House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Copyright Modernization Act November 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I also want to share concerns from my area. A couple of universities are in my riding, Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen University.

My colleague has quite a bit of experience as he was a professor at a university. Would he comment briefly on the impact this legislation would have on educators and students?

Copyright Modernization Act November 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. We have been pushing to work with the government, not only on this bill but many other bills, co-operatively to look at solutions and how we can move forward as a country, whether it is on the omnibus bill, the gun registry or the Senate reform.

The NDP has put forward a number of amendments and solutions. We need to have a balanced approach. I would agree with what my colleague has said, that we need to have that balanced approach.

Copyright Modernization Act November 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is funny that the member talked about jobs. We have lost 72,000 jobs in the last month and that is because of economic inaction on the government's part. We have been encouraging the government to get an economic policy in place so that we can generate jobs. I am glad the member is talking about jobs. Small businesses are the ones that generate jobs in this country. They are the drivers of our economic engine and yet the government will be raising taxes on small businesses beginning in the new year.

I want to answer the member's question very briefly. We need to take a balanced approach. I urge my colleagues to work with the NDP so that we can have a balanced copyright modernization act.

Copyright Modernization Act November 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.

This bill is a redirection of Bill C-32 from the last Parliament, that contains sweeping changes to our copyright laws and it has received a huge amount of opposition. I have received hundreds of letters from my riding, which I will talk about later.

The copyright modernization act in this country is long overdue. There is no doubt about that. Changes need to be made. Unfortunately, my Conservative colleagues have taken the wrong approach on this and the result is that Bill C-11 is filled with holes and problems. Conservatives could have used the expert opinions heard in committee to help draft this legislation or they could have followed the findings of their own consultations in 2009. Instead, as we have seen many times, they ignored the facts, and they have also ignored the facts from the experts, and ended up reintroducing fundamentally flawed legislation. This does not reflect the best interests of Canadians and might end up doing more harm than good.

I have received hundreds of letters from my constituents and talked to a number of them over the phone. Here are some of their concerns. They say that their rights are trumped by an all-encompassing protection for digital locks and that the empty circumvention provisions included in Bill C-11 give too much power to corporate copyright owners to exercise absolute control over Canadians' interaction with media and technology. The letters say that they are concerned about the bill's unintended consequences generated by the broad protection for digital locks and they do not want to hand control of Canadian digital rights over to corporations.

I am going to read some of their names so their opposition to this bill will be recorded in this House. I received letters opposing Bill C-11 from: Christopher Madge, Tyler Goulding, Kyle Geddes, Nick Gailloux, H. Hinkel, Michael Leung, Philip Qumsieh, David Martin, David Lysne, Lance Hathaway, Reg Natarajan, Darya Smirnow, Quinton Weir, Bill Dagoe, Rod Kovacs, Amanpreet Bains, Vah Jazle, Luke Zukowski, Alex Weatherston, Michael Ross, Daryl Christensen, Owen Morley, Sally Hawkins, Colinda Lovely, Ross Smirnov and Gloria Maria Fredette.

These people are moms and pops, consumers, educators, professionals. They come from different backgrounds. They cover a very wide perspective in opposition to Bill C-11.

I responded to these constituents by telling them that New Democrats believe strongly that Canada's copyright legislation needs to be brought into a digital age, that we need to fix this. There is no doubt about it, from this side of the House, and we have pushed to make this happen. Members have heard the speeches we have made here this afternoon and no Conservative is speaking up on this particular bill. New Democrats share the concerns. I share the concerns that my constituents have shared with me and that is why I am speaking here today, on their behalf.

New Democrats believe that access for consumers and remuneration for artists are crucial to copyright in a digital environment. Rights that are guaranteed to citizens under existing copyright legislation should not be overridden. Furthermore, we oppose the digital lock provisions that go well beyond our obligation under the WIPO copyright treaty.

Another concern is that this bill offers consumers rights they will not be able to exercise. The blanket provisions for digital locks would allow corporate interests to decide what legal rights people may or may not exercise, which would ultimately hurt artists, educators, students and, of course, many other consumers.

Unless the government is willing to amend the digital lock provisions and restore royalty provisions for artists, frankly, I cannot support Bill C-11. There are measures within the bill that New Democrats cannot support and measures that we can support. We would like to see this deeply flawed piece of legislation improved and I request that of my colleagues opposite.

We would like to amend the digital lock provisions to make sure that there is a balance between the rights of creators to protect their work and the rights of consumers to access content to which they are legally entitled. We want to make sure that students and educators have fair access to works in the classroom. I encourage the minister and members of the government to listen to the concerns of citizens across this country. Educators, students, artists and many others are writing letters, signing petitions and speaking out against the glaring problems contained in this flawed legislation, Bill C-11.

There are many groups validating our position: the Writers Guild of Canada; the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada; and over 80 arts and cultural organizations from Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario and across the country. I encourage my colleagues to listen to their concerns so that we can make amendments that make sense for Canadians and we can have a balanced bill that works in the best interests of Canada.

We need to create a fair royalty system for creators, one that supports the digital economy and the creation of creative content by Canadians. Copyright laws in Canada can balance the right of creators to be compensated fairly for their work and the right of consumers, educators and students to have reasonable access to copyrighted content.

We need to make our copyright laws better, there is no doubt. New Democrats are willing to work with the Conservatives to move this copyright bill into the 21st century. I urge my colleagues to listen to the suggestions that we have offered to amend the bill and make it better, so that we can move into the new digital age.

Copyright Modernization Act November 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, over the last six months I have heard a number of debates in the House. From what I have seen in the last six months, the Conservatives are against small businesses because they will be increasing taxes. They are against veterans because they cut their funding. With this bill, it would appear they are against the consumers. Could my hon. colleague elaborate on that?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP has received a gag order from the Minister of Public Safety. Now all RCMP public comments must be vetted first by the minister's office. This will interfere with the independence of the RCMP and their ability to comment on anything the minister thinks is controversial. The government's answer to future RCMP scandal is to muzzle their ability to talk to Canadians.

Why the gag order? Does the minister have something to hide?

Public Safety November 14th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, last week, we learned just how badly the government is failing families living along our coastlines. Despite years of warnings, the government has not done a single review of whether the RCMP has what it needs to keep our ports safe. There is no national strategy. No one knows if the RCMP fleet is even strong enough.

Does the government's so-called tough on crime agenda include ignoring port safety? Why is it failing to protect families along the coastlines?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 14th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, that answer shows that they have been asleep at the wheel. Every day more female officers are coming forward with stories of systemic sexual harassment at the RCMP. It has become so bad that a former RCMP spokesperson says she would not recommend any women opt for a career in the RCMP. If women complain, they get blacklisted. Their only way out is to take sick leave. The harassment complaint procedure is not working in the RCMP.

When will the government act to ensure that Canadian women can safely enter a career in the RCMP?

Public Safety November 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, according to the annual Corrections report, under the government's watch, things are getting worse in Canadian prisons. Our prisons are more crowded than ever. Offenders with mental health problems are simply put in solitary confinement with no access to treatment programs.

Conservative mismanagement is putting Corrections staff at risk and leading to more violence in our prisons.

When will the government stop with these photo ops and actually address these serious public safety concerns?

Public Safety November 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, B.C. has now joined the list of provinces upset about paying for the Conservatives' prison agenda. Provinces want to invest in front line police officers so we can have safer communities. However, the government is shortchanging the provinces. We know who will pay for it, B.C. families.

Why will the government not let provinces like B.C. have a say in how they are going to spend their own money? When will the Conservatives finally reveal the full cost of their out of touch prison agenda?