Madam Speaker, I trust the time spent on the point of order will be deducted from my speaking time on the issue.
Bill C-11 is in fact relevant, because the Conservative Party is refusing to pass it when the government has a restricted amount of time to debate its agenda and show leadership, which is what Canadians expect of the government. Conservatives might not care about what Canadians have to say, but this is a government that does care. When we are dealing with the agenda of the House of Commons and Bill C-11, there is an expectation that they will at least recognize that, although we are in a minority situation, the official opposition has a responsibility to behave in a responsible fashion and recognize that there has been ample debate on the issue.
This is legislation that makes a difference. Specifically, it will bring online streaming services under the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Act.
I made reference to the Broadcasting Act in a question I had posed a bit earlier. Things have changed. The last time there was any significant change made to the Broadcasting Act was in the early nineties, when Netflix, Disney+ and Crave did not exist. This legislation levels the playing field. Why should the mainstream CTVs and CBCs, whether with respect to radio or television, have to comply with CanCon, but those other platforms do not?
There is this thing called the Internet, which has changed the dynamic. If we look back at 1991, and then look 30 years later, many technological changes have taken place. I say that to emphasize to my Conservative friends that they should be living in the real world and should understand that because of those changes there is a need to modernize the legislation. That is what this bill does. It levels the playing field and modernizes the Broadcasting Act to ensure that Canadian content is available on the Internet in a very selective way. However, what it does not do is what the Conservatives are telling Canadians.
This is interesting. On Monday, I was speaking on the legislation and talking about the misinformation the Conservative Party continues to put on the record here in the House and also tells Canadians. When I commented on how the freedoms of Canadians would not be limited in any way whatsoever by Bill C-11, this is what the Conservative critic had to say.
Immediately following the comments I made, the member for Lethbridge stated:
There is nothing progressive about censorship. That is exactly what this bill is about. It is about censoring Canadians and what they can see, hear and post online. It is about censoring artists, whether they have access to an audience and to what extent that access is granted.
Let me give a clear indication of some of the comments that I made. I said, just before she spoke, talking about what is actually in the legislation, that Conservatives have to stop spreading misinformation, whether it is in the chamber or publicly.
I said that this bill would not “impose regulations on the content that everyday Canadians post on social media...impose regulations on Canadian digital content creators, influencers or users.”
Here is a big one. I said this to the member, who was listening attentively, because she was going to be speaking right after me: “It would not censor content or mandate specific algorithms on streaming services or social media platforms” or, and here is where I would like to underline it, “limit Canadians' freedom of expression in any way, shape or form.”
How much clearer can we be? Yet the member stands in her place and gives this misinformation.
One has to ask: why? What is the motivation of the Conservative Party? It is definitely not in the best interests of Canadians, I will say.
If it were in the best interests of Canadians, I suspect that Conservatives would approach Bill C-11 with, at the very least, a little bit more integrity and honesty. I suspect that one would see more sympathy toward our artists and creators and a basic understanding of the importance of modernizing the legislation. I would suggest that the Conservative Party is not doing what is in the interests of Canadians.
The Conservatives are appealing to that far right group of people from whom they are hoping to raise money. They are using this legislation as a fundraising tool. They are saying that it is about freedom, that the government is going to take away one's freedom, that it does not believe in freedom of speech and it is going to prevent people from uploading wonderful videos of their cat or dog or all of these wonderful things in their community.
They are telling Canadians that the Government of Canada is going to limit their freedoms and the only way to prevent that is to donate $5, $100 or $500 to the Conservative Party of Canada. That is their motivation. It is more about how they can use this to ratchet up the rhetoric to generate funds and to get people angry.
That is what this legislation is really about, according to the Conservative agenda. It is not about what is in the interests of the industry.
That is why I was so surprised with the behaviour of the Bloc today. In talking about the legislation, the Bloc has been fairly clear. It talks about how the industry, Canadian content, is so critically important.
If one has a love for the French language and wants to recognize Canada as a multicultural society and wants to see our heritage reflected as much as possible, through all forms of media, this is the type of legislation one should be getting behind, because it promotes French. It promotes Canadian culture and heritage. It puts in place more opportunities for Canadian artists, whether they are from my home province of Manitoba, the province of Quebec or any other jurisdiction.
We have some amazing talent in every region of our country. This legislation is going to support and enhance those opportunities for those Canadians to share that talent and to make a better living off those talents.
This bill would create opportunities for more employment in our communities. There are industries that are very much alive today as a direct result of policies like the Broadcasting Act and organizations like the CRTC that contribute to our heritage. We can follow the discussions and look at what is being said inside the chamber. The NDP; the Bloc, halfheartedly; and obviously the government have recognized the true value of the arts community in making up our identity and contributing in so many ways to our society.
I made reference just yesterday, or the day before, to Folklorama in Winnipeg. For that young artist who is provided the opportunity to perform in Folklorama in Winnipeg two weeks every summer, it is a beautiful place. Every member of the House should be visiting Folklorama, and I often talk about it inside the chamber. That young individual will be rehearsing throughout the year. It becomes a part of their identity, because they have a dream of being an artist, whether it is a singer, an actor or a combination thereof. Legislation such as this will enhance future opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
It is about levelling the playing field. It is about ensuring Canadian content, so there is a better reflection. I sure wish the Conservative Party would stop saying this, not only inside the House but more importantly outside the House. What the bill would not do is limit Canadians' freedom of expression in any way, shape or form. This is not a bill about freedom.
This is legislation that should have passed. It does not need to be thoroughly debated any more. We realize if we did not bring in closure on the legislation, the Conservative Party would continue to debate this legislation indefinitely. We would not be able to pass it in 2023 nor in all likelihood in 2024. That is the reason we have to bring in closure on this legislation.