Mr. Speaker, this is a fascinating topic. Like many of my colleagues here, I spent a long time as a journalist, but in somewhat more in the tech field than most. I spent nine years as an editor and freelance journalist with an online technology publication, so I was way ahead of the curve. I started writing in 2000, entirely online. We had no print publication. By the end of 2008, we were up to about two million monthly readers on the website. It was called linux.com at the time. The company was sold, without the staff, and that is how I ended up leaving journalism, which is another whole story.
The subject in front of us is protecting sources. I cannot say how important that is to journalism, no matter what an individual is covering, no matter where he or she is. It is a very important topic to discuss. I have not had a chance to read the bill closely, but I look forward to doing that when I have the chance.
Writers have to go out and network. It is really important to know the sources, the companies, and the people who working in the trenches. When they need information, they feel comfortable talking to us and telling us what they know. They use that information to write stories without revealing who it is. This is a really important topic. I thank both the senator and the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent for bringing this before us.
When I was writing, one of my favourite things to do was to write satire pieces. Around 2003, the state of California, where my company was based but I was not and had not been there at the time, was going through an entertaining state election. It had removed the governor and some 100-plus candidates were running for governor, including Arnold Schwarzenegger who went on to become the governor of the state of California. I am sure many remember that particular moment in time.
I wrote a satire piece declaring that Linus Torvalds, who was the creator of Linux, was getting into the race. The article was fairly popular in the technical community. I invented a number of quotes for him in this satire piece. What amazed me was a couple of other publications took my clearly marked satire piece, ripped my quotes, and used them as their own in an article about the same thing, making it a real story. It certainly was not the intention, but it made for a good laugh.
Protecting sources has another side to it. Journalists need to have sources. They need to have legitimate research. Real journalism truly requires it. The topic before us is very important and I am certainly enjoying listening to this debate.
I just wanted to get a few quick words on the record.