Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be joining the debate on this bill once again, at a different stage. I am pleased that my colleague from Saskatoon—Grasswood has moved an amendment, so I am going to speak directly to it. It is about sending Bill C-10 back to committee.
Members know that he has had a 40-year career in broadcasting, which is probably longer than that of any other member in our caucus. We actually featured him in something called “member spotlight” at a caucus meeting, noting his 40-year career using different clips from different videos of his time in sports broadcasting and with CTV as well.
I will be splitting my time with the member for Saskatoon—University, another one of our colleagues from Saskatchewan who will be adding to this debate.
I first spoke to this bill on February 5. I warned Canadians then that the contents of the bill were going to attack free speech, were calling into question the difference between users and programming, and were trying to jam the Internet age into a broadcasting act that was meant for before the 1990s, for a totally different time before Internet, Wi-Fi, cellphones and everything else.
At the time, I brought up the example of content creators in my riding. A few of them run YouTube channels. They run very successful businesses. Since I am splitting my time with a member from Saskatchewan and the member who spoke before me is from Saskatchewan as well, I want to bring up one of my favourite Instagram TV shows. It is called Leroy and Leroy. I hope the members from Saskatchewan know these two. There is always something to do, and indeed there is. It is a fantastic online content.
One of the latest very funny videos has a sign in the middle of what seems to me like nowhere, and I apologize to all the members from the Saskatchewan caucus for saying this. It is a parking sign in the middle of nowhere, and these two gentlemen turn around and show us that there is nothing there. It is unclear why there is a sign that allows people to park. I assume they can park if they want to.
They are content creators, and they will fall within the ambit of Bill C-10 and its changes to the Broadcasting Act. All of their programming will. It is not them as users, but them as programming providers, as if they were the CBC, as if they were a show like Kim's Convenience or one equivalent to it. They are incredibly funny comedians. It is great content they are producing.
Every expert I have heard, including those from OpenMedia, Michael Geist, Peter Menzies and other former commissioners, has said the exact same thing: YouTube creators, people on IGTV and all others online who are running shops, creating content and trying to get noticed by perhaps one of the large broadcasters are going to fall within the ambit of this legislation. I warned Canadians on February 5 that this was going to happen, and now it is happening.
The minister completely botched the sale job on this legislation, from the time it was before the committee to the time it got to the committee. The member who spoke before me spoke about the fact that he was unable to explain in 15 minutes, on a national TV broadcast, what the bill was about because the bill is all over the place. As I said, the bill tries to jam together the Internet era, the different content creators and the total democracy that now exists. Anybody can create content and anybody can provide it. The middle man is gone now. Anybody can go out there and entertain others, make music for others, give acting classes or provide a how-to for fixing a Jeep. Everything is out there. However, now all of it will perhaps fall within the ambit of this piece of legislation.
We have gotten to the point now where the government is trying to ram it through the House of Commons before the June sitting days are done, because it has recognized that it has botched the management of the House calendar as well. This is entirely the Liberals' fault. There was no reason to rush this through. If they did not like the fact that members of Parliament wanted to provide amendments and hear from more witnesses at the committee, they should have allocated more time. The Liberals should have run the calendar appropriately to avoid situations like the one today. Now they find themselves trying to ram the bill through using undemocratic measures, hoisting it out of committee to ram it through half finished and sending it over to the Senate side. I shudder to think what senators will think of this bill, incomplete as it is.
There is a great Yiddish proverb for this, and members will know that I find Yiddish a charming language and use it very often. It goes, “From fortune to misfortune is but a step; from misfortune to fortune is a long way.” In the case of the minister, every time he has spoken to the bill he has further confused Canadians or made them fear even more for their liberty of expression and for their ability to communicate with others freely and post their opinions and thoughts online without having the government potentially interfere with them through the CRTC.
It is an open question how the CRTC is going to apply and use these powers. It is that uncertainty that is driving so much fear and so much public attention to this bill. This is one of the bills on which I have received the most emails and correspondence and phone calls in my five and a half years in Parliament now.
The member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, who spoke before me, said this was the worst piece of legislation he has ever worked on. I disagree with him. There is a lot of competition for that title coming from the government side, so I am going to disagree with him.
The great misfortune of the minister is that he has been trying to sell a bill that does not match with his words. He has been talking about anti-hate speech legislation. He has been talking about taxing the big web giants and online content providers. As the member for Lethbridge, who spoke before me, mentioned, that is already covered. That is already coming in July. There is already legislation in the books. There is new legislation the minister is going to add, so he keeps confusing the issue, much to his own misfortune, and it is going to affect the fortunes of Canadians. It is going to affect small-time content creators like the creators of Leroy and Leroy, whom I mentioned, and budding comedians, musicians and artists out there who are just trying to provide a service and trying to advertise for themselves using social media platforms.
It is really unfortunate that we find ourselves in a situation now, in the end days of the session in June, where the government feels the urge to just ram this through, push it through as fast as it can with as few eyes as possible on it.
I am just aghast that the Bloc is helping the Liberals along, that the Bloc is helping the most centralizing, free-spending, abusing-of-federal-spending-power government there is and has been in the last 40 years. It is worse than the Chrétien government and worse than the Martin government in its centralization of power in Ottawa. The Bloc is supporting them.
I will repeat that.
It is shameful to see that the Bloc Québécois supports putting an end to the debate on Bill C‑10, forcing a vote and sending the bill to the Senate. The Bloc is helping the most centralizing government we have had in the past 30 or 40 years, one that is worse than the Chrétien and Martin governments.
It is unbelievable. The separatists are helping the Liberals. I just cannot believe that we were brought to this situation, under the guise of getting through a piece of legislation that is so defective in its content.
I have always been a believer, and I have said it many times in this House, that when the government gets it wrong and it cannot be fixed at committee, we should just send it back and make the government redo the work. There is no harm in having the justice department and the heritage department sit down once again and draft a piece of legislation that this House could support. They could just send it back. There are thousands of civil servants whose sole job is to pre-draft legislation based on stakeholder consultation, based on the feedback that they are supposed to get. That is what they exist to do. Many of them are still working from home, so they could take on this task and bring it back in the fall session. Of course, if we do not have a fall session, they will not have it. Perhaps the government is thinking of toppling itself and ensuring that it can run in an election on the free-spending budget that it had in 2021.
However, now we find ourselves again in a situation where, in the span of just a few days, we are going to rush a bill through to the Senate that is incomplete, that would attack freedom of speech and that would not protect content creators. It would protect them as users, but it would not protect any of their content. What is the point of saying “I have free speech” if I cannot say anything online lest I anger the CRTC, lest I anger people? I do not know who they are. I do not know what rules they create. The very basis of our democracy is supposed to be that we know what the rules are so we can abide by them. We do not know what the rules will be. We do not know what the CRTC will like. I truly hope, if future CRTC commissioners are listening, that they will spare Leroy and Leroy.
This is a great amendment from my colleague. We have to vote for the amendment and against Bill C-10.