House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, my friend made reference to the industry as a whole, and it is a very important industry nationwide and in our communities, where literally hundreds of jobs are generated that support our arts. I wonder if the member could provide his thoughts in regard to the size of the industry and how much that means to Canada.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a multi-billion-dollar industry. As I said in my speech, the industry employs 165,000 Canadians, and it is not just traditional broadcasters or traditional industries but digital creators too, and we do not want to separate them; they are all artists. Digital creators and traditional creators are all creating and benefiting our economy. It is important that we stand up and contribute and grow that number of 165,000 people employed in this industry, and Bill C-11 will help us along that way.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, freedom of speech is a fundamental right in Canada. It is enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms in fact. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

These rights are what makes Canada a modern democracy. They are not trivial principles. They should not be up for debate. Interfering with fundamental rights is the sign of a dying democracy, yet the Liberals have shown, time and time again, that they are dead set on desecrating this right by regulating and censoring the social media content that Canadians are able to see online.

I just want to go back a little with the history. This bill was first introduced back in November 2020, as Bill C-10, and by February 2021, the Liberals had removed a clause from the bill exempting user-generated content, which extended the legislation to encompass everyday social media content created by Canadians. Before the bill could pass in the last parliamentary session through both Houses of Parliament, I raised a point of order and exposed the Liberals' reckless approach to implementing this bill. I submitted in my point of order that several of the amendments to Bill C-10 that were made in committee needed to be struck down because the government's committee government members had grossly exceeded their authority in more ways than one.

This point of order, which was upheld in its ruling, effectively defeated the chances of the bill being able to proceed before the Liberals called their early election back in 2021. Then, of course, to no one's surprise, when Parliament reconvened after that election, the bill was re-introduced as Bill C-11, which we have before us.

In order to ensure its passage, the Liberals decided to pass Motion No. 11 in the House, which has allowed them to push through the passage of this legislation by bypassing standard procedure. When that was not enough, the Liberals decided to pass several motions to shorten the committee's study and to limit witnesses, and then accused Conservatives of filibustering every time we opposed one of those anti-democratic motions.

Last week, the Liberals finally moved closure through Motion No. 16 to force the bill through committee clause-by-clause consideration with limited or, in many cases, no debate. On June 14, just last week, the Canadian heritage committee was forced to sit from 11 in the morning until 12:15 at night to complete clause-by-clause of 172 pages of amendments, over 100 of which were passed without allowing for so much as one second of debate.

I would say that bypassing debate and rushing through an unprecedented bill is an insult to Canadians, and it only allows the government to avoid accountability. Parliament has a democratic responsibility to thoroughly examine the implications of Internet regulation, and Canadians deserve to know the truth about this deeply flawed bill. The Liberals are stifling freedom of speech by curtailing parliamentary process.

Ironically, by limiting MPs' ability to speak, the Liberals are symbolizing the censorship contained within this bill. The government does not just want to regulate the Internet and hinder freedom of speech, it is also determined to interfere with parliamentarians' right to speak and debate the same legislation that is looking to interfere with people's rights and freedoms.

Back to the bill itself, under the auspices of amending the Broadcasting Act, the legislation contained in Bill C-11 infringes on the rights and freedoms of every single Canadian who uses social media. This bill would give bureaucrats at the CRTC sweeping powers to regulate online social media content based on famously irrational criteria. It would allow the CRTC to decide what content it considers to be Canadian enough, and then force social media companies to promote that content and bury the so-called un-Canadian content, so it would be nearly impossible to find. This would effectively result in censorship.

Moreover, analysts are saying that the bill could allow the CRTC to automatically subscribe Canadians to a certain list of Canadian YouTube channels, such as the CBC, without even asking their permission. It already mandates that cable providers do this in the subscriptions they offer to Canadians, so for the CRTC officials, I am sure doing so online would only be the next logical step in their mind.

Essentially, the government has decided that Canadians are not responsible enough to choose for themselves what they want to see on social media, so it is turning on the parental controls. This notion that Canadians need to be made to watch certain content that has been deemed as socially and culturally appropriate by the government and discouraged from watching other content is the result of an out-of-touch, paternalistic approach to governing what seems to stem from Liberal elitism.

As it stands now, Bill C-11 would determine what content is Canadian enough based on a famously flawed and outdated points system, which was developed in the 1980s, decades before the advent of social media. This black and white points system designed for legacy media, has resulted in a series of truly embarrassing rulings from the CRTC in recent years. For example, an Amazon Prime series focused entirely on the Toronto Maple Leafs was ruled to be not Canadian enough under this points system. The film adaptation of the famed Canadian novel The Handmaid's Tale was also deemed to be not Canadian enough, and Deadpool, the award-winning Marvel movie based on a Canadian character, filmed in Vancouver and co-written by a Canadian, was also deemed to be not Canadian enough under this system.

Maybe we should take some comfort in the fact that the minister responsible has promised to review and update these criteria for determining what is Canadian enough, but, then again, maybe not. Strangely enough, the minister boasted about a meeting with the German minister of culture to consult with her about how to update these criteria for determining what should be considered Canadian content. He decided it would be a good idea to get on a plane, fly across the Atlantic on the taxpayer dime, and talk with Europeans about the best way to approach Canadian legislation on what is Canadian content. Maybe the minister could have consulted with Canadians instead. They are the people he has actually been elected to serve. This is just an idea.

Of course, the minister has said that he will not reveal how he is planning to change the rules until after the bill passes through Parliament. By doing this, he is leaving both Canadians and parliamentarians completely in the dark about what his legislation is going to look like in practice. It begs this question: What content will the Liberal government deem to be Canadian enough on people's social media? Will it have to be made by Canadian citizens? In that event, what about permanent residents or people here on study or work permits? Will it have to be produced in Canada? What would that mean for Canadians living abroad who make social media content? Will it have to be only in an official Canadian language? What would that mean, then, for cultural groups in Canada who speak another language?

Perhaps, and I suspect this is the actual plan, the Liberal government will require that content producers subscribe to a certain set of values to be truly considered Canadian content. The Liberals already demand faith-based groups to adhere to the Liberal Party's stance on certain issues to meet the eligibility criteria for the Canada summer jobs program. Therefore, it would be fair to assume that they will likely do the same in determining what content would be considered Canadian on the Internet or on social media.

The most alarming power given in this legislation is slipped into an unassuming clause buried in the text of the legislation that quietly allows the CRTC to create regulations “respecting such other matters as it deems necessary for the furtherance of its objects”. These 14 little words give the CRTC a blank cheque to act however it likes and arbitrarily create regulations whenever it feels it is necessary. CRTC bureaucrats are not elected officials, and they do not answer to Canadians. They should not be able to unilaterally create new regulations. It would be undoubtedly undemocratic to give them such broad, sweeping powers.

Under Bill C-11, the minister responsible assured Canadians that amateur content such as cooking videos or cat videos that people upload online would not be regulated under this proposed regulation, but officials at YouTube Canada were quick to respond to this comment by asserting that they had studied the legislation and the bill certainly would give the government the power to regulate amateur content.

I certainly know who I would believe with respect to that. That means that any content posted on any social media service could be subject to these arbitrary standards. One thing is clear. The Liberals are determined to censor our social media content, and that, by itself, is wrong.

On top of that, with the legislation being this broad, it is impossible to discern why something could be censored or the motivations behind it even. The Liberals are essentially saying to Canadians that they are going to censor what social media content we can access. They will not even tell us how they are going to censor it, but that it is okay and to just trust them on this one. I do not think so. I do not think most Canadians think so. We have seen far too many examples of the government trampling on charter rights to trust it.

We have seen how, under the Prime Minister, the government tested facial recognition technology on millions of travellers at Toronto Pearson International Airport without their knowledge or their consent. What happened to freedom?

We have seen how the government has been collecting cellphone data since the beginning of the pandemic without the consent of Canadians. What happened to freedom?

We have seen how, during a largely peaceful protest in downtown Ottawa, the government invoked the Emergencies Act to use unjustified and extraordinary powers against its own citizens. What happened to freedom?

We have seen how the government has discriminated against people based on their personal medical choices to bar them from air travel, despite a complete lack of scientific evidence. What happened to freedom?

In a recently revealed submission to the Department of Canadian Heritage, Twitter protested the recent proposals that would allow the government to block website access on the Canadian Internet saying that the measure would be similar to the kind of censorship found in places like China, North Korea and Iran. The submission goes on to say that the proposed measure “sacrifices freedom of expression to the creation of a government run system of surveillance of anyone who uses Twitter”. What happened to freedom?

The government is obviously not interested in respecting the rights or freedoms of people. The alternative to Bill C-11 is freedom. The only solution is to keep the government out of the equation.

Canada has long been home to many renowned actors, film makers, artists, performers and social media icons. It is belittling of the government to think that the only way Canadian art and culture can survive is through punitive legislation that forces people to watch it. The quality of Canadian content speaks for itself. The last thing it needs is to be propped up by a Liberal censorship regime.

Without government intervention, social media can continue to be a free market of ideas, content and information. Under this system, individual Canadians are left to decide for themselves what they want to see on social media. They will watch what they want to watch and ignore what they do not. Only under this self-regulating system can freedom truly exist.

Therefore, I move, seconded by the member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be not now read a third time but that it be read a third time this day six months hence.”

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

The amendment is in order.

For questions and comments, we will go to the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, talk about seeing something that is just not there. I think conspiracy theory 101 is the lesson from the other side here. What Bill C-11 is all about is fairly straightforward. It is the modernization of the Broadcasting Act. It is as simple as that. Maybe the Conservatives get a gold star nowadays if they mention the word “freedom” in their speeches. I do not know where the member is getting the information from.

If the member wants to be consistent with what he said, does that mean the Conservative Party of Canada's new approach to the CRTC is to get rid of it? Are they saying the CRTC regulations should not be applied to other media streams? Is that what the Conservative Party's position is today?

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5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member suggested I am seeing things that are not there. I think he is actually right. There are some things I am seeing that are not there.

What I am seeing that is not there is the idea of freedom from the government, the idea of respecting people's rights, the idea that we can actually let Canadians choose for themselves what they want to see on the Internet, what they want to see on their social media and what they do not, and the idea that we can actually enable Canadian content producers to produce the great content they produce without the need for the government to prop them up with censorship.

Those are the things I am seeing that are not there. Those are the things the government is doing, and those things should not be there.

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5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, this again feels like a bad movie where the Conservative Party members are opposing just for the sake of opposing.

I will ask my colleague a two-part question. I hope his answer will show me that they are not opposing for the sake of opposing, in this case.

He spoke about local Canadian content and how to determine whether content is local. He seemed to be criticizing the implementation of a point system. He gave the example of a movie that talked about Toronto but was filmed in the United States. From what I understood, he seemed to be saying that it would be acceptable to consider that movie Canadian content. I am sorry, but if the royalties and all the actors were paid in the U.S. and all that money is going to stay in the U.S., then I do not think that qualifies as local content, just like an Australian movie that talks about Quebec would not be considered local content either.

I have two questions. First, if we do not have a point system, a mathematical formula or some fairly logical way of assessing whether content is local, how are we going to determine that? What does my colleague propose?

Second, is he really opposed to showcasing Canadian content and giving jobs to people here, whether in Quebec or Canada?

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the member was referencing an example I used of a film about the hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs. I do not know what his objection is to a Canadian hockey team being in a film. Maybe if it was the Montreal Canadiens he would be more open to it. I do not know.

He also mentions the idea of several other examples I used, and I used the example of Deadpool. It was filmed in Canada and co-written by a Canadian. It is about a Canadian character. What does he see as not being Canadian there? That certainly sounds pretty Canadian to me, so there are obviously some flaws in the way the system works, and the government is proposing to take that system and apply it to our social media as well. There are clearly problems, so why would we want to impose a system that is already flawed onto further content? It does not make any sense to me.

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5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague from Banff—Airdrie for his opinion of the direction the government has given to the CRTC to implement Bill C-11. What does he think of the direction? I have not seen it.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think that question gets at the heart of one of the challenges with the bill. I mentioned during my speech the fact that there essentially is a lot of room for interpretation, and a lot of grey area, in terms of how this would all be implemented. I think leaving Canadians in the dark in such a way, when we are talking about essentially censoring what kind of content they can see without even knowing how it would be censored and in what ways, makes for greater concerns than the fact that things are going to be censored to begin with. I think that really gets to the heart of one of the big problems with the bill, and I appreciate the member raising that and giving me a chance to highlight that one more time.

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

June 20th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the hon. member's reference to the TV and movie filming of Deadpool in Vancouver that made me think to rise and ask this question of him.

That is, of course, important programming and an important industry for the Vancouver area, but I want to ask him if he is aware of the fact that most of that kind of production value in Canada pays Canadian actors what is called “at scale”. They are not paid anything like what the U.S. actors who come in and get dropped into the community are paid, and a lot of the working crew comes in from the U.S. It does not employ Canadians. That is a lot of what I hope Bill C-11 may change in the future. I hope for a chance to really create a level playing ground, so that when Canada is used as the backdrop for films, even around a Canadian story, Canadians are not treated as second-class citizens.

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member raises her concern about the different pay she claims for actors from Canada or from the States or whatever it might be.

What we are talking about here is a very broad and very sweeping bill. If she really feels that there is a need to address that specific concern, I would suggest to her that this is certainly the wrong way to go about approaching it. We could say that maybe using a sledgehammer to kill a fly would probably, in that case, be a good way of putting it. What we are talking about here is something that would limit people's freedom of expression and limit people's freedom to view the content they wish to view, or to not view the content they wish to view. That is a pretty broad, sweeping piece of legislation.

If she is looking to address the concerns she has, I would suggest looking at legislation that would far more narrowly address those concerns and not limit people's freedoms: people's freedom of speech and their ability to choose the content they wish to see. That, to me, we can never accept in any circumstances.

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the government put forward the first iteration of the bill in the last Parliament, I received a number of communications from constituents who were concerned about amending the Broadcasting Act. The major issue they had with it were the channels they were forced to pay for when they bought a TV cable package.

Does my colleague believe that the Government of Canada is applying a similar type of approach to the Internet that so many Canadians disagree with, when it comes to all of the channels they are forced to pay for just to get basic television in their homes?

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Banff—Airdrie, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think this a good question and a good point that the member raises. I know that this is something I hear frequently from many people. I have experienced that myself. We just want to be able to have a couple of extra channels that maybe will allow us to see a few more hockey games or something, and we are forced to buy a whole package of things that we do not even really want to be able to do that.

I have heard that many times from many people, and I think it really does come to the heart of the problem here, which is that we are taking what really is a flawed system that has been set up for legacy media and television: those kinds of things. It is already flawed, and we are going to take that and apply that to social media content and to other content on the Internet. It was already flawed for what it was doing.

It was designed back in the 1980s, so 40 years ago, and we are applying that to something new that was not even invented at that point in time. As I think I said, it was already flawed. It seems to me like that is a really big mistake.

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5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to start my speech with an aside once again. I am definitely making a habit of starting my speeches with an aside. I want to do this and I think everyone will be fine with it, because last Friday was graduates' day. In Quebec, we celebrated students graduating from high school, CEGEP, vocational school and other schools. We applauded their efforts and their determination at an important step in their studies. I therefore wanted to take a few moments to commend graduates in the riding of Drummond. I am thinking in particular of Elsa Darveau and Ève Turgeon, two young ladies that I adore. Back home, I want to applaud my stepson Christophe and his girlfriend Sophia who are also headed to CEGEP. I want to commend and congratulate everyone graduating in Quebec and Canada, and all those taking this big step in their studies.

I hope that this will be the last time we rise to speak to Bill C‑11. I am optimistic that it will be. We worked on Bill C‑10, we worked on Bill C‑11. It is time to pass this bill that our cultural and broadcasting industries have awaited for such a long time.

I must say that we put a lot of hours into Bill C‑10 after it was introduced in 2020. The spotlight was on us, as members of Parliament, and we were being congratulated and patted on the back by our colleagues and others, but there is a whole team working behind the scenes. I want to acknowledge my support team, which did extraordinary work during our study of Bill C‑10 last year and during our study of Bill C‑11 now before us.

I especially want to thank my assistant Mélissa, who did an amazing job planning more than 60 meetings with stakeholders from all across the industry and who worked non-stop to prepare for the committees. She did an amazing job. I thank my friend Éric, who contributed his thoughts and experience, our research friends, Michael and Vincent, and the whip's team, Paul, Marie-Christine and Charles.

I want to say a special thank you to my colleague from Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, who is here in the House today. Last year, she held meetings on Bill C-10, and she put in a lot of effort. It was a bill that she cared a lot about. I imagine she is pleased today to see that Bill C-11 will be passed. She was a singer in a former life. Actually, that is not true. She will always be a singer. In fact, the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has the opportunity to benefit from her talents at just about every meeting. I think this bill was particularly close to her heart because she has made a living from singing and she knows how important the Broadcasting Act is to the entire cultural industry. I therefore thank my colleague for her wonderful help.

I feel like I am giving a thank-you speech at an awards ceremony, but I think it is important. I hope others will follow suit.

I also want to say a big thank you to the interpreters, the committee staff, and the clerks' office staff, who do an absolutely incredible job, always behind the scenes. Without them, I do not think we would be able to get anything done. I want to sincerely thank them as well.

With that, I want to focus on a number of very important things that were added to Bill C‑10, which I spoke about earlier. My pet analogy is that Bill C‑10, as introduced on November 3, 2020, was like a blank paint-by-number. The numbers were there, but they were in need of paint to fill in the structure and content of a bill that was lacking on both fronts.

Earlier, the parliamentary secretary talked about Bill C‑10 and Bill C‑11 as though they were essentially one and the same. He is not completely wrong about that, but he should have said that it was actually the final version of Bill C‑10 as amended and the version of Bill C‑11 as introduced that were virtually the same. That is an important distinction because a lot of work was done on Bill C‑10. Specifically, a lot of work was done to take out significant sections of the Broadcasting Act, for example, paragraph 3(1)(a) on the Canadian ownership and control of broadcasting entities. Last year, the Bloc Québécois proposed an amendment to Bill C‑10 to replace it with the following: “the Canadian broadcasting system shall be effectively owned and controlled by Canadians, and foreign broadcasting undertakings may also provide programming to Canadians”.

The wording has changed a bit in Bill C‑11. Without getting into it too much, we would have preferred the wording from Bill C‑10, but this is still an important amendment.

We often say that the Bloc Québécois put the protection of French back into the broadcasting bill. That is true, and it is in Bill C‑11 because we managed to add it to Bill C‑10. Here is what the new subparagraph 3(1)(i.1) says: “reflect and support Canada's linguistic duality by placing significant importance on the creation, production and broadcasting of original French language programs, including those from French linguistic minority communities”.

There is an important nuance here that I think is worth bearing in mind and repeating. The bill talks about “original French language programs”, not programs in French. If we had stuck with “programs in French”, as the bill seemed to suggest before we amended this clause, then content dubbed in French would have been given equal weight regardless of the original language. What we were calling for, and it was entirely legitimate for us to do so, was original French content, meaning broadcasting companies would be required to produce original content in the language of Molière, Vigneault, Leclerc, Lévesque and myself.

I am talking a lot about Bill C-10 because we added a few things to it, some of which also made their way into Bill C-11, so they have been discussed again.

One of them was the issue of discoverability, which really got people talking. It has become quite hackneyed and used to spread appalling misinformation. I talked about discoverability in the House last week, and I think it is pretty straightforward as a concept. It aims to ensure that local content is promoted, easy to find and available on any broadcasting platform.

I cannot imagine anyone thinking to themselves that, yes, we produce great content but that we need to make sure that no one can find it, so as not to completely confuse the algorithms of the big foreign companies, which will stop liking us.

I was elected by Quebec voters, who want me to protect their interests. I was not elected by multinational corporations that are based abroad and who report virtually no revenue, pay virtually no taxes and contribute virtually nothing to our broadcasting system and our cultural industry in Canada.

I therefore have no problem imposing discoverability requirements on these businesses, because I find that it makes sense. I find it contemptible that this requirement has caused so much outrage and been used as justification by those who claim that this broadcasting bill essentially amounts to censorship.

Another very interesting addition made to last year's bill is the sunset clause. This emerged from the realization that the Broadcasting Act has not been updated, revised or amended for more than 30 years, and that if nothing were done, it would more than likely be quite some time before a new act were adopted or amendments made to the new Broadcasting Act.

Why would we not require a re-evaluation at specified times to make the necessary amendments and adjustments? That is one of the fine additions included in Bill C-10, and then in Bill C‑11, and it will require the House to review the Broadcasting Act every five years. If some things are not being done properly today, we will not have to wait 30 years to correct them.

Bill C‑11 has had quite a strange trajectory. We can agree that the process was a little messed up. In other words, it was short-circuited or neglected. I apologize; perhaps I could have used a better term.

It did not help that the Conservatives decided they were going to oppose the bill in any way they could, by filibustering during some very important meetings, even though the study process had already been planned out when the committee received the bill. In response, the government opted for a closure motion, which made it tough to talk about amendments and advocate for amendments.

This meant that the committee was not able to have the types of discussions it would normally have when amendments to bills are proposed. I think that the discussion can open members' minds. I wanted to hear my colleagues make arguments, even the ones I find far-fetched. In committee, we are meant to discuss, listen to what others say and keep an open mind. This is how we can amend Bill C‑11 as effectively as possible.

A few Bloc Québécois amendments were rejected. I think the main reason they were rejected is that we did not have the opportunity to explain them. There was no room for debate, particularly on the control we want to have over online companies, or rather the control we refuse to have over them.

It is unbelievable. When we tried to force American, Chinese and international companies, foreign companies, to hire Canadian and Quebec human resources, creative resources and talent as much as possible, I was told that it is impossible because the companies are already investing a lot of money. I was told that we cannot force them to hire locals because that would be too upsetting. That is what I was told. These companies and the web giants say that they are already contributing a lot and that it would be inconvenient if they were forced to use Canadian resources as much as possible. To that I say, they are always nibbling away at the advertising pie and taking the revenues for themselves.

I really want members to understand this. People in this flourishing industry are on the verge of switching careers. They no longer have an income, and media outlets are closing up shop, yet web giants tell us they do not want us to impose those kinds of constraints. Our doormat of a Canadian government lies down and has no problem letting them walk all over it.

I sincerely hope the government will take a somewhat firmer stance, especially when it comes to orders the CRTC can give. The CRTC does actually require good faith negotiations between the companies that create programs and those that distribute or broadcast them, and obviously that includes online platforms in our current system. That means the CRTC would need the tools to impose fair negotiation rules should good faith negotiations not happen. That idea was turned down too.

I was told it would not work, that the government could not give the CRTC tools to respond should negotiations not take place in good faith. That means big corporations will be able to walk all over our little-guy production companies and carry on exploiting our Quebec and Canadian content creators for profit.

Who might need these negotiations to be protected? Small programming businesses might need that, although many of them have grown. Consider APTN, for example. APTN's wonderful model is being emulated around the world. New Zealanders were inspired by what APTN has done in Canada and created a similar channel. CPAC is another example. I think everyone here is quite familiar with CPAC. We can also think of The Weather Network. These are all businesses that need this protection, but they are not getting it because we think that if we are too strict with online businesses, they will be angry. Do we really think they will go away because they are angry? They make billions of dollars.

Here is another thing that really frustrated me. We hear about balancing the market, making the market fair to ensure that our traditional broadcasting companies are not penalized in relation to online companies. In that regard, I am quite happy that the part II fees, which imposed significant and onerous financial conditions on licensed broadcasters, have been dropped. I think dropping these fees should really help them, or at least give them a little breathing room. However, the CRTC still cannot issue orders.

Let us talk about one of the amendments that I thought did not make much sense:

The [CRTC] may, in furtherance of its objects, make orders imposing conditions on the carrying on of broadcasting undertakings that the Commission considers appropriate for the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1), including conditions respecting...any change in the ownership or control of a broadcasting undertaking that is required to be carried on under a licence.

I said that the idea of a licence should be removed because we want that to apply to online undertakings. However, that was rejected. People did not want that to apply to online undertakings. It is as though they were still scared of the big online company monster. It is as though they were afraid of stepping on the toes of the giant.

We are afraid to step on the toes of the giant, but that giant is crushing us and we are saying nothing about it. We think it is amusing because we can watch our movies and our shows. We do not even realize that our creators are starving.

Bill C‑11 will pass. The result of the vote will be close, but it will pass. I hope that the fears of those who have profusely expressed them will be allayed when they eventually realize that the “censorship” and “control” of what they envisioned are fabrications. These arguments are pure fearmongering and really have no merit. All the rambling that took place over the past few months and the Conservatives' systematic filibustering when Bill C‑11 was being studied in committee has only resulted in the postponement of important studies, such as that of bill C‑18.

More than 450 news businesses have closed their doors. This is a crisis. Because so much time has been wasted for unfounded ideological reasons, a slew of media outlets, including small regional media, are on the brink of closure, and I find that outrageous. I think that these people should show their frustration by pounding a table and making sure their MPs hear them. It is absurd that Bill C‑18 cannot be studied sooner and that we must wait until the fall to discuss this urgent matter.

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5:30 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate many of the comments that my colleague across the way made, but I take a different approach. He made reference to Bill C-10 and the amendment process. I think it clearly demonstrated the interest of the government, when modernizing the legislation, to get it right. We saw a number of amendments that, in fact, ultimately changed the form of Bill C-11, and I think that is good for the industry as a whole and for future Canadian content.

The member made reference to the word “freedom”, and I think there is a fear factor out there, as some are trying to say that this is a limit on an individual's freedoms. Could he provide his thoughts with regard to the issue of the Conservative Party in essence saying that this is an attack on individual freedoms?

Online Streaming ActGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I have never bought into those kinds of theories of infringement on individual freedoms and freedom of expression. People have raised concerns, and I think those who have raised them have gotten answers. Done and done. On the other hand, people who have absolutely no interest in this, who are not open to any kind of regulation, will reject any argument that is presented, no matter what it is.

There are several other examples of this throughout history. I am fairly certain that in the western United States in the nineteenth century, a time of complete lawlessness, the people running the show and getting their way certainly did not expect any legislation to be forced on them.

Regulation is required in certain situations. In this case, we are trying to do it right, and we have taken a long time to do it. I do not believe that we will end up with something perfect, but it will be much better than the current lack of legislation.

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5:35 p.m.

NDP

Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, for many years, companies like Netflix and Disney+ have not paid their fair share to fund our Canadian cultural content. Does the member think the Liberal government should have acted earlier in its mandate to prevent all the job losses in our cultural sector that this delay has caused?

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5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith on the quality of her French. That was perfect.

I could take 20 minutes to answer that question. Of course the government should have imposed tax rules on online businesses much earlier. Even now, I do not think adequate measures have been brought in, far from it.

When it comes to contributing to the broadcasting system, to the cultural industry and to content, some companies are making an effort and trying to do something, but it is still not nearly enough. I do not want to point fingers at every single company, because there are some that are trying to produce things here.

However, several aspects still need to be fixed or brought in. Rules and a legal framework are needed. Once the framework is in place, it will be much easier for these businesses to generate original Quebec and Canadian content that meets both our expectations and the financial needs of the community.

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5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my very distinguished and much appreciated colleague from Drummond for his colourful speech in which he found a way to talk about giants that are crushing us, exploitation, advertising pie, rambling and a messed up process.

He also talked about paint-by-number, which is what we might think of when we look at the magnificent shirt he is wearing today and which proves that, when it comes to freedom of expression, there is always a way around things, even the very restrictive dress code in the House.

Essentially, I would like him to reassure us and our Conservative colleagues about freedom of expression.

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5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I really do not feel like answering the question. I would much rather react to my colleague's comments.

Freedom of expression is a topic that we could debate for many hours. I would say that, when it comes to broadcasting legislation, there also needs to be parameters that in some way guide what we can and cannot say.

In fact, this is something that we already do in everyday life. There is a rather universal concept that is generally understood by all, in Quebec and across Canada that one person's freedom ends where another's begins.

There is nothing in this bill that infringes on freedom of expression. I am not sure if that answers the question from my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé, but, since I am saving the two or three insults I have for him for later in private, I will stop there.

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5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Soroka Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, the member says freedoms are potentially always there. My concern is the fact that there are algorithms now that the CRTC is going to be using for whether or not the freedom of presentation of user content or generated content could potentially be censored. Other countries have tried something like this, and there is 80% to 85% censorship. That should never have been censored, because there is an algorithm that is determining whether or not something is censored.

Is the member concerned at all that by using an algorithm, there will be censorship?

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5:40 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, that is the source of all the disinformation. There is absolutely no interference in the coding of algorithms. There is even a clause that states that the CRTC cannot require the use of algorithms.

In short, the purpose is to create performance objectives. How will that be accomplished? It will be up to the businesses to explain that to the CRTC. The CRTC will then give them the green light, provided that it is shown the results. No one will tell these businesses to change their algorithms to include Canadian content or other content, or that such content will be prohibited based on algorithms. That is simply not true. That concept simply does not exist.

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5:40 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I simply want to again applaud the expertise of the member for Drummond, who worked so hard and so thoroughly. I also applaud the brilliant idea of reviewing this law every five years.

Could my colleague tell us what he thinks the future holds for Bill C‑11 and what amendments he predicts will be made in five years?

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5:40 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, that is a very good question. We do need to give ourselves the latitude to review the legislation and change things that are not working. Things are moving so quickly with the arrival of these web giants. The digital universe is evolving so quickly that we can barely keep up.

I think we will have to keep an eye on this and monitor the evolving technologies and content consumption patterns. We do not consume content the same way that we did five years ago, and that will probably change again in another five years.

A provision requiring that the House review the Broadcasting Act every five years will allow us to keep up and make it so that we do not end up with a completely outdated law in need of a total overhaul 30 years from now.