House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:15 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

, seconded by the hon. member for Edmonton Strathcona, moved:

That Bill C-10, in Clause 12, be amended by adding after line 7 on page 19 the following:

“(2) Paragraph 18(1)(d) of the Act is replaced by the following: « et 11.1(5)b) et la prise d’une ordonnance au titre des paragraphes 9.1(1) ou 12(2). »

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

June 21st, 2021 / 9:15 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved:

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-10 be amended by adding after line 7 on page 19 the following:

12.1 Subsection 20(4) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(4) The members of a panel established under subsection (1) shall consult with the Commission, and may consult with any officer of the Commission, for the purpose of ensuring a consistency of interpretation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1), the regulatory policy set out in subsection 5(2), the orders made under section 9.1, the regulations made under sections 10 and 11 and the regulations and orders made under section 11.1.

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-10, in Clause 21, be amended by adding after line 31 on page 24 the following:

Consultation and Review

34.01 (1) Every seven years the Commission shall consult with all interested persons with respect to orders made under section 9.1 and regulations and orders made under section 11.1 and shall publish, on the Internet or otherwise, a report on the consultations that also lists the orders and regulations that the Commission proposes to review as a result of the consultations and sets out its plan for conducting the review.

(2) The Commission shall publish the first report within seven years after the day on which this subsection comes into force and, subsequently, within seven years after the day on which the most recent report is published.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:15 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

moved:

That Bill C-10, in Clause 23, be amended by adding after line 33 on page 32 the following:

“(a.1) increasing the administrative monetary penalty amounts set out in subsection 34.5(1);”

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:15 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

, seconded by the member for Edmonton Strathcona, moved:

That Bill C-10, in Clause 25, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 35 with the following:

“ternational service that includes the creation, production and distribution of programming targeted at audiences outside of Canada, in English, French and any other language deemed appropriate, in accordance with any directions that”

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:15 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved:

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-10, in Clause 33, be amended by replacing lines 23 to 31 on page 38 with the following:

as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act; or (c) a distribution undertaking, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act, that is carried on lawfully under that Act, in respect of the programs that it originates. For greater certainty, it does not include an online undertaking, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act.

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-10 be amended by adding after line 31 on page 38 the following:

1997, c. 24, s. 18(1)

33.1 Subsection 30.9(7) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(7) In this section, “broadcasting undertaking” means a broadcasting undertaking, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act, that holds a broadcasting licence issued by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission under that Act. For greater certainty, it does not include an online undertaking, as defined in that subsection 2(1).

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:20 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

moved:

That Bill C-10 be amended by adding after line 17 on page 43 the following new clause:

“Review

46.1 (1)During the fifth year after this section comes into force, and every five years after that, a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this Act must be undertaken by the committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament, that is designated or established for that purpose.

(2)The committee must, within one year after the review is undertaken — or within any further period that the Senate, the House of Commons or both Houses of Parliament, as the case may be, authorizes — submit a report on the review to the appropriate House or, in the case of a committee of both Houses, to each House, that includes a statement of any changes that the committee recommends.”

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:20 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

, seconded by the member for Edmonton Strathcona, moved:

That Bill C-10 be amended by adding after line 17 on page 43 the following new clause:

“Review of Regulations

46.1 Within one year after the day on which this Act comes into force and every five years after that, the Commission must review what constitutes a Canadian program under the regulations.”

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to rise after you presented the long list of amendments to all parliamentarians and the people who are watching at home. Canadians are interested in Bill C-10 and the whole saga surrounding it since its introduction.

I will not go back over all of the amendments that you just read, but I would like to talk about the key amendment, which seeks to reinstate protection for the freedom of expression of social media users. The government tried to attack freedom of expression, as many law professors and legal experts across the country have pointed out.

Before I talk about this key amendment, it is important to explain to people how we got to where we are today and why members will spend so much time this evening voting on many amendments.

The story began last November, when the Minister of Canadian Heritage introduced a bad bill in the House. Members of the House all wanted to pass legislation that would strike a balance between Canada's digital and conventional broadcasters.

Everyone put a little water in their wine. We found ways to allow all members who had concerns to have their say. This allowed us to get information from the various groups involved around the country. Some people may not know this, but the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage even unanimously agreed to form a pre-committee so as not to slow down the process at the beginning.

There was a willingness to find ways to improve this bad bill because it did not take into account the role of CBC/Radio-Canada nor the issue of copyright. There were several flaws and Canadian companies had no protection. We wanted to ensure that francophone and Canadian content was protected by certain safeguards, standards or basic criteria. There was nothing. If I remember correctly, the parties proposed more than 120 amendments, not counting the ones they added later.

Although the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons kept telling us that committees were independent, the minister, who is not supposed to interfere in committee business, suddenly decided on a Friday afternoon without warning to withdraw clause 3 entirely, which included proposed section 4.1. That removed the protection with respect to user content, including of small companies that use social media.

There is a lot of talk about YouTube, since that is something people understand. However, according to a memo from senior officials, this bill will affect all social networking platforms. Older people, and I would include myself in that group, since I have a few grey hairs, know about YouTube and TikTok, even though these networks are for younger people. However, this bill affects all of the other platforms young people use that we do not know about, such as social media games or all of the social networking tools that are not mentioned anywhere in the bill.

The real problem is that the government targeted freedom of expression. The minister and his Liberal members on the committee did everything they could to stop the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Justice from testifying in committee and explaining why they wanted to withdraw clause 4.1. Work at the committee was stalled for two or three weeks as a result of members filibustering to force the government to explain itself and give us proof that freedom of expression was not in any jeopardy.

After three weeks, the Liberals on the committee ended up agreeing to have the ministers testify. Unfortunately, all we got was an explanatory document, not the legal opinion the motion had requested. That was yet another way the Liberals failed to honour the committee's wishes.

I think that the NDP members tried different ways of protecting freedom of expression, even if they did support Bill C-10. One NDP member, whom I am not allowed to name, but I forget the name of her riding, even suggested we work during the summer to improve this bad bill.

However, we suffered another serious blow when the government, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, which is important to point out, decided to impose time allocation for a bill whose core element was freedom of expression. Worse still, the time allocation imposed on the committee, which is supposed to be independent, was not even properly applied. The committee members, apart from those belonging to the Conservative Party, decided to reverse the decision of the committee chair, who was only reporting what the Speaker of the House had said, that members would have to vote in favour of the bill without even reading the 40-some amendments that were missing.

Therefore, we voted on the amendments one by one, without even reading them. The people who were interested in this controversial bill heard members say “yes” and “no” without even knowing what they were voting on. What a crazy story. This was completely contrary to what the Speaker and the House had decided.

In a dramatic turn of events, when the report was tabled in the House, we informed the Speaker that the committee had voted to overturn the Chair's ruling. The Chair agreed with us and overturned the 40 amendments we had voted on.

This means that we now have a bill in which some 40 amendments that attempted to correct its shortcomings were struck down after the vote. We are 48 hours away from the end of the session, and the government is trying to cram 20 or so amendments from several parties down our throats in just one hour of debate.

How will this play out? This bill will move on to the Senate. For the people who are listening to us, the Senate will not stand for this, as it is supposed to be independent. The Senate will therefore begin to study the whole matter from the beginning to make sure it was done right, because the government did not do its homework, because the government waited six years to introduce a bill, because the government did not listen to the recommendations of the various groups, because the government played partisan politics and suggested there was a war between the cultural community and freedom of expression and made the Conservatives look like the bad guys. Even members of the Green Party and the NDP spoke out against some of these tactics by the government, which, as we all know, with an election coming up in the fall, wants to play tough.

What is happening right now is really sad. We are being forced to rush votes on more than 20 amendments, some of which had already been rejected, and on the reinsertion of clause 4.1, which is the most important part. I hope my House of Commons colleagues will agree to vote in favour of that amendment at least. It will protect content created by social media users, which is what a number of former senior CRTC executives pushed for.

Law professors from several universities across the country condemned this bill. I hope people will listen to them, because we are headed for disaster. This will get hung up in the Senate, it will never get to a vote, and the legislative process will never be completed because of the fall election. The Liberals are setting us up for failure, and this will be challenged before artists can even get the help they have been asking for for so long.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:30 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, there are parts on which I very much agree with my colleague. I agree this was flawed legislation. I agree the Liberal government did a terrible job in managing how the legislation came out and went through the process.

However, in committee, we went through the legislation and tried to fix it. I can talk about four amendments that we could have used to add protections to the legislation, and the Conservatives chose to filibuster. One of those amendments was a Conservative amendment, and they chose to filibuster instead of fixing the bill.

How can the member stand in this place and say that he really does want to do a good job on the bill when every attempt to fix the bill was thwarted by the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage?

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague who sits with me on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and who works very hard, as we all do. To answer her question, unfortunately I do not at all agree with her.

At first, we agreed on the principle of Bill C‑10. The bill had several flaws and we were in a hurry to find common ground, but sadly, the government amended it along the way. I believe that is where the problem lies. The government, without notice and despite a pretense of collaboration, was paving the way so that social media could become official broadcasters with all the consequences that could have.

Even worse, the government's willingness to play partisan politics, by framing the issue as being between freedom of expression and the artists themselves, offended many people. Under no circumstance could we let the Liberals get away with that. We will always work to protect freedom of expression.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I have had a lot of phone calls and emails to my office. People are very concerned about what the government is doing.

I have a two-part question. First, if clause 4.1 were put back in the legislation, it would still be a flawed bill but would it be okay? Second, at this point, would the hon. member agree that the government should probably just put it aside, take its time and bring it back, whether in the fall or after another election?

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question, which is more than relevant. It gives me an opportunity to come back to that subject.

We, the Conservatives, have been attacked a lot for opposing Bill C‑10. However, when the government tried to demonize us for what we were saying, it attacked the thousands of Canadians across the country that wrote to us. The Liberals attacked the legal experts who raised red flags and said that this was a bad piece of legislation.

To come back to my colleague's question, clause 4.1 is the very least that needs to be done so that we can continue to work on Bill C‑10. In the event that clause 4.1 is reinserted, there will still be work to be done to pass a real bill that meets the goal of protecting Canada's cultural community and ensuring that digital broadcasters, without touching social media, are able to contribute their fair share—

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Order. We have just enough time for one last question.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, my Conservative colleague articulates some of the concerns very well.

I have been very troubled to hear the Liberal minister time and again misleading the House by accusing Conservatives of obstruction and delay, when it is actually the Liberals' mismanagement of the legislative agenda that has led to the position we are in. The Liberals have basically shut down debate on a bill on censorship.

Specifically, I would ask the member to expand on how this is not about opposing artists, unlike what the minister suggests. The Conservative opposition to the bill is about ensuring that Canadians have freedom of speech and that this bill—

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska has 15 seconds to answer.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, these 15 seconds will not be nearly enough time. I will say, however, that the Conservatives will always fight for freedom of expression, not only for Canadians but also for our artists who want to have the freedom to write songs, say the things they want to say and put on the quality comedy shows that we all know.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:35 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, it is a shame that I only get 10 minutes to speak to this legislation, with all those amendments. I will try to be as concise as I can and provide some thoughts in regard to the last speech and, in particular, that last amazing question from the Conservative member.

It is important to recognize at the beginning that the very core of Bill C-10, from my perspective and I believer the way my caucus colleagues look at it, is to promote Canadian music, storytelling and creative works. The bill is about fairness and getting American web giants to pay their fair share and contribute to our cultural sector. That is absolutely necessary.

Before I expand on that, it is a bit much to hear the Conservatives refer the legislative agenda and say that it has been mismanaged. It is somewhat ridiculous that the Conservative members would even suggest such a thing when they are at the core of the problem. The Conservatives will say that they do not have enough time to debate and will ask why the government is bringing in different forms of time allocation, yet it is the Conservative Party that consistently wastes time on the floor of the House of Commons. Last Thursday, we were just getting under way and the Conservatives tried to adjourn debate for the day, they wanted to stop debate. They did not want to work anymore, and we were only on a Thursday morning.

What about the motions for concurrence the Conservative Party continuously raise? What about the raising of privileges and points of order as a mechanism to filibuster on the floor of the House of Commons? Government business, unlike Private Members' Business or opposition days, has a process that makes it very vulnerable to opposition parties. Whenever there are 12 or more members, it makes it very difficult for government to pass legislation if one of those opposition parties wants to make it difficult.

The Conservative Party of Canada members in the House of Commons have made it their mission to prevent the government from passing anything. We have seen that destructive force in the House of Commons. I do not think they have a case whatsoever to complain about debate times on pieces of legislation. We tried on numerous occasions to bring certain bills up or to extend hours to facilitate their needs, but the Conservatives have said that if they cannot get what they want, they will waste time. The government then has to bring in some form of closure or time allocation or nothing will ever get passed. We have seen that, and Bill C-10 is one example. They need to wake up.

The minister has done a fantastic job of bringing forward to the House legislation that would modernize an act that has not been modernized for three decades. Is it absolutely perfect? There was some need to make some modifications. Some of those modifications have, in fact, occurred. However, the spin that the Conservatives put on this is that it is terrible legislation that should never, ever see the light of day. We know the legislation would never be able to pass if it did not get the support from at least one opposition party.

It is not the Government of Canada ramming the legislation through. Often it feels as if it is the Government of Canada pleading and begging opposition to recognize the value and try to drum up support within the House. Fortunately, once again, at least one political party is prepared to see this legislation advance. I truly do appreciate it.

Bill C-10, as I said, is, at the core, promoting Canadian music, storytelling and creative work. The Conservatives argue against it, that somehow it limits freedom of speech, and they cite a number of examples. However, the Department of Justice has done an analysis of the legislation and has clearly indicated that it is consistent with the charter guarantee of freedom of speech, and that is coming from civil servants.

I wish the Conservatives would recognize that the bill would ensure that the act would not apply to users of social media services or to social media services themselves for content posted by their users. However, to listen to what the Conservatives are saying, one would not think that, because it does not fit their narrative.

The bill aims to update some critical elements of the broadcasting policy for Canada. For example, it would ensure that the creation of Canadian content is reflective of Canadian society and accessible to all Canadians. The bill would also amend the act to ensure that there is a greater account for things such as indigenous cultures and languages. It would also recognize that Canada's broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians, including racialized communities and our very diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, socioeconomic status, abilities, disabilities, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions of age.

I can tell my Conservative friends, in particular, that things have changed since the act was really updated. The Internet was in its infancy. When I first got the chance to speak to the legislation, I made reference to the fact that when I was first elected 30-plus years ago as a Manitoba parliamentarian, the Internet was accessed by dialing up through the telephone, and I think it was on a 256-kilobytes Compaq computer. Actually, I started off with a small Apple computer that I put floppy disks into. Contrast that to what the Internet is today and how advanced technology continues to push us. We, at least on the government benches, recognize that this is change that needs to take place.

Unlike the Conservative Party, we recognize the true, intrinsic value of culture and heritage, and Canada's diversity continues to grow on a daily basis. We need to modernize the legislation. It is there for all Canadians, which is the reason this government is bringing forward this legislation, as well as other important legislation, whether it is Bill C-6 or Bill C-12.

This is solid, progressive legislation that is going to make a tangible difference, and this is why it is so sad at times when we see the unholy alliance of opposition parties trying to frustrate the government in getting through a legislative agenda that we can all be proud of before the summer break, which is something that is done all the time in June when government gives that final push before the summer break.

I would ask members to get behind this legislation and do what I and my Liberal caucus colleagues are doing: support it, and let us move on to more legislation.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I duly note my colleague's remarks, but when he suggests that it is only the Conservatives who are opposed and that we are not modern, I would like to point out that there were some very significant witnesses who came to the hearings and testified against this bill. The government originally put in a very important clause, proposed section 4.1, for a reason. To be quite frank, I have never heard any clear rationale as to why it was removed, from anyone, including the minister.

My question is quite simple: Will my colleague vote for the reinsertion of proposed section 4.1 into the legislation?

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, there are a number of amendments on the table. I understand there was somewhat of a filibuster, but a great discussion that occurred at the standing committee. I do not want to say that I know all of the details per se, but what I do know is that, all in all, this is good, solid legislation. At the end of the day, it is legislation that is needed, and the vast majority of Canadians would support it. We have seen examples, from the Quebec National Assembly to not only the government of the day, but also at least one and possibly even two opposition parties. Once again, the Conservatives seem to be on the outside. They are trying to frustrate the government from being able to pass any type of legislation, especially Bill C-10.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:50 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I would to ask the parliamentary secretary what the date of the last election was. If memory serves, it was October 21, 2019. Since we have a law in this country that says that elections take place every four years and at least two opposition parties have said that they do not want an election in the midst of a pandemic, why is the Liberal government using a gag order that is unprecedented in the history of Canada and an emergency procedure on this bill if it is not trying to indicate that it wants a fall election?

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I have been a parliamentarian for about 30 years collectively. I can honestly say that when we get into the month of June, governments of all political stripes will often push to get legislation through before the month comes to an end. This government and this Prime Minister have consistently said that our first priority has been the pandemic, to ensure we have the backs of Canadians. At the same time, we can in fact push for important, progressive legislation and we look for that progressive alliance inside the House of Commons to try to get this legislation through. If it was up to the Conservatives, it would never pass.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, I have an article in front of me entitled “Heritage minister ignored his own officials over controversial Bill C-10, documents reveal”. It says:

Months before the Liberal government removed a section of Bill C-10 in a controversial amendment [the] Heritage Minister...was told by officials within his own department that it was an “important limitation” on regulatory powers.

What does the member say to all the critics of Bill C-10? It is not just the Conservatives, not just people on this side of the House who are criticizing this bill. What does he say to those people?

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I would indicate to those people that we have a minister who has done an incredible job when it comes to consulting with Canadians from virtually coast to coast to coast. This legislation was brought in with a great deal of background work done, not only by the minister and within the department, but also by the parliamentary secretary and many of my caucus colleagues, to ensure that sound legislation would ultimately be presented. I believe the minister has done a great service by providing this legislation to update and modernize something that needed to be modernized. As I said, the Internet has changed over the last 30 years.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

9:55 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak today to Bill C-10 on behalf of the constituents of Nanaimo—Ladysmith and the Green Party supporters across Canada.

It has been 29 years since the Broadcasting Act was updated, so this legislation is long overdue. I have decades of experience in music, film and the television industry, so I have a keen interest in seeing this update done correctly. However, Bill C-10 was critically flawed from the beginning.

More than 120 amendments were put forward to fix this bill, including 18 from the government itself. I submitted 29 amendments to Bill C-10. Two of these amendments passed, and another two passed with subamendments. The focus of my amendments was to ensure that industry stakeholders outside of the big media conglomerates are properly represented in the act. This included non-profit community broadcasters; independent producers who work outside of the traditional broadcasting system; small, independent production companies that create much of the content that we watch on the big networks; and independent networks, like APTN, which are not part of the media conglomerates like Bell, Rogers or Shaw.

Some of the key amendments I put forward ensured that the community element is recognized under the Broadcasting Act. The community element consists of hundreds of non-profit community TV and community radio stations across Canada. In Nanaimo, we have CHLY radio, which is a community-based campus radio station with a non-profit mandate that supports local, commercial-free programming.

When I started out in the broadcasting industry, there was a large network of community TV stations across the country, which were originally tied to the local community cable companies. As those small cable companies were swallowed up by Bell, Rogers and Shaw, the community broadcasting element was slowly pushed out. As the cable giants became more vertically integrated, buying up channels and production companies and expanding service into cellular, they started to use their community stations as a way to promote their own products.

Community media plays an important role in a free and democratic society. These stations are not owned and controlled by commercial interests, and their mandate is to provide a platform to community voices that would otherwise be squeezed out of commercial radio and television. It is important to have the community element recognized as the third major element of broadcasting in Canada. I was glad to have some of my amendments regarding the community element pass, although it was disappointing to see the term “non-profit” removed from the definition, because that is precisely what the community element is, a non-profit element of our broadcasting system.

There has been a lot of talk by the government about the objective of this bill being to level the playing field and protect Canadian cultural producers in their relationship to large Internet giants. According to the Yale report, which was presented in committee, the playing field also needs to be levelled in the contractual agreements between independent production companies and large broadcasting or streaming services.

Much of what we watch is created by small, independent productions companies that bring their program ideas to the big companies. There is a power imbalance in the system that needs to be corrected. Two amendments I put forward were recommended by the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada, and the Canadian Media Producers Association. Had they passed, those amendments would have created market-based solutions to a market-based power imbalance.

The U.K and France both have similar systems in place, which are working quite well. After the British Parliament passed legislation, the U.K. regulatory agency required negotiations of codes of practice between independent producers and the public service broadcasters. Every code of practice agreement was worked out by the players themselves, rather than dictated by the regulator. The result was a tripling of the size of the domestic production industry in under a decade. France implemented similar measures, with the effect being that the volume of independently produced productions has continually increased, including those commissioned by web giants like Netflix and Amazon.

In Canada, the CRTC has never attempted to directly regulate the commercial relationship between producers and broadcasters. It has always taken the position that codes of practice should be negotiated by the market actors concerned. It is essential, however, that the CRTC be given explicit authority in this area so that it can require players to negotiate codes of practice between themselves. Unfortunately, those amendments, which would have provided more protection to small producers, were opposed by both the Liberals and the Conservatives and did not pass.

There is no doubt that the Broadcasting Act needs to be modernized and we need to level the playing field to ensure that digital giants pay their fair share. For decades now we have had a system in which the broadcasting industry supports the creation of Canadian content, and this should extend to the Internet giants.

Currently, the streaming and social media giants get away with not paying their fair share of taxes in this country. They also contribute nothing to the creation of content except that which they choose to produce.

The Conservatives have been busy sowing a great deal of confusion about what is and what is not Canadian content and how that is determined. Our Canadian content rules are very straightforward. For music to be deemed Canadian content, there is the MAPL system.

To qualify as Canadian content, a musical selection must generally fulfill at least two of the following conditions: M, or music, means that the music is composed entirely by a Canadian; A, or the artist, is for when the music or the lyrics are performed principally by a Canadian; P, or performance, is when the music selection consists of a live performance that is recorded wholly in Canada or performed wholly in Canada and broadcast live in Canada; and L, is when the lyrics are written entirely by a Canadian.

If we fulfill two out of those four categories, we have Canadian content. It is pretty straightforward. Canadian content rules have made stars out of some great Canadian bands such as The Tragically Hip, a band whose lyrics are distinctly Canadian. Tragically, The Hip never made it big in the U.S.A., but it is great that they have become such Canadian icons, thanks to Canadian content regulations that led to the production of films that were later picked up by Canadian broadcasters and went through the procedure of having the film certified as Canadian content.

It is an attestation-based process where one makes a declaration, and it may or may not be audited in the future. There is a point system where people have must score six out of a possible 10 points. They get two points for a director, two points for the screenwriter, first and second lead performers at one point each, and points are awarded for production design, art design, the director of photograph, camera chief, camera operator, musical composer, etc.

The Conservatives spent a lot of time filibustering at committee asking how anyone could figure out if a production is Canadian or not. In question period, the member for Lethbridge wanted to know if Canadian Bacon was a Canadian film based on the name and one of the lead actors, John Candy, being Canadian. However, Canadian Bacon was produced and directed by Michael Moore, an American, and it was produced mostly with an American crew.

Yes, John Candy was one of the stars, and there was another lesser known but also great Canadian actor Adrian Hough in the film, but other than that, there was a long list of American stars like Alan Alda. According to the formula, Canadian Bacon was not a Canadian film, but it is a very straightforward system.

Social media users are exempt from Bill C-10 and the Broadcasting Act, but the content they upload to social media platforms would be covered under the act. It should be noted that under current CRTC rules, productions under five minutes or less do not require certification as Canadian content. TikTok videos and Instagram videos, which are all less than five minutes, would not fall under the current regulations for discoverability as Canadian content.

Can regulations under the act change? Yes, they can. Does the CRTC think it is a good idea to regulate TikTok and Instagram videos for Canadian content discoverability? I really doubt it. There is an ongoing debate about whether freedom of expression is protected under the Broadcasting Act. In the 1991 Broadcasting Act under part 1, the general interpretation, it states, “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.”

This part of the act still stands. The CRTC is going to have to respect our constitutional right to freedom of expression under the act. That is just a fact. If it does not, then there will be grounds for a legal challenge to the bill, and it seems pretty clear that freedom of expression will be respected.

In conclusion, Bill C-10 is still flawed and there could be a lot more in the bill to protect small, independent producers and production companies, and to ensure that independent networks such as APTN get their products on those streaming services, so we need to do more to protect Canadian producers and defend them in their relationship to the big companies, and not just the big Internet companies, but also the big Canadian broadcasters.

Motions in amendmentGovernment Business No. 10—Broadcasting Act

10 p.m.

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, it was a pleasure to work with the member on Bill C-10. He obviously cares about the Broadcasting Act, the broadcasting landscape, our creative producers in Canada, our artists, our writers and our community broadcasting stations. That was something that I was fighting for at committee, so we were often working hand in hand on some of that work.

However, that was not the case with all members of our committee. In early spring, we saw the Conservatives begin to filibuster, and I believe that was as a result of the minister's mishandling and inability to defend his own legislation. Does the member think that the Conservatives actually found an opportunity to fundraise off this? Does the member think that is why they in fact stopped being productive and stopped trying to fix the legislation and just obstructed the legislation?