Mr. Speaker, we have finally reached the end of this bill on which many people have worked very hard in the past few months. I commend the members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage who have been working hard since Bill C‑10 was introduced.
As we have said many times, this bill was not perfect when it was introduced. I used a metaphor, comparing this bill to a brand new paint by numbers. We had a lot of work to do.
The way it works is that we all vote in favour of a bill and agree to send it to committee. The House of Commons speaks and democracy does its job. At that point, it is our responsibility to work on improving the bills that are introduced and that must be studied in committee, and we made the decision to work on this bill, even though the task was, quite frankly, monumental.
We decided to do this work even if the task was altogether daunting. We committed to do it and we did. It was going relatively well until the withdrawal of clause 4.1 gave the Conservatives the opportunity they had been waiting for. It was the perfect opportunity to speak out against a possible attack on freedom of expression.
The support of various experts who already did not have a very high opinion of this bill, which obviously had an impact on web giants, was all it took for the Conservatives to come down on Bill C‑10 like a ton of bricks by pointing out all of the problems with the bill and demonizing it as much as possible.
I am rather pleased that we are in the final stages of this bill, particularly because we have pretty much covered all of the arguments and the list of witnesses and experts on which the Conservatives based their fearmongering.
My colleagues have said this repeatedly, and I will reiterate that the Broadcasting Act and Bill C‑10 contain several provisions that specifically exempt social media users, regular people like us and the people we care about, from the Broadcasting Act regulations.
The provisions in Bill C‑10 apply only to broadcasting undertakings. However, if entities that use social media sites like YouTube also engage in broadcasting, we have to regulate those broadcasting activities.
That excludes the activities of users who share content and little videos with each other or who have somewhat more organized channels that might even earn them an income. This does not apply to those people, as specifically stated in Bill C‑10.
The campaign of fear has run its course. It has slowed the progress of this extremely important bill since April, with what is commonly known as organized filibustering. Who will pay for that? The artists, creators, culture and the cultural community in Quebec, but also in Canada. The only ones to profit from it are the Conservatives, who oppose the bill, despite the fact that the other parties of the House are working hard to improve it and move it forward. I remind members that this bill was imperfect, but certainly not as bad as what the Conservatives have been saying for weeks and weeks.
There is another principle that I would like to revisit. I am reminded of the mother who watches a military parade go by and notices that one soldier is walking in the opposite direction, against the parade. Upon realizing that the soldier in question is her son, she wonders why everyone else is marching in the wrong direction. That is kind of what this reminds me of.
Sooner or later, when someone realizes that they are the only one who thinks something and nobody else thinks what they think, they might consider a little open-mindedness. They might accept that they have expressed their point of view, that others disagree, that we are all working in a democratic system and that the majority is supposed to rule. They can tell themselves that they fought hard and that, even though they tried hard to defend their point of view, they now have to be a good sport and stop trying to sabotage things.
That is not what happened, however. This attitude prevailed to the very end. We saw the filibustering, at times very disgraceful, and we have reached a point where Bill C‑10 may be in jeopardy. We will have to keep our fingers crossed. I intend to stay hopeful until the end, but I think this could have gone better. We could have done much more and been more noble in what we needed to accomplish. Again, it is our artists and culture that are at stake.
The web giants are earning billions of dollars on the backs of our creators. It is only fair to subject them to the same rules as broadcasters operating in Canada and Quebec.
How many times have the Bloc Québécois been criticized for throwing up their hands and supporting closure with the Liberals? It is awful. I must say that we had to swallow our pride since we are against the use of closure motions. Nonetheless, it is a parliamentary tool that exists. It is not perfect and it is certainly not noble, but neither is systematic filibustering.
Sometimes, the only way to respond to a questionable tactic is to employ another tactic that may also be considered questionable. It definitely is frustrating to come up against a gag order. We have been there as well. However, a bill for artists, for culture and for the industry deserves the right tools. If someone is standing in the way, we will use the procedural moves at our disposal.
The Conservatives will probably take the heat for a long time for scuttling the bill, if it were to fail. Quebec's motto, on all of its licence plates, is “Je me souviens”, or “I remember”. Quebec artists and those who have a lot of influence in the cultural sector will remember.
Culture does not cost anything. In an interview with a local paper in her riding, the member for Lethbridge said that Quebec artists were outdated, that they were stuck in the 1990s and that they were reliant on grants because they produce things people do not want. That is not true. Canada's cultural industry generates billions of dollars in economic spinoffs every year. The industry costs nothing; it brings in money. The industry is valuable, and not just in terms of money. We are talking about our identity here.
I will end my speech on a positive note. Just now, we voted for something positive.
Bill C‑10 was not perfect, and the Bloc Québécois believed that it was important not to wait another 30 years to amend the Broadcasting Act.
This evening, we voted to include a sunset clause in the bill, which ensures that the act must be reviewed every five years. We live in a world that is evolving at an incredible pace. Where will technology be in five years? We have no idea.
It is very important to set a limit and to give ourselves shorter deadlines for a mandatory review of the Broadcasting Act. It should be reviewed more frequently than every 30 years. In my opinion, it is one of the best ideas that we have had. We will have the opportunity to review the bill every five years and to correct whatever flaws may remain in the legislation, if it is passed.