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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was cbc.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Mississauga East—Cooksville (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2008, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation June 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in the next few minutes, I would like to comment on the motion presented by the Reform member for Calgary Southeast. It is Motion No. 278, which advocates the partial or total privatization of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

First of all, I want to say that my colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, is not considering any privatization of the CBC. This corporation was created in 1936 by the Liberal government of the day especially to give Canadians control over broadcasting in Canada.

Even today, the CBC remains the cornerstone of Canadian broadcasting policy. The present Liberal government also considers this national public broadcaster to be essential.

The CBC has followed the evolution of our country over the decades and today its importance justifies its continuing to receive public funding. After all, it is thanks to the CBC that Canadians get to know one another better and stay in touch locally, regionally, nationally and with the whole world.

The previous government had an addiction to privatization. It even had in hand a resolution passed by its party membership calling for the complete privatization of the CBC, but it too recognized that this was not a viable option. It was also the Mulroney government that took a scalpel to the corporation and forced some very painful surgery. In an interview given shortly after his appointment the Minister of Canadian Heritage described such treatment as de facto privatization.

Our new government made a clear commitment prior to the October election. We committed to stop forcing the CBC into anorexic behaviour in recognition of the vital role it plays as a national cultural institution. We also committed to finding the right means of providing the corporation with stable, multiyear funding.

Just three months after the election, on February 3, the government made its first stride toward meeting our commitment. At that time the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced a strategy for the CBC designed to give the corporation the capacity to plan for the future with confidence and to be the distinct Canadian voice we need as we continue to forge our national identity.

The first step in this strategy was the Prime Minister's announcement of a new president for the CBC. With the appointment of Anthony Manera, the CBC can continue to benefit from the talents of an individual with a distinguished career both within the corporation and beyond. I beg to differ with the hon. member. I understand Mr. Manera has appeared twice before the committee and has been very forthcoming.

Mr. Manera's commitment to the ideals of public broadcasting and his intimate understanding of the challenges facing the corporation were among the attributes which earned him the reins of our most important cultural institution.

While the previous government's commitments are still filed under fiction our government has taken decisive action to achieve our commitment to stable, multiyear funding.

The government has already announced that it does not intend to impose new cuts on the CBC over the next five years. It is prepared to reprofile the cuts announced in April 1993 so that they can be more easily digested by the CBC. In effect this reprofiling represents an investment of $100 million from the consolidated revenue fund as the program cuts will start to be implemented in 1996-97 rather than 1995-96.

In addition to this reprieve the government has also recognized that the corporation needs more businesslike flexibility. This is being provided through the CBC's new power to borrow up to $25 million under highly specified circumstances and with the case by case approval of the Minister of Finance.

Most recently the minister announced his intention to consult with his colleagues, the new CBC president, and other players in the industry to identify other revenue generating mechanisms for the CBC which could lead to a reduction in the corporation's dependence on commercial advertising revenues. The minister also confirmed recently that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage of the House would undertake the review.

These commitments are consistent with the government's desire to give the corporation some flexibility in terms of its strategic orientation.

This government believes that instead of taking financial resources from public broadcasting for the benefit of private broadcasting, as the Reform Party's privatization proposal suggests, we must try to find ways to do the opposite.

With the advent of many television services, all private, the government must mobilize resources for the public sector and for the production and dissemination of Canadian programs. In this multi-channel world, the government must ensure the survival of the distinctive Canadian voice which the CBC represents.

That said, this government believes that the goal of redistributing resources for the benefit of the national public broadcaster can only be achieved through a public process in which parliamentarians, the general public and all concerned can participate.

The government is mindful of the concern felt by all Canadians about the economic situation we are currently facing. Our strategy for the CBC is based on a shared approach. We have granted the CBC important tools designed to restore financial stability and provide the corporation with a clear planning horizon. At the same time we have made clear to the CBC that our financial flexibility is severely limited and that we have expectations on how the CBC will manage its affairs.

Specifically the minister has notified the new president that the CBC would be expected to eliminate its structural shortfall and to absorb other costs, inflationary or otherwise, which may be required to carry out its operations. The government has asked that the CBC's development of a new corporate plan

remain faithful to the objective of maintaining its regional presence and existing radio services.

These restrictions were deemed necessary in light of the unique and highly prized reputation of CBC radio services and the corporation's ability to serve national and regional audiences. We recognize the CBC is being asked to scale many challenges. We expect the corporation will have to adapt aspects of its operations. Over the course of the next several months the CBC will be on the receiving end of many suggestions about what kind of changes Canadians would be prepared to see undertaken.

Nevertheless the uncertainty which has prevented the corporation from planning beyond the current fiscal year has been eliminated. It is now possible for the corporation to take long term decisions and make multiyear commitments or investments aimed at improving the efficiency of the corporation.

The most important result of these efficiencies is that they will allow the CBC to maximize its investment in the kind of quality Canadian programming we expect and need from CBC. It may be interesting to note that while technology has changed the issues and principles related to public broadcasting remained largely unchanged since the genesis of the CBC and its mandate.

The royal commission on radio broadcasting examined the possibility of establishing a Canadian public broadcasting corporation for radio in 1929. This commission, the Aird commission, stressed that a public broadcasting system should provide national coverage and varied programming which would be informative, educational and entertaining.

These principles have been echoed repeatedly in the parliamentary committee hearings, task forces and royal commissions dealing with broadcasting in 1951, 1957, 1963 and 1986 and they remain as relevant today as they were 60 years ago.

The Canadian broadcasting system is definitely characterized by a fair sharing of-

Convention On The Rights Of The Child June 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 33(2), I have the pleasure to present to this House, in both official languages, the first Canadian report to the United Nations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act June 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in an ever-changing world where money is tight, we must make it our duty to expend boundless imagination in discharging our responsibilities towards Canadians.

The loan guarantee program put forward by our government flows from a lengthy analysis of the requirements of the film and video industry and is a clear indication of our commitment to dole Canadian taxpayers money out sparingly to maximize their return on investment.

A fledgling industry 20 years ago, the Canadian independent film and video industry has grown into a major employer which produces high quality entertainment programs.

The economic significance of the film and video industry is beyond doubt. Since 1980, 700 per cent growth was recorded in this industry, with a similar growth in employment, as shown by 1993 figures from Statistics Canada according to which the industry provided over 51,600 direct and indirect jobs, which translated in terms of direct and indirect benefits, into a contribution to the gross domestic product in excess of $1.8 billion.

The growth of the film and video industry is linked mostly to the federal government's support policies and programs in this area. The federal government has a dual responsibility. First, not to endanger 20 years of constant efforts to develop an industry whose growth prospects are not in doubt and second, to continue to act in an efficient manner by taking budget constraints into account.

The Loan Guarantee Program proposed by the government meets these criteria for it is fiscally neutral for the government while providing easier access to interim financing for television programs and films produced by Canadian companies.

Historically, Canadian financial institutions did not help finance the film and video industry mainly because of their unfamiliarity with the industry and its commercial practices. We think a $25 million Loan Guarantee Program could generate, if used to its full potential, up to $143 million in film and video production activity and up to $300 in the Canadian economy as a whole.

The Loan Guarantee Program proposed today demonstrates the government's commitment to protecting Canadian cultural sovereignty while promoting optimum use of Telefilm Canada resources and expertise. It also meets specific needs by optimizing the performance of available resources and fostering a promising business partnership.

It also shows our confidence in the Canadian film and video industry and its entrepreneurs who, as we know, support our initiative. It is through this type of measure that the government intends to promote the development of a growing industry in the best interests of Canadian culture and unity. We think this program will be successful and are even considering extending the concept to other cultural industries.

Festival Franco-Ontarien June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, that a grant of $300,000 will be awarded over two years, that is, 1994-95 and 1995-96. Of this, $180,000 will go to the Festival's basic activities and $120,000 will be to help make the Festival financially self-sufficient.

I would remind my colleagues that the Festival franco-ontarien will open on June 21, which more or less coincides with the end of this session. It therefore offers an excellent opportunity to celebrate the success of this session of Parliament.

Young Offenders Act June 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the task force on the Canadian magazine industry released its report on March 24. The task force recommended that a new excise tax be applied to split run magazines distributed in Canada. The task force also recommended that split run that would have been subject to the tax as of the date of the report should be exempt for the number of issues published in the year preceding the report.

We welcome the report of the task force. This is a priority for the government and we intend to respond in a way which will safeguard the economic foundations of the Canadian magazine industry.

As the Minister of Canadian Heritage stated in this House on the day the report was released, it will be important to consult with interested parties before the government presents any new policy before this House.

The government confirms its commitment to a long-established strategic objective aimed at protecting the financial basis of the Canadian magazine industry.

To reach this objective, the government uses instruments that promote channelling advertising revenue to Canadian magazines, since to be viable, a Canadian magazine industry must have a sound financial basis.

The establishment of split-run Canadian regional editions of foreign titles which contain advertising aimed at Canadian markets is thus not consistent with the policy because revenues from advertising directed at Canadians flow to these editions of foreign titles.

The government is thus committed to ensuring that Canadians have access to Canadian ideas and information through genuinely Canadian periodicals, while not restricting the sale of foreign periodicals in Canada. It will be in light of these policy objectives that the government is studying the task force report to determine its response.

Canadian Vietnam Veterans Memorial June 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to take note of the member's question and will relay his request to the minister.

D-Day June 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 50th anniversary of the allied invasion of Europe.

On June 6, 1944 Canadian troops joined allied forces in their attack on the coast of Normandy. Canada was a full partner in the D-Day landings, with units of the Third Canadian Infantry Division and the Fourth Canadian Armoured Brigade. Over 50 ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and 37 squadrons of aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force took part in the attack.

For Canadians, remembering D-Day is a very emotional experience. Our veterans recall what they went through fifty years ago, and today, they remember their comrades who fell in action.

Canadians must never forget the courage and sacrifices of those who, in the name of freedom, changed the course of history in the twentieth century.

Government Contracts June 2nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am glad that the members from the Bloc Quebecois, like the government, is concerned about the faith of minority French-language communities. The Bloc is making interesting promises to these communities, but whether they will be carried out remains to be seen.

There is no doubt, however, that the federal government is supporting these communities, and the official languages policy already provides them with a lot more than this political party which is only passing through Ottawa can promise them.

It is in the vital field of education that the federal government contributes most significantly to the development of minority communities.

In Ontario alone we have contributed approximately $334 million in the last five years for the teaching of our official languages, of which $200 million went for minority official language education for nearly 100,000 young francophones of this province, thus contributing to reducing dropout rates in illiteracy as well as increasing participation in post-secondary education.

To these amounts we have added a contribution of $50 million over the next five years to help establish a network of three post-secondary colleges for the French speaking minority of this province. This includes La Cité collégiale in Ottawa.

We also fund francophone community associations throughout this province that are active in community development.

Several members of this government will attend the ACFO convention and I would like to remind my colleague from the Official Opposition that government members meet, on a regular basis, with representatives of minority communities, from all over the country, to discuss concrete measures.

Our commitment to these communities goes much beyond simple rhetoric. We will continue to work in partnership with them to ensure their full development.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act May 30th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Are there questions and comments?

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act May 30th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the government of Canada is pleased today to propose to the members of this House amendments to the present Canadian Film Development Corporation Act, in order to create a loan guarantee program that will give companies in the Canadian film and video industry easier access to sources of private funding.

This program, which is the outcome of a very detailed analysis of the needs of the Canadian film and video industry, will allow better management of public funds without involving the federal government in any additional expenditure. It will be managed by one of our major national cultural institutions, Telefilm Canada, and will guarantee loans totalling $25 million annually.

The program, in fact, will be an invaluable financial incentive contributing to the growth of the Canadian film and video industry. Its objective is clear and its scope considerable: to encourage our financial institutions to become better acquainted with this industry and devote more of their resources to funding Canadian production and distribution companies. For it must be said that the financial institutions have always been reluctant to participate in funding companies of this type, because they were unfamiliar with the cultural sector and considered intellectual property as inadequate security from a financial perspective.

In recent years, the financial position of the film and video industry has been affected by the continuing decline in resources available from both public and private sectors. Telefilm Canada's annual resources will shrink by some $195 million, or 22 per cent, over the period from 1992-1993 to 1997-1998.

On the one hand, the banks are not co-operating as much as they might and, on the other hand, government funding has consistently fallen. If this trend continues-and there is little chance of a turnaround in the foreseeable future-production will decline and this will inhibit the government's efforts to ensure that Canadian cultural products of quality are available on our own market.

The time for action is now. Change is necessary if Canada's cultural industries are to establish themselves in the new cultural landscape that is now taking shape. They have always had to deal with the proximity of the "American giant" whose vital mass culture assures worldwide success.

Ours is one of the most open cultural markets on earth. While this is certainly enriching for all Canadians, such openness also represents a threat to our own creative artists. We cannot allow our national culture to be marginalized in our own domestic market, or fail to provide it with every opportunity to prosper in foreign markets.

The loan guarantee program is an innovative solution to this problem. As well as demonstrating this government's commitment to protecting our cultural sovereignty, it aims to diversify the funding sources of a fast growing industry and foster good business relations with new financial partners.

The situation is especially pressing in that a study conducted in 1992 reveals that the growth of the Canadian film and video industry is limited by chronic lack of access to sources of interim financing. It is difficult, even impossible, for Canadian film and video companies to obtain from the banks the funding they need for their activities when their only guarantee is a letter of intent from a broadcaster or distributor.

The contract signed on the basis of these guarantees are worth an estimated $70 million to $100 million a year. This shows how important they really are. Once it is in place, the loan guarantee program will rectify what has been a problem to the industry and could generate up to $143 million in activities related to film and video production and create several thousand jobs.

The Canadian film and video industry which barely existed 20 years ago has experienced phenomenal growth and is now a major employer and a producer of high quality entertainment programs.

The figures speak for themselves in this regard. The total revenue of this industry, despite fluctuations from year to year, rose from $122 million in 1980 to more than $835 million in 1992, with the number of direct and indirect jobs totalling more than 50,000 in 1992.

According to Statistics Canada, the revenue from exports of film and broadcast products jumped by $210 million from 1980 to 1989 to reach $230 million. There is no doubt that this is a vital and viable sector of Canada's economy. The loan guarantee program could not come at a better time to stimulate the growth

of a dynamic Canadian industry and to establish a relationship of trust between cultural enterprises and financial institutions.

It is possible to hope for better co-operation between the cultural and financial sectors and over the long term reduce dependency of the cultural sector on public funding. This is the objective of this legislation.

The risk is small. Any potential losses will be covered by a reserve fund established with Telefilm's current parliamentary appropriations and the user fees levied from recipients. Telefilm Canada will subject applications for loan guarantees to close scrutiny using strict criteria to ensure that only promising projects submitted by solvent companies receive such assistance.

This is the first step in that direction. It is not unthinkable that the Government of Canada, if it considered it appropriate, would contemplate extending this program to the publishing and sound recording industries which also suffer from chronic under funding and the same lack of understanding on the part of financial institutions.

The minister has asked the officials in his department to study this possibility. In a way it would be a question of applying the same tried and tested solution to a similar problem. The challenges of the 1990s must be met with the solutions of the 1990s. The importance of the cultural sector, both in terms of strengthening our national identity and the economy, calls for judicial changes to the structures already in place, especially at a time when borders are fading and it has become imperative to preserve everything that makes us unique as a country.

The loan guarantee program partakes of such a vision and attests to the government's commitment, set out in the red book, to promote Canada's cultural development. It is an innovative, effective and economic tool that will contribute to the prosperity of one of our most flourishing cultural industries, enhance the production of quality Canadian cultural products and enable banks to better understand the needs of Canadian cultural enterprises.