House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was therapy.


The House resumed from April 15 consideration of the motion that Bill C-272, an act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance or repair), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is good to see you in the Chair, because discussing right to repair brings back memories of when I was a political staffer serving on the industry committee. I think you were serving on the industry committee at the time, about 10 years ago, when we were discussing another right to repair bill from the member for Windsor West, so the discussion of this issue brings back memories.

I appreciate the opportunity to continue with remarks I had been making previously; I had started a speech that I am now able to continue. I have six minutes left, I think. I am continuing a speech that I started earlier, and there has been an important development in my life since the first half of the speech, which was that I purchased a ride-on tractor for mowing my lawn, which will no doubt influence my reflections on right to repair, and I want to thank the member for Peace River—Westlock for giving me good advice on that purchase. It was the cheapest model available that I could find, but it is still worth more than the car I drive.

Previously, there was a bill put forward before the House by the member for Windsor West that was dealing with the issue of right to repair for vehicles specifically. I was a political staffer at the time working with the member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, and other members who are still in the House were involved in that debate. There was this tension that always comes up around this question. On the one hand, there is the argument that people should have a right to repair their own property and they should have the right to access the information they need in order to allow something they own to continue to work and function. There are also concerns from the manufacturers' perspective, potentially, about things like reverse-engineering products and that, if they are sharing certain kinds of information, it could create problems for intellectual property that go beyond simply the question of repair.

There are competing considerations, but I think considerations that can also be well balanced. I support in principle the idea that people should be able to repair their own property. That is a reasonable expectation of somebody who owns a vehicle, a tractor, or farm equipment, etc. It is also a reasonable expectation, and one that I think is compatible with that expectation, that people not be able to reverse-engineer products and take advantage of access to repair codes and other information. How do we balance these considerations?

The way this was addressed in the previous Parliament, over 10 years ago, that dealt with right to repair legislation was that members passed the bill at second reading and while this issue was considered at committee, there was a great deal of discussion among stakeholders and it led to the creation of a voluntary agreement that facilitated information sharing. It was ultimately a voluntary agreement that all of the different players involved, the manufacturers as well as the repair associations, were happy to see proceed. That happened because members expressed their support in principle, but then also there was a good exploration of the issues and a reasonable meeting of the minds that happened and allowed for progress to take place.

I congratulate the member for Cambridge on bringing this item forward for discussion again. I think it is a worthy issue for discussion, especially since the scope of his bill goes beyond just talking about cars; it talks about a broader range of issues involving repair and equipment. I recognize the need for the discussion and the legitimacy of the principles at play. I am pleased to be supporting this bill at the second reading stage, and I look forward to the detailed work that is going to be done by the committee on that. Again, the Conservatives support the principle of people who have property they have purchased being able to repair it and being able to continue its functioning and not be unable to take the steps they reasonably need to take, themselves. We also recognize the intellectual property issues at play, which require seriousness and balance in our response to them.

I will be pleased to support the bill at this stage and look forward to the work the committee is going to be able to do.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.


Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, whenever I have had the opportunity to address the House in person or from Longueuil over the past weeks and months, I have typically been unhappy about something. There are all kinds of issues and problems I am not happy about, things we are not moving fast enough on, such as housing, health and seniors. Today, however, I am relatively happy.

I think the bill before us now, Bill C-272, is a step in the right direction. I am pleased to speak to this issue this morning because it is kind of a personal one for me. I am an actor, so copyright issues are important to me. I am here to say that I support the bill because improper use of the Copyright Act to prevent people from fixing electronic devices is immoral. It is also expensive for consumers and has a terrible environmental impact.

Bill C-272 would amend the Copyright Act to ensure that it “does not apply to a person who circumvents a technological protection measure that controls access to a computer program if the person does so for the sole purpose of diagnosing, maintaining or repairing a product in which the computer program is embedded”. What immediately spring to mind are telephones, lawnmowers, washing machines, and even tractors.

The Copyright Act is intended to allow creators to earn a living from their art and to protect their work from being copied or used in ways they do not approve of. It is important legislation. As I said before, as an actor, I am keenly aware of the need to protect both artists' revenue streams and their rights to their creations, that is to say their art.

Curiously, the Copyright Act also applies to those who write computer programs, particularly when the work is protected from pirates by what is called a digital lock. The law prohibits breaking that lock to reproduce or alter the work without the consent of the copyright owner, which is good. However, since the Copyright Act also covers software, businesses have decided to use it to keep repair professionals from breaking the digital lock. That effectively renders many objects irreparable.

The vast majority of today's products have electronic components, so of course we see this everywhere, but many companies have included a digital device to prevent repairs from being made, unless the company has expressly provided the codes. According to those manufacturers, a repair person who overrides a digital lock to fix a phone, car or tractor without the company's consent is committing an offence under the Copyright Act. This is making it impossible to fix items that we own when they are broken or not working properly, unless we go to one of the company's dealers, and even then, the company has to agree to fix the item.

Companies often refuse to repair their own products, just so customers are forced to purchase new ones. This is what is known as planned obsolescence, which is a terrible source of waste and above all totally unnecessary. It is costly for consumers and obviously disastrous for the environment.

Take Apple as an example. That company has patented all the parts of its phones to ensure that no one can produce replacement parts. That is no joke. It has also locked its operating software to prevent repair people from circumventing the locks, which would make them subject to prosecution under the Copyright Act.

If a consumer has a defective phone, the only way to get it fixed is to take it to an Apple store or an authorized Apple retailer. Even then, the company will fix only a very limited number of parts.

Consumers are often told their phone cannot be repaired and must be replaced because Apple opts not to do the repairs knowing that the consumer does not have the right to do repairs the company refuses to do. It is a kind of repair monopoly.

If a consumer has a problem with their smart phone and chooses to have an unauthorized person open it up to diagnose the problem, the consumer can no longer have it repaired and cannot even have it replaced under warranty because they had it repaired by someone else and that violates Apple's conditions. It is fascinating.

Incidentally, in the last quarter, Apple made a net profit of $28 billion. Members should think about that for a second because planned obsolescence is a particularly unethical concept. The company is manufacturing a product knowing in advance that the product will ultimately break. The company then makes sure that the product cannot be repaired so that it can sell more of the product and make more money. That is unacceptable.

Companies are preventing consumers from repairing their items themselves and from paying someone a small amount of money to repair a product that costs hundreds of dollars. All of that is done with the goal of filling order books and lining shareholders' pockets. This aspect of consumer society is simply not compatible with environmental protection. In a finite world, we cannot encourage infinite consumption that cannot even be mitigated by re-use or repair. The need, and I want to emphasize that word, to protect the environment for future generations makes all acts and initiatives important, whether they be big or small.

This bill does not seek for the elimination of fossil fuels or the oil sands, nor does it seek the adoption of measures that would ensure that greenhouse gas reduction targets are met, even if those targets keep changing. However, that does not change the fact that this is an important bill. Every action truly counts. I encourage my colleagues to quickly pass this bill.

As I said, every action counts no matter how small. I would like to take a minute to remind my colleagues that we can do much more to combat planned obsolescence. For example, across the Atlantic, the European Union introduced a directive requiring its member countries to amend their laws to classify products according to their ability to be repaired. Since January, products in France have been labelled with their repairability index.

For the most part, electronics such as smart phones, computers and televisions, as well as household appliances such as washers, dryers or lawnmowers now display a score out of 10. This rating lets consumers know what options are available to them when the time comes to have a particular item repaired.

Such a measure obviously helps consumers make informed choices. It also makes businesses want to compete in an effort to manufacture more sustainable products, since consumers will finally know the sustainability of the product they are buying. Within the next two years, other European countries are also set to adopt measures similar to the ones taken by France.

The bill to amend the Copyright Act will address a significant loophole and resolve part of the problem of planned obsolescence. We need to do more. Solutions such as the one I just spoke about already exist. Planned obsolescence is a major problem in our society because it creates a lot of pollution. It is very important that we tackle greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore the bill is important.

According to ABI Research, 720 million cellphones are thrown away every year around the world. While people everywhere purchase their first cellphones, about 60% of the 1.2 billion units sold annually are purchased to replace discarded phones. If we do nothing to address planned obsolescence, just imagine what will happen when everyone or almost everyone has a smart phone.

Every year, between 30 million and 55 million tonnes of electronic waste is buried. That is disastrous. As a point of comparison, 55 million tonnes of electronic waste is more than 1,000 times the weight of the Titanic. That is unacceptable.

Therefore, it is urgent that we take action to protect our planet. Almost everyone agrees on that. We cannot go on this way. Let us leave cleaner air, clearer water and more fertile soil and not an immense mountain of waste to our children and grandchildren.

I invite my colleagues to quickly pass the bill. However, we must not stop there. We can do much more. For the future of humanity, every small step must immediately be followed by another.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Majid Jowhari Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to virtually rise in the House today to speak on this important bill. However, before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the tragic news we heard last week of the discovery of 215 children's bodies at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. I am saddened by this discovery and my prayers are with the Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation, as well as all indigenous communities across Canada.

I will now speak to the bill at hand. The increased pace of digitization of our economy and the use of software in more of our everyday consumer products has transformed the ownership and control consumers have over many purchases. Consumer products from kitchen appliances to cars, which were once only mechanical and electrical, are now embedded with software. These technological transformations can make products more useful and responsive for consumers. However, the software that controls the components of the products is protected by copyright. This reduces some abilities consumers have traditionally exercised, including the ability to repair their own purchases when they malfunction.

The Copyright Act provides protection for software to encourage innovation and investment. It further grants copyright holders the ability to use technological protection measures, also called TPMs or digital locks, to protect their software from access, unauthorized copying and infringement. TPMs were originally promoted as a tool to encourage creative industries to offer their work in digital form. TPMs are now being used broadly across the economy to protect software incorporated within products in industries such as manufacturing. While I believe in the importance of legal protection for TPMs, I also believe that the Copyright Act should provide exceptions to these protections when they harm the legitimate interest of consumers to maintain and repair the products they own.

Under current copyright law, it would be a violation for someone to circumvent a product's TPM for the purpose of repairing it. The Copyright Act already includes exceptions that permit TPM circumvention for a number of purposes, including ensuring interoperability of computer programs, conducting encryption research or unlocking a cellphone to change telecommunications services, to name a few examples. I believe adding a new exception to the Copyright Act permitting the circumvention of TPMs for the purpose of repair only makes sense.

The recent parliamentary review of the Copyright Act drew attention to this situation. Recommendation 19 of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology’s 2019 report, entitled “Statutory Review of the Copyright Act”, calls for measures to permit Canadians to circumvent TPMs allowed under copyright law for the purpose of repairing, maintaining and adapting their software-embedded devices. Facilitating repair is a multi-faceted public policy challenge that might require additional legislative action. However, I support referring Bill C-272 to committee because it proposes to address the one issue that is clearly in federal jurisdiction: the Copyright Act.

Bill C-272 would not solve all the issues faced by consumers regarding repair, but it is an important step in the right direction. I will vote in favour of referring Bill C-272 to committee because I believe that removing the copyright-related restriction to repair will make any further measures introduced by provinces and territories to support repair more effective.

If Bill C-272 is referred to committee for further study, we as parliamentarians must work to ensure that all information and evidence comes to light on the issue of copyright and repair. This evidence would ensure that the TPM exception for the purpose of repair that Parliament ultimately decides on will be the best possible option. It will be an exception that balances all the varied considerations and interests that come into play on this issue.

We must ensure the exception serves the interests of Canadians who want more choice and ease to make repairs, but we must also ensure the exception has the appropriate safeguards to preserve the safety and security of electronic products.

Removing the copyright-related restriction to repair may enhance competition for independent repair shops. To support the post-pandemic economic recovery, we need any boost to entrepreneurship we can get.

Making it easier for consumers to repair their products, as proposed by Bill C-272, could also contribute to reducing electronic waste. A United Nations report found Canada was responsible for 725,000 tonnes of electronic waste in 2014.

A study commissioned by Open Media found that 75% of Canadians have discarded or replaced a broken device because of a repairable issue. That study also found that one-third of respondents claimed that the repair of the product was prohibitively expensive, forcing them to buy a new one.

All electronic waste is not because of the copyright law; however, a TPM exception such as the one proposed in Bill C-272 would facilitate the repair of products as opposed to their replacement. This could only help toward an overall reduction in electronic waste produced in Canada.

Finally, it is my hope that a TPM exception for the purpose of repair, such as the one proposed in Bill C-272, would help historically marginalized groups to gain better access to repair services and have more repair services become available in rural and remote communities.

In closing, I am in favour of this important change to the Copyright Act in support of repair. I look forward to further discussion on this to make sure we do not introduce unintended consequences at the same time.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to stand in the House of Commons to address the right to repair legislation that we have before us.

Last week, I was on the phone with Mr. Jackson, who has a John Deere tractor. One of the things he was concerned about was the amount of electronics in the tractor and his inability to access the electronics and repair them. We had an extensive conversation about the right to repair. It was interesting.

One of the things he brought up was that a lot of data is put in by the farmer. Modern farming technology uses GPS coordinates, seed rates, soil samples and all kinds of things. That information is put into the tractor to make the calculations, when he is seeding a new crop, of how much fertilizer to put on, what speed to operate at, what the seed rate is and how many pounds of seed per acre he is using. All of these kinds of things are included.

Basically, that is the farmer's intellectual property. That is how he put it as well. It is his seed recipe. It is his farming recipe. To get the tractor and seeder to implement his recipe, he has to enter a lot of data. His concern is that while he is unable to look at and get into the software of the tractor he owns, the tractor is uploading most of the data that he is inputting back to the manufacturer.

Back when that technology was first coming out, he was programming the seeder to do all the seeding and fertilizing. Today, when someone buys a new tractor or seeder, they can press a button to say they are seeding barley and the machine does the set-up for them. It provides someone with a default mix. The seeder and the tractor manufacturers have used the data input by farmers over the last few decades to come up with a generic seed mix that works for folks. The manufacturers can say they have had 100,000 farmers input data into their system.

There does not seem to be a give-and-take in that respect. While farmers seem to put in a lot of data, and the manufacturers work on building programs to allow that, if a farmer's machine breaks down they have to wait for the manufacturer to show up and then they have to pay that manufacturer. Manufacturers have farmers over a barrel. Farmers have 24 days to get their seed in the ground, and cannot really afford three days down.

That was Mr. Jackson's big push in the conversation we had around the right to repair. It was an interesting conversation. That whole story speaks to the balancing act the government has to do in governing this relationship between consumers and manufacturers. Increasingly, of the things that we buy and the technology that we buy, the things we can see and touch are not what is valuable. It is the software that is making those things go.

In talking about the right to repair, my washing machine broke down the other day. I have four children at home, so a washing machine is an important piece of equipment. The computer board that controls the motor went out. I ended up getting a new control board, but the ability to repair those things is helpful and saves time. In an afternoon, I had it torn apart, put back together and operating again.

Regarding the right to repair legislation, off the top of my head, I think the term comes from the agriculture sector and tractors, but also from the automotive sector. When the government was bringing in emissions controls on cars, that technology was expensive. The manufacturers balked at it to a fair extent. Once it was brought in, they said it was proprietary technology and they wanted to maintain control of it. They did not want to lose it. There were a lot of defences put up around that technology.

The government, however, brought in right to repair legislation saying it was emissions-related. No matter where that vehicle is in the world, we need to be able to have those emissions systems repaired.

Over time, we have seen protocols come into place, OBD1 and OBD2, OBD standing for onboard diagnostics. Every vehicle has a connector under the dashboard. It must be within 30 centimetres of the centre line. It is a very standardized connector. I think there were 27 pins, but now it uses about three or four of them. There is a standardized protocol for computer communication. It does not matter which manufacturer is building a diagnostic tool, it has the exact same plug and it communicates with the vehicle. The right to repair legislation has mandated that.

In the 1980s and 1990s, vehicle scanners used 50 different connectors. Today, there is one and there is a standardized protocol for everyone. That is because of the right to repair legislation that came in generations ago.

Automotive aircraft has probably led the way in terms of that kind of technology, but now we see that same kind of computerized technology, which was a challenge for the automotive industry in the 1980s and 1990s, in every area of industry, whether it is a washing machine, cellphone, tractor or the coffee pot. They have computer programming, and they connect to phones.

Recently my dad got a new garage door opener. It connects to the phone. It is Wi-Fi and all that kind of cool stuff. Increasingly, we are dealing with this and we need to communicate with it. In some areas, some manufacturers are very open with their programming and how it works. In other areas, they are very closed with it. That is the reality.

Currently, I am in the frustrating process of switching over my iPad. Apparently my iPad is no longer serviced by Apple. I was talking with the IT folks, telling them that I liked this iPad. The one I am going to get is significantly larger and bulkier and I will have to download all the apps again, and get used to a new device. I am not big on change.

I asked if I could keep the one I had and was told no, because the software was no longer being updated and it would become a security risk. As the hackers get better and better, my device would not be able to compete with them. Therefore, I have to go to a new device. The right to repair would allow a third party to do the updates and maintain them.

There is a definite balancing act that would come with the bill. I know I will be interested to hear what the witnesses have to say in committee, if this bill gets to committee. That is always a challenge. Increasingly, when we buy equipment, we are not so much buying the hardware part, but rather the software and the technology that comes with it. Most modern, large construction equipment is tied 100% back to the factory. It gets data from every input that goes into that machine. There has to be that relationship. When we purchase an item. we then feed that item data and that data often goes back to the manufacturer and the manufacturer either sells the data or uses it to create the next generation of that same item.

As we to go to automation, the data people put into a machine will be used in the automated version of that machine that comes out. There has to be a give and take. If the companies use our data, we ought to be able to repair older technology, older data.

I am pleased to see this bill come forward. I look forward to supporting it going to committee, and I look forward to the discussion that will happen there.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.


Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-272. When I saw that this bill had to do with the Copyright Act, I figured I was right in my element. As a songwriter and composer, I speak on behalf of thousands of my peers, and I was pleased to see that we would finally be able to debate the importance of creators, who, in a way, are such a big part of our everyday lives. They entertain our minds and hearts, inspire our dreams and stir our emotions, and challenge us to reflect on our very existence. They create the music that fills our ears with words and messages that influence our priorities and social choices. They play a huge part in how our future progresses and unfolds. I would be remiss if I had not at least mentioned this.

When I read this very important bill introduced by our colleague opposite, I obviously thought it was about something else. It is not at all what I had imagined. This bill does not have to do with protecting copyrights for songs, theatre, music, writing or productions. I want my artist and creator friends to know that I will fight for that as well, because there is a lot to be done in this area, and our creators are suffering financially because this government has been slow to introduce legislation.

That said, let us get back to the bill. The purpose of the Copyright Act is to allow creators to earn a living from their art and to protect their work from unauthorized copying or use. This may come as a surprise, but, as I just recently learned, the Copyright Act also applies to software developers, which brings me to this very important Bill C-272.

Contrary to the fundamental principle of copyright law related to author remuneration further to universal usage, as is the case with songs, for example, the act does not apply when it comes to a refrigerator, washer or dryer or to computer equipment.

The bill therefore proposes that the person circumventing the technological protection measure controlling access to a computer program for the sole purpose of diagnosing, servicing or repairing a product into which it is embedded should not be subject to the current Copyright Act and should not be guilty. That is why the Bloc Québécois supports this bill. We appeal to common sense, and when something makes sense, we get behind it.

Incidentally, major nuances in the current act absolutely must be considered and corrected as well. When a work is protected from piracy with a digital lock, the act prohibits breaking the lock to reproduce or alter the work without the copyright owner's consent, and that is fine.

The problem is that software is also covered by the Copyright Act, so many companies use the act to prevent repair people from breaking the digital lock, and that makes many devices irreparable. When a consumer product contains electronic components, as most products do these days, many companies include a digital mechanism to prevent repairs from being made unless the company has expressly provided the codes. According to these manufacturers, a repair person who overrides a digital lock to fix a phone, car or tractor without the company's consent commits an offence under the Copyright Act. I do not even know what to say.

That makes it impossible to fix an item that belongs to us, is broken or is not working properly, unless we go to one of the company's dealers. Another problem is that the company has to agree to repair the product. They often refuse, which forces us to buy a new product. That is called planned obsolescence, and it is a terrible financial and environmental waste. It is environmentally disastrous.

Let us look back in time. I do not have to look very far to find examples. My family never wanted for anything. My parents fell in love with a big house by the river and transformed it into a small hotel. To do this, my father and grandfather had to sell their schooner, with some regret, to finance the purchase of the house. I am sharing this story because it allows us to gain a better understanding of what we are talking about today. Times have changed, but have they done so for the better? Not always.

Before running the hotel, my father and grandfather were schooner captains on the St. Lawrence. The role of these invaluable schooners was to deliver goods to the north shore, since, at the time, roads and railroads had not yet reached this area. For northerners, as my father called them, these schooners, these boats that people built and owned, were of the utmost importance. On the St. Lawrence, many of these schooners sailed from Montreal to Sept-Îles, and from there on all the way to St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Their arrival was quite the event, because everyone awaited the delivery of some coveted item, be it sugar or flour, farming implements to ensure their food self-sufficiency or, of course, a refrigerator, a toaster or an electric stove, for those villagers who were lucky enough to have electricity.

It was therefore essential that all of these appliances have a long life expectancy, since they were not easy to get and supply was never assured. I think members would be happy to see a nice picture of some schooners. There is a bit of a glare, but I believe—

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Order. I must interrupt the member. We greatly appreciate the photo she is showing us, but the hon. member knows that members are prohibited from using props in the House.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

It is timeless, Madam Speaker. I apologize. Compare this situation to what is happening today.

When I was just six, I remember my father buying a used dishwasher for our small hotel. He told me that he was buying a second identical one that was out of order so he could repair the first one if it ever broke down. I will not share how old I am, but believe it or not, that dishwasher has survived my dad. It is still working, and I swear that we have not found a better replacement. Obviously and fortunately, it is not subject to any code of obsolescence, or we would have been fined many times over under the legislation. Since this appliance is still fit for purpose and generally meets commercial standards in terms of water temperature for disinfection, we are keeping it and repairing it. Most importantly, it is not polluting the planet.

This story illustrates what Bill C-272 seeks to correct. The Bloc Québécois thinks it is an interesting bill that confirms that we have the right to repair and have repairs done to our belongings. Repair technicians, be they mechanics, computer experts or former schooner captains cum hotel operators, will no longer be liable for copyright infringement.

This bill will be especially helpful in the regions, where companies often do not have dealers, making it downright impossible to repair goods. By correcting a provision in the Copyright Act that manufacturers were using to prevent their products from being repaired, the bill gives substance to the right to repair our own belongings. This will go a long way in protecting the environment, which cannot take any more of the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of scrap metal, computer equipment and cellular devices, refrigerators and toasters that have keep piling up. The life span of those items could have been extended were it not for this egregious provision in the act, which is more about money than about common sense or the environment.

The planet is making a green shift that is cannot be denied, and the future of the world absolutely depends on it. Perhaps this legislation will force companies to return to making devices that last. They might be more expensive to manufacture or purchase, but they will be more durable and therefore less polluting. Bill C-272 is a step in the right direction to force companies to adopt this approach, and the Bloc Québécois supports it.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.


Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, do we have the right to fix the things we buy, or do we have the obligation to bring those things back to the person who sold them to us and pay them to fix them for us? That is a long-standing question.

Many sellers build into their business model or their engineering plans a system that requires buyers to come back to pay for maintenance and repair at the place they bought the product or service. This can generate a stable stream of income for the seller and also allow the seller to continue to improve his or her products. On the other side, it prevents the buyer from shopping around and finding a better deal for repairs. There is a conundrum.

Sellers typically use two different ways to maintain their exclusive rights over the repair of products. One way is to build it right into the warranty or into the sales agreement that, for example, buyers can buy an automobile at a set price, but for the warranty to apply, buyers must bring it back to the seller and the seller alone for servicing. They can write into the contract, or the purchase agreement, that, if buyers want to buy this tractor, the seller will offer this original price, but customers are obliged by contract to give them the contracts to repair it. That is one way, through the use of contractual arrangements.

The other way is through technological protection measures. This is a particularly new phenomenon in the case of most products because, 30 or 40 years ago, those products did not have a lot of digital technology baked into them that could be encrypted or made exclusive through coding techniques. Today, almost everything we buy has some sort of a technological component to it. The future of automobiles, washer and drying machines, toaster ovens, basically anything we buy will mean less about the hardware, the tin, iron or aluminum in it, and more about the technology that operates it. Therefore, businesses have become very clever in embedding technological protection measures that encrypt the ability to maintain and repair the equipment.

There are two major extreme positions on what to do about this tension between the buyer who wants to repair his own product or the seller who wants to repair it for him. I will go through them very quickly. On the one hand, some argue that the government should force sellers to stop using technological protection measures or exclusivity clauses in sale and maintenance agreements. On the other hand, some argue that the status quo should continue, which forces buyers to respect technological protection measures and continue to go back to the seller in order to have repairs and maintenance done. Both of these solutions require government forcing one side on the other.

I believe in the free enterprise system where government applies as little force as humanly possible. Having read Bill C-272, right of repair, that the member for Cambridge has offered, I conclude that he is of the same view. His bill neither bans technological protection measures nor bans efforts by buyers to circumvent those measures. What he simply does with the bill is that it would legalize the practice of developing technologies to get around those technological protection measures so that buyers have the ability to try and repair a product for themselves.

For example, if someone were to buy a tractor and the tractor manufacturer put in a technology that prevented the buyer upgrading and maintaining that tractor, under the law today, the buyer could not buy a circumvention product that will allow them to get around the protection measure.

That is the way the law is written under the Copyright Act in section 41 today. If one does that, one is breaking the law. However, the bill proposes to remove that prohibition, so the manufacturer of the tractor could still put in a protection to prevent the buyer from maintaining the tractor themselves, but the buyer would have the legal right to buy another product that would allow them to get around that technological protection.

In other words, the bill would basically open the matter up to buyers and sellers to sort out how they are going to arrange their contractual agreements on their own. It would continue to allow companies to put in place measures to try to retain their exclusive right to repair the products they sell, but it would also allow the customer to try to get around and circumvent those protections. I believe this is the right solution, because we should leave, as much as possible, decisions in commerce to the buyers and sellers involved and minimize the involvement of government in between their voluntary decisions.

For example, if a car dealership wants to write in a requirement that a car buyer must come back to the dealership for maintenance as a condition of the warranty, that should be legal. However, if the car buyer does not want to follow that edict, he can go and buy a car somewhere else. That is the genius of the free market system.

A buyer can say, “I do not want to be stuck going back to the dealership for maintenance. I want to go to Jane's Mechanics because she does a better job. I am bringing my car to her, and if the dealership is not going to allow my warranty to stand when she maintains my car, then I will not buy the car from that dealership. I will to go to another dealership where they do not have that requirement as part of their warranty.”

This allows the buyer to make an informed decision about the trade-offs involved when purchasing a product, whether it is a smart phone, an automobile, a washer and dryer, or a farm tractor, the buyer will be able to decide whether or not he or she will buy a product knowing that the seller has a requirement for a product to be maintained at the seller's business.

At the same time, if the seller wants to put some kind of technological method to prevent others from maintaining and repairing the product, well, he or she can do that. There is nothing in this proposed law that would prevent them from doing that. However, if the bill passes, the state would not enforce that technological protection, and I believe that is as it should be.

We should live in a free and open market system where people get ahead by having the best product rather than the best lawyer, and where the voluntary exchange of work for wages, product for payment and investment for interest allows everyone to do well by doing good, which is the genius of the market system. If someone has an apple and wants an orange, and I have an orange and want an apple, we trade, and we still have an apple and orange between us but we are both better off because we each have something worth more to us than what we had before.

What is true of that simple transaction of apples and oranges is also true in more complicated products, such as software-enhanced agricultural equipment, smart phones or other devices. We, as consumers, do our research. We find out the terms involved in buying a given product, and then we decide for ourselves. If we do not like the arrangement that the seller has put into the purchase agreement, then we shop elsewhere.

I congratulate the member for Cambridge. I believe he has found the optimal solution in federal law to allow buyers of goods and services to try to maximize their utility when buying a product, and he removes unnecessary intervention by the state so that the buyers and sellers can do commerce and achieve the best possible outcome for themselves.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.


Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I am proud to speak to my private member’s bill, Bill C-272, and I am excited to see this bill will come up for a vote very soon. I became interested in this topic because of how many aspects of our lives that it touches. It touches everything from agriculture and the food we eat, to the environment and how we divert waste away from landfills, to consumer rights and allowing people to do the things they should be able to do with the goods they purchase.

I hope this legislation also kicks off a deeper conversation about the right to repair. This issue is non-partisan and spans the concerns of urban and rural citizens, the young and the old, those who are tech savvy and those who are technophobes. It impacts all of us. I am pleased to see the positive response Bill C-272 has garnered from all parties, and I hope that an in-depth discussion at committee will follow.

Bill C-272 addresses some concerns that have become more frequent over the past decade, concerns that the Copyright Act is being used and interpreted in areas far beyond its scope. In particular, these concerns focus on the provisions of copyright that are actually able to prevent the repair of digital devices and systems, even when nothing is being copied or distributed. As digital technology around us has become less expensive, it has become more integrated into our daily lives, and the Copyright Act governs the software that is found in these systems.

As an example, the technology has not changed dramatically in refrigerators over the past few decades, but now you can get a fridge with a computer inside or digital touch screens on the front. That computer, more specifically the onboard software, is protected under the Copyright Act. That computer runs and manages the refrigerator and the onboard systems.

However, a manufacturer could choose to not allow the repair or replacement of a filter, compressor, or some other part without a specific code, password, or permission entered into the system. They may do this to prevent outsiders from making repairs, to ensure only their approved technicians make the repairs or to prevent the installation of aftermarket parts. However, if someone makes that repair on their own and breaks the technological protection measures in place to force it to accept the repair, they could be violating the Copyright Act, and they could be charged with breaking a federal law.

This need for repair is even more critical for people in rural or remote locations as they likely do not have quick or easy access to dealerships or manufacturers. These technological protection measures, or TPMs, can inadvertently prevent repairs, and they can shut out independent repair shops and home DIY repairs. They can even stop repairs after the company has gone out of business because they would still be breaking the TPMs, even if there are literally no other options for repair. That goes against everything that Canadians understand instinctively when they purchase something. Bill C-272 works to prevent these kinds of issues by carving out a specific and very limited allowance for consumers to circumvent a TPM, but only for the purpose of diagnosis, maintenance or repair.

None of these copyright protections are an issue with respect to repairs, and the spirit of the Copyright Act is not intended to speak to the repair of physical devices at all. Interpreting it this way is wildly outside the scope of the intent of copyright, and the legislation is out of date and misused as a result. The circumvention of TPMs discussed and allowed under Bill C-272 are only for repair, maintenance or diagnosis. Any other circumvention would remain illegal under the Copyright Act.

So far I have had the opportunity to hear from constituents, people across Canada and internationally who are all interested in seeing this bill passed. I thank them for their support.

I would also like to thank my staff for all of their hard work on this bill, especially that of Andrew Cowie, without whom we would not be speaking about this today.

My thanks to the hon. members for their debate today and in the first hour. I am also happy to discuss any changes requested by committee, changes that could strengthen the bill and its impact.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business



The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

It being 12:01, the time provided for debate has expired. Accordingly, the question is on the motion.

If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded vote or that the motion be adopted on division, I invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business



Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I request a recorded division.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business



The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, June 2, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

The House resumed from April 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), be read the third time and passed.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders



Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the House for this opportunity to continue my remarks on Bill C-6.

I am a member of the justice committee, where many witnesses stated that we need to clarify the definition of conversion therapy in this bill. We heard over and over from lawyers that the definition is overbroad and imprecise and the bill lacks clarity, and from faith leaders like Cardinal Collins, who is a spiritual leader to two million Canadians, that it goes beyond the stated goal of banning coercive therapies. Other witnesses testified that good-faith conversations from caring counsellors literally saved their lives and helped them sort themselves out with support, time and no presupposed or preferred outcomes.

Given all the testimony we heard, much of which I referenced when I spoke previously, why not clarify the language of the bill? Why not specify that good-faith, non-coercive conversations would not be subject to criminal penalty? Why not? It is because the current Minister of Justice claims it would be redundant to do so. Redundant? Really? When is clarity so fervently called for by so many witnesses ever redundant? Why not give the comfort sought if it is implied, as the minister has suggested? The simplest answer is often the right one. The minister and the Liberal government do not want to give that comfort, do not want to give that protection.

This bill calls for criminal sanctions that could land Canadians in jail for five years. It is our duty as parliamentarians to draft precise legislation for judges and for all Canadians. Criminal law should have the highest threshold against confusion and ambiguity.

One of my daughters is a school counsellor. I want to ensure that she and the thousands of other hard-working counsellors across this country can continue to have safe conversations with students without violating the law.

It is an easy fix. Conservatives put forth a simple amendment to add a “for greater certainty” clause to the definition of conversion therapy. Our amendment mirrored the wording on the Department of Justice's own website so that teachers, school counsellors, pastoral counsellors, faith leaders, doctors, mental health professionals and friends and family could provide support, without fear of criminal sanction, to persons who seek their counsel and who are struggling with their sexual orientation, sexual feelings or gender expression and identity.

An explanation given by a Liberal member at committee was that the list in our amendment stating “such as...teachers, school counsellors”, etc. offends the principle and statutory interpretation that the inclusion of some means the exclusion of others. As a former trial lawyer and administrative law judge, I can say that lists were always helpful to me in interpreting and applying the law. As for the canon of construction expressio unius est exclusio alterius, it simply does not apply where a list includes a prefix like “such as”. “Such as” means that the list is not exhaustive.

This is pretty basic stuff. Why does the Liberal government not stand by its own justice website? Why did it change its wording? This is the Liberals playing “gotcha” politics with real lives and real struggles, again, trying to force members to vote against this bill because of its lack of precision to later falsely claim that those who voted against it are therefore in favour of coercive conversion therapy. It is intentionally insulting and beneath the dignity of this House. By erasing all confusion, our amendment would have erased all doubt and garnered widespread support.

One last concern is that as of the final justice committee meeting before clause-by-clause consideration back in December, members were told that 260 written submissions were still being translated, and they were not available until after we voted on amendments. To ignore them is disrespectful and runs counter to our democratic values. It may have altered the very outcome of our clause-by-clause deliberations.

It is my hope that having digested these briefs in the intervening months, we, on both sides of the aisle, will recognize the importance of condemning harmful practices in a clear and targeted way. Let us reduce suffering and provide acknowledgement by banning coercive conversion therapy, but not increase suffering by ignoring so many briefs and witnesses.

We should love and look out for all Canadians: no Canadian left behind. I challenge the government to clarify the language in this bill, or at least be honest with Canadians about the intent behind it. Let us leave out hurtful and unnecessary politicization and welcome inclusion.

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12:05 p.m.


Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, while I normally have a good relationship with the member for South Surrey—White Rock, I am disappointed with her remarks today.

I want to draw her attention to the “for greater certainty” clause that was added to the definition in proposed section 320.101. It states, “For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

How is this a vague definition that would somehow prevent counsellors from talking to kids about sexual orientation and sexual identity? It simply says that providing a supportive and affirming conversation is not covered by this bill.

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12:05 p.m.


Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, I have a lot respect for my colleague. We have worked on many files together.

I want to be clear that I am against the practice of coercive therapies or conversion therapy. I do not agree with it. The member and I are both on the justice committee. Most of the witnesses, and it did not matter where they were from, were against that practice. What they wanted was real clarity, not an overly broad or imprecise definition, on what this means exactly, and they did not feel it was in this bill. Witness after witness, whether they be people who have explored this or lawyers studying the legislation, called for greater certainty, and that is what Conservatives are calling for, including the definition as set out on the justice website and in our amendment.

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12:05 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be honest. When I hear Conservatives say they are against conversion therapy but the definition is vague, that rings hollow. All that suggests is that they are trying to cover up. They say they are against it but the definition needs to be stronger. They are basically saying they are against a different version of what they believe conversion therapy to be, not what survivors have been saying it actually is.

The member did not answer the previous question. The member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke specifically asked why the member for South Surrey—White Rock considers the definition he read out vague when he went into detail describing the definition in the bill. Can she answer his question?

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12:10 p.m.


Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, I would first like to say that I find the way that question was put deeply insulting and unnecessary in parliamentary debate, which is something we often see from the member. This is not the time to play these kinds of games. These are people's lives. People are suffering. I am on the justice committee, and I listened to the witnesses; the member did not.

When listening to the testimonies, we at committee heard real suffering, but it was suffering by more than one category of person. We heard suffering from people who had undergone coercive therapies that they felt had hurt them deeply, perhaps for life, but we also heard from witnesses who said that good-faith conversations by counsellors or faith leaders had actually saved their lives. One has to have some balance when looking at any piece of legislation in this House.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, whenever I hear anything about conversion therapy, I find it really upsetting, because sexual orientation is not a choice people make. I did not choose to be heterosexual any more than homosexual individuals chose their orientation. That is how we were born, it is in our genetic makeup; we got it from our parents.

If someone is struggling, it is only natural they seek psychological support, but do people really want a conversion? Do they really want to change their genetic makeup? How is this possible without psychological consequences, without anxiety and depression?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, I am not sure there was a question. I was very clear that I am against coercive conversion therapy. I have said that from the very beginning. I am just looking for greater clarity in the bill. To suggest that I am for this practice is erroneous.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.


Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have a speech in front of me this morning, because, like my colleague, I am very emotional and find this topic very upsetting.

I am pleased to rise today at third reading stage to speak to Bill C-6, which amends the Criminal Code with regard to conversion therapy. I think that there needs to be a consensus on this bill to give LGBTQ+ people the respect and protection they deserve. Equality for all is a fundamental value in Quebec, and I hope it is in the rest of the country as well. It is an inalienable right.

Practices that deny the existence of a person's core identity must be condemned. It is 2021. Historically, Quebec has been a leader in human rights protection. The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms has recognized sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination since 1977, and the PQ justice minister got the National Assembly of Quebec to legalize same-sex marriage in 2002, when it instituted civil unions.

The bill that we are debating today proposes to amend sections of the Criminal Code in order to create offences related to the practice of conversion therapy. The term “practice” is very important here. This bill is identical to Bill C-8, which was introduced in March 2020 and died on the Order Paper when Parliament was prorogued. I hope that Bill C-6 will be passed by all members of the House in this 43rd Parliament, because we cannot afford to waste any more time.

What is conversion therapy? It is a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual or their gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or any behaviour deemed abnormal. That is appalling.

I want every member to put themselves in the shoes of a vulnerable person, if only for a few moments, and imagine just how much this can violate their identity and how much distress it can cause. I find it inconceivable that this type of treatment is still being used today in an attempt to please parents or any organization and obtain their approval. For goodness' sake.

In Quebec, respect for each person's gender identity and sexual orientation is a value that the practice of conversion therapy violates. In our society that is so inclusive and respectful of human rights, or so I hope, who are we to judge what is good for a person and to try to convince them to be otherwise?

As experts are saying, conversion therapy is pseudoscience. Not only is it dangerous and degrading, but, as many studies have shown, it does not work. According to the World Health Organization, conversion therapy practices “represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people”. According to the Canadian Psychological Association, “[c]onversion or reparative therapy can result in negative outcomes such as distress, anxiety, depression, negative self-image, a feeling of personal failure, difficulty sustaining relationships, and sexual dysfunction”. That is very serious.

Conversion therapy has already been banned in five Canadian provinces and one territory: Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Yukon. The cities of Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary have banned it as well. Around the world, Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Germany, Malta, Switzerland and Taiwan have all banned this type of therapy, as have more than 20 states and 80 cities in the U.S. Conversion therapy does, sadly, happen in Canada, but it is done behind closed doors. When I tell my constituents, they are surprised to hear that this practice still exists. We must speak out against these types of therapy and take action.

I would like to talk about the high-profile case of Gabriel Nadeau.

Gabriel was a member of a Pentecostal Protestant community and underwent conversion therapy three times.

I want my colleagues to feel what I did when I heard his story, so I will to quote Gabriel. He said:

Four people physically held me down while the “prophet” shouted into my ears for 30 minutes, calling for the demon to get out, and they made me drink “holy olive oil”.

He added:

Everyone around me was saying that my sexual orientation could be changed. I tried everything...but of course nothing was successful. I had a breakthrough between the ages of 18 and 19.... Now, I accept my orientation and am proud to be gay.

It is hard to imagine everything he went through.

The members of his group believed that homosexuality was a malevolent spirit, a demon. Gabriel said he was aware of that and believed it himself. Exorcism was one of the therapeutic techniques used.

He went on to say:

I think that the hardest part for me, harder even than the exorcism, was the self-rejection that followed, the feeling of being completely disgusted by myself, wanting to change completely, and being so desperate every day.... It was truly awful.

Gabriel Nadeau also added:

I found self-acceptance, and I realized that I didn't always have to conform to what other people wanted or thought, when it came to my sexuality or anything else. It is wonderful, and I would never go back to that religious prison.

I applaud him for having the courage to share his story and his experience, as traumatizing as it was. By sharing his story, he gave society and elected representatives like us an opportunity to reflect and the words and images to understand the violence that Quebeckers and Canadians who undergo conversion therapy may experience. I want Gabriel to know that we are grateful to him and we are thinking of him.

Fortunately, Quebec society and Canadian society, distinct though they may be, have a lot in common, in particular in terms of values. Quebec and Canada agree on certain matters and adopt consistent policies to enhance human rights.

As Bloc Québécois critic for living together, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the Quebec government's human rights protection initiative, Bill 70, which prohibits conversion therapy in Quebec.

May 17 was International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This year's theme was “For some, showing their colours isn't a choice”. Around the world, LGBTQ2S+ individuals are still the victims of psychological, physical and sexual violence.

The aim of the bill is to put an end to conversion therapy, which is a form of terrible psychological violence unsupported by science.

I would therefore invite all of my colleagues, especially my Conservative colleagues, who are trying to make amendments that could be made at a later date, to act before the end of the session. We must stop postponing the issue and vote to defend and protect LGBTQ2S+ individuals in Quebec and Canada. We must not postpone the adoption of the bill, but vote in favour of it. That is what I ask. No one deserves to suffer needlessly and bear the scars for the rest of their life.

It is our duty to protect the vulnerable. That is why I chose to go into politics. I would also like to mention that, not so long ago, on June 15, the Conservative leader tweeted, “Let me be clear, conversion therapy has no place in Canada and should be banned. Period.... I am committed to fighting this unacceptable and harmful practice. I will not compromise on this issue.” We will see if his word is worth anything when it comes to taking action.

According to a recent official survey, 47,000 Canadian men belonging to a sexual minority have been subjected to conversion therapy. We are not talking about 2,000 men or 5,000 men, but about 47,000 men.

The Bloc Québécois is proud to be a long-time ally of the LGBTQ2S+ community. All of my colleagues were prepared long ago to put an end to the violence of conversion therapy, here and now, so that no sexually or gender-diverse person has to convert, since we love them and celebrate them.

In conclusion, I do not know if my colleagues have seen the movie Boy Erased, but it really helped me understand what conversion therapy is like and the impact it has on individuals and their families. It was so terrifying that it gave me goose bumps. It really opened my eyes. I asked my children to watch it, and then we talked about it. The first thing they said was, “Mom, it is based on a true story. When did it happen?” I answered that it was not very long ago and that this sort of thing is still going on. This 2018 movie is based on the memoirs of Garrard Conley, a 35-year-old author and activist. He recounts the traumatizing and violent experience of the conversion therapy forced on him by his parents. He did not want the therapy. I urge my colleagues to watch the movie, because it was a powerful awareness-raising experience for me and my family.

In the end, that is what it is all about: education, information and understanding others. Regardless of our gender identity or sexual orientation, we are all beautiful in our diversity.

I am pleased to be able to say that the Bloc Québécois has always been resolutely committed to protecting and promoting the rights and freedoms of Quebeckers. I am very proud to belong to a political party that shares my values and that has always been an ally in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender or gender expression.

I asked my colleagues to stand up and dare to take action. We need to pass Bill C-6 before the end of the session. It is already late, in my opinion. However, as we say, it is never too late.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for the passion she has brought to this issue, speaking so clearly about it and representing the voices of those who have been affected by conversion therapy. I particularly agree with her that we need to pass the bill before the end of this session. I know I have certainly been asking for it on my side of the House, because this is important. I also thank her for the recommendation on that movie. I will look it up because I have not heard of it.

I want to touch on the member's comments in regard to the Leader of the Opposition and the statement he made in June of last year when he said that he was against this. The Conservatives have been trying to use the issue of definition and how it is not detailed enough. Personally, I see that as a red herring. I see it as an excuse to avoid voting for something they claim to be so passionate about, especially when talking to certain demographics in our country.

Could the member comment as to why the Conservatives are so hell-bent on the issue of the definition?

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12:30 p.m.


Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague.

Let us be frank. When a bill is specific and anticipated and has garnered widespread support, even from the head of the party of in question, but there are still grey areas or clashes of values among the members of that party, there is only one course they can follow: delay the study of the bill, filibuster and find a way to stretch the process out so that they can say that the bill did not pass in 2021.

After Bill C-8 and Bill C-6, how many others will we have to study? This has to end.

There may be a free vote, but I am convinced that Bill C-6 will be passed. The filibustering must stop, and the bill must be placed on our parliamentary agenda before the end of the session so that the Senate can also study and pass it.

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12:30 p.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I agree with much of what the member said.

I followed the committee proceedings closely on this bill and noted with great respect the interventions of the Bloc member for Rivière-du-Nord. He also expressed some concerns about the definition as it was amended. It was not only Conservative members, it was also the Bloc member on the committee. He voted against an amendment from the NDP to add in gender expression. Here is what the member of the Bloc said at committee:

Let's say that, in the morning before going to school, an eight-year-old boy decides to wear a dress. His mother might say yes, or she might say no. Either way, if we use that definition, it would be a criminal offence for a mother to tell her son that she does not want him to wear a dress and to force him to wear pants. That's the definition we are about to adopt, and I see a problem with it.

That is a direct quote from the Bloc member for Rivière-du-Nord, who represents the Bloc on that committee, who had concerns about the definition and who listened to the witness testimony. The same Bloc member proposed a motion to delay clause by clause so the written briefings submitted could be reviewed by the committee.

I want to ask the member if she is in alignment with her Bloc colleague in terms of having some concerns about the reference to gender expression and other aspects of the definition and if she shares her colleague's concern about the lack of consideration of written briefs.