adjournment proceedings, pursuant to Standing Order 38.

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Combating Counterfeit Products ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill S-16—Notice of time allocation motionTackling Contraband Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as a result I must advise, as is apparent, that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Order 78(1) or Standing Order 78(2) with respect to the second reading stage of Bill S-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco).

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.