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  • His favourite word is code.

Liberal MP for Charlottetown (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Heritage April 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the important contribution of Acadians, francophones, and indigenous peoples to our history.

We also recognize that CBC/Radio-Canada is an independent crown corporation and that it would not be appropriate to comment on the content of the series given that we have to ensure its independence. We invite people to address those important concerns to CBC/Radio-Canada.

Canadian Heritage April 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, for us, the 150th anniversary of Canada is an opportunity to reflect on our past and to tell the different stories that shaped our identity.

Everyone knows that the CBC is an independent crown corporation. Out of respect for its independence, we should refrain from commenting on the content of this series.

Our government is particularly sensitive to and recognizes the important contribution of Acadians, francophones and aboriginal peoples to our history. Canadians are encouraged to keep this important conversation going.

P.E.I. Burger Love April 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it being April, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and inform the House that PEI Burger Love has returned to the island.

Every April since 2011, island restaurants have offered their own special burgers, made with 100% island beef and topped with fresh and imaginative ingredients. Last year, over 163,000 burgers were sold, more burgers than there are islanders, resulting in a whopping $2.2 million dollars in sales in just 30 days.

The annual event is followed fanatically. Many compete to see who can try the most burgers, and restaurants vie to win the crown of best burger. With 84 participating locations this year, it is safe to say that Canada's food island is thriving, thanks to our farmers, to our chefs, to our restaurateurs, and, most of all, to islanders.

P.E.I. is all about beaches in the summer, but this month it is all Burger Love, all the time.

Juno Awards April 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this weekend Canadian music took centre stage as our nation's capital welcomed and celebrated some of Canada's most prolific musical talent at the 2017 Juno Awards.

Canada is blessed to have so many talented artists who are celebrated across Canada and around the world. I rise today to recognize the hard work and dedication of all the artists in the industry who add to the vitality of Canada's music scene.

I am very proud of the Government of Canada's commitment to support this wealth of musical talent, notably through the Canada music fund, which also contributes to making landmark events such as the Juno Awards possible.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to congratulate all nominees and winners at this year's Juno Awards.

Canadian Heritage March 24th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we held consultations on this subject across Canada. Right now, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is examining the issue. Next year, we will unveil a comprehensive strategy based on these consultations and this work.

Canadian Heritage March 24th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the vision we have put in place for the Canada 150 celebrations and of the lasting legacy they will leave, based on four themes: youth, the environment, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and diversity. I am confident that my colleagues recognize the importance of those four themes and the importance of working together to build our future for the next 150 years.

Official Languages March 24th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, our two official languages are at the heart of our history and our identity. The short answer to the hon. member's question is absolutely not.

Our very first action plan will be presented this year, but in the meantime budget 2017 includes investments that reflect our interest in this file, in the infrastructure of our official language communities, and in accessing justice in both official languages. Official languages are so important to our government—

Adjournment Proceedings March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the results of our consultations.

Tens of thousands of Canadians visited our web portal, or joined in by social media. Hundreds answered questions and made detailed submissions through our web portal. Hundreds more participated in live consultation events, as well as thousands who joined by Facebook Live or social media.

Our government wanted to foster dialogue and we can say “mission accomplished”.

Across Canada, our creators, entrepreneurs, cultural industries, and intellectuals all appreciated having the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

The department is carefully reviewing the report that summarizes what we have heard, and all Canadians are invited to do the same. The consultations will help the Department of Canadian Heritage develop a cultural tool kit that is better suited to today's digital realities.

The Government of Canada thanks all Canadians and stakeholders for their participation and—

Adjournment Proceedings March 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the Minister of Canadian Heritage was very proud to launch a public consultation on how to support Canadian content creation, discovery, and export in the digital world.

As the minister clearly explained at the time and many times since, our cultural and creative industries are important drivers of innovation and a vibrant part of our economy. The intersection of culture and technology holds tremendous potential for our country's growth and prosperity.

As we adjust to the realities of rapid technological advances and changing consumer behaviour, the minister launched consultations to better understand the challenges and opportunities brought on by this transformation. These consultations provided an opportunity to listen to and learn from Canadians and examine the federal government's current cultural policy toolkit.

We have been very pleased with the response to our consultation, and all Canadians can find material related to that response at our web portal at www.canadiancontentconsultations.ca. Approximately 26,000 individuals and organizations expressed an interest in the consultations by visiting the portal. Over 800 of them contributed directly to the discussions, including more than 300 who attended the in-person discussions. The department received more than 200 submissions from creators, citizens, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and companies. Finally, approximately 20,000 people mentioned the consultations and shared ideas on the subject in various social media.

We are committed to this being an open and transparent public consultation. That is why all of the submissions we received are posted and publicly available on the consultation web portal.

On February 21, 2017, the independent firm Ipsos released a report entitled “What We Heard Across Canada: Canadian Culture in a Digital World”, which summarized the ideas and recommendations heard during those consultations.

We invite Canadians to read that report. Our government will pay close attention to the results of those consultations.

The consultations will help us develop a cultural tool kit that is better suited for today's digital realities.

Back in November, my friend posed two questions. One was to make the briefs public. That has been done. The second was to ask the government to put a price on Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc., to pay the taxes. The work related to the consultations is not complete. He is asking for us to prejudge the outcome. He is possibly asking for us to prejudge what might be in tomorrow's budget or a future budget. We are not in a position to do that. We were not four months ago. We were not yesterday, and we are not today.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Privatization Act February 17th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak today to Bill C-308, which provides for the privatization of CBC/Radio-Canada and the amendment of several acts. In studying the bill, it quickly becomes clear that it involves numerous risks for the Canadian broadcasting system, Canadian media corporations, and Canadians in general.

I would first like to point out that the bill seeks to privatize the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation by allowing for its public offering. However, there has been no assessment of the market value of the corporation or of any interest in the market for the share offering. There is no guarantee that selling it would even generate any profit. The corporation as we know it could become unrecognizable.

Let me remind my colleagues that the corporation was created in 1936 to counter the American influence on our radio waves. Today, its mandate is inscribed in the 1991 Broadcasting Act. This act states that CBC/Radio-Canada must offer radio and television services including a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens, and entertains; that is predominantly and distinctively Canadian; that reflects Canada as a whole and serves the needs of the regions and official language minority communities; and that it must be made available throughout the country.

In short, CBC/Radio-Canada represents Canadians and unites them. Bill C-308 would repeal the corporation's mandate as established in the act. Since no other private corporation has to meet the same objectives, the privatization of CBC/Radio-Canada would deprive Canadians of a unique service within the Canadian broadcasting system.

Furthermore, the other laws that govern the corporation, such as the Access to Information Act and the Financial Administration Act, ensure that CBC/Radio-Canada remains accountable. In addition, all of those laws also stipulate that the corporation must remain at arm's length from the government when it comes to its own day-to-day management. The legislation also guarantees its journalistic, creative, and programming independence.

The bill would repeal and modify all of those provisions, to the effect that, as a private corporation, CBC/Radio-Canada would be accountable only to its shareholders. Canadians would no longer be able to get information about its operations or take part in any meaningful way.

The possible economic impacts of privatizing CBC/Radio-Canada are also cause for concern. The corporation currently offers numerous radio and television services in English and French, including national networks and local stations, which includes our vital CBC bureau in Charlottetown.

CBC/Radio-Canada also offers many digital services and is considered a pillar of Canadian content broadcasting in the digital environment. In order to offer those services, the corporation uses a hybrid funding model that combines public funds and self-generated revenues, including advertising revenue.

We do not know how much revenue CBC/Radio-Canada would bring in if it were privatized and was no longer accountable to Parliament. However, we do know that cultural industries are currently transitioning to the digital environment. Some platforms, including traditional television, must overcome major obstacles such as a decrease in advertising revenue.

A privatized CBC/Radio-Canada would generate most of its revenue from advertising. This means its total revenue could be heavily reduced. It is quite probable that it would choose to reduce its offering to ensure profitability. It is also possible that it would first choose to cut its regional services, which serve official language minority communities and indigenous communities, among others. This would be a loss not only for those communities but also for the diversity of voices in the Canadian broadcasting system. We could also see a reduction in the quality and quantity of programming offered to Canadians. For example, let us take the local news. It is of vital importance for Canadian citizens.

The current government believes in a strong Canadian broadcasting system. Its approach involves supporting creative industries, investing in CBC/Radio-Canada , and renewing ties with the corporation. The government is investing $675 million in CBC/Radio-Canada over five years. The corporation has indicated that it will use that money to create new, more distinctly Canadian content, continue its transition to the digital environment, and increase its resources in the region in order to be more local.

This money will be used to recruit the next generation of Canadian talent. It will allow the corporation to continue to support indigenous programming and the services it offers to official language minority communities. Finally, CBC/Radio-Canada has committed to being accountable to Canadians on the use of this new funding. In my opinion, those commitments offer real benefits to Canadians. In contrast, the bill does not contain any meaningful measures as specific as those.

To sum up, the government believes in the importance of our national public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada, for expressing Canadian culture and providing Canadian content. The bill would eliminate everything that defines the national public broadcaster and ensures its proper functioning. Privatization would fundamentally transform CBC/Radio-Canada, without guaranteeing that the result would be beneficial for the Canadian broadcasting system, Canadian media corporations, and Canadians. For all of these reasons, the government is opposed to this bill.