House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was content.

Topics

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is calling the Conservatives all kinds of things, claiming that they are attacking the cultural community and that he has never heard anyone think like the Conservatives.

I do not know if he listened to all the discussions in committee. Just look at the British Columbia Library Trustees Association, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, University of Calgary law professor Emily Laidlaw, Carleton University professor Dwayne Winseck, Quebec artists like Mike Ward, former CRTC commissioner Timothy Denton, Konrad von Finckenstein, Peter Menzies, Michel Morin, and Philip Palmer, not to mention the thousands of Canadians who wrote in and urged us to make sure that the Liberals' Bill C‑10 would not overlook them. The minister is making a big fuss and claiming that the Conservatives are attacking the cultural community.

We are not attacking the cultural community. We want to prevent freedom of expression from being restricted. Furthermore, we are speaking on behalf of thousands of Canadians across the country.

Does the minister think that these Canadians have the same right—

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. minister.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the topic of freedom of expression was debated in committee, the majority of the expert witnesses said that Bill C‑10 was compliant and that it did not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I have already said this publicly, and the member for Richmond—Arthabaska knows this: There are some people who should not be subject to any rules on the Internet. I recognize that. That is not the position of the majority of the parties in the House, it is not the position of the majority of the members in the House and it is not the position of the majority of Canadians. Study after study has shown that the majority of Canadians, nearly 80%, believe that the web giants should contribute their fair share.

There are some Canadians who disagree. We have seen this with the Conservative Party, but that is not what the majority of Canadians think and it is certainly not what the majority of—

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, going back to some of the discussion earlier this evening around this bill, I, as well as members from the Bloc and the NDP, have continually been asking the Conservatives to specifically reference and cite the actual part of this bill that is of concern to them. None of them are willing to do that. It leads me to believe that this is just hyped-up rage that they have created over this issue for political gain.

Does the minister have any indication of what part of the bill specifically they are referring to when they go on with their talking points about all these concerns that they have about the bill?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:15 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Kingston and the Islands is bang on. All evening I have been asking myself about all these conspiracy theories we are hearing and the idea that we are creating a monster that is going to be bigger than the government. According to what we have heard tonight, Canada is about to overtake the Internet, nothing less than that.

Can they give us any concrete element of evidence? Can they point to anything in the bill about how this would happen? They cannot because—

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:15 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I was disappointed at committee during important amendments that I wanted to speak to and debate, and hearing endless talking points about YouTube creators in this country. I looked up the top 100 YouTube creators in this country and could not tell them apart from American content.

However, when I talked to APTN about the importance of having their voices integrated into the Internet through these platforms, that was key. It is about building indigenous languages. It is about Canadian voices and bringing forward Canadian voices.

I would like to ask the minister about his comments on the importance of revitalizing indigenous language and indigenous culture in this country, and understanding indigenous cultures.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:15 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was a really important question. In fact, the member is correct. APTN and many other indigenous organizations that are involved in artistic creation in the production sector are supporting Bill C-10 for the very reasons he outlined. Basically, if we read the Broadcasting Act as it stands now, we are asking for broadcasters to invest in indigenous productions if they can. It is sort of an option. We want to make it mandatory to invest a certain percentage of the revenue that is generated in Canada into indigenous productions.

We have just invested $40 million in the last budget for an indigenous screen office, for the first time ever in this country.

That is a really important question that goes to the heart of Bill C-10.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I can reference one specific part of this bill that I have a great issue with. It is the fact that the government removed the provisions under proposed section 4.1, which specifically protect users of social media platforms, creators or influencers from being regulated by the government.

Tonight, in rhetoric through the debate, we just had the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith talk about how the top 100 YouTube accounts from Canada look a little too American for him. We had the Minister of Canadian Heritage earlier tonight asking my colleague from Lethbridge to apologize for her comments on this bill. This is the exact type of rhetoric that we need to protect content creators from, this interference on determining what is Canadian and what is not.

If the minister is sure that social media users would be protected under this bill, why did he remove the one provision in the bill that actually protected them from his control?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. It is very clear in the bill that a person who uses a social media service will be excluded. Companies like YouTube, the largest broadcaster of music in this country, are not being excluded from doing their fair share. If that is what the member wants and if that is what the Conservatives want, then we do not agree with them. The majority of parties in this House and the majority of members in this House do not agree with them.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and, from what I am seeing from the current government, possibly a privilege to be able to rise and speak to Bill C-10. I rise representing the good people of North Okanagan—Shuswap.

I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.

Bill C-10 is the Liberal government's attempt to have the online streaming giants contribute their fair share to Canadian content and the retention of Canadian culture, but it has gone terribly wrong. World wars have been fought to protect our rights and freedom of speech, and we must never let those rights and freedoms be eroded. Freedom of expression must always be protected.

How did this bill go so terribly wrong? When the minister and the current government introduced Bill C-10 last November, the Minister of Canadian Heritage told the House that the bill's amendments to the Broadcasting Act were aimed at benefiting Canadian artists and musicians by forcing web giants to increase investments in Canadian content. That is something I think we all agree on. This initial commitment seemed reasonable, especially considering the need for our Broadcasting Act to be modernized in light of the major changes in where and how we now source music, television and film entertainment.

A couple of weeks later, the minister told the House that Bill C-10 was aimed at film, television and music-streaming services, like Netflix and Spotify, and that the government was committed to introducing another bill aimed at social media platforms, like Facebook and so on. At that time, the minister also stated that user-generated content would not be subject to new regulations.

Despite these assurances, the bill's progression took a sudden turn on April 23, when the Liberal members at committee suddenly amended the bill to extend its powers to the regulation of user-generated content on social media platforms. A bill originally presented as essential to protecting and ensuring continued Canadian content suddenly became a government bill seeking to regulate what Canadians say and share on social media. Smart phone apps were also added to the purview of the proposed regulations.

These amendments prompted strong reactions from my Conservative colleagues and me, but they also sparked a strong reaction from social media experts and Canadians. I have heard more from my constituents in North Okanagan—Shuswap about their concerns regarding the freedoms they could lose through this amendment and this bill than about any other topic in recent history. That is how concerned Canadians are for their freedom of expression.

What we see all around the world, and here in Canada today, is that social media has rapidly become the central platform used by citizens to express their rejections or protests against injustices, including those of government. The proposals of Bill C-10 open the door for the federal government and its regulatory agency, the CRTC, to undermine our ability to continue exercising our critical democratic freedom of expression. After 14 months of living with pandemic restrictions, many Canadians isolated at home and relying on social media for information, connectivity and entertainment, I strongly question why the government has chosen this time to radically change how Canadians can use social media.

I would also like to speak tonight about unintended consequences. It is something we have seen far too much of recently from the government, the unintended consequences of poorly drafted legislation. The case I want to tie into this debate tonight is the poorly drafted legislation in the government's Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, and how it is now having an impact on my constituents in North Okanagan—Shuswap.

I have now heard from constituents who are no longer able to get residential home insurance. Why? Because of poorly crafted and passed legislation. It has been disastrous for these constituents.

One man living on disability and trying to do things by the book was paying $1,000 for his home insurance. That bill then went up to $4,000 per year, then $5,500, then $6,500 and now more than $7,000 per year for a man living on disability. Why? Because he grows cannabis under a medical licence, but he grows more than four plants. Four plants is the maximum allowed under the government legislation. His insurance company has basically raised his rates to the point where he has to almost mortgage his insurance payments because the legislation has made it too costly for him to get insurance and pay for it up front.

He is not the only one. Another couple contacted me. They each have medical cannabis licences. Because the two of them grow more than the four permitted plants, they cannot find insurance.

This is just one example of how the government has failed to look at unintended consequences.

I will also tie in some of the experiences I have had on other committees in dealing with unexplained, non-scientific decisions of the government. It may seem unrelated to this, but I am trying to point out that this legislation is poorly drafted and should be taken back or at least have the proper time spent at committee to correct it.

Tying this to the fisheries committee, there was a regulation regarding the prawn harvesters in B.C., that had been in place for about 50 years. Everyone was operating under those rules. All of a sudden, the government decided it was going to reinterpret those regulations. Basically, it was going to shut down a huge portion of the spot prawn harvesters in British Columbia, simply by a reinterpretation of the regulation that had been in place for 50 years. There was no explanation, no working with the stakeholders to try to figure this out for the future. It threw the whole system into disarray because of unintended consequences of an decision that had not been researched or had any background.

I sat in on the heritage committee last week when it was going through the amendments, those that could be talked about. I tried to bring forward some of these issues about unintended consequences and the Liberal members on the committee tried to shut me down. They tried to censor what should have been my freedom of expression at that committee, pointing out the errors that the government continued to make. The member for Calgary Nose Hill was also in the committee at that time and witnessed how that took place. She may tie that session at the committee into her speech momentarily.

It was interesting to see how quickly the government seemed to want to censor Canadians, especially us parliamentarians by shutting down the debate at the committee stage of this bill to the point where amendments could not even be read aloud by the chair. They simply had to be listed by number and then voted on. Nobody could discuss what the amendment would do, the benefits or disadvantages of it, none of that. All of this was shut down by the government, trying to censor debate on this bill. Now the Liberals have limited the time we will have to debate it in the House, and it is a shame. Something as serious as freedom of expression deserves full and uncensored debate.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:30 p.m.

Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have read and reread the bill, which repeatedly states that users will not be subject to the same rules as broadcasters. They will be able to upload whatever they want, so I am trying to understand the line. If there is really something dangerous here, I will be the first to fight it, but I have read and reread that all these threats the Conservatives are talking about will not apply to users. Would the member please tell me which clause he is talking about, and would he please specify the page and the line?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was the removal of section 4.1, which protected user-generated content. That was in there. There was very little debate about the potential risks of the bill when that was in it. Why did the government remove that and then, after the Canadian public and Conservative members of Parliament raised alarms over that, start to backtrack? Obviously, it was a wrong move. Why?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:30 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke about the fear of freedom of expression being constrained, so I just wanted to check with him. I am sure he has read the Bill C-10 legislation, but I am not sure if he has read the act itself. The act still says, in section 2(3), “This Act shall be construed and applied in a manner that is consistent with the freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by broadcasting undertakings.”

In subsection 35(2), it states, “This Part shall be interpreted and applied so as to protect and enhance the freedom of expression and the journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by the Corporation in the pursuit of its objects and in the exercise of its powers.”

Then it says, again, “The Corporation shall, in the pursuit of its objects and in the exercise of its powers, enjoy freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence.”

Does the member know that is in the act, and it is still in the act?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, there were so many amendments put forward at the end of committee stage that were not even debated. We do not even know what those amendments were, because members were not been able to speak about them. I was there when there was and attempt to pass an amendment from our Conservative colleague that would have limited the restrictions on undertakings with more than $50 million a year or less than 250,000 subscribers. The members on the committee voted against it. We were trying to protect the small users. They denied it.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 10:35 p.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. colleague and a number of Conservative colleagues say how terrible it is to force closure on the opposition and pass Bill C‑10 under time allocation.

I would just like to remind my Conservative colleagues that one government used closure more than any other government in the history of their country, of Canada, and that was Stephen Harper's government. During his final term in office, a majority government from 2011 to 2015, he beat Jean Chrétien's record for 1997 to 2000, which had broken Brian Mulroney's record for 1988 to 1993.

Here is my question for my hon. colleague: Why was it okay for them to do it then and even break the all-time record for closure motions, but it is not okay now?

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the best example of time allocation by the Liberal government was about a year ago when it decided to prorogue Parliament because it did not like what was happening within the ethics committee and the discovery of the WE scandal. That, to me, was the grandest, most absurd application of time allocation that anyone in Canada has ever experienced.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that less than 10 years ago the only way to get around if people did not own a car and they wanted something outside of public transit, was a taxi. Then all of a sudden, something called Uber came along and it disrupted the taxi industry, so there was a large change in the market. The taxi industry reacted. Its members lobbied municipal, provincial and even the federal government to try and ensure that the status quo was protected.

We always want to ensure that people have jobs. When there are major disruptions in technology or industry, it should happen with order and discipline. However, Uber was always going to enter the market. It was a fact and it brought wealth and jobs, and it took away the gatekeepers of the taxi industry, the taxi licences and made that profession more accessible to many other people.

What we are hearing tonight is the federal Liberal government wanting to take away the ability of YouTubers, Facebookers, Instagramers, influencers to make a living, uninterrupted and unmitigated by the federal government, in favour of the cable companies, what I like to call the cultural industry.

I was out with a friend and we were talking about watching a show. She wanted to know what I had watched recently that was good. We were talking about where a show was streamed, and they asked if cable was even a thing any more. Cable has been disrupted because of streaming services. Newspapers have been disrupted because of digital technology. The market has been disrupted. Rather than recognizing that reality and recognizing the new wealth and new voices that have come into play, the new platforms that have come into play, the Liberal government is trying to save the status quo for the benefit of the gatekeeper and to control the voices of Canadians. That is just the reality of it. That is what is happening here tonight.

We are in the House of Commons tonight debating this late at night because we do not want the bill to pass. The bill puts Canada in the dark ages. It silences. It has the power to silence the voices of many Canadians and it is obvious that the government is trying to do that with Bill C-10. We are fighting it with every action we possibly can because of the impact it is going to have on free speech as well as an entire industry in Canada.

I will give a brief history of time. Canada has always been preoccupied with ensuring that it is culturally distinct from the United States, because of the influence the American entertainment has had on Canada. Certainly when I was born in the early 1980s, when we only had radio and television and a certain type of content producers, that was the thing. We wanted to ensure Canadian voices were heard on the radio and TV. That is when existing Canadian content creation laws and programs came to be. It was to ensure that when a Canadian content creator, or specifically a French language content creator, was trying to put something into the market, it could compete with the Americans.

The Uber-style disruption in the market of cable television and things like that has levelled the playing field with zero dollars of government interference. It levelled the playing field. Voices that could never have the reach all of a sudden have a reach.

I want to give a shout-out to my cousin and her account Coupon Cutie on TikTok. She has 250,000 followers on TikTok where she teaches Canadians how to coupon. She wanted me to tell the Liberal Party that she does them a favour because she helps Canadians spend money, which the Liberals then spend on nothing. A shout-out for the Prime Minister from my cousin. She is equally as feisty as I am. She would not have had a voice. She would not have been able to go to Bell Media and get that type of a platform because she lives in rural Manitoba. She is a young woman.

These are the types of voices that are excluded by the big lobbying industries. The lobbyists and the telcos, the same people that jacked cellphone rates in Canada, the same people that protect our market such that we cannot have the same rates as Americans do, are the ones who gate-keep on the news on what content can be created. Of course, they do not want the government or my cousin and other people to have this type of reach because it challenges their artificial hold on the market.

Now the government wants to put these other voices to the side for the benefit of these big lobbyist groups. Does anyone think my cousin has a lobbyist? Does anyone think she could afford a $500-an-hour GRPR specialist to come and advocate for her? No, and she should not have to.

Why is this bill in front of Parliament? I am just going to call a spade a spade. This is about votes, and it is about votes in Quebec. It is. I fully believe that Quebec content and French-language content should be at the forefront of things we do in Canada. It is important for the French language to have a prominent place in the content that Canadians consume. All these platforms have done that.

Earlier today, a member of Parliament, in questions and comments, said that they had looked at the top 100 YouTube accounts and they kind of look American. They thought we should ensure that Canadian voices are heard. What does that mean?

What that is code for, and what the Liberals are doing, is that they want to be able to pick and choose who has a say. That is what it is. Members of the Liberal Party will want me to point to one area of the bill that I would like to see changed. There was a provision in the bill that specifically excluded individual social media accounts from the bill. What did the Liberals do? They removed it from the bill.

Over and over again the Liberals are saying that nobody can tell them what is wrong with the bill, but there it is. When I asked the minister why he did not include that, and why did he remove it, he could not answer. This bill is to the benefit of really rich and entrenched lobbyists who benefit from funding programs that are 40 years old, instead of people who have intersectional voices and people who have not had platforms.

Anybody in Canada could pick up their phone and have a voice. What the federal Liberal government wants to do is to give the regulator, the CRTC, the ability to say who gets to be seen, who gets to be seen in the Facebook algorithm or the YouTube algorithm or maybe at all. That is what this bill does.

The other thing Liberals are saying tonight is that it does not do that. I encourage people to go to the Toronto Star. On the weekend there was an article that asked if the CRTC was too cosy with the big telco companies. The Toronto Star was saying this. Of course they are, because the big telco companies benefit from the monopoly that is entrenched in Canada's regulations.

We are so archaic. We are so behind in Canada. Instead of further entrenching the status quo, we should be unleashing the ability of Canadians to create content. Frankly, at this point in time and at this juncture in our nation, why are gate keeping content creation funds through the government bureaucracy? We could do quadratic financing, a fancy way of crowd sourcing content creation funds for anybody in Canada.

Why are we still so focussed on that with CBC or the big telcos? It is actually, in some ways, racist, misogynistic and not inclusive. The Liberals are entrenching a system of gatekeepers. The CRTC is run by six old white guys. I am tired of this.

If this bill was so great for social media users and would not influence individual social media users, then why did the Liberals remove that position? This bill has to be stopped. Individual Canadians, regardless of how they vote, know that no politician in this place should be putting a chill on freedom of speech and content creation in an industry that is being disrupted the way that this bill is.

The Liberals are moving everything. They are trying to ram this bill through the House of Commons against the advice of experts at a speed we have never seen them move at in this Parliament. It is because they are preparing for an election, and they want to appease their masters that gatekeep these industries. That is to the detriment of French language creators in Quebec. It is to the detriment of every person who has a platform in Canada.

Enough with the censorship and enough on freedom of speech. Bill C-10 needs to be stopped. It needs to be repealed. The leader of my party has said that if we formed a government, we would repeal it, but I would like to stop it here tonight. I appeal to all of my colleagues of all political stripes to wake up and understand that this bill is not in the best interests of any Canadian.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is on the member's cousin and what is preventing her from sharing her stories and getting her content out there as a content creator.

We heard about the fact that the CRTC is six white men who are making decisions about what the CRTC deems as Canadian content, but when her family member puts content out on the Internet, does the member know who is now deciding who gets to see that content?

It is one white man. It is Mark Zuckerberg, or whoever is doing the algorithms. To say that it is not equal is an embarrassment to Canadian stories. I want to see Canadian content. I want to see Canadian content makers. Canadians deserve better than that.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague should understand that AI algorithms within social media platforms are not run by Mark Zuckerberg. That is just preposterous. Algorithms are built based on user-generated data. We could have a whole conversation here about data ownership policies, which are non-existent in this country.

In terms of the member's question, it is patently preposterous to the level of American senators asking Mark Zuckerberg about what an email is. It just belies such a lack of understanding on how this works. It is actually the opposite of what she said. AI-generated algorithms in social media platforms, for the most part, are feeding content to an individual end users based on their needs and wants, which is the perfect medium for social media and for Canadian content to be distributed around the world.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would hate for my former education in computer engineering to come shining through, but the member is incorrect.

AI algorithms are not solely based on what the user wants, and I think that was the NDP member's point. They are also driven by what the individuals who control the lever want to push forward, and quite often that has to do with who is paying them to advertise. It would be a great world if AI-generated content was based solely from what the user wanted, but that is not the reality. The reality is that a lot of that is being driven by what the controller wants the user to see.

What the member from the NDP was trying to point out was that we have Conservatives standing up in this House saying that the federal government, the Prime Minister, is going to sit there with levers controlling who gets to see what. All the member from the NDP was trying to say is that it is already happening, and it is happening, in Facebook's case, by Mark Zuckerberg.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what the bill would do is make the lever of control that guy who just spoke up, and that should send chills through the heart of every Canadian. Do they really want that guy and Liberal hand-picked appointees telling them what they want to watch? No. Again, it is the propping up of a system that is 40 years old, a system that has completely disrupted this.

Who is the lever on this? It is big lobbyists. It is big culture. It is all of these people who can afford to pay to maintain a monopoly as opposed to individual end users, and the Liberals have actually removed protection for them from the bill.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:50 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the issue we are debating is fascinating, but its premise is flawed since freedom of expression is not being infringed upon.

Our understanding of the principle of discoverability of Canadian content is being skewed by a lot of rhetoric, semantic manipulation, or what have you.

Experts appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to defend every opinion. Some said that the bill would infringe on freedom of expression, others said the opposite. It seems that my Conservative colleagues really did not want to hear the other version or show the slightest open-mindedness, unlike the other members of the committee, who welcomed the experts of both parties with openness.

I would like to ask my colleague if, in all honesty, she thinks there would have been an opportunity for the Conservatives to hear another version than the one that had been whispered in their ears by those who claim there is indeed an infringement on freedom of expression, even though that is not the case.

Government Business No. 10—Broadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:50 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are sitting here talking about who should control the levers on content viewing in a disrupted industry. What would have been a much better piece of legislation would have been frameworks to prevent big data companies from using algorithms that could be racist or sexist. We could actually open up those algorithms so they learn based on a user's wants and needs rather than what the companies are assuming around it.

Instead, what we have here is 10 times worse because it is actually entrenching the federal government's ability to downgrade content or remove content based on their whims. We have the Minister of Canadian Heritage, like the Orwellian minister of truth, literally telling my colleague, who is a critic on this bill, that she should apologize for criticizing the bill during debate before it passes. To me, that tells me all we need to know, which is that this bill is flawed, the government wants to use it to control speech and it is something that should be fought vigorously every step of the way.