Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was regional.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Bloc MP for Richmond—Wolfe (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Copyright Act March 13th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I would like to point out that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage held nearly 25 meetings, heard 68 witnesses, spent a total of85 hours on committee work, analyzed in excess of 190 briefs. It is unacceptable for Reform Party members to accuse committee members from the government and the official opposition alike of having done a poor job, of having botched this bill, especially when the hon. member saying so chose to absent himself from the committee and to practice empty-chair politics.

He has just voiced concerns about the amendment relating to photographers. I would remind him, since he had difficulty understanding that amendment, that I took my inspiration from the British copyright legislation. There has been much reference to copyrights in other countries. He ought to try to understand the amendment in the light of the British copyright legislation.

Today we must refuse any attempt to dispose of a major bill in its second review phase, which must be revised in five years.

This bill refers to collective societies, which represents authors and creators. We worked very hard on this major instrument, which is aimed at making it possible for these societies to speak with users and reach agreements with them. There is also a copyright board to govern the mechanisms.

I invite the Reform Party to rise above partisan politics and to give this bill a chance to survive, for the good of creators and users both.

This will be a great day if we manage to rise above political interests and to work strictly on behalf of authors and the cultural industry.

Copyright Act March 13th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I wish to intervene because what I am hearing is totally wrong, and people should not be allowed to say such utter nonsense.

First of all, this morning I took great pride in being in this House to consider Bill C-32 which concerns phase II of the copyright modernization process. For many years, the performing arts community has been waiting for this bill, and the government had to do something to update the existing legislation.

As I said this morning, in committee we worked long hours and heard more than 65 groups of witnesses from across Canada, people representing performers, radio, television and various educational institutions and museums. We did a very thorough job in committee because we felt that all the groups and associations that appeared before the committee had important things to say and some very specific recommendations to make.

We made a point of carefully listening to and considering what was said, bearing in mind the objective of Bill C-32 on copyright, which is to introduce new rights, including neighbouring rights, for performers, to add other mechanisms and forms of legal recourse for artists, and, as far as book distribution is concerned, to make some major changes to prevent parallel imports.

We also did a major job in committee when we considered this bill with all the amendments. The Bloc Quebecois alone proposed 75 amendments. The government also worked very hard on proposing amendments after hearing all these groups. However, I must say that while the committee worked very hard on this bill, the Reform Party members were conspicuous by their absence. They did not attend the discussions on the amendments, and were absent throughout the process of determining what was useful and what should be included in the bill. Today, they stand up and say that this bill was hastily cobbled together and that there were some last minute amendments.

I may recall that this bill goes beyond political considerations. This bill concerns performers and the very important cultural industry, and the official opposition will not tolerate members in this House criticizing the work of a committee and its approach, while they were conspicuous by their absence.

Today, people who worked with very specific objectives in mind are being accused of proceeding with undue haste and proposing amendments at the last minute. Speaking for the official opposition, I say no, that is not what happened.

I wanted today to be a memorable day in this House when, at last, the Copyright Act, which goes back to 1924, was revised the first time in 1988 and is aimed at serving the interests of creators and authors as well as the interests of those who use their works, will now follow the legislative process and move on to third reading.

I strongly urge the Reform Party to rise above its own partisan considerations and this attempt at obstruction, and work on this bill, instead of trying to make political mileage at the expense of creators, young people, students and our pages, no less. Talk about rhetoric!

Copyright Act March 13th, 1997


Motion No. 4

That Bill C-32, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing lines 33 to 41 on page 14 with the following:

"(2) A person who for private and domestic purposes commissions the taking of a photograph or the making of a film has, where copyright subsists in the resulting work, the right not to have a ) copies of the work issued to the public, b ) the work exhibited or shown in public, or c ) the work broadcast or included in a cable programme service, and a person who does or authorizes the doing of any of those acts, without the consent of the person who commissions the photograph or film, infringes that right.''

Madam Speaker, I take issue with some of the comments made by certain members of the Reform Party, which I found to be in extremely bad faith, especially with respect to the danger radio stations will face with the introduction of neighbouring rights.

The aim of neighbouring rights is to afford performing artists and production houses the protection enjoyed by the citizens of the countries that signed the Rome Convention and to ensure that performing artists and producers receive fair and equitable royalties when they work, whether they are interpreting the works of creators or authors or producing their own works.

This has long been awaited and requested by artists. They were totally forgotten in Quebec and Canada when 50 countries signed the Rome Convention, which provides artists with a salary. I do not need to remind this House, and particularly my Reform colleagues, that the average annual salary of artists is between $7,000 and $13,000 per year.

Our objective was to ensure that the introduction of neighbouring rights did not penalize certain stations with lower revenues or facing difficult financial situations. We in the official opposition would have preferred the government leave the matter with the Copyright Board. The government preferred to set a floor or a ceiling in order to exempt a number of radio stations.

Our Reform colleagues make no mention of this important element of the bill, which provides that radio stations with $1.25 million or less in advertising revenues will pay only $100 a year in neighbouring rights. When I hear our Reform colleagues talking about the risk of stations closing and of jobs being lost, I think that is bad faith.

Neighbouring rights, I remind you, are those paid to performers and producers. They have been ignored for decades, although they are recognized by over 50 countries. We must at least understand that there is a whole category of artists called performers, who work and are not getting paid. They get no return on their work, because it is played on the radio or elsewhere.

These people are entitled to a fair income for their work, like everyone in society who works and is paid a fair wage. I have a hard time understanding the Reform Party's objection to people living or trying to live off their work as artists. The Reformers are defending the radio stations at all cost, crying wolf, saying that neighbouring rights will force stations everywhere to close, causing a loss of jobs.

This is crying wolf, because, after evaluation-and my own and others' discussions with representatives of radio stations-this significant $1,250,000 exemption means that the bulk of stations will simply be charged $100 annually, which does not jeopardize them in any way. Let us be clear on this: it does not jeopardize them in any way, contrary to what the Reform Party claims.

I would like to focus particularly on the Bloc's amendment in Group No. 3 of motions, reminding the government that it is merely intended to ensure that photographers are recognized as the author, on the same footing as other creative artists are by the bill.

I would like to point out this extremely important aspect, because the photographers themselves have been trying to gain recognition as artists for decades.

I invite the government to support my amendment on this. There is even a museum of photography here in the national capital. We know how the magazines use professional photographers for exhibitions. We know how some photographers have earned international acclaim as artists on the basis of their works. How can it be that the government has not yet lent an ear to the photographers, and included them in the bill and recognized them as artists?

In order to ensure proper attention to this, the Bloc motion provides that, when a person has a series of photographs taken of the family, the children, etc, it is clearly stated that the person who pays the photographer has ownership of the photos and therefore owns the work, and not the photographer.

In all cases, however, where photographers take pictures with a view to displaying them as works of art, it strikes me as completely logical in 1997, after decades of efforts to gain recognition, that photographic artists finally be recognized in the bill.

We moved this amendment because the bill lacked any clause recognizing photographers as artists and creators, and I hope the government will support our amendment and give recognition to photographers.

Copyright Act March 13th, 1997

Madam Speaker, it is with considerable pride that I rise to speak today as official opposition critic for heritage and culture. I am proud because this is a bill which sets politics aside and addresses copyright. It addresses the moral and economic rights of creators over their works.

I would remind members that Bill C-32 is the second stage in an effort to update a law drafted in 1924, which was amended for the first time in 1988. This bill affects creators and authors who have waited years to see their rights finally modernized and brought into

line with the economic and cultural activities of modern society, including the use of new technologies.

In 1988, phase I of the bill, the review phase, extended copyright protection to computer programs. It also gave creators additional moral rights over their works. In addition, it modernized the Copyright Appeal Board, now known as the Copyright Board.

Finally, in 1988, an extremely pivotal development took place: collective societies were recognized. There was recognition of the right of authors and creators to be represented by an organization that, through its efforts, would oversee the use of authors' and creators' works, collect royalties and levies and distribute them to artists. This recognition of collective societies is becoming important. We will see in the latest phase, Bill C-32, how this collective society was an issue when the bill was being studied.

Between 1988 and 1994, there were several amendments to the Copyright Act so that the government could meet its obligations under the free trade agreements, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.

Finally, last April, the government, in response to pressure from the official opposition, tabled Bill C-32 in phase II of the review process and, in so doing, introduced some new and very important rights called neighbouring rights, which are granted to performers and producers. Performers' rights had not yet been recognized, although they are recognized in 50 countries which signed what is known as the Rome Convention. Canada dragged its feet but finally decided in the course of this session to table this bill and introduce neighbouring rights.

It also set up what is referred to as a private copying compensation system. When the committee held its hearings, many groups came to submit their briefs and talk to committee members. As we all know, tape-recording for personal use is common practice. Even the Consumers' Association of Canada agreed. Everyone copies music and songs on tapes. Everyone records tapes, people pass them along, and so forth. Everyone agreed this was common practice.

In its bill, the government introduced a compensation system for private copying, which finally recognizes the rights of creators and authors by collecting a levy directly from the manufacturer. This levy will be redistributed as a kind of basic salary among all creators and authors, which we think is only fair. Later on I will tell you how many millions of dollars performers lose as a result of pirating alone.

The bill also establishes book distribution rights for Canada, thereby strengthening the position of our book distributors, which is most welcome as a way to protect our culture. Finally, it improves procedures with respect to the avenues of legal recourse available to performers and to the applicable sanctions in case of fraud or if users refuse to comply with the law and pay royalties to the authors and creators who need this income to survive.

The average performer's salary is between $7,000 and $14,000, depending on whether the performer is a performing artist, a singer, a composer, an author or something else.

So this was a much needed improvement. However, there was a big black cloud hovering over this bill: the exceptions.

When copyright legislation is drafted so that authors and creators can make a living wage by collecting royalties, that is fine. But when the bill goes on to explain for pages and pages that authors and creators are not entitled to royalties in the case of cegeps, colleges, educational institutions, libraries, and many other sectors that are exempted from paying copyright, I think this is a very black cloud indeed. I will get back to this later on when we consider the amendments.

Bill C-32, phase II, is most welcome. It is welcomed by the entire artistic community, particularly in the case of neighbouring rights, by performers, including Quebec performers, whose work is played in francophone countries and who receive no royalties because Canada is not one of the 50 signatories of the Rome Convention.

With respect to neighbouring rights, let us recall that the Bloc Quebecois had called upon the government to table this bill and made a commitment to support it, provided it made specific reference to neighbouring rights.

We have respected that commitment and will continue today to support the government's bill, with its extremely important dimension for all artists: neighbouring rights.

As for private copying, and all this piracy using blank tapes, let us recall that what the government is introducing in the bill is a royalty charged directly to the manufacturer, which eventually becomes a salary for the artists.

This measure will enable artists, who are literally being robbed by illegal copying, to receive what is termed a fair share of what is owed to them.

I would like to remind you that, throughout the committee stage, the Bloc Quebecois brought in a series of amendments. I wish to congratulate my committee colleagues, for we accomplished a huge task. First of all, we received, heard and exchanged views with over 65 groups, who came to testify before the committee. I must say that all of my colleagues on the committee listened to the evidence and asked questions with a very open mind, particularly in the search to enhance the objectives of the bill. I wish to again congratulate them on their work in committee.

I would, however, like to draw the government's attention to the amendments presented by the Bloc, and to point out that it would be important to support the amendments we are presenting at the report stage, simply because they concern the interests of authors and creators, not the political interests of one party, but the interests of authors and creators.

I invite the government to support the Bloc Quebecois amendments.

Supply March 12th, 1997

Madam Speaker, first of all, I would like to invite the hon. member to travel not only to Montreal, but also to other, more remote and typical, regions of Quebec. But it is hard to get a feel for the situation from a distance.

I think that, by coming to Ottawa, the Bloc Quebecois has been able to make all English Canadians from the other provinces aware of what is really going on in Quebec. The democratic will of the people was expressed in the last referendum, and might I remind you 49.4 per cent voted yes. That is not insignificant. It is almost a tie. I think, therefore, that many Quebecers have exercised their democratic right to express their opinion.

Supply March 12th, 1997

How much time do I have left to answer, Madam Speaker?

Supply March 12th, 1997

Madam Speaker, in Quebec, there is an expression which goes something like this: Since we are in a mess anyway, why not go all the way. This is unbelievable.

During the debate on the issue before us today, I heard the member for Outremont sing the praises of regional development as if there had been no regional development until he came along. I would like to remind him of three very important facts.

First, the Quebec government has been concerned with regional development for more than 30 years. The Quebec government has long demanded of the Government of Canada that it be the only one involved in its own regional development.

Let us not forget that when we came here in 1993, the Office of Federal Economic Development and the Business Development Bank of Canada already existed in Quebec and the economic development agreements had already been in existence for two decades.

The Office of Federal Economic Development was merely a division of the Department of Industry. There was no parent legislation governing it, as is the case for western economic diversification and ACOA in the maritimes, or even for FedNor in northern Ontario.

What did we do when we got here? In 1993, we immediately tried to determine who was responsible for regional development. It was a certain minister of Finance. In this House, even if we asked the government about its regional development activities, there was absolutely no decision making, no dialogue with Quebec and no answers to Quebec's very simple requests concerning regional development.

Quebec has always said to the federal government: "Just transfer the money and tax points, because regional development is our concern".

Having been asked for a while, but to no avail, who was responsible for regional development, the federal government was suddenly inspired and decided to change the focus of the industry legislation. I remember. It was Bill C-46.

This change of focus also changed all of FORD's objectives, which became directly related to the Department of Industry. For the first time, we had a real minister in charge of development. Who was it? None other than the Minister of Industry, who comes from Ontario. This confirmed that Ontario had been made responsible for regional development in Quebec.

We were slightly embarrassed by that situation naturally, so at the next cabinet shuffle, our colleague, the member for Outremont, was called upon to help the Liberals save face. Our colleague from Outremont could be seen in the windows of the 13 regional development offices, handing out Canadian flags along with the cheques attesting to the federal government's involvement in regional development. But all this was very much out of line with Quebec's traditional demands.

On this point, I would like to bring back to your attention one provision of Bill C-46. When the Department of Industry was restructured, they said it would have the authority to design, recommend, co-ordinate, manage, promote and implement programs and activities associated with regional economic development in Quebec. The Ontario minister was given the power to interfere directly in Quebec's regional development. Not only could he do so directly, but bills like those concerning the Department of Industry, the Federal Office of Regional Development and the Federal Bank contained provisions giving him the right to bypass Quebec and deal directly with stakeholders, even at the level of school boards and municipalities.

I would like to know where our colleague, the member for Bonaventure-îles-de-la-Madeleine, was when Quebec underwent a major decentralization as the result of a political choice. Let me remind him of the extensive consultations undertaken so that all the regions could participate in the development of strategic plans. In Quebec, each region has prepared strategic plans for its regional development, that way we can be certain that all regions actually do develop.

Why? Because traditionally the regional development coming from Ottawa had a tendency to be focused on the central regions. In the last decade of the ERDA, over 40 per cent of the money was invested in the Montreal and Quebec City areas, that is to say in the central regions, the reasoning being that if these regions developed, the others would benefit also. But the reverse happened. Development left the regions for the central areas.

It was always that way, because in the minds of regional development officials in Ottawa, a province is a region, it is as simple as that. In Quebec, however, we know full well, in the area of regional development, that we have five administrative regions and 95 regional county municipalities working together to channel development according to social, economic and cultural priorities. This government has always refused to acknowledge the expertise that Quebec acquired in the area of regional development.

How can the government say it has a regional development strategy when it refuses to even consider the strategies developed by the various regions of Quebec in their strategic plans.

It is not we who pushed the idea all the way to the regional secretariat, it was Minister Picotte himself, then in the Liberal Bourassa government, who said: "The regional partnership structure will extend to strategic plans, to ensure that all government departments that inject money into the regions do so in accordance with regional development plans". That is what development partnership is all about, but the federal government refused to listen.

As evidence of this, I just want to point out something, because I heard my colleague from Outremont, who deals with regional development, say that Quebec refused to sign some agreements. Speaking of agreements, I would like to remind him-I just want to relate this little anecdote because it is priceless-that we signed a regional development agreement in the summer of 1994, but that the federal government refused to sign it, using the political context as an excuse and arguing that it had just signed during that same week an agreement in another area of jurisdiction. It said that two agreements were too much.

When my colleague from Outremont says that Quebec did not want to sign, it did so according to some very clear directions. I recall very clearly that Minister Chevrette, who was responsible for regional development, and his colleague, Louise Beaudoin, of Intergovernmental Affairs, had told the government that they wanted to sign the agreement providing its implementation were

deferred by one year. They wanted all regional development policies in this agreement to fit in with regional development, regional secretariats and regional development agreements.

At that time, the finance minister and his officials rejected the agreement. If it is not signed today, it is simply because the federal government does not want to recognize Quebec's jurisdiction and continues to clearly demonstrate its determination to centralize and to subject Quebec's regional development to national standards as part of a national blueprint that does not take into account Quebec's strategic plans and the prime objectives of regional development.

That is what this government is doing in terms of regional development. All federal legislation uses this wording that gives the minister the right to bypass the regions and the Quebec government and deal directly with stakeholders.

Copyright March 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to confirm that 75 per cent of plays are unpublished and therefore unavailable in book stores. Does the minister not find it indecent to deprive authors of their rights on the pretext that their works are not available in book stores, when50 per cent of them barely earn $7,500 a year?

Copyright March 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak to you.

Last December 11, the Canadian heritage committee reached an agreement to protect copyrights. The Liberal members proposed amendments demanded by the Bloc Quebecois to seal off the gaping holes in copyright protection that were left in the original version of the legislation. Some people at Industry Canada, however, got all upset about the modifications, despite the fact that they were justified.

My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. With the government's tabled amendments concerning copyright just hours old, can the minister assure artists that she has managed to convince her colleague at Industry Canada that their rights are more important than the egos of Industry Canada employees, and that they will be protected?

Tobacco Act March 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by reminding my colleague of what he just said, about being disappointed, about being shocked, about the media being used to underline the impact of the bill on events and economic activities, about how people are going around attracting attention.

The actions of his own colleague, the Minister of Health, have been raised in the House, and this is in the hands of the Speaker. Even before the bill has been passed, the minister has filled pages in the newspapers with his references to the "act", not the "bill" but the "act". He is referring to Bill C-71 as though it were already enacted. What is shocking is not so much that people are attracting attention, but that a minister is using the word "act" when the bill has not even been passed here in Parliament. That is what is shocking, not the other way around.

I would like to remind members that not only did the official opposition vote in favour of the principle of the bill at second reading, but that it worked in committee and presented no fewer than 32 amendments in order to take a proactive stance in the fight against smoking. What did the government do? It rejected our amendments. It did not see the worth of our proactive amendments to combat smoking, did not think they could be useful to it. Why? Because it rejects everything out of hand. This government is intransigent and rejects the contribution of others out of hand.

The other extremely important point is that we tried to draw this government's attention to the direct consequences of $30 million in economic spinoffs for events, not in order to distract it from the fight against smoking, and to get it to see that in many countries provision has been made for transition. It is possible to negotiate, to allow transitional measures.

Australia did and France is preparing to relax its bill to make an exception for major events. Austria is doing likewise. In Hungary, an exception is made for major events. In Belgium, a bill has just been introduced that makes an exception for sports and related events. This government has demonstrated its intransigence in this regard and it is here that we would like to see the government take a more responsible attitude.