Madam Speaker, I am going to digress a little, but it is relevant.
Caroline Rivera has been on my team from the very beginning, for the past 11 years. I am sure that Carolina, who is of Colombian heritage, would join me in congratulating the leftist winner in yesterday's presidential election in Colombia. I congratulate Colombia's new president, Gustavo Petro, and vice-president, Francia Marquez, Colombia's first Black woman vice-president.
This momentous and historic event reminded me of a quote from another Latin American politician who inspired not only his own country but also an entire continent. He said:
[Member spoke in Spanish]
Let us work together as progressives, as left-leaning men and women, to build a fairer and better society. Those were some of Chilean president Salvador Allende's last words in 1973 from his presidential palace.
That is all I have to share about yesterday's current events and history from down south. I now want to talk about the history that we are making right here, in the House. I am very pleased to speak on behalf of the people of Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, of Montreal and of Quebec in support of this essential and long-overdue bill. The funding ecosystem was outdated and obsolete, and the act had not been thoroughly reviewed in the past 30 years. We ended up with a broken and completely unbalanced system in which creators and our artistic industry, our artists, artisans and technicians, were penalized while others were passing go and saving $200. They were not collecting the money, but they did not have to spend it.
My point is that funding for a whole lot of our television, film and music creations flowed in large part through the Canada Media Fund, which was funded by cable companies back when they had the market to themselves. We said they were the ones with the pipeline and the container, so they would have to pay to put content in the pipeline. That is why the cable companies of this world—Videotron, Shaw, Rogers and Bell nowadays—had to contribute to a fund to support the production of Quebec and Canadian cultural content. It worked pretty well for several years, I must say. It is absolutely crucial to making sure our stories are told and our culture is shared here at home and around the world.
We reached a tipping point when the system stopped working and became unfair and inequitable. That was when new online broadcasters hit the scene. Now they are the ones pocketing mega profits by streaming tonnes of content live and online. I am talking about companies such as Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube that did not exist 30 years ago of course. They were not planned for. We found ourselves in a situation where cable companies, which had fewer and fewer subscribers and therefore less and less revenue, were the only ones paying into the media fund, so the fund was shrinking. Meanwhile, all the new digital broadcasters that were growing so fast did not have to pay a penny.
It was hurting our producers, our creators, because a large part of that money was not being invested or spent. That meant that some productions were shelved.
The other important point to remember is that we are also dealing with web giants that do not pay their taxes. They do not contribute at all to the general coffers, to our collective wealth, to help pay for our public services. Some will say that that is a whole other debate. Yes, it is a debate about the taxation of web giants, but it is also relevant here because web giants are also not paying their share in this situation. That is extremely important.
An estimated $3 billion is invested in an artistic, television, film and musical production. By requiring these digital broadcasters, these web giants, to pay their share, Bill C-11 will add more than $1 billion to this industry. We are restoring the balance, injecting money from the web giants who have, unfortunately, been benefiting for years from not paying. We need this bill to restore the balance and to support our creators in a much more effective and visible way.
There is a lot that could be done with this money. It would mean more productions, more content, more jobs. This is about our identity and about jobs in the cultural sector. It will translate into more sets, technicians, artisans, directors, screenwriters and writers. It is absolutely essential and important.
I believe that this will help us ensure that those in the music industry, who are currently paid peanuts by streaming services such as Spotify, will potentially earn more thanks to the rules that will be established. Members will recall the very frank statement by singer Pierre Lapointe at a ADISQ gala. He spoke about the amount of money he earned, a few hundred dollars, for hundreds of thousands of views or streams of one of his songs. We are obviously well aware that this system could not continue. It did not make sense and it had to be fixed. That is what we are doing, albeit a little too late. This should have been done sooner for many of our creators, but it is not too late to do the right thing. We could not continue with the existing situation.
Bill C-11 is important. The NDP was also successful in getting amendments passed that improved the government's original bill. We are very proud of that. I had a request from people in Montreal who asked us to clarify and better define the mandate of Radio-Canada International, which has unfortunately suffered cuts over the years. At the very least, they want to save what is left, so that our news is broadcast around the world in several languages.
Speaking of languages, one of the first amendments we passed to improve and amend the broadcasting bill had to do with all indigenous or first nations productions. They will receive more support, more money to share their stories, their realities and their experiences in their communities, in French and English, but also in indigenous languages, if they so desire. We strengthened those measures and have done the same for other groups of citizens, such as racialized people and people with disabilities. These were priorities for the NDP. We put forward these amendments and we succeeded in getting them passed.
Another issue is more support for community television and community radio, which are really very important in many regions and many parts of the country. I think it is important to flip the curve that put community television and radio at a disadvantage. This injects a little more money and support.
Yet another issue is enhanced protection for local jobs in Quebec and Canada, greater protection for our creators' intellectual property, more protection for freedom of expression and, to enforce all that, more powers enabling the CRTC to oversee it all for the good of society as a whole.