Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak to Bill C-10, which is an initiative that has been a work-in-progress for a number of months, possibly even years. The government has recognized the importance of the growth of the Internet, which has been applauded universally. There is no doubt about that, but it has a number of different issues that governments around the world have had to deal with. That is the primary reason we have Bill C-10 before us today.
There are many multinational or large corporations that play a very important role in terms of broadcasting. This is something Bill C-10 attempts to deal with. I have had the opportunity to listen to the minister's comments in regard to the bill, and I would encourage members to review what the minister said because there is a great deal of substance, not to mention passion, in the words that were spoken.
There are three parts to what the minister said that I want to take the opportunity to highlight, along with providing some further comments in terms of how important culture and arts are to our nation.
First, we would probably find the minister wants to talk about the need for equity. There is a real need for equity when it comes to our broadcasting industries. We have Canadian companies that fall under the CRTC. There are regulations in place, and those regulations do a number of things. They have ultimately served Canadians well over the years.
However, we then have, for a lack of better words, foreign web giants. We know what many of those web companies are. We are talking about companies like Google and Facebook. It is really important that we recognize that expecting industries such as Google to voluntarily comply with regulations in Canada is the wrong direction for us to be going.
Bill C-10 would ensure that the regulatory framework applies not only to Canadian companies, but also to those foreign web giants. That will go a long way in ensuring that Canadian interests are in fact being protected.
Then we look at the issue of Canadian content as a whole and how this legislation will benefit it. In terms of dollar value, it has been suggested by the minister and others that we are talking about hundreds of millions additional new dollars going to the support of Canadian content. That injection of new dollars will help the industry substantially.
This is the type of thing that I believe is going to have a very positive impact on such an important industry to our country. Again, it will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1 billion, which equates to hundreds of millions of dollars. That is a very strong positive.
When young people go onto different types of platforms, whether it is Netflix, Amazon, Spotify or other platforms, it can be a challenge to identify Canadian content. Within Bill C-10 we find, particularly for young people, that it will be easier to discover Canadian content. The issue of discoverability is something that is really important and has been identified in this legislation.
I look at Bill C-10 as a win-win-win. I look to the Conservatives, the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois to get on board and support the legislation.
In listening to the minister responsible for the legislation, I thought he was very open to ideas for amendments and was looking to opposition parties, if they have a good idea, to not hesitate to make the minister aware of it. I would encourage my opposition colleagues, if they have some thoughts on the bill, even during second reading, to develop those ideas and possible amendments and bring them forward to the minister's office, even before it gets to the standing committee level, because in the minister's comments he was inviting members to do so. It was quite encouraging when at the very beginning of the minister's remarks he extended that invitation and a sense of wanting to work with all members of this House to ensure that this legislation, which is somewhat historic in the sense of outreach to the World Wide Web, protects the Canadian interest. Therefore, I look forward to having Bill C-10 advance to the committee stage.
There is a good reason, and I have had the opportunity in the past to talk about the importance of culture and heritage. Yesterday, in one of my questions, I made reference to an organization that I have mentioned in the past to the House. It embodies a lot of things that would assist the industry.
We often overlook the economic impact that culture and arts groups throughout our country have, and how they contribute. There is the most obvious, and we have had some fantastic programs. In fact, one of the programs, Schitt's Creek, is something that I, unfortunately, did not even know existed until not that long ago. I know that surprises a number of people in the chamber. When it received all those awards, it was being talked about more and I thought that maybe it was time that I investigated this show. I must admit that periodically I do a bit of Netflix bingeing. I have taken the time to watch every episode of it over a three-week period.
For those who have not seen the program, I would encourage people who are following the debate on Bill C-10 to watch it because it embodies why it is so critically important that we advance bills like Bill C-10 and recognize the industry. Schitt's Creek really does reflect many of the values that Canadians have today in a very wide spectrum of people. I suspect it is one of the reasons why we did so well with that particular program and that it has now been recognized worldwide.
It is not alone. Another show that comes to my mind is Corner Gas out of Saskatchewan, and that should appeal to a lot of my western colleagues, in particular those in Saskatchewan, as we take pride in now. I do not know if I have watched every episode, but the attempt has been there.
It is nice when we get this reference to the wonderful province of Saskatchewan and the fine work that it does. Another program that I have had the opportunity to watch at least a few episodes of is Kim's Convenience, a program that takes place in Toronto. Again, we see different types of reflection. Canada over the years has been recognized as having some phenomenal comedians and many different actors and actresses. One of my favourites has always been Star Trek and good old Captain Kirk. He is Canadian-born, and I think he might be from Saskatchewan. I am not 100% sure of that.
The point is that we have so many actors and actresses and individuals with so much potential, many of whom are yet to be discovered. Bill C-10 would go a long way in supporting those new discoveries and ensuring that an industry that is so critically important to all of us is better served.
We talk about those who get the light shone on them as a result of being an actor or actress, but that is only a part of it. I really enjoy it when I see these large numbers of vans and semis pulling up into our communities, because they often are there for productions. I remember over the summer I wanted to get a large van for rental purposes, and I could not. I asked when I could get one, and the agency said that it would not be for a while because they had them rented out to a movie production. To me, that is one of those spin-off benefits that are really important for us to recognize.
I suspect that if I were to check with people in all the different areas of our country, I would find at times, in different regions, that I would see multiple sets being established in public buildings like, for example, the Manitoba legislative building, or our streets and communities, and I would see production crews. There is a high level of expertise. As the industry continues to grow, that level of expertise will grow, and when we see that, not only does it increase the skill sets of thousands of Canadians, it provides jobs.
When a movie set goes into a community, those individuals who are operating that movie set are getting paid. They are more often than not local employees or people from Canada with Canadian expertise moving into these communities and getting a salary. They are also buying lunches and snacks, they are occupying hotels for extended and short periods of time, and contributing to the local economy.
Suffice to say, when we take a look at a production that comes in, it creates interest. I am very much interested, for example, when I see a facility that is being used for a movie production and then I see it in the movie. Whenever I hear the city of Winnipeg being sighted in a movie or a TV production, there is that sense of of pride. These are the types of things showing why it is so important that members on all sides of the House recognize the real value of Bill C-10.
On the surface, it does not take too much to read through. We can appreciate what the bill is hoping to accomplish, with hundreds of millions of dollars, ensuring that we have more new money and more Canadian content, it is a good thing. The bill talks about discoverability, where young people would have easier means to locate that Canadian content, and that, too, is a good thing. We talk about having those multinational companies, those large platforms, being put on a more level playing field by incorporating them into the regulatory system, and that is a good thing.
The CRTC has done exceptionally well for Canadians over the years. It is hard to imagine what the industry would look like today if we did not have the CRTC, and if we did not have a government that valued Canadian content in the creation and distribution, and supporting the industry as a whole. This is legislation that would ensure the longevity of that.
Like everything else, the coronavirus has had an impact on the industry today, and at different levels. That is why I made reference yesterday, when I was with the minister, to the organization of Folklorama. There are many talents that ultimately go on to become productions here in Canada and abroad that come out of other organizations and smaller cultural events, and I should not use the word “smaller”.
I often make reference to Folklorama, which is an organization in Winnipeg that has been in place for over 50 years now. It has literally thousands of volunteers. Every year, during the summer, for a solid two weeks, there are all forms of entertainment and heritage promotion. Fifty-plus pavilions often participate in it. I have seen presentations that have gone from a pavilion into actual television production or have been a starting point for many artists who have originated in Winnipeg. The benefits by government continue, whether directly or indirectly.
I was so pleased when the current Minister of Heritage had a virtual meeting, and so did the Prime Minister, with Folklorama and the Folk Arts Council, because we were concerned about how they were being impacted by the coronavirus. It is the type of organization that, as a country, we cannot afford to lose. Whether it was from the Minister of Heritage or the Prime Minister, it was so nice to hear that, through things such as the wage subsidy program, these organizations were able to continue on during this very difficult time. As a result, I know that we will have Folklorama for another 50 years.
Our cultural and heritage industry as a whole needs organizations like Folklorama, because that is where many of the future actors, actresses and production people will be coming from. That is why it is so absolutely critical that when people look at Bill C-10 they recognize its true value to Canadian society.
I encourage all members of the House to follow the advice of the minister. If they have ideas or amendments, they should bring them forward. We are open to ensuring that we have the best possible legislation.