House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was profits.


Opposition Motion—High Food PricesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

It being 5:41 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:25 p.m.


Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

moved that Bill C-294, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (interoperability), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House today and speak to my first-ever Private Member's Bill, Bill C-294, an act to amend the Copyright Act as it relates to interoperability.

It has also been unofficially called the “unlocking innovation act”. The pathway for putting together this bill began in the winter of 2019-20 as the federal government was finalizing the new NAFTA deal, which is now officially known as CUSMA. For my part, it started with working on the industry committee. We were studying the legislation which would implement the new trade deal. Some of my own constituents from back home in Cypress Hills—Grasslands appeared as witnesses to give their feedback on it. They were representing Honey Bee Manufacturing, and I will say more about them in a moment.

During the meeting, while expressing their support for having a free trade agreement in place, they pointed out a threat to their industry. This is what they laid out in their opening statement:

The challenge we face is interoperability. Recently, with technical protection measures and so on, companies have started to use digital locks and keys to prevent us from allowing our equipment to interoperate with these major OEM brands. It's a form of protectionism that allows them to own and operate the entire value chain at the exclusion of independent manufacturers.

In Canada we have 1,400 manufacturers of implements that are attached to agriculture, mining, forestry or construction equipment. Of those manufacturers, 500 are for agricultural equipment. That agricultural equipment is primarily manufactured adjacent to small communities in Canada, rural communities, where the majority of that type of manufacturing takes place. It's a challenge for us to achieve the ability to continue to legally manufacture our product and sell it onto these platforms. The copyright act in the United States has provision for circumventing for the purpose of interoperation. The Canadian Copyright Act does not have this same term in the agreement.

We would like to see that ratified prior to the signing of the trade agreement so that we're not on that uneven footing that prevents us from competing legally in the marketplace here and abroad.

That is the main problem in a nutshell, and it is the type of challenging situation that this bill would correct. The requested change did not end up happening around the timing of CUSMA, or in the time since then, but it has brought us to today as we debate this bill. Bill C-294 seeks to move ahead with a change to the Copyright Act that would help to put interoperability back in its rightful place in the Canadian marketplace.

This is the right thing to do on a number of fronts, because interoperability means support for innovation, consumer choice and protection, competitive markets, small business and job creation. Before explaining in a little more detail what it is, I am going to tell a story about why interoperability is important.

Two farmers from southwest Saskatchewan, Glen and Greg Honey, out of a desire to have a product that worked better and more efficiently on their farm, took the initiative to engineer and build a 425-horsepower tractor. They then went on to make a self-propelled swather, as well as the grain belt header that has become the standard in the marketplace for how headers are built.

As farm implements and attachments, it was easy to use them with something else, such as a tractor or a combine, which they would have already had. At that time, interoperability was generally open and achievable because of the simplified nature of the equipment. All one needed was a common hydraulic hose connection and a PTO shaft, and they would be ready to go. It did not stop there.

As local farmers around the area began to see the equipment the Honeys were using on their farm, they began to want the same kind of swather and header as well. Over the course of a decade, they eventually moved their new manufacturing outfit from their farm to the town of Frontier.

There they were able to set up in the shop in the space vacated by Flexi-Coil when they bought out Friggstad Manufacturing, another family-owned and operated farm equipment manufacturer in Frontier. Friggstad had a similar operation that had built a superior product of its own. However, it was a victim of rapid inflation and market instability in the 1980s which unfortunately put it in receivership. It was eventually bought out by the bigger competition. The sale of Friggstad Manufacturing to Flexi-Coil was devastating to the community because they moved the operation up to Saskatoon, cutting the population of the town almost in half, from over 500 people down to around 300.

However, the move into town in 1987 by the Honey brothers became a new opportunity for the community, and soon Honey Bee Manufacturing became the largest source of employment for the region. They created a future for the community once again. It really shows how crucial and how much of a difference these short-line manufacturers can make in rural communities when they are in business and are allowed to succeed. The success story of Honey Bee is not unique just to Frontier. There are hundreds of companies across the Prairies and this country that share a similar success story of innovation that was born out a need to create either a better product or a new one altogether.

Whether it is a company such as Schulte in Englefeld, Bourgault in St. Brieux or Väderstad north of Langbank, these are companies in Saskatchewan who are driving innovation in their industry. While doing it, they are making an absolutely essential contribution to the livelihoods and the social fabric of our small communities and rural area.

Sadly, Honey Bee Manufacturing's level of early success 40 years ago would likely not be possible right now. This innovative industry has long been losing ground to large companies that are pushing them out of the market. It might sound hard to believe, but our copyright law seems to be helping large companies and providing them the tools to do just that, which is actually the opposite of what the Copyright Act was originally intended to do. I will offer some support for this common sense principle from a book on Canadian copyright law by David Vaver, who published it while serving as an Oxford professor of intellectual property law and a director for the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre.

It reads:

patents and copyrights are supposed to encourage work to be disclosed to the public and to increase society's pool of ideas and knowledge.

Keeping a broad public domain itself encourages experimentation, innovation, and competition—and ultimately the expectation of lower prices, better service, and broader public choice.

Those are the known benefits of an open and competitive market against a monopoly. Interoperability has been a key part in that for the agriculture sector as long as anyone can remember and that is what it is still doing in other areas of our lives. At a basic level, interoperability is something that is actually quite broad.

It happens whenever different devices, machines or pieces of equipment can connect and work together. There are many examples of this, including how people use simple tools or digital technology that we simply take for granted in our daily lives. It is something that we do not usually notice, and there is a good reason for that. That is because most of the time we do not actually have a problem with interoperability and there is usually not a barrier to prevent it from happening.

However, today, I am talking about where a barrier does exist and how a simple update to the Copyright Act would get us back on track for supporting innovation and consumer choice. A new barrier comes from technological protection measures, or TPMs for short. They are a legitimate tool designed to protect intellectual property, including things like movies, music or software, and they have been enforced by Canadian copyright law for over 10 years.

The bill introducing legal recognition for TPMs into the Copyright Act had this to say in its preamble:

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the protection of copyright works or other subject-matter, including through the recognition of technological protection measures, in a manner that promotes culture and innovation, competition and investment in the Canadian economy;

That is exactly how they should be used in line with the principles of copyright. At that time, copyright law in different parts of the world was catching up to significant changes in technology and industry. We have reached the point again where there is a critical need to do the same thing in our own time. Technology has advanced into new areas. Everything is increasingly digital. This enables new features in our homes, our vehicles and our machinery.

However, in some ways, this has also created a catch when it comes to the Copyright Act. The digital aspect of machinery means that it is operating with software to communicate as needed with a user interface or with other devices or attachments. Copyright applies to the software contained inside these products, and this has given the original manufacturers a new mechanism to control access to the entire product after it has been purchased.

This is what is happening with digital locks. If a user of the equipment wants to attach a piece of equipment to a tractor, but it was not made by the same major brand, if we keep down the path we are on, it will be locked out and will not be used. Good luck keeping customers for innovative SMEs.

The digital lock also prevents a short-line manufacturer from reverse engineering to make their products compatible in the first place, since the OEMs own the software in the machine, as per the terms and conditions that must be accepted every single time the machine is started after purchase.

Clearly, there is movement toward a monopoly, and it is partly being done in the name of copyright. While the current version of the act explicitly mentions interoperability of two computer programs as a non-violation of TPMs, the language in place does not capture what is happening right now. As it is, there is enough ambiguity to allow for some OEMs to take advantage of it and hold it over their customers and their competitors.

There is more reason to be uneasy than having a vague fear in the face of an unknown. Back in 2017, the Nintendo v. King decision came out from the Federal Court. It is one of the first decisions to apply to Canada's TPM provisions and, since then, has been cited in several other cases.

For the larger issue of interoperability, the main point is not really about how Nintendo games were used in the particulars of this case. The case set a precedent in which a piece of physical hardware was considered copyrighted material. That is how the current law has been interpreted, and it means there is one more way to stop reverse engineering for legitimate reasons.

It is easy to see this becoming a bad trend across various industries if it were left unchecked, but right now the battle line seems to be in agriculture. There is still some time to clarify the law in line with its spirit and intent, but there are already some signs of damage.

A 2021 report released by what was then called Western Economic Diversification outlines industry data for the agriculture manufacturing sector in Canada and organizes it for us to get an idea of the economic impact. It starts out by presenting a financial picture:

Nationally this sector accounts for total revenues over $4 billion with western Canada accounting for a dominant share, 65.9 percent, of Canadian agricultural equipment manufacturing. In 2018, agricultural equipment manufacturing in Western Canada contributed an estimated $2.6 billion in revenue with total salaries and wages accounting for $488 million.

For the breakdown of employment, the report found that 87% of the businesses are micro, meaning they have 1 to 4 employees, or small, with 5 to 99 employees. Regardless of their size, they are productive in their own right. The report continues, “Based on 2018 data for small and medium sized enterprises, industry averages for revenue was $996,900 with 72 percent of establishments being profitable. Financial performance data was reported for 311 businesses with an annual revenue range of $30,000 to $5 million.”

Besides showing these numbers, the report later states:

Impacts of interoperability will be affecting the industry in 2020 as one OEM’s starts restricting access to short line manufactures equipment. A survey of implement dealers has indicated a significant drop in orders of short line manufacture combine headers for the coming year and in to the future.

From table 4, dealers of agriculture equipment have indicated a reduction in intentions to purchase headers from short line manufactures base on the past five-year average. The current sales, specifically in OEM 1 mainline dealers, could see sales numbers decreasing by as much as 60 percent this year over the five-year average. A further reduction in future sales is predicted moving forward.

Again, so many of our SMEs are independent from major brands. They tend to make their own innovative pieces of equipment that are meant to connect with others produced by different companies, which are often the bigger players. If restrictions tighten on equipment users and engineers with the expanding use of digital locks, these small competitors and innovators will die out as time goes on. Everybody will lose. What has to be understood here is the nature of a rural economy and how it all works. Rural areas have small populations that are spread further apart. They cannot afford to lose the people or the jobs they have. It is nothing less than their survival that is at stake.

Section 92 of the Copyright Act mandates that it be reviewed every five years, and we have reached that designated time for reviewing it. Both Parliament and the government have been taking steps toward updating our copyright laws, and this bill is exactly in line with what needs to be done to improve it. The work has been done and the change is ready to be made.

Bill C-294 will provide a clear, limited exemption for consumers and innovators who simply wish to enable their devices or machinery to interoperate with other equipment, as they were always able to do in the past. My conversations with other members across party lines has been encouraging, and I look forward to discussing it with more of my colleagues.

This is a simple update to make sure that our Copyright Act is fair for everyone, while also making sure that it is in line with our international commitments and our international trade agreements with other countries, while in the meanwhile making sure that we are on the same level playing field as other signatories in the CUSMA deal.

I believe that as a Parliament we can work together to see this bill gets it done.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.


Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, I must say that the Bloc Québécois is very much in favour of Bill C‑294. One of the reasons we support it is that it also addresses the problem of planned obsolescence, which means that devices must constantly be updated and upgraded. We can finally break the “buy-use-toss” cycle, where scientists are asked to put all their efforts into innovating products designed to become obsolete quickly, so people have to get a new refrigerator every seven years and a new cellphone every two years, and so on. Apparently there is a light bulb in a fire station somewhere that still works after more than 100 years. This is a sign that there is a way to make things that last.

Quebec has passed legislation that takes aim at and directly prohibits the system of planned obsolescence, although the act is not yet fully in force. We welcome the fact that Bill C‑294 does not interfere with it.

Could my colleague comment on the need to explicitly tackle the “buy-use-toss” cycle that is actually preventing sustainable growth?

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, this bill is tackling a very specific problem, which was brought forward to me by some valuable members of the manufacturing community. This is an issue that impacts all of Canada and it is something that is going to bring about more opportunities for people to innovate

As I alluded to in the title of it, this is an act to innovate. We want to see that innovation go forward. I suppose it would address the issue that the member has brought up, making better products that will last longer, so that consumers have high-quality products that do not just break down all too easily and then they are forced to buy other things or something that they may not necessarily want because what they had was working so well.

I do think that it would address that in the long run, maybe not quite as directly head-on as the member alluded to, but I do think that this is a very positive bill and it is one that I think we should all support.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for bringing forward this bill. I know that we worked together on the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology last Parliament, so I am really interested to hear more about his bill.

I just wanted to know if he could elaborate a little on what the difference is between his bill and Bill C-244, which just passed in the House, in terms of right to repair. It is not clear to me as to the difference between these two pieces of legislation.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, the hon. member was a great chair of the committee, so I really enjoyed working with her.

What I will say is that they both, in principle, address the Copyright Act in a very similar way but in a very different way. I have a different section of the act that is being amended and there is another exemption that is being included.

The reason for it is that, down in the United States, for example, they have a very clear exemption for interoperability. Here in Canada, we do not. What this bill is trying to do is make sure that we have the same operating field that the Americans do. It is in line with our trade deal with the European Union. We are seeing moves by other countries around the world, Australia, in particular. France, as well, is leading the conversation on this issue.

This is something with which we have an opportunity to match what other people are doing, and this bill does that with the amendment to the section of the Copyright Act.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, if this bill is able to make it to committee, what does my colleague anticipate will be some of the big issues that come up from witness testimony? Does he foresee any possible improvements coming that way, or anything he can anticipate from that stage of the bill?

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, I think there is always the question around proprietary software. I think that will be where some of the push-back might be, but what this act clearly does is say that the exemption we are going to allow for only allows for making a product interoperate. It leaves the protection in there for the developer of proprietary software, because the usage of the act is only for that very specific purpose.

We made sure to make sure that this was focused clearly on interoperability and no further than that, because we do want that certainty there for innovators. However, in the same breath, we have to make sure that we have the ability for people to build the short line or the secondary pieces onto mainline platforms.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Wilson Miao Liberal Richmond Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-294 tackles a public policy challenge of importance to Canadians. I believe that we need to do more to facilitate the interoperability of products. An interoperability-friendly environment means empowering Canadians to adapt the products they own to their needs. For example, it means giving the ability to farmers to install different add-ons to their tractors so that they can do a number of different tasks with the same piece of machinery. It also means giving Canadians the ability to render compatible their old electronic devices with new technological standards to address the accumulation of electronic waste on our planet.

Many of the current obstacles to interoperability have arisen as a result of new market dynamics created by digital technologies and the increase of embedded software in products such as smart phones, televisions and vehicles. Removing these obstacles will require a variety of measures in both federal and provincial areas of responsibility. At the federal level, there is one particular marketplace framework that comes into play when discussing interoperability, and that is the Copyright Act, which is the subject of amendments proposed in Bill C-294.

The Copyright Act, as it currently reads, represents an obstacle to the ability of Canadians to extend the life cycles of their software-enabled products protected by digital locks. The Copyright Act prohibits Canadians to circumvent digital locks protecting copyrighted content like software. An exception to this prohibition already allows the circumvention of digital locks for the purpose of interoperability, but it is limited to the making of two computer programs interoperable. Bill C-294 seeks to expand this exception to allow Canadians to also circumvent digital locks to make their software-enabled products interoperable with other devices or components. This bill will work in conjunction with my private member's bill, Bill C-244, which was just voted on, to allow Canadians an increased autonomy over their purchased goods.

Because of the complexity of copyright policies and the issues related to interoperability, it remains that an expanded interoperability exception, such as the one proposed in Bill C-294, should be carefully considered so as to prevent any unintended consequences. Without prejudging the outcome of Bill C-294, I look forward to working with my colleagues to constructively scrutinize this bill.

Last year, the government conducted a number of consultations on copyright, one of which discussed the interoperability issue. The government's consultation on a modern copyright framework for artificial intelligence and the Internet of things highlighted some of the challenges for Canadians in rendering their products protected by digital locks interoperable with other products. The comments provided by stakeholders in response to this consultation are publicly available and they will greatly assist in our work.

First, some stakeholders pointed to the importance of ensuring that exceptions allowing the circumvention of digital locks respect Canada's treaty obligations. Canada must provide legal protections for digital locks that, notably, respect the terms of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet treaties. Canada also needs to comply with the additional requirements to protect digital locks that have been integrated into CUSMA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, which limits our flexibility to enact new exceptions allowing for the circumvention of digital locks or to expand the existing ones.

It will thus be important to ensure that the measures proposed in Bill C-294 and their effects on the Copyright Act comply with Canada's international obligations.

Second, I urge us to consider the perspective of a broad range of stakeholders in studying Bill C-294. The diversity of views will enrich the policy debate and lead to a more effective balancing of the various interests at play. The stakeholder submissions received in response to the government's consultations attest to this diversity of views.

Particularly, manufacturers have expressed concerns that expanding the scope of exceptions allowing the circumvention of digital locks could introduce personal safety and security risks for consumers. They have also noted potential cybersecurity and privacy risks, especially for products that connect to the Internet. Moreover, copyright holders argue that expanding these exceptions would expose them to piracy of their content and potential economic losses. We need to ensure the amendment sought in Bill C-294 does not negatively impact the ability of manufacturers and copyright holders to market their products and innovate.

Despite these considerations that will need further exploration, I want to reiterate the important issue Bill C-294 brings forward to us as it seeks to remove an important barrier to the interoperability of products. I look forward to continued discussions on this important matter.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to the bill that would amend the Copyright Act. The sponsor of this bill, the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, will be pleased to know that the Bloc Québécois supports what is proposed in his bill.

If Bill C-294, which has only two clauses, is passed, the Copyright Act will be amended to “allow a person, in certain circumstances, to circumvent a technological protection measure to make a computer program interoperable with any device or component, or with a product they manufacture”.

In other words, it allows the owner of a software-enabled device to bypass the lock in order to make it compatible with other applications, even if they are not developed by the original software developer. Ultimately, the Copyright Act is essentially about protecting literary and artistic property rights and encouraging fair compensation for the work that is done.

For example, like Bill C‑244, it does not allow anyone to break digital locks in order to copy or alter the work of an artist or a copyright holder without their consent. Authors have been protected by the act since 2012. This bill will allow people to break digital locks solely so the program can be used with another platform. This is called interoperability, and it is a good thing.

This bill is a good thing for consumers because it frees them from the limitations that many companies place on their customers, effectively making them prisoners to whoever holds the original software. I applaud companies that do not use the act and that allow interoperability instead of preventing it. If this bill makes its way through all the stages, that will be the norm for everyone.

Many businesses come to mind as examples of best practices and benefits for consumers. I want to emphasize that interoperability opens the door to infinite opportunities to do better things with the technological tools available to us.

We need to think about the enjoyable and user-friendly tools people want to work with. That is what the bill addresses. Take a cellphone, for example. It is much more than a telephone; it is a pocket computer that can be used for all kinds of activities. To make it even more versatile, we can download many different apps that get added to the operating system and add new functions to it. Without interoperability, would the use of this device be so widespread? The answer is obvious.

In Quebec, many apps have been developed in record time, and because they were interoperable, everyone could use them, no matter what kind of smartphone they used. There is VaxiCode, the vaccine passport app developed by the Quebec government at the height of the pandemic, the Transit app that gives us public transit schedules in real time, or even a financial app that allows us to access our credit union accounts in one click.

Although the operating system designers did not choose to invoke the Copyright Act to prevent us from downloading all these apps, the act would give them the power to do so. Our devices would be less versatile and would become outdated more quickly, and a new technology developer would be excluded from the market, restricting competition and innovation. Fortunately, they understood the benefits of interoperability.

Interoperability is considered to be very important, even critical, in many areas, including information technology, medicine in the broad sense, rail, electromechanics, aerospace, the military and industry in general. The different systems, devices and elements must be able to interact seamlessly.

Even if cellphone designers chose not to invoke their copyright to exclude competitors, other businesses did choose to do so, which is unfortunate. The idea here is to encourage and clarify the option that legislators wanted to put forward in the act, that is interoperability. I salute the member for La Prairie. That is the kind of word that he would have made me repeat and that I would have mispronounced again.

Even though Quebec has not codified the circular economy, it applies the principles of the circular economy in many of its policies, and most of its major industrial strategies are now developed in accordance with the principle of reclaiming the materials and energy used to produce goods.

It is high time we reconsidered the linear economic model and, in conjunction with Bill C‑244, adopted the principle of interoperability for the goods we consume.

The idea is to dissuade businesses from developing products in a vacuum. I will repeat the same message: We need to shift to a new paradigm and stop throwing money away. Repairability and interoperability are principles that need to be enshrined in the Copyright Act. We have to do much more with fewer resources. This realization is already reflected in Quebec's new laws and policies.

Recently, the National Assembly of Quebec unanimously adopted Bill 197, which will completely ban planned obsolescence and force companies to label their products with a sustainability and repairability rating. An ambitious update to the Consumer Protection Act is needed to make companies change their practices in ways that benefit consumers.

With the recent election, the Government of Quebec has not yet adopted the order to bring the new legislation into force, but it has clearly indicated its intention to do so swiftly.

Far from interfering in the work of the National Assembly of Quebec, passing Bill C‑294 would prevent manufacturers from invoking federal copyright law to counter the work being done to make Quebec the place where consumers will be best protected against this practice.

A World Bank report entitled “What a Waste 2.0” identifies several initiatives around the world to reduce the volume of electronic goods ending up in landfills. Members will understand why I am so excited. Very soon, probably in this parliamentary term, great strides will be made in laying the foundation for the circular economy.

I encourage members to follow the work of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology, specifically in November, for I am sure they will find our study on the electronics recycling industry very interesting. It will be in November at the earliest, but this subject is very important to me.

The objectives are clear. We have to break free from disposable plastic, better inform consumers, fight waste and promote social enterprise in recycling, take action against planned obsolescence and improve manufacturing quality. This is our future.

I am encouraged, because the movement is taking hold, although several pieces of legislation still need to be modernized. This societal shift is being led by ordinary citizens and is gaining momentum. All levels of government must act, because not only is waste a health issue, but it is also key to the green transition, since the resources needed to produce these goods are not available in infinite quantities.

E-waste is a growing environmental concern, and there are several laws that should be amended to address the issue. Today's debate represents a small part of this burden, but we must redesign our laws to allow interoperability. Slowly but surely, everyone will come to see the benefits.

In conclusion, it makes sense to be able to repair our own belongings, but it does not make sense to keep supporting throwaway culture. The message must be clear: Let us put an end to schemes that encourage consumers to throw items away because they cannot repair them.

Regulatory progress is slow, but I remain convinced that this bill will make its way to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology very soon. I still hope the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry will introduce a bill to modernize the Copyright Act as soon as possible, like this fall. We are running out of time to clean up our manufacturing methods and our consumer habits.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise to join debate on Bill C-294. I would like to congratulate the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands on bringing forward a bill for debate. We know the lottery system has its winners and losers, and to have a spot to be able to bring forward a piece of legislation for debate is a pretty big honour.

Bill C-294 is an enactment that would target the already existing statute of the Copyright Act to essentially allow a person, under certain circumstances, to circumvent what is known as a technological protection measure, also referred to as a TPM, to basically make a computer program interoperable. Let us see how many times I can say that word quickly without stuttering over it, but basically it would be to make it interoperable with any device or component or with a product they manufacture.

Just so we can understand the section of the Copyright Act this bill would be amending, the existing text of paragraph 41.1(1)(a) specifies that “no person shall circumvent a technological protection measure”. That is a pretty solid barrier to any kind of progress in this specific area.

Before I go much further, I have been pleased to be the agriculture critic for my party now for four and a half years. I recall an important study we did back in the 42nd Parliament on the pace of technology and innovation in agriculture in particular. As a part of that study, our committee travelled right across Canada. We stopped in several different locations and met with some of our leading agricultural producers, manufacturers, researchers and scientists, who are really pushing the envelope in so many different areas and lending themselves to establishing Canada as the agricultural powerhouse it is. We got to see some of the amazing crop breeding technologies going on, but also the equipment.

One thing that became abundantly clear is that, with the manufacturing of agricultural equipment, the pace of technological change, particularly in how advanced the computer programs operating this equipment are, is going ahead at a speed that leaves one's head spinning. It is still quite a competitive field, but it is also one dominated by several big players. We heard in other speeches about the fact that because they want their equipment to be used with other pieces of their equipment and are basically trying to corner consumers into sticking with their line of products, they are increasingly resorting to what is known as digital locks. Those locks do not allow for different pieces of equipment to operate with one another. It has long been identified as a frustration among farmers, but this also goes beyond the agricultural sector.

This can be applied to many different areas of business, where they are increasingly having to use different computer programs that do not always mesh well with each other, and it can cost a lot of money for a business to have to switch gears and maybe dump one computer program and adopt a whole new system. This is really an important change to basically allow a bit more consumer choice but also to allow some of those small and medium-sized enterprises that are really trying to get their foot in the door to compete on a level playing field, so they can go out into the marketplace with confidence knowing that when they sell their products it is not going to put any pressure on someone to maybe disregard their product because it is not compatible operating with maybe a larger manufacturer. In that sense, this is very noble intention in this bill.

When we speak of the word “interoperability”, that basically is what it is. It is going to allow those different systems, devices, applications, products or whatever one may have to be able to essentially connect and communicate with one another in a coordinated way. This is something the user of the product ultimately wants all their stuff to do.

I heard one of my colleagues talk about the problem of e-waste. That is a very real problem in this country, and indeed around the world. We are generating so much e-waste and toxic chemicals that can leach into our landfills as a result.

If we want to try to stop that from happening, then we have to find ways in our policies and in our laws to encourage people to be able to use a product for as long as they possibly can. Interoperability is going to be a key component of that, so that people can feel confident they do not need to throw something away but can keep on using it with another product.

I want to also reference the fact that we in the House have already voted on a bill that was dealing with the concept of the right to repair, and now we are dealing with a bill that would also amend the Copyright Act to allow for interoperability. There is a slight difference between those two concepts, and I know the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has taken some time to really delve into that from a previous question, but I think we can tackle both of them.

On the right to repair, I know at committee I have certainly had some manufacturers raise some concerns with it, so I certainly hope that at the committee stage, dealing with the right to repair bill in particular, they address some of those concerns. Manufacturers were concerned that some people might be able to tinker with their equipment to remove safety mechanisms. For example, a lot of forklifts require that an operator be sitting down in the seat, and the seat has to feel a person's weight in order for the machinery to operate. Manufacturers were worried that a person could tinker with that safety system, so that they could operate the forklift while standing beside it and outside the safety box, which, of course, would be incredibly unsafe were the load to tip over or something like that.

There have been some concerns raised on it, and I know the committee will do its due diligence in addressing those.

Returning to Bill C-294, we also have to set the context. This bill came about after an important report was issued by Western Economic Diversification Canada in February of last year. It essentially set the context of the fact that this is a pretty big issue within the agricultural field. It is a big issue because of new market dynamics that have arisen, created by those digital technologies.

Ongoing policy in this area, because of the rapid technological change, has to really address a number of items. The first bullet point here was on copyright policy and whether there are exceptions in the law to permit circumvention of technological protection measures, TPMs, so that we can adapt to this and the reality in the marketplace.

I do not want to spend too much more time speaking to the bill. I know my colleague, the member for Windsor West, who sits on the industry committee, may want to say some words on this bill during its second hour of debate, but I know he is looking forward to getting this bill to committee so that it can be studied in further detail. It deserves to continue on its journey to committee. We can let that deliberative body take a closer look at it and really get that airing from witnesses who are directly involved in the field, so they can come and say in their own words why this initiative is so important and give the reasons parliamentarians should ensure that it continues on its journey.

I will end by just saying that I look forward to having the opportunity to vote to send this bill to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology, and I would like to congratulate the member again on bringing forward this initiative for us to consider.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Ryan Williams Conservative Bay of Quinte, ON

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to contribute to the debate on Bill C-294, and I want to thank my colleague for Cypress Hills—Grasslands for bringing it forward.

Interoperability is a lot more fun to say in English than it is in French. However, the bill seeks to amend the Copyright Act, specifically regarding technological protection measures, more commonly known as digital locks, and the interoperability exemption to those locks.

New provisions would be in effect such that, and this was brought from the Library of Parliament to be studied in committee, if a person has lawfully acquired an agriculture machine, for instance, and if this machine contains a copy of a computer program and this copy monitors and/or controls the functioning of that machine, then that person will be deemed to have a licence or use of that copy.

What does that mean? It means that in the agriculture sector when we have technological advances, such as new software that comes about to make farmers' lives easier or the advancement of AI and a lot of other technological advances that need to use software, when someone buys that equipment, they would be able to use that equipment with other systems that work with it. I can tell members that it is a lot more complicated than a lot of us can understand, but to make a long story short, it would help farmers save money in order to grow more crops, which is really important.

Also important, when we talk about industry in Canada, is that it would create competition. When we create competition, we ensure that not only are we looking after farmers and entrepreneurs, but we allow people to have a choice. When people have a choice, they can then make decisions that save them money and that are best for their businesses.

Of course, we are talking about farmers in a very rural part of this nation, and we have talked all week about farmers, who are so very important. They are number one in this nation. We plant 89 million acres of crops, but the U.S. is about 10 times that and plants about 890 million acres. However, we have land that can be used for farming and we have technological advances that can make it into a greater reality. Fifty-three per cent of all of our land in Canada is used for farming, and as we have developments in DNA sequencing and genomics, we are able to grow corn farther north almost every year. We are finding advancements in protein clusters. We are finding better ways to grow our food and to be more sustainable, and the world is going to need that.

By 2030, the world will need 50% more food, which means we have to produce 1.5 times the amount of food we grow now. Therefore, when we look at farming when it comes to Canada, it is tremendously important, and the bill before us would help out. At the end of the day, the bill would allow farmers to be more competitive, to find more technological advances and to make sure that when we develop the future of farming we have all the tools in place so that farmers can make the best choices and save money.

Farmers are so important. They grow the best food in the world here in Canada. We are the breadbasket of the world with a lot of our wheat as well as our protein clusters with our fisheries, farms and animals. At the end of the day, we need farmers to not just survive but to thrive. The bill, of course, would handle only one part of that. However, there will be more advances in the future. I will talk about a few them, and I think it is important to talk about what the advances are right now.

When farmers are looking to keep birds and pests away from their crops, they are now using laser scarecrows. We have Bee Vectoring, a new Canadian technology that uses software and bees to help keep pests away from plants. We have Harvest Quality Vision, which uses drones in the air and sensors in the soil to detect nitrogen, so that we can see the best weather and at what point we have to put certain nutrients into the soil.

Farmers will also be able to use technology to save on labour, because they cannot find labour anywhere right now. Finding someone to pick crops or work in the field has been increasingly hard. We are going to need technology because of some of our labour shortages. If we do not have labour, we cannot grow crops and we cannot pick our food. We are talking about an industry that is so important that we will need 1.5 times of it in the next eight years. We will need technology to solve some of those problems.

On crop and soil monitoring and management, as a colleague mentioned earlier, we have zero tillage happening right now. This means we can plant seeds and harvest crops without touching the soil, which saves the soil. We used to have to do fallowing. This is a new technology that is really amazing for our farmers.

There are a lot of other different things being developed. This week, Loblaws, which I know is a dirty word in the House today, launched its first automated vehicles. There is GPS-controlled and automated farm equipment that will be able to manage literally thousands of acres for farmers and do the work that is needed. I do not know if members have seen the movie Interstellar. It had equipment operated by GPS. Let us hope we have a better future than what was in that movie.

We need to make sure this is a good bill, and I think it does the bare minimum, which is to ensure that we look at how technology is used on our farms and at how we can support our farmers with control.

There is a lot of other help we could give our farmers, and we have talked about it this week. They have a triple threat happening right now. Farmers have increased interest rates, which are really hurting them. There are increased costs when it comes to fertilizer tariffs, which no one else in the world has. Somehow Canada is the only one to have these tariffs on fertilizer, which are going to affect farmers' costs by up to 35%. Third, we have a triple increase to the carbon tax. I will not say it three times, as that has been done enough today, but these are real hardships for farmers.

We talk about farmers in Canada, but how many farms do we have? I talked about 89 million acres. There are 189,000 farms in Canada and that is not including hobby farms. I have a lot of hobby farms in my riding.

Just a few weeks ago, an ostrich farm opened in my riding. Ostriches look kind of neat and they are delicious. They are also great for the kids. When we were there, they fed them. What is really neat, from an environmental standpoint, is that ostriches use one-fiftieth of the land that cattle do, they let off one one-hundredth of the waste and their tenderloins taste just like beef. It is unbelievable. I am going to bring more people to see them this week. They are trying to scale and grow. They are already using technology as well. They are using technology for feeding and breeding them. It is quite a new industry. Those are the hobby farms outside of the other farms.

Another great type of farm in my region is dairy. We have quite a few dairy farms. One of them is Lee Nurse, which is doing robotic milking. All the milking is done by computers. When we talk about interoperability and dairy farms, it is about how they are going to be able to service, upgrade and manage those systems as the technology is advanced, which is really amazing. When it is time to milk, the cows all line up together. I guess they go because there is a cookie with protein that attracts them. With the computer, the robot milks the cows and away they go. It is unbelievable. They have about 180 head of Holstein, and at the end of the day they are doing something really amazing. Of course, this bill would help them, which is really great.

It is natural for other companies in the marketplace to try to innovate with new products and develop new marketable items that would make life easier. We want to make sure there is control and that we have given copyright protection to farmers so they can better our lives, grow the food we need and make sure we grow the farming community and economy here in Canada. More competition means more progress. Let us help our farmers, at least in this way.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Madam Speaker, when we have private member's hour and we are debating, we sometimes pay attention and we sometimes do not. This has been a really interesting conversation. I actually want to thank the member for bringing this forward because, while we have had a bill that was very similar with respect to the right to repair, this one seems to narrow in on another aspect of the Copyright Act.

There is, sort of, a loophole that is preventing farmers, in this case, from being able to use the equipment they have rightfully purchased and leverage it and adapt it. I want to thank the member for educating us on this issue, and I think that it is definitely an important concept that merits further study to understand it more.

As the member knows, often when members bring forward private members' business, they will then reach out to members across the aisle to meet with them, to explain the bill and to solicit support, so I do look forward to meeting with the member to learn more about this bill.

The intent of the bill, Bill C-294, is to allow consumers to repair a product on their own without violating the Copyright Act. I think that, with consultations under way right now to inform the modernization of our copyright policy framework, including the facilitation of repair and interoperability, Bill C-294 actually presents a unique opportunity for us to build a strong foundation for the work ahead.

When I hear of interoperability, and I can say it quickly, I always think defence, because I worked in the defence field previously. Therefore, when I think of interoperability, I am always thinking of the defence industry. It has actually been quite interesting for me to hear tonight about the application in the farming industry.

The member opposite and the previous speakers talked about innovation in terms of farming and doing things quicker, smarter, faster, cheaper. I really am interested to hear more about how the change in this legislation could benefit farmers but also other industries. I actually think it would be quite interesting once this goes through the process, if it does get to committee, to see how this can actually apply to other industries as well and benefit other industries that are looking to innovate.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology in the last Parliament, I learned that industries have many issues with change.

A lot of industries do not want to change. A lot of industries are not ready to change.

I think that this bill actually brings a unique opportunity for us to do things differently and, as I have said previously, I do look forward to hearing more about this bill. I think it is quite interesting and I think that there is a good complementarity with Bill C-244, the right to repair act, which has been sent to the industry committee.

I will conclude by saying that I am quite interested in hearing more. I am not quite sure what my position is in terms of supporting it or not. I would like to meet with the member and get his perspective on a couple of questions.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure to rise today in debate.

I wanted to pick up on an important point that the member for Bay of Quinte was talking about. Although he said it had not been said enough times in here today, I did want to emphasize the real burden the government's plan to triple the tax on Canadians is putting on them.

We are going to keep listening to Canadians because they are giving us these heartbreaking stories, as we come up on this Thanksgiving weekend, about the rising food prices that they are experiencing, the tax burden and the cost of living crisis. Frankly, it is a made-in-Canada Liberal inflationary crisis that has driven up the cost of everything and has driven Canadians to food banks in record numbers.

I want to take a quick opportunity, with my remaining time, to just remind any Canadian who is able to make a donation to their local food bank of goods or cash, which our food banks are able to make go a little further, to make that donation because they are really struggling to help Canadians out as we head into this Thanksgiving weekend.

Canada's Conservatives are going to continue fighting for Canadians on the matter of affordability. We know that rising taxes are a concern. That is what we are here to fight.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member was not quite speaking to the bill, but he will have nine minutes left the next time this bill is before the House. I would just ask him to speak to the bill and not to other issues. It has to be relevant.

Therefore, the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.


Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to talk about an issue that Canadians have been dealing with for some months now. In the face of restrictions having been lifted all around the world and right across our country, the top doctors in the provinces and territories deemed that the risk to Canadians was such that they did not need to have the restrictions they had had in place early on in 2020 and through 2021, but the government was determined to keep the ArriveCAN app in place.

Now, over the course of summer months, throughout the spring and into this fall, we have challenged the government to demonstrate to us what the rationale was. What were the epidemiological facts they were using to continue the use of this app? Every time we had officials at committee, they were unable to give us a scientific rationale. Was it that waste water levels were too high? Was it that community transmission linked to cross-border traffic was too high? Every time we raised it, they were unable to tell us why they were keeping it in place.

All the while, family reunification was delayed. People were unable to experience the birth of a family member, or unable to bury a loved one, because of the ArriveCAN app and the unscientific border measures that were in place. We learned today that the government has been lowballing the amount of money this ArriveCAN app cost, this unscientific ArriveCAN app.

A lot of questions are being raised in the Globe and Mail today about the ballooning cost of this app, which is shrouded in secrecy by the government. While the government was spending tens of millions of dollars on this app, it was also fining Canadians who were experiencing challenges using it at the border. These were people with the right of entry into Canada, Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The government collected more than a million dollars in fines from Canadians. It seems very clear that the app erroneously put people under house arrest. People who were not COVID positive and had followed all the rules were put under quarantine by a broken app. These people should not be made to pay for the failures of the government. The government should refund the million dollars, and cancel the collections and fines that it levied. The government should make a commitment to Canadians that it is not going to use these types of measures again. They were coercive measures, as he health minister described them, and there was no scientific basis for the government to do that. The government also needs to undertake being honest with Canadians because the price is double what it told Canadians the cost would be. It has refused to be upfront about the details of all of those contracts.

Canadians deserve their money back. Canadians deserve an apology, and they deserve a commitment that they are not going to be subjected to this again.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario


Julie Dabrusin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, for over two and a half years we have been taking action at the border in an effort to protect the health and safety of Canadians. This about saving lives. Our border measures have been effective in monitoring and reducing the risk of importation and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of concern in Canada.

In recent months, the pandemic situation has evolved. We have increased immunity against COVID-19 within the Canadian population, and we are seeing lower hospitalization and death rates. We have high vaccination rates. More than 82% of Canadians have been fully vaccinated. We also have increased the availability of rapid tests, treatments and vaccines, including the new bivalent formulation. That is why, effective October 1, we removed all COVID-19 border measures for all travellers entering Canada. Travellers arriving in Canada no longer have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter, and in addition, travellers are no longer required to meet COVID-19 testing, quarantine or isolation requirements.

Also since October 1, masks are no longer required on planes or trains. However, even though we have ended this requirement, we still strongly recommend that people continue to properly wear a mask that is well constructed and well fitting while travelling. Additionally, travellers no longer have to submit their public health information through the ArriveCAN app. However, if they choose to, travellers can continue to use the optional advance CBSA declaration feature in the app before arriving at the Toronto Pearson, Montréal-Trudeau or Vancouver international airports. Travellers choosing to do this can use either the free ArriveCAN mobile app or the website.

The government is maintaining capacity to reinstate some border measures, including testing for monitoring purposes in the event that they are needed to protect Canadians from new significant COVID-19 variants of concern or other emerging public health threats. Travellers are encouraged to review the travel health notices at to help them make informed decisions when considering travel outside of Canada. When travelling within Canada, travellers should check with the province or territory of their destination to see what, if any, COVID-19 requirements may apply.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. There is still the possibility of a resurgence in cases or of a new variant of concern in the future. That is why it is important for individuals to remain up to date with the recommended vaccinations, including booster doses, when eligible. Individuals should not travel if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If travellers become sick while travelling and are still sick when they arrive in Canada, they should inform a flight attendant, crew staff or border services official upon arrival. They may be referred to a quarantine officer, who will decide whether the traveller needs further medical assessment, as COVID-19 remains one of the most communicable of many communicable diseases listed in the Quarantine Act.

Travellers are also reminded to make informed decisions when considering travel outside of Canada, to protect their health and safety. They are encouraged to review the Public Health Agency of Canada's online travel health notices for more information on safe travel.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, we have heard the government's rationale for its implementation of the app before, but what we have not heard is an admission that it continued to use the app solely for political considerations. We have even had members of the Liberal caucus say that last year, in the election the Prime Minister called during the pandemic, he used it as an opportunity to stigmatize and divide Canadians. This is not what Canadians need from their government.

Now we are in a time when Canadians want to recover from the two years that we have had. They are experiencing very hard times financially because we have this made-in-Canada Liberal inflationary crisis, and they want to hear from the government, frankly, that it is going to atone for what it has done, that it is going to cancel those fines and that it is going to commit to Canadians that it is not going to take these kinds of coercive measures again. It needs to come clean with Canadians about why it has spent twice as much on this ArriveCAN app than it told them it would, and be transparent about all the contracting around it. We are looking for honesty, transparency and integrity.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Madam Speaker, both domestic and international epidemiological situations, as well as long-range modelling, continue to evolve. These, as well as hospital and ICU capacity and the effectiveness of other public health measures to keep Canadians safe, are taken into account when public health experts provide guidance.

As I said earlier, the pandemic is not over, and staying up to date with vaccinations, including booster doses, is critical, because immunity wanes over time. Individuals in society are at potential risk of a further resurgence without significant booster uptake. Our government will continue to work with provinces, territories, indigenous communities and stakeholders to examine vaccination strategies for both the short and long term.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, some months ago, back in the spring, I asked the government about carbon capture, utilization and storage and its position on this. Sixteen months ago I introduced a bill into the House of Commons that was proposing a carbon capture, utilization and storage system for Canada that matched what happened in the U.S. Our trade partner in CUSMA actually has a 45Q regime that incents carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Finally, after much consultation, the government decided to move forward on this incentive to decarbonize Canada's economy by including it in its annual federal budget last spring. Here we are, six months later, and where are we on carbon capture, utilization and storage in this country? We are in the same place, really.

In July, the government proposed its latest words on moving these measures forward. I say “words” because the proposal includes new, novel and undefined measures such as a knowledge-sharing agreement requirement, which is undefined and yet incurring penalties of up to $2 million per occurrence if not obeyed. It is a document written without seriousness.

The government has repeatedly shown its lack of gravitas in its approach to this technology and its development, which the rest of the world has addressed more quickly, recognizing, as the International Energy Agency does, that the world's path to a decarbonized economy and decarbonized future is not possible without carbon capture, utilization and storage. It is a Canadian shame.

Canada was, until recently, the country where the technology had advanced most quickly. Industry had spent billions advancing the technology. Governments, provincial and federal, had contributed significant amounts to this advance. What changed? What took away Canadian technology leadership in carbon capture, utilization and storage development? It was tax incentives by our two main environment competitors, which are the United States and Norway, both of which produce a significant amount of hydrocarbon.

Since the U.S. instituted its 45Q regime to incent CCUS technology development, our Canadian corporate leaders have moved their developments to opportunities in the United States. Carbon Engineering, the world leader in direct air capture, now works primarily south of our border. The world does not stand still or even stall the way the current government does.

The 45Q regime in the U.S. has recently been updated in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act so that tax incentives further encourage technological advances and decarbonization. That is the goal. The current government is still ragging the puck.

One key difference in structure between the design in the rest of the world and the approach the government is proposing is the inclusion of enhanced oil recovery. Here is what the government is missing in this ideological, wrong-headed, prejudicial approach to CCUS: Enhanced oil recovery produces hydrocarbons with a full life-cycle carbon footprint lower than newly drilled wells. There is an internal mental block holding the government back from decarbonizing our energy in Canada. It cannot continue to pretend it is even concerned about decarbonization.

I call on the government to stop sitting on its hands and to move forward with a revised, effective and accountable CCUS incentive mechanism.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario


Julie Dabrusin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, Canadians know that climate change is real. Canadians also know that climate action is hard. In Canada and around the world, climate action is no longer a matter of political debate or personal conviction. It is an existential challenge. That means it is also an economic necessity.

Our climate plan is driven by our national price on pollution, the smartest and most effective incentive for climate action, and by a new Canada growth fund, which will help attract the billions of dollars in private capital that we need to transform our economy at speed and scale. Smart climate investments today are good for Canadian workers, good for the Canadian economy and good for the planet. With the largest mobilization of global capital since the industrial revolution already under way, Canada has a chance to become a leader in the clean energy of the future.

Climate change is the greatest long-term threat of our time. Taking action on climate change is the greatest opportunity for our economy, and we can create well-paying sustainable jobs across our country. Carbon capture, utilization and storage is about reducing emissions. CCUS also plays a critical role in Canada's economic and environmental future as we strive to meet our objective of net zero by 2050. However, I want to be clear that it is not the only tool to be used; it is one of the tools in our tool box.

In budget 2021, our government proposed an investment tax credit for CCUS projects with the goal of reducing emissions by at least 15 megatonnes of CO2 annually. Then, after consulting with the public, stakeholders and the provinces on the design of the investment tax credit for CCUS, budget 2022 proposed a refundable investment tax credit for businesses that incur eligible CCUS expenses, starting in 2022 to contribute to our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The new investment tax credit is intended to be available for a broad range of CCUS applications across different industrial subsectors, such as concrete, plastics and fuels. They include blue hydrogen projects and direct air capture projects. It is not intended that the tax credit be available for enhanced oil recovery projects.

A CCUS strategy for Canada will ensure Canada is well positioned to enable meaningful climate action, to ensure we create well-paying sustainable jobs for communities and people and to support a more circular economy.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, I am not sure that addressed anything I talked about in my points here today. We are talking about moving forward with a regime that matters to the world and that actually matters to our economy and environment more than anything else, yet the government stalled on it. It has been stalled, for as long as I have been in Parliament, on moving forward with decarbonization mechanisms. The government has all kinds of programs, none of which are effective at decarbonizing our economy, but this is a pretense, and a pretense it continues to hold.

I will note another pretense, from a document the Minister of Environment and Climate Change put out this summer: “Options to cap and cut oil and gas sector greenhouse gas emissions to achieve 2030 goals and net-zero by 2050”. It is a discussion document. That discussion document is effectively premised on the government saying that it had guiding principles that were brought forward by the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, of which I am a member. I assure the House that it is a pretense. Our committee never brought that forward. This document is premised on a lie, and the government has to address that.

The EnvironmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.


Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Madam Speaker, our government is committed to making smart climate investments to reach net zero by 2050 and build a stronger, more vibrant economy for all. Canadians understand quite well that without a serious climate plan, Canada has no economic future. Our government will help Canada continue to lead in global efforts to fight climate change, to protect our nature and to build a clean economy that will create the well-playing and sustainable middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow.

TaxationAdjournment Proceedings

October 6th, 2022 / 6:45 p.m.


Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, a couple of weeks ago I asked the government if it would commit to cancelling its planned payroll tax increases, which will shrink paycheques starting on January 1. In response, the government admitted that some Canadians may be struggling with the high cost of housing, but it went on to do what it always does. When asked about the affordability crisis in housing, it patted itself on the back for its half-baked plans for the one-time payment it is proposing, which will be equal to about one week's rent in major Canadian cities. We are in the throes of the worst inflation in 40 years, while an entire generation of Canadians gives up on the dream of owning their own home.

My specific question arose from a conversation I had with a former business colleague in Calgary who told me about the price jump in a particular condo development. It occurred to me that when we consider the price increase and also factor in the recent and predictable spike in interest rates resulting from the government's deficits and facilitated by printed money, as well as its increase on property taxes, condominium fees and heating costs, which are also rising, the income necessary to qualify for this basic, bare, entry-level condominium had nearly doubled in one year according to the formula used for mortgage qualification by lending institutions.

This is heartbreaking for young people. Too many young people think they will never be able to move out of their parents' homes. Too many people wonder if they will ever afford anything beyond a tiny apartment. Too many young people despair over whether they will be able to start their own families, and the government offers no solutions. It offers only a commitment to shrink Canadian paycheques by increasing payroll taxes, shrink the purchasing power of the money Canadians have left after tax by tripling the carbon tax, and shrink the value of any savings they might have by continuing to fuel inflation.

The current cost of living crisis was a long time in the making. The government added $100 billion to the national debt before COVID, squandered the balanced budget it inherited from the previous government and broke all of the 2015 election promises upon which it was elected during a time of a booming world economy. It allowed structural deficits to creep back into Canadian public finances, undoing 20 years of fiscal prudence instilled by both the previous Conservative government and the Chrétien-Martin government before it. Then COVID hit. It added hundreds of billions of dollars more in further debt for $200 billion in new non-COVID spending, funded with printed money, triggering a spiral of rising costs, rising interest rates and a rising level of debt servicing costs.

If the government wants to give young Canadians hope for a future with a home they can afford, it will have to stop making things worse. It has to get serious about dealing with the barriers that prevent housing construction from meeting housing demand. It has to get serious about economic growth resulting from real people building real things that supply real services to real consumers, not the crony capitalism that has crept into the government in everything from its infrastructure bank to its supercluster system and corporate giveaways.

It can stop the planned payroll tax increase. It can stop the planned tripling of the carbon tax, which increases the price of food, transportation and home heating. Canadians cannot afford higher prices and higher taxes with smaller paycheques.