Skip to main content

House Publications

The Debates are the report—transcribed, edited, and corrected—of what is said in the House. The Journals are the official record of the decisions and other transactions of the House. The Order Paper and Notice Paper contains the listing of all items that may be brought forward on a particular sitting day, and notices for upcoming items.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 124

CONTENTS

Tuesday, May 15, 2012




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 146 
l
NUMBER 124 
l
1st SESSION 
l
41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 15.1 of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and for referral to the Standing Committee on International Trade, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the annual report pursuant to the Agreement Concerning Annual Reports on Human Rights and Free Trade Between Canada and the Republic of Colombia.

[Translation]

Petitions

Housing 

    Mr. Speaker, today, I have the honour to present a portion of a petition signed by nearly 30,000 Quebeckers who are asking the federal government to reinvest in social housing. Many Quebeckers and Canadians do not have housing security, yet it is key to their success and their contribution to society. The almost 10,000 people who signed this portion of the petition are asking the government to invest in social housing.
    Mr. Speaker, I will present two petitions today.
    One of them is part of a petition signed by 27,000 people all across Canada. The part that I am presenting today has over 6,000 signatures, about a quarter of the total number of signatures. This petition asks, first, that the existing budgets, which are insufficient for the renovation, improvement and modernization of social housing, be maintained. Second, the petition asks that the government commit to maintaining the long-term funding granted to social housing units built before 1994, particularly those that subsidize low-income tenants so that they can pay rent calculated according to their income.
    The government must therefore maintain existing subsidies and renew them when they expire to provide these people with affordable housing.

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition asks that a vote not be held in the House on Bill C-31 and that the government set the bill aside because it represents a step backwards for refugees and immigrants.
    I am very pleased to present this petition, which is supported by a number of organizations, including the Carrefour communautaire de Rosemont, the Organisation populaire des droits sociaux de Montréal and CANA, an organization in my riding of which I am very proud.

[English]

Abortion  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition from residents in my riding, as well as from across southern Alberta. This petition asks the Government of Canada to enact legislation to restrict abortions. Canada is the only nation in the western world without abortion laws.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by constituents from my riding of Halifax. This petition is a Canadian interfaith call for leadership and action on climate change. The petition recognizes that global warming is a reality and that despite the government's rhetoric of a commitment to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian levels have continued to rise.
    The petitioners are calling for the implementation of a binding international agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol. This agreement would commit nations to a reduction in carbon emissions and to a national renewable energy policy. If we are serious about ensuring global average temperatures to stay below a 2°C increase from pre-industrial levels, fair, clean carbon emission targets must be set and implemented.
    Like so many Canadians, these constituents recognize that the Conservative government is failing to protect our environment. Both the petitioners and I look forward to the minister's response.

Air Canada  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to present a petition from individual residents in the province of Manitoba asking the government to take necessary action in order to protect the aerospace jobs that have been lost at Aveos. These constituents and other Manitobans feel quite passionately that the government and, in particular, the Prime Minister, have dropped the ball by not holding Air Canada accountable to the Air Canada Public Participation Act, which would have guaranteed those overall maintenance jobs for the city of Winnipeg, Ontario and Quebec.

[Translation]

Human Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
    The first pertains to human rights. Most of the petitioners live in Calgary and are concerned about human rights in China.

  (1010)  

[English]

    Particularly, the petitioners speak to the rights of the Falun Gong and Falun Dafa and ask that Parliament and the current Prime Minister do whatever is possible to remind China about the need to progress with human rights, and not just through a Communist form of capitalism.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the next petition relates to the ongoing threat of supertankers and pipelines across British Columbia.
    The signators are from British Columbia, from many spots within it, from my own riding, from Victoria, Brentwood Bay, Saturna, Kelowna area, Summerland and also from Ottawa. They call on this House to respect the current environmental assessment process as it exists before Bill C-38 and to have a full, fair and transparent inquiry.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions. The first is from Canadians of all ages who are very concerned about the proposed changes to the old age security program. They regard it as a direct attack on the poorest seniors of the present and the future. They are calling on the government to rescind any idea of increasing the age for pensions for Canadians from 65 to 67.
    My second petition calls upon the Government of Canada to increase the guaranteed income supplement so that all seniors may be relieved from the poverty they now face. The current government process does not provide adequate GIS so that all seniors are safe from poverty.

Fishing Industry  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of a large number of Prince Edward Islanders who are very concerned about the fishing industry.
    The petitioners want to inform the Prime Minister and the government that the removal of the DFO fleet separation and owner-operator policies form the backbone of the Atlantic inshore and mid-shore fishery would directly affect over 30,000 jobs in the fishing industry, end the independence of our fishery and have a devastating effect on coastal communities throughout the region.
    The Conservative government has refused to properly consult with our fishers on this issue. The Conservative government has refused to answer the question on these policies and has voted down a motion to hear from the affected stakeholders, and study what the effects of the removal of the policies would have on Atlantic Canada and coastal Quebec.
    Complete corporate control of the fishery has proven, in many areas, to be devastating to the income, economy and social fabric of the coastal regions, such as British Columbia, New Zealand and Iceland.
    The petitioners call on the Prime Minister to maintain and strengthen fleet separation and the owner-operator policies.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 564, 568 and 569.

[Text]

Question No. 564--
Mr. Pierre Jacob:
     With respect to the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) pipeline between Montréal and Portland: (a) what environmental assessments have been carried out on this project since 2002; (b) what plans are in place to modify or upgrade the pipeline; and (c) as concerns the emergency plan of the company that operates the pipeline, (i) does it comply with existing regulations to minimize the environmental risks resulting from accidents, (ii) has it been reviewed by the National Energy Board?
Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the National Energy Board, NEB, regulates pipelines owned and operated by Montreal Pipe Line Limited. The NEB has not completed any environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for projects by Montreal Pipe Line Limited since 2002.
     However, the NEB continues to monitor the pipeline to ensure that it is safe. For example, as part of the six applications from Montreal Pipe Line Limited for deactivation or decommissioning of pipelines and one application for transfer of ownership of a pipeline received by the NEB, the environmental issues were considered as part of its public interest mandate in its regulatory decision-making under the National Energy Board Act.
    With regard to (b), no application to modify or upgrade the pipeline has been submitted to the NEB at this time.
    With regard to (c), the current emergency manuals on file with the NEB are as follows: integrated contingency plan--Portland Pipe Line and Montreal Pipe Line Limited--part A; Montreal Pipe Line Limited oil spill specific response plans--part B; emergency response action plan--part C; and Montreal pipeline system and Montreal east terminal and north tank field.
    The manuals include information on critical areas to protect, environmental and socio-economic sensitivities and wildlife protection and rehabilitation.
    An emergency response manual assessment was conducted by the NEB on June 21, 2010. Furthermore, a critical information check was conducted on January 5, 2012. Based on these assessments, it was noted that Montreal Pipe Line Limited has an incomplete “incident” definition based on NEB reporting requirements, as the company omitted the full definition of “incident” as outlined in the Onshore Pipeline Regulations. In addition, the roles and responsibilities of the NEB were not properly defined.
    The NEB sent a letter to Montreal Pipe Line Limited, identifying the areas needing correction to satisfy the NEB requirements and requesting that the company file revisions to its emergency manual. In a letter sent to the NEB on April 19, 2012, Montreal Pipe Line Limited stated that it had received the NEB’s request. The company also filed draft revisions to its emergency procedures manual. Once the NEB reviews the proposed changes and is satisfied, Montreal Pipe Line Limited will be notified, and it will file the revised emergency procedures manual with the NEB.
Question No. 568--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With regard to the government's planned advertising campaign for the budget tabled on March 29, 2012: (a) what is the total estimated cost of planned advertising for the budget; and (b) what is the estimated cost of planned advertising broken down by the mediums of (i) television, (ii) radio, (iii) movie theatres, (iv) online video game environments, (v) internet ads, (vi) trade publications, (vii) billboards or other signage, (viii) print?
Mrs. Shelly Glover (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, no advertising campaign was undertaken for the budget of March, 29, 2012.
Question No. 569--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With regard to the government's planned advertising campaign for the budget tabled on March 29, 2012, for every instance of an advertisement: (a) what is the medium of the ad; (b) where did or will the ad appear (location, television station, radio station, publication, etc.); (c) what is the duration or size of the ad; (d) when was the ad displayed or when will it be displayed; and (e) what is the cost of the ad?
Mrs. Shelly Glover (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, no advertising campaign was undertaken for the budget of March 29, 2012.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 563, 565, 566, 567, 570, 572, 573, 574 and 575 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 563--
Mr. Rodger Cuzner:
     With respect to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA): (a) how many new employees were hired in the last five years, broken down by year; (b) how many ACOA employees over the last five years received full-time French language training, broken down by (i) province of employment, (ii) location where they received the French language training; (c) what is ACOA's policy regarding the length of time for which a job posting should be advertised; and (d) in the last five years, what was the length of time of each job posting for all management positions posted by ACOA?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 565--
Hon. Judy Sgro:
     With regard to possible tax evasion in Liechtenstein as of March 23, 2012: (a) since receiving the names of 106 Canadians with accounts in Liechtenstein, have any other Canadians been identified as having undeclared bank accounts in Liechtenstein, and, in total, how many Canadians have now been identified as having undeclared bank accounts in Liechtenstein; (b) what actions have been taken by Canadian officials to recover unpaid taxes associated with Canadians' undeclared bank accounts in Liechtenstein; (c) how many identified Canadians have availed themselves of the Voluntary Disclosure Program with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); (d) how many identified Canadian accounts have settled with the CRA; (e) how much money has the CRA assessed as a result of investigating these secret bank accounts in Liechtenstein in (i) unpaid taxes, (ii) interest, (iii) fines, (iv) penalties; (f) how much of the money in (e) has been collected; (g) how many of the cases are under appeal; (h) how many cases remain open; (i) how many more cases does the CRA anticipate will be opened; (j) how many cases have been closed (i.e., the full amount of taxes, interest, fines and penalties have been collected); (k) how much money in (j) has been collected in (i) unpaid taxes, (ii) interest, (iii) fines, (iv) penalties; (l) how many account holders in the cases have made a partial payment; (m) of the partial payments made, what was the (i) largest amount, (ii) smallest amount, (iii) average amount; (n) how much does the CRA has yet to collect in (i) taxes, (ii) interest, (iii) fines, (iv) penalties; (o) of the amounts of money contained in the Liechtenstein accounts declared to or discovered by CRA, what was the (i) largest amount, (ii) smallest amount, (iii) average amount; (p) how many of the identified Canadians with bank accounts in Liechtenstein (i) have had their accounts audited, (ii) have had their accounts reassessed, (iii) have been the subject of a compliance action; (q) how many of the identified Canadians with bank accounts in Liechtenstein (i) have not had their accounts audited, (ii) have not had their accounts reassessed, (iii) have not been the subject of a compliance action; and (r) how many tax evasion charges have been laid?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 566--
Ms. Kirsty Duncan:
     With respect to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the oil sands: (a) what studies, if any, have been undertaken to estimate GHG emissions intensity for the oil sands, and, for each identified study, (i) who are its authors, (ii) what are its dates, (iii) what are its findings, (iv) what are its recommendations; (b) what briefing notes, memos, or any other documentation, if any, have been provided to the Prime Minister, Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of the Environment, their respective Parliamentary Secretaries, their respective Deputy Ministers, and their respective staff members, regarding GHG emissions intensity for the oil sands, and, for each, what were the findings and recommendations; (c) does the government have any information or evidence indicating that a shift towards the use of steam in oil sands extraction is accelerating GHG emissions, and, if so, what is this information or evidence; (d) how does the emissions intensity of mining compare to in situ production; (e) what are the details of the government's projections or of projections it possesses for (i) how GHG emissions will increase over the next decade, the next two decades, and the next three decades, (ii) how GHG emissions from the oil sands will compare to emissions from every other Canadian economic sector over the next decade, the next two decades, and the next three decades, (iii) how GHG emissions from the oil sands will compare to all Canadian economic sectors combined over the next decade, the next two decades, and the next three decades, (iv) how increasing GHG emissions will impact climate change over the next decade, the next two decades, and the next three decades; and (f) what are the findings and any recommendations of the discussion paper, “Estimating GHG Emissions Intensity for the Oil Sands Sector over Time"” document DM/146926?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 567--
Mr. Scott Andrews:
    With regard to the Department of Natural Resources and, more specifically, a contract with Blair Franklin Capital Partners Inc. in the amount of $898,350.00 that was awarded September 26, 2011, for financial advisory and investment banking services: (a) what are the full terms of engagement for this contract, including the start and end date, the scope of work involved, what specific projects and files Blair Franklin Capital Partners Inc. will review and provide advice on, and what the extent of this advice will be; and (b) if the Muskrat Falls project is one of the projects or files being assessed, has Blair Franklin Capital Partners Inc. received all the information it requested to complete its assessment of the Muskrat Falls project and what it is the estimated completion date for this assessment?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 570--
Hon. John McCallum:
     With regard to search and rescue operations: (a) prior to January 31, 2012, what was the “standard protocol followed by JRCC” (Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) referred to in paragraph 5 of the memorandum from Major-General J.H. Vance to the Chief of Defence Staff, dated February 7, 2012, under file number 3120-1 (WH Ops 1-1); (b) in what document or documents was this standard protocol issued, laid down or promulgated; (c) what are or were the dates and file numbers of the documents in (b); and (d) have there been changes to this protocol since January 31, 2012, and, if so, (i) what is the nature of those changes, (ii) when were the changes made, (iii) when did the changes come into effect, (iv) in what document or documents were the changes issued, laid down or promulgated, (v) what are or were the dates and file numbers of those documents?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 572--
Mr. Massimo Pacetti:
    With regard to the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit, how many employers claimed the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit in each year from 2007 to 2012, broken down by (i) the type of apprentices employed, (ii) the number of apprentices employed, (iii) the total value of the tax credits claimed by each employer?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 573--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
     With regard to all gifts and benefits with a value of over $200 accepted, directly or indirectly, by the Prime Minister, all Cabinet Ministers, and their families, since 2006, by first and last name of the Member, in chronological order: (a) what are all gifts or benefits that were not forfeited to Her Majesty by December 7, 2011, and, for each such gift or benefit, (i) what was the date of receipt, (ii) what was the content, (iii) what was the monetary value; (b) what are all gifts and benefits forfeited to Her Majesty by December 7, 2011, and, for each such gift or benefit, (i) what was the date of receipt, (ii) what was the date of forfeiture, (iii) what is its current location, (iv) what was the content, (v) what was the monetary value; and (c) what is the policy for recipients regarding which gifts are kept and which are forfeited?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 574--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
     With regard to spending related to the preparation, presentation, and promotion of the March 2012 budget, how much was spent in the following areas, broken down by cost, date, location and description of expense: (a) travel; (b) accommodation; (c) office supplies; (d) promotional materials; and (e) miscellaneous expenses?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 575--
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice:
     With regard to the new Shared Services Canada initiative, what are: (a) the departmental sources of all budget transfers and of the amounts transferred as outlined in the Main Estimates 2012-2013; and (b) the departmental sources of all personnel transfers and the number of individuals transferred?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[Translation]

Copyright Modernization Act

Bill C-11—Time Allocation Motion  

     That in relation to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and,
fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I would invite hon. members to try to keep their questions or comments to about a minute and the responses to a similar time. As we have done in the past, preference will be given to opposition MPs, but government MPs will have some turns in rotation as well.
     The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

  (1015)  

    Mr. Speaker, I must say that this is disappointing and discouraging, but not surprising from the government. It has shut down debate on 13 different bills since being election, and eight since January alone.
    I think the most powerful thing in politics is to repeat back principles that people once had before they were in government. Therefore, they can understand why we may be frustrated and why Canadians may be frustrated.
    I will to quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, who said:
    These things do not build confidence with Canadians. The government also has a lack of respect for free votes in this place and the treatment of private members' bill.
    I would ask government members to remind me if this sounds at all familiar to them. It has a lack of commitment to a democratically elected Senate. It has muzzled political free speech in is own backbenches as it invokes closure yet again.
     The Minister of Public Safety said:
    If the bill was the right thing to do, why did the Prime Minister do the wrong thing by invoking closure?
    Lastly, I will invoke the words of the Prime Minister who said:
    The interests of all of Canadians must be served, not the interests of politicians, not partisan interests or political self-interest.
    Invoking closure in this manner on such an important bill is wrong. The government knew it when its members sat in opposition. However, they seem to have forgotten those principles about the need to have fair and democratic debate in this place. That is our job. That is the work we do for Canadians. Shutting down debate is wrong. They used to believe that. I would ask them now why they still do not.
    Mr. Speaker, if by quoting me the hon. member is trying to sweet-talk me into supporting his leadership campaign, he is a bit late.
    With regard to copyright reform, I would remind the House leader of the official opposition, all the opposition parties in this House, even my colleagues and certainly the public that this effort to modernize Canada's copyright legislation began more than two years ago. This is not legislation that we tabled yesterday and are taking this action on now. This is essential for Canada's digital economy, for our standard on the world scene and to ensure that those who are investing and those who are creating have rights that are clear in the digital age.
    It has been 22 years since Canada's copyright regime has been seriously and substantively reformed in this way. We have taken action. We have consulted Canadians widely. We tabled Bill C-32 and re-tabled that legislation as Bill C-11. This debate has been going on for two and a half years. We think it is more than time to move forward. This legislation has been considered more than any other piece of legislation in any one of the last three Parliaments, and it is time to move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, what is very clear is that the Prime Minister does not believe in freedom of debate inside the House of Commons. Never before have we seen a majority government take this type of action in order to limit debate.
    The government House leader waltzes in and introduces, yet again, time allocation. He does not even have the courage to directly answer specific questions as to why the government continues to limit debate inside this chamber on critically important pieces of legislation.
    The government House leader does not have the ability to negotiate in good faith with opposition House leaders and it is at a substantial cost to democracy in Canada. We challenge the government to have the political courage to do the right thing, approach House leaders and sit down and negotiate in good faith. If the government does not have that ability, it is time the Prime Minister changed the government House leader in the House of Commons. What the government is doing is disrespectful--
    Order, please. Members are reminded to try to keep questions and responses to approximately one minute.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think anybody can credibly stand in this place and suggest that our efforts to modernize Canada's copyright regime have not had substantive debate.
    We have had two and a half years of consideration of this legislation. We set up a stand-alone legislative committee, apart from the heritage and industry committees, so that this legislation could be considered in-depth. We heard from tens of thousands of Canadians. We did consultations all across this country. We re-tabled the same legislation from the previous Parliament to continue the debate going forward. We have had days of debate in this Parliament and in a previous Parliament on this legislation.
     After two and a years, after having considered amendments, after having amended our own legislation with 11 specific amendments that came from those consultations, I think it is clear that this copyright bill has had two and a half years of substantive, non-partisan, effective debate, and it is time to move forward.

  (1020)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that this government, which claims to be democratic and open, is once again moving a closure motion on such an important bill as Bill C-11 on copyright.
    I would like to read a 2002 quote from the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages:
     Mr. Speaker, here we go again. This is a very important public policy question that is very complex and we have the arrogance of the government in invoking closure again. When we look at the Liberal Party [which was in power at the time] on arrogance it is like looking at the Grand Canyon. It is this big fact of nature that we cannot help but stare at.
    I would like to know why, in the past, the Conservatives were completely against limiting debate, whereas today, they are fine with it even though we want to thoroughly debate the bill?
    Mr. Speaker, again, it is not reasonable for hon. members to rise in this House and say there has been no debate on this bill. On the contrary, there has been a tremendous amount of debate on it.
    We reintroduced the same bill from the last Parliament in order to continue the debate that was held on Bill C-32 and on Bill C-11. We have been debating this for two and a half years. More than 10,000 consultations have been held across Canada.
    My colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, can confirm that. He and the President of the Treasury Board were in charge of this file in the previous Parliament.
    It is time to move into the digital age. What we are hearing in this debate is a skipping record. Vinyl records that skip are a thing of the past. We have to move toward the digital economy. We have to move on to something else and update the legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, I just heard the Minister of Industry refer to a skipping record. There is a good explanation for that. Despite what he says and all these consultations he mentioned, the government has not heard the message. It is as simple as that.
    What we are telling artists again today in Bill C-11 and what we told them in Bill C-32—and the Minister of Industry said himself that the two bills are the same—is that they will not be paid for their work. Whether we are talking about artisans or more or less famous artists, this change has not been made in Bill C-11. That is why we must continue to listen to people, not just here in Parliament, but in committee, to finally make the government understand the situation.
    Time allocation always reminds me of a recent ad campaign for a credit card company, or even Club Med, which shows 30 seconds of sunshine and beautiful people strolling down the beach and asks us to imagine spending a week doing the same. With all these time allocation motions that we have had in just one year of this majority government, just imagine what we are in for until 2015. It is unbearable.
    Mr. Speaker, once again, taking Bill C-11 and Bill C-32 together, at second reading alone, we had 29 hours of debate and 31 meetings lasting a total of over 65 hours, and we heard from over 110 witnesses.
    Yes, Bill C-11 is the same as the former Bill C-32, with 11 amendments made following consultation. What people do not want is an iPod tax. That is clear. Yet that is what my colleague is recommending and he is starting to sound like a broken record.
    We need to move on. What we want to eliminate is piracy. When people try to cheat and pirate material in the digital era, it will be prohibited. This legislation will comply with the international standards of the World Intellectual Property Organization. People expect that. The legislation needs to be updated. After so many hours of debate, it is time to move on.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my favourite quotation is from the hon. Minister of Public Safety. He said, “For the government to bring in closure and time allocation is wrong. It sends out the wrong message to the people of Canada. It tells the people of Canada that the government is afraid of debate, afraid of discussion and afraid of publicly justifying the steps it has taken.”
    Despite Conservative rhetoric, those steps are basically to follow the lead of the United States and make sweeping changes that serve no one, except major rights holders like movie houses and record companies. The real winners in Bill C-11 would be those who hold power.
     At the insistence of the Americans, the government has forgotten Canadian consumers and Canadian artists. Why are the Conservatives are not standing up for Canadian consumers and Canadian artists?

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about standing up for consumers. Then why is it her party that wants to impose a new tax on consumers whenever they purchase a digital device? Frankly, she does not know what she is talking about. She talks about the Americans because she bashes Americans out of habit. The Americans actually wish our government had taken a different track on notice and notice. They wish that we had notice and takedown. They wish we had taken a number of other measures that we rejected because we chose a Canadian approach.
    However, the member is clearly just reading quotes that were handed to by her whip's office. Let me furnish her with another quote, not from Americans or big corporate interests but Canadian workers on the front lines in Canada's cultural industry.
    The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, workers on the front lines in Canada's cultural industries, said that it applauds the government for moving forward with Bill C-11. It said that this bill will help keep over 16,000 workers in Canada's entertainment industry employed and that piracy is taking money out of workers' pockets. It said, “Canada needs copyright legislation that will protect and create jobs, stimulate the economy and attract new investment.”
    That is from workers on the front lines in Canada's creative industries who support this bill, not Americans or big corporations. I wish the member for London—Fanshawe would do her homework.
    Mr. Speaker, along with my colleagues I must say that I am not at all surprised that we are now dealing with time allocation for the 21st time in this Parliament. I am saddened, not surprised, but definitely saddened. The government seems to suggest that debate is somehow evil, that it is something of an impediment to its legislative agenda. We would think that the government would have learned that every time it has tried to shut down debate in this Parliament, three times already, it has actually benefited from the deliberative process here in this Parliament and ended up having to withdraw its bills or make significant amendments.
    The House will remember the Internet snooping law. After debate in the House that bill never even came back because it was so flawed.
    The crime omnibus bill that was before the House needed amendment. The government rushed it through with time allocation. In the end the government had to go to the Senate to have it amended.
    What we do in this place is important. It improves legislation. The government has a majority and of course it will get its way. However, the deliberative process here matters. The government should respect Parliament and allow us to do our jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, it simply lacks any and all credibility to suggest that we are anti-debate with regard to copyright.
    Again, this legislation has been before this Parliament for two years. This debate was started by our government two and a half years ago. There has been an incredible deal of consultation outside Parliament, within Parliament and at two stand-alone legislative committees. We amended our own legislation with 11 substantive amendments that would strengthen this legislation after having debated and consulted with Canadians after we tabled our legislation. This bill has been before this House now for two years. There has been more than enough debate on this. It is time that we move forward.
     I am more than pleased to read a number of quotes into the record. Here is what the Edmonton Journal had to say about this legislation, “...something had to be done. It's been 13 years since the last changes were made—arguably 22 years since substantive reform—...it's a different universe out there.”
    This copyright bill is a welcome start. It's time to move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the Conservative backbenchers cherry-pick quotes from testimony that I sat through. I had heard a very different set of testimony from all the people they are quoting. However, it is a larger issue. It is the contempt for Parliament that this government shows again and again.
    Yesterday, the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's said that our participation in this debate was not legitimate, that there was no legitimacy for members of Parliament to do their job. The fact is that it takes them a day of having to listen again to the problems with this bill. That is what debate is about.
    I ask my hon. colleague to at least be truthful on this. The Conservatives did not work with anybody on amendments. They did not listen, so it is our right as opposition to point out the flaws of the bill. That is the democratic process. If he does not like the democratic process, they should just shut this place down.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, just because we do not agree with the NDP amendments does not mean we are not open to amendments. In fact, we included 11 amendments in the legislation that did not come from the government. They came from testimony at the legislative committee. We outlined in every single one of those 11 amendments why we put them in, the organizations and individual Canadians who advocated for them, and why they strengthened the bill. These were ideas that came from outside Parliament into Parliament. It was very democratic.
    With regard to respecting Parliament, we offered every opportunity for members of Parliament from other parties to participate in this process. We set up a stand-alone legislative committee in the previous parliament and this Parliament so that work would not be interrupted at the heritage and industry committees. Everybody could come together and focus on this legislation in a substantive way.
    We have been debating it for two years. This conversation was had by this Parliament for six months prior to that, so for two and a half years we have been debating and considering it, which is more than any other piece of legislation in my 12 years in public life. Therefore, this legislation more than passes any and all standards with regard to transparency, debate and time considered than any bill that has been seen in my lifetime.
    Mr. Speaker, I would agree with the Minister of Canadian Heritage that the bill has had consideration in contrast to a bill such as Bill C-38 that has had none.
    My concern is with the approach that the government House leader has taken. We find ourselves on the day of a vote that was not previously on notice. We had notice yesterday of time allocation but we had no idea if it was two or three or four days. There will be extensive votes tonight because there are a lot of substantive amendments to be reviewed.
    It would show more respect to opposition members and to all parties in the House if the government House leader were to allow bills to have proper notice. People have plans, such as a charity event in memory of my daughter's best friend. I am sorry to bring up a personal matter. We all sacrifice things so we can stay in the House for late votes. More notice would have shown more respect.
    Mr. Speaker, I feel awful for the personal circumstances of the leader of the Green Party. I compliment her for her substantive approach to this legislation. She tabled her amendments, and we did consider them in previous processes.
    To put it bluntly, at some point we have to call the question. After two years, it is time to call the question. Canadians, consumers and organizations require this legislation in order to have certainty in the digital age so that they can move forward.
    I have a long list of organizations that support this legislation--not all aspects of the bill, because it is a balancing act but support key elements of this legislation --o ensure that it goes forward. For example, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations said that the government has demonstrated a commitment to Canada's education community, that students across Canada are greatly encouraged by this legislation and that the government has a clear understanding of how this bill will impact Canada's students, educators and researchers.
    I have a great deal of respect for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands in the way that she has approached this legislation in a substantive way. After two and a half years of consideration, two years of debate on the specific bill, it is time to call the question.
    Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the minister is talking out of both sides of his mouth. If he had respect for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands he would have allowed debate on these amendments. Independent members of the House who did not sit at committee came forward with amendments. Our party looked at them and found some of them interesting and others very problematic. The problematic elements deserve to be debated. That is the role of Parliament.
    The Conservative government is dismissive of the role of parliamentarians. It ridicules the work of parliamentarians. Time and time again the Conservatives have shut down debate. Thank God we have principled opposition here. The Conservative bill on snooping accuses average Canadians of supporting child pornographers because they had the temerity to challenge the government.
    Why does the hon. member show such disrespect for the issue of debate?
    Mr. Speaker, two years of debate is not disrespect for debate. Two years of debate is the most substantive debate that Parliament has seen on any bill in the last 12 years. That is disrespect for debate?
    The member and I both know that, with regard to the amendments put forward by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, none of them were new. All of those proposals were seen in the consultation before we drafted the bill, after we drafted the bill in the last Parliament or in consideration of Bill C-11 in this Parliament. There were no new ideas there. We had seen them all before. We decided that was not the right balance that we represented and presented in our legislation.
    In terms of respecting Parliament, we did not ram it through heritage or industry committee. We established a stand-alone legislative committee chaired by an NDP member of Parliament. It was hardly us ramming something through when an NDP opposition MP chaired the committee that considered the legislation.
    We have debated this for two and a half years. The bill has been before this Parliament for two years. We have considered different points of view. We arrived at our legislation. There is a five year reconsideration of this legislation built into the law in order to bring it back to Parliament for further debate on a go-forward basis. The idea that we are not respecting Parliament when we have involved Parliament all through the process and will in the future is ridiculous.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the Minister of Canadian Heritage now for almost half an hour and he consistently says that there has been debate for two years, two and a half years. That seems to be his yardstick for when it is reasonable to bring in time allocation.
    On Bill C-38, the government just rammed through in six days of debate an omnibus bill of 425 pages, dealing with everything from gutting environmental regulations to old age security to changing EI, fundamentally changing how we govern this country.
    Would the Minister of Canadian Heritage agree with me that two years may seem to him adequate debate, but if that is the standard then certainly six days is not enough?
    Mr. Speaker, the point has been made by the Liberal Party, our party, the Green Party, and even the Bloc that if the NDP members want to have substantive debate in the House of Commons on all issues, including copyright, then they might want to be honest with themselves in terms of how they approach legislation. The NDP had its finance critic consume three days of debate in a mindless filibuster, the only purpose of which was to shut the Liberals out of the debate. That was the game the NDP played. If the NDP really wants to have substantive debate, one member of Parliament taking up 13 hours of debate, which is about equal to the time for 50 members of Parliament to speak on legislation, is not the way.
    In this Parliament, that was the greatest act of games on the budget that I have seen in years. It was done by the NDP frontbench finance critic, who proudly stood in the House of Commons and played games with the budget debate, which the member for Hamilton Mountain now says is so important that we get into the details on these things. If that is the case, then why did the NDP have one member of Parliament speak for three days' worth of debate in a cynical game just to block others from having an opportunity to speak? That was the NDP approach. Before the NDP throws stones at others, the member should realize she is standing in a very large, fragile glass house.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree on that last point in regard to the budget tactic, if one wants to call it a tactic. I do not quite understand it myself.
    I bring to the attention of the minister a list of some of the bills where time allocation has been brought in: Canada Wheat Board; the pooled pension plan; copyright; gun registry; back-to-work legislation, not once but twice; financial system review act; and the budget bill itself. The government is using time allocation in order to pass all of its legislative agenda and tries to come up with some rationale to justify what is inappropriate behaviour.
    Does the minister not recognize there is a role for the government House leader to sit down with opposition House leaders and try to time things so the government does not have to bring in time allocation? Time allocation puts severe limitations on opposition members.
    Mr. Speaker, the government House leader does negotiate and has negotiated on these matters. He does it all the time, through two minority Parliaments and now this majority Parliament.
    On the substance of what we are talking about right now, copyright, we have considered opposition voices. We did not invoke time allocation. We had stand-alone legislative committees. We brought in individual Canadians to consult on this legislation before we even drafted the bill, because we realized that in our first Parliament, in 2006-08, copyright was approached in the wrong way. We took a new approach with Bill C-32, now Bill C-11, the bill before us.
    We asked Canadians at the front end what ought to constitute effective copyright reform. Those consultations came in. Tens of thousands of Canadians participated. It was an open, incredibly democratic process where Canadians could freely discuss this legislation, and we arrived at Bill C-32.
    We negotiated with the opposition House leaders. The government House leader reached out to the opposition House leaders. We created a stand-alone legislative committee to debate the bill for the past two years. Call the question.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the great work of my hon. colleague on this file. As a member of the international trade committee for the past six and one-half years, I know the importance of bringing archaic legislation into the 21st century.
    We have had ample debate. I will mention the opposition's tactic last week of moving to adjourn. If it was so important to have debate on the budget, why would the opposition move to adjourn?
    On this specific issue, I think it is important that the minister inform the House of why we need this legislation to be brought in accordance with WIPO and to meet our international trade agreement and obligations in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, this is about what is in the best interests of Canada, Canadian consumers, Canadian creators and their rights, needs and obligations in a digital environment.
    As I said at the outset, it has been essentially 22 years since Canada has had sweeping amendments to Canada's copyright law in the way this bill proposes. We believe in a system that will best serve Canadians' interests. As I have said a number of times, individuals and organizations have come forward and spoken out in favour of this legislation for their own purposes. This is a balancing act. Certainly there are those who wish they had amendments a little different from the way our government has designed the bill, but we think we have an effective and responsible balance that will serve Canadians well into the future.
    The Canadian Media Production Association, which represents thousands of jobs across the country, said it applauds the government's copyright reform. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada, which is responsible for Canada's video game industry and roughly 15,000 high-paying jobs across the country, many of them in Montreal, congratulated the government on its copyright legislation. It said that it will help protect Canadian creators and that it is good public policy and is essential to our economy.
    This bill is critical to the success of Canada's digital economy. It works. Let us get it done.
    Mr. Speaker, first, almost as an aside, I would like to offer my condolences to the Liberal Party, because when the Minister of Canadian Heritage reaches out and says that he feels bad for the Liberals, I think those guys are in a really rough spot.
    We are talking about 23 amendments that were brought forward by the independent members who were not able to sit at the committee, and we are talking about one day of debate.
    The minister said he has heard all these amendments before and he is not interested, so we should just shut down the debate. However, every individual member of Parliament has the right to participate and bring forward legislative amendments, and these are worthy of debate. There has been a single day of debate. That is what it has been. It might go a couple more hours before we go through them.
    As I said, the New Democratic Party went through these very carefully. Some of them are very interesting and some of them we think are very problematic, but that is our role.
    This is not about obstruction. This is about allowing every member of the House to participate on a substantive piece of legislation that affects all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the member said it is not about obstruction. Right, and that is why the NDP put forward one speaker for three days, 13 hours and blocked others from speaking. That is not obstruction from the NDP, but with--
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have been on the copyright issue since 2004. We have never put a single speaker up. He is talking about another bill. Will he just speak to the issue of shutting down the independent members?
    There have been references to other bills that are before the House in a relative sense in terms of time allocation. I think that has been part of this half-hour debate.
    The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP can reference Bill C-38 and other things, but when we do it, it is against the rules. Anyway, whatever, that is the member for Timmins--James Bay.
    The reality is, the amendments that were put forward, particularly those from the leader of the Green Party, were serious and substantive amendments, and I understand that. However, the ideas represented therein were not new. They were considered by our government and had been considered over the past two and a half years, throughout this entire process.
    We certainly do respect that, but if the NDP's idea concerning debate is just ongoing, never-ending, continuous debate and members can keep putting forward amendments to change “us” to “them” and “we” to “they”, and then condemn us for not considering sometimes frivolous amendments, it is nonsense. We have been debating this for two and a half years. We have considered the ideas. They are thoughtful ideas. They are just reasonable differences of opinion with some of the amendments that were put forward by the leader of the Green Party.
    It is not obstruction to say we have had two and a half years of debate, and now two years of debate on a specific piece of legislation. We have considered it. We have thought about it. We have tabled our legislation. We gave signals to Canadians in the election campaign. We put it in our throne speech. We put forward the legislation. We invited Canadians in at the front end through our consultations.
    Let us just get on with it, pass this legislation and serve Canadians' interests.

  (1045)  

    It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.
     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton): Call in the members.

  (1125)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 196)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Ambler
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Ashfield
Aspin
Baird
Bateman
Benoit
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Daniel
Davidson
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Flaherty
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hayes
Hiebert
Hillyer
Hoback
Hoeppner
Holder
James
Jean
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Menzies
Merrifield
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
O'Connor
O'Neill Gordon
Obhrai
Oda
Oliver
Opitz
Paradis
Payne
Penashue
Poilievre
Preston
Raitt
Rajotte
Rathgeber
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Richardson
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Truppe
Tweed
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Vancouver South)
Zimmer

Total: -- 148

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bélanger
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Blanchette-Lamothe
Boivin
Borg
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Charlton
Chicoine
Chisholm
Chow
Christopherson
Cleary
Coderre
Comartin
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dion
Dionne Labelle
Donnelly
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeman
Garrison
Genest
Genest-Jourdain
Giguère
Godin
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hassainia
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Julian
Karygiannis
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard)
Leslie
Liu
MacAulay
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Papillon
Patry
Péclet
Perreault
Plamondon
Quach
Rae
Rafferty
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Savoie
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stoffer
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote

Total: -- 130

PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings of the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

Report Stage  

     The House resumed from May 14 consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, as reported with amendments from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    The hon. member for Winnipeg North has seven minutes left to conclude his speech. I will recognize the hon. member for Winnipeg North now.
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have a right to be quite concerned about Bill C-11 and what is actually happening and about the government's inability to make a number of amendments, which many would argue are dictated by common sense and which could have been made to alleviate some concerns that Canadians as a whole would have in regard to Bill C-11.
    An example occurred yesterday when the member for Lethbridge stood and answered a question I specifically asked in regard to a constituent. I will repeat the question, and I suspect members will be surprised by the answer. The question I posed yesterday was this. If one of the member's constituents were to purchase a CD and take it home and it happened to have a digital lock, should his constituent have the ability to put his favourite song from that CD onto an MP3 player? From a consumer's point of view, should he have the right to be able to do that, given that he has already purchased the song?
    The member for Lethbridge answered very specifically, and I give him full credit for being very precise with his answer. His answer was no, and then he sat down.
    At the time, I believed that most consumers and Canadians would be very concerned about that particular answer. It begs the question as to whether the member for Lethbridge is right. As a consumer, if I go and purchase a disc and on that disc I have identified a song that I feel quite attached to, I bring it home and put it on an MP3 player. I must confess I have three MP3 players and I have legitimately purchased a copy of some music and I put the same song on all three of my MP3 players, because these are the songs I appreciate. I have one in my office, one in my house and one in the apartment I have here in Ottawa. The member for Lethbridge would suggest that if Bill C-11 passes in its current form, it would be illegal for me to have that song on all three, even though it is for specific personal use.
    I do not think I am alone. I would suggest there are hundreds, if not thousands, of constituents who the member for Lethbridge and all of us represent, who would likely do something similar. I have spoken in the past in regard to music and how individuals, in an era in which we used to have records, would identify the songs they liked and they would record them onto a cassette and they would be able to play that cassette.
    Times have changed and now we have this digital format, and it is important that we respect the artist and recognize the incredible contribution Canadian artists make to our economy and our heritage. However, we also need to be concerned in regard to the type of laws and the ramifications of those laws on all Canadians. I would be first to my feet to defend and protect the interests of those artists, but on the other hand I am also going to be first to my feet to protect consumers and their right to take personal ownership of something they have legitimately purchased.

  (1130)  

    That is something on which I would challenge the government to add further comment, to provide more clarification as to what the consumer rights are in regard to that digital lock. I do not believe I am alone in wanting to be able to provide assurances.
     Should the bill be amended to make it okay to circumvent a digital lock, if the purpose is to use it for personal reasons such as having a backup? For individuals who have two MP3 players, should they have the right to be able to take that song they have acquired and put it on both of their MP3 players?
    I think those are legitimate consumer-oriented questions that are worth debate and discussion. We know the government put limitations on that particular debate today through time allocation. It is not the first time it has used time allocation, which is most unfortunate, and it does cause concern.
    The idea of copyright is something that, in principle, we have supported in the past. Going forward we continue to support intellectual knowledge and the ability to protect it and those creative ideas. We have industries doing exceptionally well across Canada, and we need to protect those industries. One of the ways we do that is through copyright laws.
    There is a need to continue the debate. I will end my comments there and would be more than happy to provide further comment—

  (1135)  

     Questions and comments. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Madam Speaker, the questions the hon. member raises about the day-to-day activities of Canadians that are perfectly legal are echoed in a prominent textbook on intellectual property law by David Vaver, who talked about the problem of digital locks being applied in ways that actually limit a person's legal right to material for which they have already paid.
    He points out that what is called technological property protection measures or digital rights management has often met with consumer resistance. He says that buyers of compact disks found they could not copy them to play on their computer or in their car. They bought a video disk in England and moved to Canada. They found it would not play on North American disk players. Users found copyright holders had sometimes invaded their privacy and compromised the security of their computer to monitor what was being done with the copyright material.
    This is a very significant area of corporate control over things that a consumer has bought in good faith, with no prior notice. I would like my hon. colleague to comment on this issue further.
    Madam Speaker, the leader of the Green Party and I agree in principle in regard to how the consumer appears to be overlooked in Bill C-11.
    The member raises a valid concern. That is why I took the last few minutes I was provided to bring it to the attention of the government. I believe that the government is vastly underestimating the number of Canadians who would be and should be concerned if Bill C-11 passes without amendment dealing with something that most Canadians, 90%-plus, believe they have the right to do. That is to be able to have that music CD, to bring it home and use it to its full extent if it is for personal use.
    This legislation has the potential to make those consumers criminals, because of the way this legislation is worded. The government needs to make note of that before it passes third reading. Otherwise we might have to obligate our Senate, once again, to clean up the mess or the sloppy legislation the government is trying to force through the House today.
    Madam Speaker, it is my great pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.
    Let me start by reminding my colleagues that we are now closer than we have been in the last 15 years to modernizing the Copyright Act. During that time new technologies have fostered new ways to create and use copyrighted material, as well as new distribution models and consumer products.
    Digital technologies have changed the way Canadians work, live and engage locally and globally. The emergence of the Internet has blurred the lines between users, creators, producers and distributors of copyrighted materials. All this has created a new world that the Copyright Act must adjust to and reflect.
    Just some 15 years ago, many of the works protected by copyright were primarily available in physical formats such as paper for printed books, VHS cassettes for movies, or cartridges for video games; today, creative works are becoming increasingly available to consumers in digital formats over the Internet. Consumers can buy an e-book, stream a movie or download a game directly to their game console.
    Given this new reality, it is important to pass the copyright modernization act. The copyright modernization act includes provisions that are technology-neutral and reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape.
    Effective copyright protection is key to creativity, innovation, citizen engagement and economic growth. Modernizing Canada's Copyright Act just makes sense.
    We need to make sure our copyright law is responsive to today's digital reality so that we continue to benefit from the rapid expansion of the knowledge-based economy. This is why modernizing the Copyright Act is a priority for our government.
    The Copyright Act is a complex legal framework. There are many perspectives to be heard and balanced when modernizing it. The Copyright Act affects consumers, creators, publishers, producers, Internet providers, educators and students. It relates to the books and websites that we read, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the video games we play and the computer programs that we use.
    Our government has listened to and considered all these different perspectives as we have worked toward modernizing the Copyright Act. We heard the perspectives of thousands of Canadian businesses and stakeholder organizations on copyright modernization. This includes all the Canadians we heard from during the nationwide consultations we held in the summer of 2009. More than 1,000 Canadians attended live events across the country. An additional 8,000 written submissions were also received.
    This also includes all the Canadians who attended or made submissions to the two legislative committees that studied the copyright modernization act. Combined, the two committees heard testimony from over 120 organizations and received over 250 written briefs.
    Finally, it includes all of the Canadians who have informed the many hours of debate on the bill in this House and in the one before it.
    We now need to deliver concrete results to all these Canadians by passing the bill.
    The copyright modernization act returns to us today with a number of technical amendments that were adopted by the legislative committee. The committee adopted these amendments to improve the clarity and intent of certain provisions of the copyright modernization act. The committee adopted these amendments after an extensive review of the bill, along with all the testimony and submissions it received.
    I would like to take this opportunity to tell the House about two sets of technical amendments the committee made to clarify and strengthen the bill.
    The first set of amendments I would like to highlight are technical amendments the committee made to the measures that address the role of Internet service providers in facilitating the enforcement of copyright on the Internet.
    One of these amendments included a change to the provision addressing the notice and notice regime for Internet service providers. It amends the obligations providers have for forwarding notices received from rights holders. These amendments will ensure that Internet service providers can continue to support efforts to fight online copyright infringement without fear that events outside of their control could unintentionally expose them to liability.
    The second amendment I would like to mention is an amendment that provides not-for-profit organizations with greater certainty in their mission to support the distribution of adapted works for the visually impaired. Bill C-11 would allow a not-for-profit organization acting for the benefit of persons with a print disability to make and send adapted works outside of Canada as long as the author of the work is either a Canadian or a national of the country to which it is sent. This amendment will protect not-for-profit organizations that make a good-faith mistake from being unreasonably sued for monetary damages.

  (1140)  

    These technical amendments are intended to improve certain provisions of the copyright modernization act. As a result, these amendments would make it easier to implement the intent behind Bill C-11.
    All of the amendments adopted by the committee are consistent with the balanced approach our government has taken to copyright modernization. It is now time to make this approach a reality for Canadians by passing the copyright modernization act.
    Canada's path toward this round of copyright modernization has lasted more than 15 years. We have heard from thousands of Canadians and have debated the bill extensively. We need to deliver concrete results for Canadians. By swiftly moving forward with a copyright modernization act, our government is delivering on our commitment to protect Canadian jobs, stimulate our economy and attract new investment to Canada.
    I invite all members in this House to deliver results to Canadians by ensuring the swift passage of the copyright modernization act.

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for his speech and his defence of the bill.
    I think that it needs to be understood that this copyright modernization act has moved in the right direction in most ways. Unfortunately, the balance is not right in relation to consumer rights and those of device manufacturers and copyright holders.
    I want to return to a passage I put earlier to the member for Winnipeg North and put it to the member opposite. In relation to copyright law, let me mention that I have permission to read from Intellectual Property Law: Copyright, Patents, Trade-Marks text, second edition, published in 2011, by David Vaver. Allow me to continue with this real-life example of how this legislation would put consumers at risk of breaking the law. Here is a real-life example that I am quoting from this text:
    Buyers of video game consoles found they were tied in to the console makers' games. TPMs
    —that is, digital locks—
barred third-party games, improvements, and imports. Users found themselves unable to exercise fair dealing and other rights the Copyright Act gave them. The consumer was often given no prior warning that rights he thought he had were being negated. The situation was ripe for hackers for surmount such obstacles, and cat-and-mouse games ensued as copyright holders tried to keep one step ahead of circumventers. The public sided largely with the circumventers, who enabled buyers to enjoy the usual rights of ownership of property that had been bought and paid for.
    I am looking to the Conservative members of the House. We were not all members in this House, in this place or in committee. I do understand committee has rejected a number of the amendments or ones like it, but, please, let us fix this now.
    Madam Speaker, I assume there is a question in there.
    However, I was recently in Washington, meeting with a number of congressional leaders. We were talking about this very piece of legislation, the copyright modernization act. They were very pleased to learn that we are now bringing our copyright and intellectual property regime into the 21st century. They were quite concerned about the older regime that we were existing under.
    By improving our intellectual property regime, we would be creating an opportunity to create more jobs in Canada, create investment and long-term prosperity for companies that would like to invest in this country, and create jobs for Canadians, so it is imperative that we pass the bill as expeditiously as possible.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is completely irresponsible to limit debate today for the 21st time in a little over a year, especially since this debate will not strike a balance between authors' rights, the industry's rights and consumers' rights.
    Howard Knopf, a lawyer who specializes in copyright, says that this bill does not encourage innovation and that, in fact, it inhibits it. He wonders how making it illegal to bypass a regional code in order to watch a legally imported Bollywood DVD that is not available in Canada is going to encourage innovation.
    Thus, there is no consensus and no respect for authors' rights or consumers' rights, and furthermore, the bill does not encourage innovation. How can this government move forward on the bill at this stage and limit debate when the bill still contains several controversial elements?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am really not surprised to hear from the NDP that anyone's creation should not have any property rights attached to it.
    The creator has, by creating a piece of property, a legal and moral obligation to receive compensation for it. It is not a Wild West situation in which anything in the public domain belongs to everybody. That is just not true, and creators of intellectual property deserve the full protection of the law.
    We are now in the 21st century, and there are new opportunities and new technology. They must be protected, and the creators of these must be protected.

  (1150)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, as I said in my previous speech—and it bears repeating—shutting down debate is becoming a tradition. This is the 21st time this year. I do not know what more to say, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
    First of all, this bill is exactly the same as Bill C-32 from the previous Parliament. Artists were very critical of it. Now that the Conservatives have a majority, they are bringing it back. This is another perfect example of them shutting down debate. This bill creates powerful new anti-circumvention rights for content owners, who are not necessarily the creators or developers of the content. This prevents access to copyrighted works. These new provisions are backed by fines in excess of $1 million and up to five years in prison.
    An hon. member: Unbelievable.
    Ms. Marie-Claude Morin: Yes, my colleague is absolutely right.
    This means that digital locks, for example, will, for all practical purposes, take precedence over all other rights, including fair dealing rights for students and journalists. People are being muzzled yet again. This is really becoming a tradition with this Parliament, and it is problematic for a number of reasons. Obviously, there is the very real possibility that consumers will not be authorized to use content they have already paid for. This government claims that it stands up for consumers' rights, so I find this whole thing a little paradoxical and contradictory.
    Digital locks take precedence over all other rights guaranteed by the Charter. Take, for example, format shifting for individuals with vision or hearing loss. These people might not be able to exercise their rights. That is discrimination. I do not think that is news to anyone here.
     Furthermore, where a digital lock has been used, copies made for educational purposes must be automatically erased after five days and course notes must be destroyed within 30 days of the course concluding. That would lead to serious problems for students enrolled in distance education courses. In my opinion, it is not an appropriate use of the copyright rules. A student who pays copyright fees for course materials often needs the materials even after the courses end. This is completely unacceptable.
     The bill also creates new limited exceptions to the fair dealing provision of the Copyright Act, including the exceptions for educators, and exceptions for parody and satire, which once again limit freedom of expression. The exceptions do not adequately recognize the rights of creators. In fact, the exceptions facilitate consumers' access to copyright-protected content without providing new methods to compensate creators for their work.
    It is also interesting to note that, in this bill, the Conservatives have deliberately avoided addressing the issue of a possible extension of the private copying exception. It has been proven that this exception has been very effective in the past for cassettes, CDs and DVDs. However, the Conservatives do not want to apply it to new technology. Instead, the Conservatives have tried to put a populist face on all this by scaring consumers. I find this quite unacceptable.
    Clearly, the NDP is in favour of modernizing the copyright rules. It is something that needs to be done, but there are too many major problems with this bill. In some cases, it even creates problems where there were none before. In my opinion this is not an approach that balances the rights of creators, who obviously must be paid for their work— their job is to create—and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to content.

  (1155)  

    It is therefore our duty to vote against this bill, which contains far too many provisions that will have very serious consequences for the way in which Canadians obtain and share protected content.
    The bill includes provisions that create powerful new anti-circumvention rights for content owners, which have absolutely nothing to do with the creators and content developers and prevent access to copyrighted works.
    These new provisions are supported by fines of $1 million. I think it is important to point this out because I do not understand how the average consumer could be fined such a large amount. It is completely inappropriate and unacceptable.
    This measure is modelled directly after the United States' controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Digital locks would trump all other rights. I really do not see how this is useful for the consumers that the Conservatives claim to want to protect.
    There are two fundamental problems with this approach. First, there is a real danger that it will prevent consumers from using content for which they have already paid, which is ironic given that the Conservatives claim to be working for consumers. The approach also seriously infringes on the rights of artists and creators.
    The work of artists and creators is very important in our society. Indeed, it is very important for a society to have a lively arts and culture sector in order to reflect that culture on the world stage. These creators may no longer have the means to continue creating and will be forced to do other work. This is not going to benefit our country in the end.
    We know that the government is accusing us of voting against a number of its bills, but we cannot not vote against this type of bill, which is harmful to consumers and artists alike.
    The NDP has fought every step of the way for a balanced approach to copyright. We participated in the committee, even without support from some of the opposition members, that studied this bill. We listened to the concerns of a number of groups with regard to the scope of this bill. At committee stage, we proposed 17 amendments that could have made this bill more balanced and fair for the artists and consumers. Nonetheless, the government did not listen to us or the many groups of artists and writers who came before the committee.
    That is why it is impossible for us to support this bill, which penalizes Canadian families and artists.
    I would be pleased to answer my colleagues' questions.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her excellent speech.
    I think we all agree that Canada's copyright legislation needs to be updated. However, we also need to protect consumers' rights. So many amendments are needed because the technical protection measures are too strict. I hope the NDP will support those amendments during this evening's vote.
    I would like to know the member's thoughts on eliminating technical protection measures that are too strict, in order to allow consumers to legally use copyrighted material they have legally purchased.

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question. Indeed, what is really important to remember about this bill is that the NDP is proposing a balanced approach that does not discriminate against consumers and allows artists and creators to be properly paid for the work they do for our society.
    Many organizations agree with our position. For instance, Michael Geist, a technology commentator, supports our position, and so does the Writers Guild of Canada, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, copyright lawyer Howard Knopf, the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada, and I could go on. All of these people and organizations share the NDP's position and have made their position clear to this government, but it refuses to listen.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her remarks. She talked about how this bill creates an imbalance between consumers and authors.
    What does she think about the fact that this bill does not focus on innovation sufficiently, if at all?
    Madam Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, this bill is more or less a carbon copy of Bill C-32, which was rejected by many artists' groups and by the opposition.
    Now that the Conservatives have a majority, they are marching in, imposing this unacceptable bill on us once again. As the hon. member said, there is a lack of innovation. In addition, there is no openness on the part of the government, which does not listen to artists, writers, musicians and all those whose work reflects our Canadian culture and identity. The government's lack of vision in modernizing copyright is a real problem.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to speak today in support of Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. As many of my colleagues know, we are the closest we have ever been in the last 15 years to modernizing the Copyright Act. We are on the verge of having a Copyright Act that is responsive to the realities of both today and tomorrow, a Copyright Act that will give creators, innovators and ordinary citizens the confidence they need to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital world.
    The fact is the Copyright Act in its current form is not responsive to many of the realities our digital world has brought forward. Our government is committed to fixing this.
     The last time the Copyright Act was substantially updated, VHS tapes, discmans and pagers were commonly used. For many, the flip phone was the trendy gadget of the day. Text messaging and mobile Internet were just beginning to be introduced on the market. In fact, dial-up modems were still quite common. That was only 15 years ago.
     It would be a gross understatement to say that technology changed considerably since then. What was once considered cutting edge is now almost obsolete. In fact, it seems like something newer and better is popping up every day.
    Just the other day I was reading about all the speculation around what consumers could expect from upcoming versions of Smartphones. It is hard to predict what the high tech world will look like even 10 years from now. Digital technology has changed how Canadians access, use and share copyrighted content. Today, Canadians expect to be able to enjoy legitimately-acquired content where and when they want. Copyright laws need to respond to this reality.
     Our government is committed to ensuring that Canada's copyright law is flexible and adaptable to change. We are also committed to ensuring that appropriate protections are provided for both creators and users. Bill C-11 would establish clear rules that would be flexible enough to allow the Copyright Act to evolve as technology continues to advance. It is balanced in that it provides new rights for creators, while providing new exceptions for users.
    Let me tell members about some of the exceptions in Bill C-11. Bill C-11 would give Canadians the flexibility to record broadcast programming to enjoy at a more convenient time, often referred to as time shifting. It would also give individuals the freedom to copy music, films and other content onto any or all of the devices they owned, such as MP3 players and tablets, something that is often referred to as format shifting. Canadians would also be able to legally back up copyrighted material they purchased.
    Our government believes it is important that all Canadians, including those with disabilities, have access to copyrighted materials in a format they can easily use. That is why Bill C-11 would allow Canadians with perceptual disabilities to adapt legally-acquired material to a format that would be more accessible. It would also clarify the law regarding the importation of adapted material into Canada and explicitly would allow the exportation of certain adapted materials, including Braille and audio books.
    As I mentioned, digital technology has fundamentally transformed the way many Canadians work, play and learn. For example, in the digital world, consumers are no longer passive audiences. Large segments of the population are interacting with content in new and innovative ways. Bill C-11 recognizes this new reality by including new exceptions that respond to it.
     Bill C-11 includes a user-generated content provision which would allow Canadians to incorporate existing copyrighted material in the creation of new non-commercial works. An example of this would be posting a home video on YouTube of a bride and groom dancing to their favourite wedding song.
    This exception recognizes that these new uses of creative content contribute to Canada's cultural sector. For example, these uses can enhance interest in the original when videos of user-generated content go viral on the Internet. This innovative form of creation can also shed light on emerging talent from across our country and showcase it to the rest of the world. Of course the digital age does not just offer opportunities for creation; it also offers many unique opportunities for learning and education.

  (1205)  

    Bill C-11 recognizes the immense opportunities that new and emerging technologies present for education. Digital technologies can enhance the traditional classroom experience and encourage new models for education outside the physical classroom. This can increase access to education and communities big and small across our great country.
    Bill C-11 includes exceptions that would allow teachers and students to make better use of digital technologies and of copyrighted materials. For example, Bill C-11 would amend existing educational exceptions so that they are technologically neutral. No longer would we see references to specific technologies like flip charts and overhead projectors.
    Bill C-11 also introduces a number of new measures that would enrich the educational experience. For instance, teachers would now be allowed to digitally deliver course materials to students. Students would be allowed to use material that they find on the Internet.
    There are a number of other educational exceptions in Bill C-11 that I could describe, but all of these recognize the potential that the digital environment holds for teaching and learning in Canada.
    I have spoken about how Bill C-11 recognizes the opportunities that the digital environment offers for learning and creation in Canada. It is also important to note that Bill C-11 recognizes the potential this environment holds for creative and innovative businesses.
    Bill C-11 includes a number of provisions that would strengthen the ability of copyright owners to control the online use of their works. This would help promote innovative and legitimate business models and prevent widespread illicit use.
    For example, Bill C-11 includes new protections for copyright owners who choose to use digital locks to protect their works. For a number of copyright owners, the use of digital locks can allow for the monetization of creative content and the protection of potentially significant investments made during the development phase. By providing protections against the circumvention of these locks, our government is supporting the ability of creators to advance new digital business models and compete on the international stage.
    Bill C-11 also includes a number of provisions that would allow creators and innovators to compete in the digital age with confidence. This includes legal protections for rights management information and a new category of civil liability that targets those who enable online piracy.
    All of these measures would help attract new investments which would, in turn, promote economic growth and help protect and create jobs in Canada. In short, they would help position Canada as a leader in the digital economy of today and tomorrow.
    It is clear that Canada's copyright laws need to be modernized to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. The bill we have before us would do just that. Bill C-11 takes a balanced approach to copyright modernization. It considers the needs and interests of all Canada. Furthermore, it would bring our copyright law in line with international standards. It is very much in keeping with our government's commitment to promote innovation, productivity and job creation.
    Of course, we cannot enjoy any of these benefits until we pass the bill. Therefore, I urge all of my colleagues to join me in giving these benefits to Canadians by passing Bill C-11.

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the member opposite and I wonder if he recognizes that this is a very complicated area and a very complicated piece of legislation.
    The proposed legislation has not received unanimous support from participants within the industry. The impact of the changes that are being proposed would be significant and difficult to change. It would bring forward some very onerous restrictions on users, artists and others and could, frankly, take away millions of dollars from the creators.
    Would the member not agree that the matter being proposed is of such importance that it requires we take every opportunity to examine each and every piece and listen to any Canadian, especially those involved in the industry, to ensure we are doing this correctly the first time?
    Madam Speaker, yes, the government does recognize that this is a very complex and complicated matter. It is for that reason that we are continuing our review of the copyright modernization act, which actually began in the last Parliament.
    Before being dissolved, the legislative committee studying the bill heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 written submissions. Over the course of the hearings there were two clear messages that emerged. First, that the bill balances the interests of the various stakeholders, and second, that Canada urgently needs to pass legislation to update the Copyright Act.
    By re-introducing this bill without changes, the government is reiterating its support for a balanced approach to copyright reform and enabling parliamentarians to pick up where the last committee left off.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to pick up where my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour left off. When I was listening to the parliamentary secretary's speech, I kept hearing this phrase over and over again, “creates new...”. He said that the bill creates new rules about this and new rules about that. He said “creates new” quite a number of times, although I did not actually keep track.
    My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour raised an excellent point when he said that there was a lot happening with this bill. It would create new powers, new rules and new regulations. It essentially would create a new way of doing business.
    Therefore, I do not know how the parliamentary secretary can stand up and justify, with any credibility in the House, why it is that there has been time allocation moved on this and why it is we are not doing a proper and thorough study of this review. I would like him to comment on the fact that the very words in his speech contradict the position that his government is taking.

  (1215)  

    Madam Speaker, as I mentioned just previously, we do recognize the complexity of the bill and that is the very reason we are continuing from where the review left off in the last Parliament. As I mentioned, there were more than 70 witnesses and 150 written submissions have gone to committee. Extensive work has already been done on this particular bill in the previous Parliament and we will continue that work in this Parliament.
    I will outline what else the bill would implement. It would implement the rights and protections of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Internet treaties give Canadian creators and consumers the tools they need to remain competitive internationally.
    Through this legislation, the government will modernize the Copyright Act to bring it in line with advances in technology and international standards; advance the interests of Canadians, from those who create content to the consumers who benefit from it; provide a framework that is forward-looking and flexible and that will help protect and create jobs, stimulate the Canadian economy and attract new investment to Canada; and establish rules that are technologically neutral so that they are flexible enough to evolve with the changing technologies and the digital economy, while ensuring appropriate protection for both creators as well as users.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak for a few moments to this important legislation. I will focus my intervention on a couple of points in the bill that I find quite troubling. I know my intervention must be focused on this bill and it will be.
    I am particularly concerned with the way the government is prepared to move things through at a pace that is contrary to the rules of this House and that, frankly, fly in the face of the concerns that are brought to this House by members of Parliament on all sides as a result of discussions we have had with Canadians.
    What we saw with Bill C-11 today was the government House leader introducing a time allocation motion, in other words, limiting debate once again. I believe it is the 23rd time that such closure motions or time allocation motions have been brought to this House in just a little more than a year.
     There are not very many pieces of legislation that the government has been prepared to say to members of the House that they were elected by Canadian voters, just as the Conservative members were, and that it recognizes the role of Parliament and the rights of all members of the House, not just the government members, to represent their constituents and bring their concerns forward, and to use their own intellect, advice and experience to examine each piece of legislation within the confines of the general rules of practice and procedure.
    Unfortunately, however, the government, and we are seeing it again with Bill C-11, does not believe in a parliamentary democracy but in something different. It believes in something that is almost leaning toward a dictatorship by the PMO. The PMO decides, and not the rules that govern procedure in the House, when there has been enough debate or discussion about a particular issue.
    The Conservative member who spoke previously listed off the number of witnesses who have been heard and the number of people who have intervened. When the government House leader introduced limitation on debate on Bill C-11 this morning, he talked about how many hours we have already talked about this. He said that a similar piece of legislation had been here in a previous Parliament and therefore we have already been there and done that so we should get it over with and just run it through.
    What that ignores, of course, for the 23rd time that the government has brought in some restriction, imposed with its majority, on my right and the rights of my colleagues who have contrary positions to fully debate each and every stage of a bill. The government has said that it will decide whether a bill is good.
    I have heard many members opposite in committee and in this chamber say that they think this is the way things should be done and that although we think the other way and are going to listen to experts who do not agree with them, frankly, it does not matter because they have the majority and they will have their way.

  (1220)  

    The Conservatives very much begrudge our taking any time in this House to offer opinions which are in any way opposed to the government. We have seen how the government deals with opposition.
    The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy had the audacity to offer positions based on evidence, facts and science, which are contrary to the PMO's vision of the world. Therefore, the body that did all that good work, all the evidence and science, the body that spent time and energy discussing important issues about the environment and the economy with Canadians will no longer be there.
    Yesterday, the member for Halifax said that the government, the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister's Office very much believe that they do not need expert panels, expert advice and scientists because they have the Internet and Google. They can get answers to their questions from Wikipedia. The beauty of that is if they do not agree with what is on Wikipedia, they will just change it. It does not have to be based on evidence or science; they will simply change it.
    I find it extraordinarily distasteful. Frankly, it is creating bad policy.
    I have some experience in dealing with legislation and I know that if we do not take the time, do not consider alternative opinions, do not pore over the various provisions within legislation with a fine-tooth comb, inevitably there will be mistakes. We have seen examples of that already. The government has had to withdraw legislation because it was so bad. The Conservatives passed legislation in this House without entertaining any amendments or changes. They would not listen to any of our arguments or arguments in the other place which suggested that piece of legislation needed correction. As a result, the Conservatives ended up having to make changes afterwards, because they did not want to make changes here. They did not want to show this place any respect. They did not want to admit that they may have been wrong on something, that they may not have considered all sides of a particular argument. They therefore rammed the legislation through and then had to make changes afterwards.
    My concern is that it was a most obvious and egregious weakness in that particular piece of legislation. With something like Bill C-11, which is so technical and wide-reaching in terms of its implications, the government will ram it through without considering our amendments. We brought in 17 amendments at committee that were meant to establish a balance, but they were ignored.
    The members opposite like to suggest there is no opposition out there and there is no other way. If I had the time, I would read into the record some testimony from a couple of experts, and there are many, but maybe in response to members' questions I will have the opportunity to mention some of the people who have problems with this legislation.
    I call on all members to take their time, recognize this is important legislation and give it the kind of scrutiny it deserves.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's comments on this matter. It is a very technical matter that requires a good thorough discussion and a review by experts. In fact, I held a round table in my community with those concerned: artists, producers, creators, academics, locals, people who are very interested in this topic. I had great input, some of which fed back into the amendments which my colleague spoke about, which were put forward to the government to amend the legislation but were disregarded.
    I wonder if my colleague could comment on what some of the experts had to say about this piece of legislation.
    Madam Speaker, we should all take note of the work the member does. In his community he held a town hall meeting. He did not assume that he knew it all, but he went out into the community to get the advice of his constituents on how best to proceed. Should he not have the opportunity to stand in this House, at length and within the rules, to bring forward those concerns? Should not every member on this side and the other side have that same opportunity?
    Michael Geist, a renowned technology commentator, is one person who has indicated some problems with this legislation. He said:
    The foundational principle of the new bill remains that anytime a digital lock is used--whether on books, movies, music or electronic devices--the lock trumps virtually all other rights.... [This] means that the existing fair dealing rights...and [Bill C-11's] proposed new rights...all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.
     That is a very troubling comment by an expert.

  (1230)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. friend from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his presentation and for all the hard work of his colleagues in committee. I was not a member of the committee, but I know that the members of the official opposition on committee worked very hard to improve this bill. As he mentioned, they put forward amendments. They are not the same as the amendments that I have put forward on which we are now debating, but they were similar in some aspects. They were certainly similar in trying to reduce the draconian way in which digital lock provisions are included in Bill C-11.
    We have heard a lot of members of the Conservative Party say that the music industry and other industry groups believe they will make more money or create more jobs based on passing this bill. I went through the evidence from the fall and found that two of the largest music industry collectives of copyright said that they did not see any evidence of this from the U.S., where there are WIPO rules regarding digital locks, and Canada where we do not. In Canada, we are able to sell legally online, where people are using the online availability of music and not downloading illegally but are paying for their music. Canada's digital industry of online music was growing faster than the U.S. industry. They simply reject the idea that they are going to make more money or create more jobs in the music industry based on digital locks. I wonder if my hon. friend has a comment.
    Madam Speaker, as the member rightly recognized, there is no doubt that the member for Timmins—James Bay has been doing remarkable work on this issue, not just in this Parliament, but in previous Parliaments. He has been doing an amazing job representing our party caucus and the millions of Canadian artists and others who are deeply concerned about this.
    Clearly, there are serious concerns facing artists and creators, as well as those who want to access this entertainment material for their own personal use. It is a serious concern—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Westlock—St. Paul.
    Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-11.
    To start, I would like to note my support for the bill. I encourage others to support it as well.
    The bill is a result of consulting, listening, and listening until we got it right. In fact, this legislation has come to this point through one of the largest consultations in Canadian history. By now, there should be no mistaking the message that we have received. Canada needs to pass legislation to update its Copyright Act and we should do so quickly.
    As we have heard during various speeches delivered during the course of the proceedings on Bill C-11 and former Bill C-32, this legislation purposely balances both the rights of creators and the interests of consumers. It does so in a way that allows artists and creators to position themselves as they wish, but principally protects and enhances their ability to succeed as entrepreneurs.
    By strengthening the protection of their intellectual property rights, we know that if we give our artists and creators, digital or otherwise, the proper legal and economic framework in which to produce work, a large number of them will succeed, prosper and grow.
    Canada is home to a great number of global success stories in the visual and performing arts, as well as artists and creators who use new media to tell their stories and create their work.
    Every year, new artistic innovators emerge and build upon the successes of those before them. It is important that the laws which oversee the protection of their work are up to date and flexible, so that as art forms evolve and change, the law still applies in a way that makes sense, common sense.
    On the other hand, without solid intellectual property protection, the kind of artistic activity that we celebrate every year at events like the Junos is discouraged, and success is more difficult to achieve.
    For instance, we should look at Canada's very successful video game sector. We all know that Canada is home to world leaders like EA Sports, a great company that makes games like Madden football and NHL, but there are a host of other companies that thrive here in Canada as well.
    For example, when the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry visited BitHeads here in Ottawa, the owner of that company told the Toronto Star afterwards that he loses 90% of his company's revenues to piracy activities. That is why he supports this new legislation. We need to ensure that this kind of piracy stops.
    I can also speak about the positive effect the bill would have on photography in Canada. The bill ensures that photographers are the first owners of copyright on their photographs, and that copyright will be protected for 50 years after the photographer's death. Taken together, what the bill aims to do is protect the incentive to create.
    Provisions in the bill strengthen the ability of copyright owners to control the uses of their online work, therefore preventing piracy and infringement and promoting new and legitimate online business models.
    For example, there are provisions creating a new category of civil liability which directly targets the enablers of online piracy. In the same light, the bill ensures the protection of technological protection measures, such as digital locks, to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted material.
    Artists and rights holders will not only benefit from these protections against circumvention, but they will also benefit from the creation of rules that prevent the manufacture, importation and sale of devices that can break digital locks.
    The opposition has been critical of digital locks. The important point here is that digital locks are a tool in the box for creators who wish to protect their hard work. Rights holders are free to market their work with or without a digital lock. Fundamentally, they will respond to the market in which they are active in the way that best suits their interests and values. That is how it should be in a free market.
    It is because of the measures I have just mentioned and more that I am happy to see the bill move forward, beyond the delay tactics we saw at second reading and through a productive committee session in the winter, to this stage today. In many respects this debate has given parliamentarians a strong appreciation for the economic contribution of artists and creators to the Canadian economy as people who innovate, create jobs and strengthen their communities as well as the economy.
    We are also more aware of the opportunities that exist for Canadian artists in our new digital economy. Because of this appreciation and the promise created by these opportunities, what we are saying to artists across the country is that we understand this piece of legislation is important for their ability to profit fully from their work.

  (1235)  

    We will bring the full force of the law against organized commercial piracy to protect the efforts of Canada's creative community. The commitment met with stakeholders' support again and again.
    The Entertainment Software Association of Canada said that the government is delivering on a promise to modernize outdated law and support new and innovative business models. It considers that this legislation would provide a framework to allow creators and companies to distribute their works in the manner that best suits them. This is the association that supports video games and other entertainment software creators. It is saying clearly that this law should be passed now.
    The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network is just as clear. It said that it strongly supports the principles behind this legislation, and that piracy is a massive problem in Canada, which has an economic impact on government retailers and consumers. It said, “We are pleased the government is committed to getting tough on IP crimes.”
    The Canadian Publisher's Council said that “...we all benefit from strong and precise copyright legislation that provides incentives to protect rights holders” in this highly competitive economy.
    It is clear that we have support to move ahead and that we are delivering with this legislation. With the kind of protection those stakeholders are seeking, it is clear that artists do not need things like an iPod tax, which the opposition supports again and again, and does so regardless of the market consequences and what it would mean for the ability of our creators to market their products in new and innovative ways.
    The opposition should take a more positive and confident view of artists and creators. In essence, it should see them as the innovative entrepreneurs that they are and support copyright modernization in Canada as a way of enhancing their ability to succeed.
    This is our third attempt at introducing copyright legislation. Thanks to the efforts of our government, as well as those who took part in the Bill C-11 committee, we will finally bring Canada's copyright laws in line with international standards. This legislation would strengthen our ability to compete in the global, digital economy. It would protect and create jobs, promote innovation and attract new investment to Canada. Moreover, this legislation would encourage new ideas and protect the rights of Canadians whose research, development and artistic creativity strengthen our economy each and every day.
    For these reasons I am pleased to support the bill. I encourage all members of this great place to vote in favour of it.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I understand that the member across feels passionately about ensuring that we have a modern copyright law, something that our party supports.
    The bill in front of us has a lot of glaring gaps and problems. We are asking that we take this legislation back to the table and make it the kind of legislation that it could truly be. What is the problem in doing that? We know there are problems. Many stakeholders have indicated that clearly. Let us get down to work and do the best we can as legislators.
    Madam Speaker, it is true that this is important legislation for artists, creators and consumers in our country.
    This is not the first time this legislation has been brought before this great place. It is not even the second time. This is the third time that the bill has been brought before this place, two of those times in minority Parliaments in which the opposition had more than ample opportunity to stand up and make some of the changes that it looked to make. The opposition actually had a majority on committee.
    When I was in Edmonton a month ago artists told me that it is time that we do this, that it needs to be done now. The longer we wait the more we put their work and their creations in jeopardy.
    We have looked at this not once, not twice but three times in this country. We have done a great job, taking in the committee's proposals. The committee received over 150 submissions and heard from 70 witnesses. It is time to move forward and get some work done on behalf of Canadians and Canadian artists.
    Madam Speaker, this bill has been before the House numerous times. In fact, the first effort at amending copyright legislation goes back to 2005 under a previous Liberal government. Members on all sides of the House and all parties understand that Canada has signed on to international conventions relating to intellectual property and is amending domestic law to meet those terms. Steven Shrybman, counsel for the Council of Canadians, once said that if the governments of the world took climate change as seriously as they take intellectual property, we would have all our laws in place to reduce emissions.
    Does the hon. member not think this law should differentiate people who accidentally break the digital lock at home or download material without any intention to resell or in any profit from it, in other words, the kinds of things people are used to doing today? Does he not think an individual violation of copyright law should be differentiated from a commercial violation of copyright law? At this point, individuals are subject to the same penalties of up to $20,000 maximum as commercial attempts to circumvent copyright law.
    Madam Speaker, I am glad that the hon. member recognizes how seriously our government takes copyright legislation and the modernization of it. She is a very thoughtful person, who puts forward very real amendments, unlike some of my colleagues opposite.
    I am of the understanding through my reading of the legislation that this does differentiate people who are recording something at home, people who do not necessarily intend to break a digital lock. The minister has done an excellent job in balancing the needs of consumers while modernizing our copyright legislation so that artists, creators and photographers can have more modern standards in keeping with those of other countries.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech, which was very interesting.
    I would like to ask him a question about the rights of communities, including remote communities and communities in our regions. The bill we have before us does not seem to provide artists in remote areas with the necessary rights to promote their craft.
    I would like to know whether this bill will benefit them. Will it promote cultural development in our remote areas?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I believe the question goes beyond just the copyright legislation and talks about the need for promoting culture and heritage throughout the regions of our country. I live in a rural region in Alberta that has strong Ukrainian and francophone communities. It is important that we address the cultural differences and promote culture in our country. That is why I am proud to stand behind the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages who does so much work on this file and continues to try to balance the needs of, in this case, the consumers and those creating the products.
    Madam Speaker, we are going to see a diversity of people across Canada supporting this bill, from rural Alberta and urban British Columbia to the rural areas of the riding that I represent.
    I am honoured to rise to speak to Bill C-11 and would like to begin by saying that I am proud that our government is getting closer to delivering on its commitment to modernize Canada's copyright law. I hope that all members will join me in ensuring the swift passage of this bill.

[Translation]

    I would like to remind hon. members of all the work our government has done to bring this bill to where it is today.

[English]

    The copyright modernization legislation was first introduced in June 2010 after extensive consultations that our government held across the country in 2009. During these consultations, we heard from thousands of Canadians. We listened and responded with a bill that would balance the interests of all Canadians. This includes Canadians who create and use copyrighted content.
    The bill was then extensively debated in the House in the previous Parliament. It was then studied by a legislative committee that heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 150 written submissions before that Parliament was dissolved. On September 29, 2011, our government reintroduced it. By reintroducing this bill without changes, our government demonstrated its support for a balanced approach to copyright modernization.

[Translation]

    We have since spent a great deal of time debating this bill in the House. Bill C-11 was referred to a parliamentary committee that picked up the study where the previous committee had left off. We heard from additional witnesses. We received additional submissions. A clause-by-clause study was completed and some amendments were passed.

[English]

    This important piece of legislation is now before us, after this extensive review. We now need to deliver on our commitment to Canadians by passing Bill C-11 and modernizing the Copyright Act. Modernizing the Copyright Act would help protect and create jobs in Canada, which is the number one priority for this government. It would help promote innovation and it would help attract new investment to Canada, directly supporting economic growth.
    One way that Bill C-11 would do all this is by helping to ensure that hard work and good ideas are valued and rewarded in today's digital economy. This would help fuel Canadian creativity, productivity and innovation. This is good news for all Canadians and for the Canadian economy.

[Translation]

    Copyright is important for a several sectors of our economy, including the creative industries.

[English]

    Let me relate the importance of some of these industries.
    Copyright matters to the film and television industries. In 2010-11, these industries represented $5.49 billion in economic activity and employed 128,000 Canadians. Where I reside, the North Shore of Vancouver, a tremendous number of people owe their livelihood to the TV and film industries.
    Copyright also matters to the video game industry. In 2011, this sector employed some 16,000 Canadians, including the Vancouver-based company Electronic Arts. The same sector is estimated to contribute $1.7 billion to the economy.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    These industries are vital for our economy. I would also like to note that they contribute to the quality of life in communities across our great country.

[English]

    Of course Canada's creative industries are not the only part of the economy that is affected by copyright. Copyright law affects a range of other sectors, one way or another. Some of these sectors include architecture, engineering, interior design, retail, telecommunications, information technology and educational institutions. Furthermore, copyright matters to Canadian citizens. This includes Canadians who make use of content, Canadians who purchase context and, of course, Canadians who create content.
    It is clear that copyright law affects the lives of many Canadians and the work of many Canadian organizations. That is why we have taken a balanced approach to copyright modernization. Bill C-11 would balance the interests of all these parties. It would take a common sense approach by providing protections for the works of creators while, at the same time, recognizing the interests of users. This is good news for all Canadians, be they creators or users.

[Translation]

    I would like to take the next few minutes to talk about the benefits of Bill C-11 for Canadian creators.

[English]

    Bill C-11 promotes creativity and innovation by introducing new rights and protections for creators. It also provides creative businesses with a legal framework that will help them attract investment, engage in new business models and combat infringement in a digital environment.
    Let me relate a few of these measures that will be of interest to Canadian creators. Bill C-11 would implement the rights established in the Internet treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Let me relate a few of those rights.
    First, there is the distribution right. This right will allow a copyright holder to control the first distribution of copyrighted material.
    Then there is the making available right, which all copyright owners, including performers and producers of sound recordings, will enjoy. This right allows them to control the release of copyrighted material on the Internet.
    Then there is the so-called moral rights for performers. These rights, similar to the moral rights already provided to authors, will give performers control over the integrity of their performance and its association.
    By implementing all these rights, our government will bring Canada's copyright law in line with the widely recognized international standard of copyright protection for the digital age.
    There are also a number of other measures of interest to Canadian creators in Bill C-11. For example, the bill would make photographers the first owner of copyright associated with their photographs. This copyright would be protected for the life of the photographer plus 50 years. This would harmonize the treatment of photographers under Canada's copyright law with that of other creators. This would allow photographers to take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace.
    By modernizing the Copyright Act, our government will help protect and create jobs. Bill C-11 would also help promote innovation and help attract new investment to Canada. It would give Canadian creators the tools they need to remain creative, innovative and to compete internationally. It would help all Canadians, be they creators or users, benefit from the opportunities of the digital age.
    Let me stress that Canadians will not enjoy these benefits until Parliament passes the bill. Through consultations and committee hearings, we have heard the perspectives of thousands of Canadians. Through hours of debate, we have discussed the perspective they have presented. It is now time for us to pass the legislation and deliver on our commitment to Canadians to modernize Canada's copyright law.

[Translation]

    I urge all members of Parliament to join me in supporting this important bill.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member from British Columbia. He definitely raised a lot of interesting points in his remarks. I would like to ask a question about digital locks to gain a better understanding.
    He says that artists will benefit from the bill because their rights are going to be protected. But it seems to me that consumers will be at a real disadvantage. I would like him to go a little further and highlight the contrast between the two, so that I can have a better understanding of where he is drawing the line in terms of digital locks.

  (1255)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I will answer in English, because this topic requires a slightly technical vocabulary.

[English]

    The digital locks are an important tool for creators and copyright owners to protect their work. Software producers, video game and movie distributors, for example, continue to use digital locks as part of their business model because they wish to protect the significant investment each makes in developing the products. Canadian jobs depend on their ability to make a return on this investment.
    In other markets, however, in light of consumer demand, some businesses have chosen not to use those locks. Copyright owners may decide whether to use a digital lock and consumers can then decide whether to buy the product.
    The bill would also provide a regulation-making power to allow the circumvention of digital locks in certain cases, for example, where the presence of a digital lock unduly restricted competition in an aftermarket sector.

[Translation]

    I hope I have answered the question properly.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my hon. friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has underestimated the historic place of his riding in our hearts in the cultural industry, as it is the location of The Beachcombers.
    I know he knows whereof he speaks in terms of the cultural industry. That is why I put to him the cultural industry groups, a very long list of them, which included the Canadian Actors' Equity Association, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Over 80 of them recognize that the industry represents $46 billion to the Canadian economy and employs over 600,000 people. This industry thinks the current bill is not properly balanced in relation to digital locks.
    No one in the House, I do not believe, is suggesting that we do not want to protect the copyright of and the talent and creative energies of our cultural community, but the legislation goes too far in providing digital locks and making any effort to break those locks a violation of the law.
    Does my hon. friend from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country not think we could accept some amendments to the bill?
    Madam Speaker, my neighbour from Saanich—Gulf Islands helps me honour the tremendous creators who reside in the riding I represent, people like Joni Mitchell, Randy Bachman, Sarah McLachlan, some of Canada's top performers, who I have the honour to know.
    I believe that after the tremendous amount of consultations, the 70 witnesses who came before committee and the 150 briefs, there is the balance to which the questioner has eluded. In fact, there are many exceptions in the bill. We have exceptions for educational institutions, libraries, archives and museums that can benefit from this bill.
    There is a concerted effort to ensure that our creators, our entrepreneurs in the creative industry, are protected so that internationally our wonderful Canadians may be recognized and they can make a living from their art, while others can enjoy the art. There are protections, for example, for people who record TV shows so they will not be afraid of unfair, undue or disproportionate repercussions if they do so.
    Madam Speaker, May 2 marked the first anniversary of the day that Canadians endorsed our government by giving it a majority mandate. With such a clear mandate, we understand that Canadians believe in government aimed directly at job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity.
    We have proof that the plan is working. Statistics Canada recently announced that 58,200 net new jobs were created in April, with large gains in the private sector, manufacturing and in full-time positions.
    We campaigned on a commitment to provide a strong economy for Canadians, not with extravagant promises, but with the proposals and principles now contained in our economic action plan.
    Part of our plan for economic prosperity is Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. The message from Canadians is clear: Canada needs to pass this legislation. Because of this bill, we will finally bring Canada's copyright laws in line with international standards.
    I am proud to support a bill that both recognizes how technologies change the lives of Canadians and supports the industry and consumers. The bill would help Canadians better address the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age. It would work in concert with other measures to strengthen our digital economy, including $80 million to accelerate digital adoption by small businesses, which was announced in budget 2011, and the significant funding toward innovation and venture capital in budget 2012.
    We are also ensuring that Canadians have world-class digital infrastructure through actions like the auction of spectrum for next generation wireless networks and services. We are increasing direct support for business innovation, with $95 million over three years and $40 million per year in ongoing funding to make the Canadian innovation commercialization program permanent.
     Copyright reform fits within these innovative measures.
    The legislation reflects our understanding of the critical role new technology plays in creating new ways for consumers to purchase and enjoy copyrighted material. That is why we are creating a better framework in which copyright owners can create and protect their content. The legislation would strengthen our ability to compete in the global digital economy and it would protect and create jobs, promote innovation and attract new investment to Canada.
    Multiple witnesses have come forward to express support for the bill. They acknowledge that the main goal is about protecting and creating jobs, while stimulating our digital economy and attracting new investment to our knowledge economy and creative industries.
     As an example, the Entertainment Software Alliance of Canada said, “We strongly support the principles underlying this bill. This legislation will help provide a framework for the digital marketplace”.
    The Motion Picture Association of Canada has said:
    A healthy film and television industry means more jobs, a stronger economy, and a greater array of entertainment choices for consumers...We support the Government’s commitment to give copyright owners the tools they need to combat online content theft, and promote creativity, innovation and legitimate business models with the introduction of Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act.
    Right holders will finally have stronger legal tools to pursue online pirate sites that facilitate copyright infringement. The amendments would facilitate targeting those who would participate in violating rights of creators so the real criminals could be punished. Another amendment would eliminate the safe harbour for those who would enable the infringement of the rights of authors.
    The legislation would also bring our country in line with the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, including strong legal protections for digital locks, a new liability for those promoting infringement online and the making available right to ensure control of material over the Internet. We are ensuring that we protect copyright holders and are giving them the ability to defend themselves, while encouraging new ideas whose creativity strengthens our economy.

  (1300)  

    For example, a website run by an individual committed to wide-scale copyright infringement is truly damaging to rights holders. The person operating that site should face the full consequences of his or her activities. That is why one of the amendments adopted at the committee stage will facilitate targeting those who participate in violating rights of creators on a large scale: it is so that these types of violators can be punished. This bill will finally give more freedom to consumers while enforcing a hard line against organized piracy.
    A strong digital economy also requires a connected education sector. As a result of this legislation, libraries, archives and museums will be permitted to make copies of copyrighted material in an alternative format if there is a concern that the original is in a format that is in danger of becoming obsolete.
    As well, this bill includes a number of measures that will allow teachers and students to take advantage of digital technologies so that they can use copyrighted material on lessons conducted over the Internet. This will help the continued development of distance learning, which is opening up new educational opportunities for those in rural and remote communities.
     These are just some of the measures in the bill that I fully support.
    As I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, this bill is an important step in strengthening our digital economy. As we showed in budget 2012, we are supporting the development of our digital economy through important measures, such as opening the telecom sectors to increase foreign investment and putting new funding toward the IRAP program.
    This legislation is another step in the process that I strongly encourage members to support. Canadians have spoken, and we have answered. It is time to stop the delays and move forward with the real copyright reform.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the member's comments, as I did this morning to the comments of the Minister of Canadian Heritage when he was vigorously defending the need to close debate on this bill because, as he said, there are a number of validators on the record who have said that enough is enough and that this is the right bill. I want to put a couple of comments on the record as well, because I think both members have been very selective in their discussion of this bill.
    First I will quote Michael Geist. Everybody here would know him as a renowned technology commentator. He puts it very succinctly when he states:
    The foundational principle of the new bill remains that any time a digital lock is used—whether on books, movies, music, or electronic devices—the lock trumps virtually all other rights....[This] means that both the existing fair dealing rights and [Bill C-11's] new rights...all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.
    There are others. I know I do not have time to quote them all, but in the cultural industries, the Writers Guild of Canada, SOCAN and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic all have serious concerns about the bill.
    I wonder whether the member would choose to address even one of them, since in his own comments he said there are only some parts of the bill that he supports.
    Mr. Speaker, clearly this bill has been a long time in coming. This is its third iteration and the third time we have debated it. There has been lots of discussion, debate and committee work around it, including 70 witnesses and 150 submissions.
    Clearly, the information has been provided. The opportunity for thought, discussion and debate has come to an end, and today we have a bill that will clearly serve the purpose of this nation as we go forward.
    Mr. Speaker, the member said that we have had a good lengthy debate. It is interesting that the longer this debate seems to go on, the more the government admits there is a need for more changes, because even the government is bringing in more amendments to the legislation.
    My question is related to an earlier question I asked of one of the member's colleagues. It would be wonderful to get some clarification on this point.
     I asked the member's colleague this: if one of his constituents goes to a local store, purchases a CD and takes it home, would he or she have the right to put that favourite song, or whatever it might be, onto one or two of his or her own MP3 players, strictly for personal use?

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I heard him ask that question yesterday, as a matter of fact.
    The bill calls for those who clearly intend to circumvent the law to be punished and challenged and dealt with in this situation. I believe the bill implies clearly that if there is no digital lock, there would not be a problem for those who take a CD home to put it on their MP3 or some other device. However, the question is relative to a digital lock, and if it is an intentional circumvention of the law for commercial purposes or for piracy, et cetera, then we have a situation that would definitely call for action by the authorities.
    Mr. Speaker, in terms of the opposition's comments about the amount of consultation and debate on this particular issue, I would just note that Bill C-32 in the last Parliament and Bill C-11 in this one have had very many hours of debate. We have seen about 180 individual witnesses come before committee and, between the two bills, dozens of hours of committee hearings. I wonder if the hon. member might comment on whether, in his experience in the House, he has seen this level of debate in any other bill.
    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, I am a new member to the House as of a year ago. In my experience I have not seen this length of review, so I think it is time for the opposition parties to join the government and support this bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being allowed to rise for debate on Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.
    Since 2006, one of our government's goals has been to protect those who seek innovation by creating or evolving new ideas. We have answered the call sent by Canadians for responsible copyright legislation that would protect and help creators, performers and copyright owners or consumers. Our government recognizes how new technologies are changing the lives of many Canadians, and our creative industries deserve a modern understanding of the critical role copyright laws play in protecting and creating jobs in Canada's digital economy. In our fast-moving technological world, it is important that our legislation remain current and provide a better, more efficient way for copyright owners to create and protect their content.
    After an attempt to modernize our copyright legislation in 2011, which we could not complete because of the demand from the opposition for an unnecessary election, I am proud to say that we continue to pursue this goal. We are glad that Canadians gave our government a strong majority so that the opposition can no longer disrupt our goal of providing creators with a modern copyright act that is in line with today's digital world.
     By reintroducing this bill without change in the fall, our government reiterated its support for a balanced approach to copyright reform, and after hearing more than 70 witnesses at the Bill C-32 committee and almost as many at the Bill C-11 committee, we think that this bill will finally provide a new, modern and up-to-date vision for copyright that has always been shared by our government. Not only would this legislation bring our country on par with international standards; it would also make our country a world leader in terms of copyright reform. For example, I would cite the notice and notice provisions of this bill as truly innovative.
     I am also glad to say that multiple witnesses have provided strong support for this bill, acknowledging that our government's main goal is protecting and creating jobs while stimulating our economy and attracting new investment to Canada. As an example, the Canadian Publishers Council said that our government “...demonstrates a clear understanding of the need to amend the current Copyright Act to bring it more in line with our times”.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

     In this regard, let me say a few words about the proposed amendments to Bill C-11, amendments that speak to the concerns that have been raised and that will bring some clarity and precision to the bill.
     For example, in response to the concerns from the CNIB, which provides support to blind and partially-sighted Canadians, we have introduced an amendment for non-profit organizations that limits the legal actions that can be taken against non-profits that mistakenly export abroad an alternate format that is meant for people with visual impairments.
     Some non-profit organizations had raised concerns with regard to the fact that they could be discouraged from making use of the exception regarding formats for people with a perceptual disability, because of the related legal liabilities. This clarification will enable these organizations to use the exception without fear of negative consequences.
     At this point, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed their briefs and suggestions to Bill C-11.
     The intent of the bill is not to punish legitimate organizations that make an honest mistake in good faith, but to protect intellectual property as well as the rights of consumers. It should be noted that copyright holders can always ask for an injunction to bring an end to any violations. This amendment shows our good faith as well as our openness to proposed technical amendments. I would like to repeat that our intent is not to punish those who respect the law.

[English]

    With this in mind, I would like to mention another amendment that would help to better target those persons who do not obey the law and who abuse the opportunities offered by the Internet. This amendment concerns safe harbour provisions. The amendment would clarify the scope of the legislation and eliminate safe harbours for persons who allow or enable copyright infringement.
    Currently, service providers have four areas of exemption regarding enabling offences: caching services, hosting services, telecommunications services and information location tools, such as Google or Yahoo.
    The amendment to the bill would eliminate safe harbours for caching and hosting in cases where copyright infringement would be enabled. Safe harbours are not created for criminals who seek to escape the law and abuse the legislation for their own profit. The amendment would clarify this issue.
    The amendment would have a positive effect and give copyright holders other means of recourse to protect their works. They have the right to benefit from the results of their efforts.
    We have also made an amendment concerning the scope of injunctions in order to clarify the legal issues surrounding search engines. This amendment would address concerns with search engines and possible catch-all injunctions that would be too broad to enforce, such as a court order requiring that a song be completely removed from the Internet.
    It is a matter of demonstrating common sense and having realistic expectations of what can be done to fight Internet piracy. Under the provisions of our bill, search engines would not be liable as a result of performing their role as neutral conduits.

[Translation]

     Once again, our goal is not to penalize legitimate intermediaries, such as search engines, that provide a valuable service to the users. That is highlighted by this amendment.
     This amendment goes hand-in-hand with our desire to recognize the neutral role played by these intermediaries in online activities. This bill is intended to establish a balance between the parties, and this amendment will help establish a reasonable balance for everyone.
     For the consumers, we have made another clarification with the amendment concerning access to copies in terms of alternative formats and later viewing. This amendment confirms that personal use refers to the entire household, not just a single individual. We feel this is a matter of common sense. We hope that the bill reflects this common sense, both in its implementation and in its spirit. We must ensure that consumers can take advantage of the content they have purchased at the time and in the format of their choice, while respecting the balance between creators' rights and consumers' rights.
     In addition, the wording of the former provisions could suggest that they granted a right to mass-distribute copies, provided they were intended for the recipient's exclusive personal use. This amendment reinforces the language of the act without changing its spirit.
     This amendment will also enhance intellectual property protection, while enabling consumers to enjoy their purchases in the comfort of their homes.
     Earlier I mentioned that this bill would make Canada a world leader in copyright reform. It is also important to note that we will finally be meeting the standards of the international treaties to which Canada is a signatory.
     We have also added an amendment respecting international treaties to clarify the remedies available to copyright holders and to make it clear that they may base a remedy on the treaty of their choice, but not two at the same time.
     The purpose of our bill is to provide Canada with a modern intellectual property regime adapted to new technologies. Treaties overlap when copyright is asserted or belongs to countries that are signatories to both treaties. This clarification protects consumers and means they will not have to pay twice for the same service as a result of overlapping international laws.
     Once again, we have to do things properly and ensure that the rights of consumers and creators are respected and that our intellectual property regime creates wealth for the future.

  (1320)  

[English]

    It is time to acknowledge that Canadians have spoken in favour of this legislation. It is time to pass the bill.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have been carefully listening to my colleague’s speech.
     What comes to my mind when I think of Bill C-11 on copyright modernization is the contrast between creators, artists, musicians and so on and the companies that will certainly benefit from this bill more than the creators. I found it very interesting that, when we put questions on this matter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the House, he often responded with quotations. I would like to cite just one:

[English]

    Our copyright legislation...was adopted by this Parliament....
    In fact, the Canadian Recording Industry Association backs our bill. The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network applauds our bill. The Canadian Film and Television Production Association said that it applauds the government’s copyright reform....

[Translation]

     That answer was given on March 13, 2012. I believe it really shows that this bill is unbalanced in that it grants all the protections demanded by the companies. However, creators, craftspeople and musicians have not been quoted in support of the bill.
     I would like to hear the government member comment on the fact that the creators themselves do not support this bill and that only the companies support it. At least, that is what the government has shown.
    Mr. Speaker, I must point out that this bill is indeed trying to find the essential balance between creators and consumers.

[English]

    I do not know why the member is just focusing on big business. Many creators of intellectual property are not big business. In fact, they earn their living from the work they do and simply want their copyrighted materials protected.
    Of course, we must also find the balance with the consumers, which is exactly what the bill would do.

[Translation]

    This bill finds the necessary balance. We need to act, and I encourage the members on the other side to support this bill.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am working on a brochure and in order to get it right I would like the member to comment on whether what I am about to put out in my brochure is in fact wrong.
    My brochure would read that the Prime Minister and the Conservative government believe that if people purchase a music CD at Walmart and it has a digital lock, that they had better not make a copy of any of the songs for personal use because if they do they will be breaking the law and committing a criminal offence.
    If this legislation passes, that is what I will be telling my constituents. Am I right or am I wrong about personal use?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member needs to wake up and realize the reality of today.
    The producers of copyrighted material are not there to frustrate the consumer. They want to sell their products with minimum impact on the consumer. If the member has been in Walmart buying, for example, a movie, he knows that the movie with the digital lock is available in multiple format, a format, perhaps, on a DVD for a television, but also in a format that people can load right on to their iPad. There is no longer a need to break the digital lock.
    When it comes to music, there are many CDs out there that do not have any digital lock at all. Of course, for personal use, the consumer is welcome to simply transcribe the format for his own personal device as long as there is not a digital lock.
    I do not know why the member is trying to exaggerate the circumstances as they exist and why he does not recognize that the producers of content actually want consumers to buy their products. That is the reality of the new marketplace.
    Mr. Speaker, I heard the hon. member state his case and I heard the question from the gentleman on the other side earlier about the digital lock.
     I have a niece who is a professional singer-songwriter. She depends on selling her music to make a living. There does not seem to be an understanding on the other side of the importance of protecting her intellectual property, the music and the songs that she writes and sings.
    I would just ask the member whether this legislation would protect her and protect her property in a reasonable way.
    Mr. Speaker, that was an excellent point and the point I made in my first response. We are not talking about big corporations here. We are talking about Canadians who create content and earn their living from that. That is how they feed their families. They should be protected, and that is what the bill would do. It finds that middle ground, that balance between the rights of the creators of content and the consumer.
    The opposition members want to ramp this up but they are doing an injustice to the creator, Canadians who contribute to our industries. They are ramping it up unnecessarily when they know the consultation that has gone on with the bill, they know the support that it has and they should really be voting for the bill and standing on the side of Canadians and content creators.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in the House and speak to this important bill.
    Many of us in the NDP know that our party has been at the forefront of r pushing for innovative and effective legislation through the work of colleague from Timmins—James Bay and others who have painstakingly committed to extensive consultations, both in the confines of Parliament and out across the country. They and are our team have reached out to all stakeholders, artists, academics, students, producers and all people in the industry.
     Our goal all along has been to produce the most innovative and effective copyright legislation we can. Unfortunately, the government seems to have issue with the concept of innovation, not just in this area but, frankly, all across the board. While it makes reference to wanting modern legislation, we know, and many stakeholders have indicated, that the legislation has gaping problems.
    What we have suggested is that we sit down and go through these gaps, that we close the gaps, that we solve the problems and that we retract the problems created as a result of the legislation, problems that were not there before. That is something we have been very consistently saying. We want to work at this and are continuing to work at this.
     We are very disappointed that the government pressed for closure of the debate, a habit that it has shown on many critical debates in this House. it is an action that limits not only the voices of Canadians in deciding their future on various issues, but makes for legislation that does not work, legislation that will cause greater problems, certainly in terms of copyright within the artistic community and the academic community. It might benefit some but most Canadians will face some real challenges as a result of the legislation.
    We believe that copyright modernization is long overdue but this bill has too many glaring problems. In certain cases it even creates problems where none existed.
    New Democrats believe that copyright laws in Canada can balance the right of creators to be compensated fairly for their work and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to copyright content. We have made it clear all along that the way we would consider possible amendments to the bill would be to create a fair royalty system for creators. However, as it stands, Bill C-11 wipes away millions of dollars in revenue for artists.
    When we look closer at the issue, it appears that all Canadian attempts at copyright reform in recent years have had very little to do with creating a regime that would balance the rights of creators and the public, but rather have been an attempt to satisfy the demands of American large content owners, such as movie studios, music labels, video game developers and others.
    What we are asking as New Democrats is: When will Canadians have copyright legislation that works for them? We believe that copyright laws in Canada can balance the right of creators to be compensated fairly for their work and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to content. The bill would grant s a range of new access privileges but would not increase opportunities for artists' remuneration.
    This new playing field will profoundly affect the ability of artists to survive. The copyright modernization act essentially gives with one hand while it takes away with the other. While the bill contains a few concessions for consumers, they are, unfortunately, undermined by the government's refusal to compromise on the single most controversial copyright issue in this country, that being the digital lock provisions.
    In the case of long distance education, for example, people in a remote, isolated community would have to burn their school notes after 30 days. That is hardly an improvement or an appropriate use of copyright law.

  (1330)  

    People in remote communities across northern Manitoba depend on access to education and accessibility to materials. This is a clear necessity, as we New Democrats have said. The government claims to be on the side of training and education. However, the legislation would hinder that access, particularly for people who already face so many obstacles in accessing education and materials they need. The legislation would set them and our regions back.
    We have proposed removing sections of the copyright modernization act that would make criminals out of everyday Canadians who would break digital locks for personal and non-commercial use.
    We do support the lessening of penalties for those who are responsible for breaking copyright law. This would prevent the excessive use of problematic lawsuits against ordinary citizens, like what we have seen in the U.S.
    The Conservatives unfortunately have ignored expert opinions raised in committee and the findings of their own copyright consultations in 2009. As a result, they have arrived at flawed legislation that may end up doing more harm than good.
    New Democrats believe that copyright modernization is overdue, but this bill has too many glaring problems. We will be at the forefront of proposing positive changes and of being part of developing modernized copyright law that is in the best interests of Canadians.
    I would also like to share the words of many respected people in their fields, people who know the legislation is flawed and that it will harm producers and users of so many materials that involve the copyright legislation.
    Michael Geist, the renowned technology commentator, put it succinctly:
    The foundational principle of the new bill remains that anytime a digital lock is used -- whether on books, movies, music, or electronic devices -- the lock trumps virtually all other rights...This...means that the existing fair dealing rights [and Bill C-11 rights]...all cease to function effectively so long as the rights holder places a digital lock on their content or device.
    The cultural industry has made a statement. It represents over 80 arts and culture organizations across Quebec and nationwide. It argues that the bill may be toxic to Canada's digital economy. It warns that failure to amend the copyright modernization act to ensure fair compensation for Canadian content owners can only lead to a decline in the production of Canadian content and its dissemination domestically and abroad.
    Instead of moving forward, instead of being at the cutting edge of innovation, instead of ensuring that our artists, researchers, academics and Canadian industries are able to be part of the future of the digital economy, the government's approach is setting us back.
    Unfortunately this is an overall trend with the Conservative government, whether it is on the environment, economic development, education or in an area that I am involved with, women's rights. The government's approach is not to look forward, but rather to look at how we can pull away. In the case of Bill C-11, when so many hours and so much effort has been made to shape the best legislation, the government has unfortunately not produced that.
    Finally, I would like to share the message of so many of my colleagues in the NDP. The legislation would set artists back. Artists are the backbone of our country. They are the people who shape our communities, who tell our stories, who bring us together from coast to coast in a country as broad and as wealthy in talent as ours. The reality is we need real legislation that will allow artists to do their work and that allows Canadians to move forward. Unfortunately Bill C-11 is not that legislation.
    We hope the government will listen to New Democrats and allow us to do that work.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about being concerned about creators. All of us are concerned about creators.
    This is a quote from a group of creators, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. It says:
    We congratulate the Government for protect[ing] the creative industries and men and women working in film and television production across Canada....The bill does not provide for the extension of the controversial private copying levy to devices such as ipods, which would have been extremely unpopular with consumers...
    Given the fact that we have spent two and a half years debating this legislation, whether it was Bill C-32 or Bill C-11, given the fact that we have received thousands of input, given the fact there was a special legislative committee and given the fact that the bill attempts to balance the rights of consumers and creators, would the hon. member like to comment on the fact that no matter what provisions are in a bill there will always be somebody who will find the bill unsatisfactory? Would my colleague acknowledge that Bill C-11 is a good attempt at balancing that? I expect I know the answer. It is always a balancing act. Regardless, I wish we could just get on with it instead of playing politics with consumers and creators.
    Mr. Speaker, for us, what is important is that we do the job right. What we have said consistently, and as indicated through the efforts of my colleague from Timmins—James Bay and others, is that we would like to do a thorough job. Absolutely, we would like to be time effective, but let us ensure that at the end of the day the legislation that comes out is to the benefit of all Canadians.
    I would like to read the words of the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada that noted on the identical bill to C-11, Bill C-32:
    If adopted without amendments, the bill tabled in the House of Commons will significantly affect creators' revenues. Moreover, the desired balance between the interests of creators and those of consumers and users is, in our opinion, completely absent.
    This is not a balanced bill, and that is what we ask for.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat inspired to get up after hearing the hon. member for Edmonton. It almost seems like it is a black and white situation. We have a situation where he says that there will always be people against these sorts of measures. Of course there will be, but they have absolutely zero recourse.
    Let us take a look at the education exemption as a fine example. We have a blanket exemption across the board. What if authors feel the education exemption is being exploited so their work is not being sold in the market? It would take away the ability of authors to sell their products. A multi-step test for the courts to decide whether an author has been infringed upon is the way to go. The government would not even entertain it. That person has been written off as far as any concerns the author may have. This is not a way of listening to the people opposed to this.
    Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that the bill has tremendous gaps, as my colleagues and I have noted.
    We are saying we should do the job right. Let us ensure that we close the gaps. We have said that we are willing to make the amendments, to be part of making that positive change, but once again, the government is resorting to closing the debate, ensuring that Canadians are once again silenced on something that is so important to our future.
    The final result will be ineffective legislation that will take away revenues from artists and that will set Canadians back when it comes to our involvement in the digital economy. As New Democrats, we believe that is wrong.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    I would just like to say that Bill C-11 does not reflect the interests of Canadians, not in the way it will be adopted—since this is the nth time we have seen debate shut down—and not in its content—since it does not consider the consumers, for whom it is important to provide fair dealing.
    Can my colleague comment on the use of locks in this context?
    Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this bill poses a number of problems. For example, in the case of digital locks, we will have many more problems if this bill becomes a reality.
    In addition, our party's caucus has a number of young people and other members who are concerned about young people's contribution to Canada. This type of bill makes us take a step back, not move forward. That is why the NDP does not support the Conservative bill.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in my place today to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act.
    The bill is returned to the House after extensive review by a legislative committee and the adoption of some technical amendments that will improve it but not alter the important policy balance that has been achieved. However, for those technical amendments, Bill C-11 is essentially the same as Bill C-32, which was being studied during the last Parliament.
    Members of the House might remember that Bill C-32 went through 6 hours and 50 minutes of debate in the House, with a total of 17 speeches. In committee, 78 organizations and 122 different individuals appeared over the course of some 20 meetings, which lasted a total of 39 hours. That was a very comprehensive and wide-ranging debate on many of the same issues that have been reintroduced during the discussion around Bill C-11.
    The debate on the bill before us now has been even longer and we have heard from even more speakers, with 86 speeches in total as well as numerous interventions. Clearly the House has many views on copyright reform.
    The legislative committee also heard from a broad spectrum of interests that had a stake in the modernization of copyright. In February and March, the committee met on 11 occasions and heard from 62 individuals representing various creators, collectives, intermediaries, associations and businesses. They expressed varied and sometimes opposing views on a number of provisions in the bill.
    To emphasize the range of views that were represented, we heard from librarians and archivists, broadcasters, directors and film producers, musicians, publishers and authors, educators, lawyers and persons with perceptual disabilities. We also heard from large and small businesses.
    I would like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the concerns that we heard concerning copyright reform.
    The first relates to concerns we heard about compensation for creators. Some have argued for the expansion of the private copying regime and oppose the new exceptions for consumers. Expanding the private copying regime would increase the cost of new technologies. The government cannot have a strategy of greater access to the Internet and promotion of our digital economy and at the same time support a policy that would increase cost and taxes on new technologies that drive innovation.
    The digital economy provides creators with new ways to market their works and find new revenue streams. The bill would provide them with new rights, protections and specific measures to combat the enablers of copyright infringement.
    Another concern expressed by some stakeholders is that the fair dealing exception for education may have a detrimental impact on the revenue streams of creators. They propose that fair dealing be constrained rather than rely on the six factors that have been established by the courts to determine what is fair.
    I point out that fair dealing is not a blank cheque. It is a long-standing feature of our copyright law that permits individuals and businesses to make certain uses of copyrighted material in ways that do not unduly threaten the interests of copyright owners and which could have significant social benefits, but only if they are fair.
    Finally, in summarizing what we heard during the second reading debate and at committee, I point out that the education provisions of the bill received considerable attention and some criticized some of the safeguards that had been put in place to ensure a balance of interest.
    The bill introduces new measures aimed at enriching the educational experience. It greatly expands the ability of teachers and students to make use of new digital technologies and of copyrighted materials in the educational context.
     For instance, teachers and students will be allowed to use copyrighted material in lessons conducted over the Internet and use legitimately posted material that they find on the Internet for educational purposes. The bill would also adjusts existing educational provisions to make them more technology neutral. The limitations and safeguards in place in relation to these new measures are an essential part of the balance between supporting learning and respecting the legitimate interests of copyright owners.
    These matters were discussed extensively at second reading and by the legislative committee, in which we enjoyed a very wide-ranging and thought provoking discussion. In addition to robust debate regarding the private copying regime, fair dealing and the specific education provisions, we heard about the need for technological neutrality and the benefits to consumers.
    We are proud this bill would amend the Copyright Act to provide a technology neutral framework that would stand the test of time. We live in an ever-evolving media and technology landscape that requires such a framework moving forward, so we are getting rid of outdated references to flip charts and other technologies to ensure the legislation remains relevant.

  (1345)  

    Finally, as followers of the copyright debate know, the bill proposes key changes that would benefit consumers. Consumers would have more flexibility to enjoy and manage their legitimately acquired content. Consumers would be allowed to time-shift their programming recorded on television, radio and Internet broadcasts. Consumers would also be allowed to format-shift and make backup copies.
    Furthermore, we would be adding parody and satire to fair dealing and the ability for Canadians to create user-generated content. These are important amendments that would increase innovation and consumer choice.
    In committee, witnesses agreed with the central premise that has been made time and again in this House. Modernization of Canada's copyright laws is long overdue. Some argued that the balance we have established on the bill before us should be tilted one way; others argued we should go further in the other direction. That is the nature of a bill as complex as this one. Not everyone will get everything they were looking for in the modernized copyright regime. However, moving ahead with the bill will be much better than perpetuating laws that have not been updated in more than a decade.
    The bill would deliver a common-sense balance between the rights of consumers and the creative community. Importantly, it would also bring our laws in line with the WIPO Internet treaties.
    Bill C-11 would provide for a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act every five years. At that time, Parliament would have the opportunity to review the changes made by the bill, as well as study how well the Copyright Act, as a whole, is serving to balance the needs of creators and users.
    However, let us move quickly on passing the bill now, so that consumers and creators can soon benefit from these provisions. I urge hon. members of all parties to join me in voting for third reading so the bill can proceed to the Senate.

  (1350)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member, whom I have the pleasure of working with as a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
    My colleague spoke at length, but I would like him to talk a little more about the much-touted provision on education. We know very well that the market for educational books is fairly limited.
    How would the market for educational books produced in Canada survive, given this provision? What does he see for the future of companies in the educational book business, the publishing companies? What would the future be like for these publishers, given this provision?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, of course there are significant education provisions contained in the bill, provisions that would make it easier for teachers to enhance the educational experience for students through a variety of means, technological means, for example, using the Internet to kind of learn on the fly and creatively explore things as they come up, as they are discussed by the class. Of course, this would be covered by the rules around fair dealing. There are six factors that have to be considered when we are talking about fair dealing. Witnesses, during the course of the committee hearings, from time to time forgot about the fact that those six factors existed.
    We are also taking measures to better enable the use of distance learning so, for example, a student somewhere in a northern community, in Nunavut, could take part in a classroom discussion that is happening in a classroom in Edmonton, for example, and not be hindered by the rules around the copyright law.
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. friend knows, the bill would provide that persons with a perceptual disability could circumvent a digital lock. However, the problem is that they would also, then, have to put it back in its original condition, whether it is software, a DVD or whatever.
    For persons with a disability, in many cases, it is hard to imagine how they could get access to the means whereby they could remove a digital lock, let alone put the software or DVD back in its original condition afterward.
    Why does my hon. colleague feel the government is insisting on maintaining these provisions, which would not help people with disabilities?
    Mr. Speaker, of course the hon. member had a chance to hear from individuals before the committee during the testimony. We have taken significant measures in the bill to enhance the ability of those dealing with perceptual disabilities to benefit from copyrighted works in ways that are balanced. Again the key word, as we have said in every discussion throughout the conversation around the bill, is “balance”.
    Certainly, people came before the committee. Virtually everybody who came before the committee had something they would change about the legislation. However, the vast majority of the people who came before the committee also said that our copyright law would be better with the passing of the bill and urged us to pass the bill as soon as possible.
    I hope we can count on the hon. member and his party to help us do that.
    Mr. Speaker, I was impressed with my colleague's remarks about the level of consultations with Canadians, committees and so on. Aside from New Democrats, people have to be impressed with the two and a half years and all the processes that were gone through. I wonder if my colleague could compare the consultation process on this bill with that on other bills he may be familiar with from his time here.
    Mr. Speaker, there have been more consultations on this bill than almost any bill I have ever seen in my six years in the House. In fact, as I mentioned in my speech, I believe that between Bill C-32, which was introduced in the previous Parliament, and Bill C-11, which is the bill we are discussing now, committees heard from more than 180 different individuals. There were hours and hours of debate in the House of Commons, dozens and dozens of hours of discussion in committees and the opportunity to hear from and question witnesses. One thing that has to be said is that there has been no shortage of consultation on this bill.

  (1355)  

[Translation]

    Before giving the floor to the member for Gatineau, I would like to say I will have to interrupt her at approximately 1:52 p.m., when it is time for statements by members.
    The hon. member for Gatineau.
    Mr. Speaker, according to the hon. member opposite, this bill has been the focus of the most studies that this House has ever conducted.
    One of my colleagues said it was the nth time, but it seems to me that this government is gagging us for the 21st time by limiting the time for debate. It is not just a question of the time available for study in committee, but also the time granted to the democratically elected representatives. They must be able to rise in this House and express their views on a bill without having a feeling that the gun is pointed at their heads and being told that they have to vote and pass this bill immediately. They must have a chance to sit down and pay particular attention to it, as new members must.
     Every time it happens, we hear that this is the bill that has been studied the most often in committee, with the most days, the most hours and the most witnesses. I heard the same thing about Bill C-10; I heard the same thing about Bill C-19; and I have heard the same thing about all the bills that are studied in committee. Now we are hearing the same thing about this very important bill.
     This is how the government has decided to proceed. Because of the majority that it got with the support of 39% of the population, this is how we are forced to proceed. We have to bow to this state of affairs and express our views the way they have chosen.
     In any event, I would like to congratulate my colleagues for Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, Timmins—James Bay, and Jeanne-Le Ber who, in one way or another, have spent endless hours working on the bill, and all those who sat on the committee for never-ending hours. In fact, they spent endless hours studying a bill that will have a major impact, an enormous impact, on the lives of creators and producers and on the lives of consumers, the people from all walks of life that we represent here, in this House. It is our duty to find the right balance to ensure that we respect everyone's rights, but it is not always easy.
     Here again, there are numerous amendments to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act. There are tons of amendments. Some people will say that these are the amendments that society has been waiting a long time to see. Perhaps they are, but it is not because they are long-awaited that they have to be shoved down our throats.
     I understand that my time is up, Mr. Speaker. I will continue after question period.
    The member for Gatineau will have seven minutes to end her speech and five minutes for questions and comments when the House resumes debate on this motion.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Canadian Blood Services

    Mr. Speaker, last month Canadian Blood Services closed Canada's only stand-alone plasma centre. We lost 30 skilled employees in Thunder Bay and hundreds of loyal donors. That facility provided vital transfusion products to patients across Canada.
     Canadian Blood Services claims there is an excess supply of plasma while at the same time it has announced plans to import over 20,000 litres from suppliers in the United States collected from paid donors.
    Now we hear that a private for-profit company in Toronto has applied to Health Canada to start paying donors for plasma to sell to Canadian Blood Services. This is insanity. Provinces will spend over $300 million a year for imported blood products. The World Health Organization warns that paying for plasma increases the risk of blood-borne diseases. The Krever report said donations should never be paid for.
    Thunder Bay blood donors want an investigation. We need safe blood from Thunder Bay volunteer donors. We need to keep our Canadian health system public.

  (1400)  

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, economic action plan 2012 is bringing benefits to New Brunswick. Our government is investing in training, infrastructure and opportunities. A well-trained, highly educated workforce is one of our key advantages in competing and succeeding in the global economy. We are taking action to ensure barriers to workforce participation are reduced. We are positioning Canada to be better prepared to face labour market needs in the longer term.
    The economic action plan proposes to extend the temporary hiring credit for small businesses for one year. A credit of up to $1,000 against a small employer's increase in its 2012 EI benefits over those paid in 2011 would be provided. This temporary credit would be available to approximately 536 employers nationally, whose total EI benefits were at or below $10,000 in 2011, reducing small businesses' 2012 payroll costs by approximately $205 million.
    Our government is focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadian families. We are getting it done.

[Translation]

Intelligent Community of the Year

     Mr. Speaker, on June 8, 2012, in New York City, Quebec City will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of cities such as Seoul, New York, Calgary, Waterloo, Taipei and Stockholm by winning the title of Intelligent Community of the Year. Four hundred cities throughout the world were competing for the award, and today Quebec City was chosen as one of the seven finalists.
    On April 17, I had the opportunity to meet with Louis Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, to speak to him about why Quebec City should be chosen. A so-called intelligent community focuses on broadband connectivity, a knowledge workforce, innovation and digital inclusion in a spirit of leadership, collaboration and sustainability.
    This title is important because it recognizes the efforts of a region that is in the process of becoming a true 21st century society, where the digital economy has such an important role to play.
    I am convinced that Quebec City has what it takes to win the title of Intelligent Community of the Year for 2012.

[English]

Children's Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to the issue of children's mental health.
    Last weekend, I attended the annual CASA for Kids Spring Celebration in Edmonton. Since 1978, CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health has been advancing the cause of mental health of infants to 18-year-olds through family-oriented clinical services, education, research and advocacy in Alberta.
    Every year, CASA helps 3,000 young people through a continuum ranging from consultation and community outreach settings to very intensive treatment programs.
    We heard heart-rending stories about the challenges families face with mental illness. As always, Edmontonians opened their hearts and their wallets and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for this excellent cause that affects so many Canadians.
    CASA's delivery of critical services and its aggressive and goal-oriented research will help to open the door to a future of dignity, fairness and compassion for all young Canadians.
    I salute CASA for its continued excellent work. I thank Edmontonians for once again showing that Canadians can work together to make life better for those who are not as lucky as the rest of us.

Roadside Cleanup

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Women's Institute of Prince Edward Island on what has come to be known as the annual roadside cleanup.
    In 1973, the Women's Institute started this great island tradition whereby on a date in May, under its leadership, everyone is encouraged to clean up the litter from ditches and pack it in bags for pickup. This effort enhances the image to be island proud and keep it clean. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of this event.
    The Women's Institute has challenged all islanders to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while joining in the annual roadside cleanup to help keep Prince Edward Island beautiful.
    Beyond all its other good work, the Women's Institute in this way provides inspiration to enhance our environment.
    On behalf of myself and my island colleagues, I thank the Women's Institute for its hard work and dedication in promoting this wonderful island initiative that has proven to be such a success.

  (1405)  

Ultimate Class Field Trip

    Mr. Speaker, Mississauga is still on top. St. Pio elementary school in my riding of Mississauga—Brampton South has won the Ultimate Class Field Trip contest for Canadian students.
    To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada, thousands of students competed in the nationwide contest. Hundreds of stories were submitted. St. Pio came out on top.
    The grade 8 history class at St. Pio researched and wrote the winning story, entitled “Ty's Cross-Country Adventure”. Ty travels from Yukon Territory to Newfoundland and through 23 of our wonderful country's national historic sites.

[Translation]

    The winner receives a four-day, three-night trip to Ottawa, with a stop in Kingston, to visit national historic sites.

[English]

    This afternoon I will be hosting the big winners here on Parliament Hill. I congratulate our outstanding students, their families and our great teachers. I congratulate St. Pio.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, municipal leaders across this country, including the mayors of Greenwood, Trail, Slocan and Grand Forks in my riding, strongly object to the provisions in CETA that will diminish their capacity to govern.
    They are making it abundantly clear that a trade deal that limits their ability to give preference to local providers of goods and services or that results in their loss of control over water, waste, recycling and public transit is unacceptable.
    According to the leaked draft of the agreement, any contracts above $340,000 for goods and services and $8.5 million for construction contracts would have to be opened to bids from European corporations. Municipalities that award contracts to local companies could very well be sued by these multinationals.
    Who would even think of trading away the rights of the country's elected leaders to make decisions? Why has the government not clearly stated that these provisions are a non-starter?
    Anything that strips municipalities of their democratic decision-making powers must not be included in CETA or any other trade agreement.

Benjamin Alan Russell

    Mr. Speaker, Benjamin Alan Russell, veteran, lawyer, valued mentor, constituent, passed away on March 30 at age 88.
    Al was a modest and great Canadian who lived a life of service through the war, through his 32-year law practice and through volunteerism.
    Always good at sports, he joined the war effort at age 18 as a physical training instructor. He lost his left leg below the knee in an on-duty accident in Canada.
    After his discharge in 1945, he graduated in law from UBC, distinguishing himself as a lawyer and devoting himself to the War Amps.
    Al lived the War Amps motto, Amputees Helping Amputees. His contributions regionally and nationally were immeasurable. He ultimately was elected chairman of the board for the last seven years.
    As his firm's first woman student and associate, I always appreciated his warmth and kindness.
    Al and his philanthropy will be missed by his family, his many friends at Cultus Lake, the Delta Golf Club, the Tunnel Town Master's Curling League and by me.

Iran

    Mr. Speaker, Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. As our Minister of Foreign Affairs recently said, those weapons could be a reality in a little less than a year if Iran decides to proceed.
    A nuclear-armed Iran would be a destabilizing force in the Middle East and a serious threat to peace.
    Given Iran's track record of persecuting minorities within and sponsoring terrorism abroad, Canadians are deeply concerned about Iran's objectives.
    The Iranian regime claims it has no interest in nuclear weapons. Canadians would have more confidence in such claims if they could see evidence of peaceful intentions.
    Instead of sentencing Iranian Christians, Baha'is and others to death for their faith, Iran should demonstrate religious tolerance. Instead of threatening Israel with destruction, Iran should stop funding Hezbollah. Instead of secrecy at atomic facilities, Iran should allow stringent international nuclear inspections.

Sagkeeng's Finest

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to congratulate the first place winners of Canada's Got Talent, Sagkeeng's Finest.
    As the MP for Sagkeeng First Nation, I would like to join the many people from across Manitoba and Canada in congratulating Vincent O'Laney, Brandon Courchene and Dallas Courchene. They have made so many people very proud.
    Sagkeeng's Finest showcases the true spirit of our region. The name of their group honours the elders who have passed, who taught and influenced them and other young people to jig and fiddle. Like many aboriginal young people, Vincent, Brandon and Dallas combine the wealth of tradition with a modern twist.
    Sagkeeng's Finest shows the power of community. Their first nation supported them and has helped shape them into role models. In fact, last night the community joined together to cheer on the next generation.
    Sagkeeng's Finest also shows us how we have to believe in young aboriginal people, their talents and their future. We must support the arts and education, and we must celebrate the successes of young Canadians.
    We will be cheering on Sagkeeng's Finest on their journey forward.
    Migwetch.

  (1410)  

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, today I welcome members of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, AIAC, to the House of Commons.
    They are in Ottawa today to discuss how one of our most vital industries can continue to contribute to our economy, as well as help decrease Canada's environmental footprint.
    As a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, I can say with confidence and experience that the AIAC is one of our great partners in working to ensure that the transport industry operates as best as possible for all Canadians.
    This is most evident in the AIAC's new vehicle maintenance campaign, entitled “Be Car Care Aware”. This program is aimed at educating drivers on the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance, something that is becoming increasingly important with 9.2 million vehicles on our roads that are between 6 and 12 years old.
    I commend the members of the AIAC for their continued efforts in Canada's transport industry, helping it to be safer, more environmentally friendly and an even greater contributor to the Canadian economy.
    I wish them all the best for their day on the Hill. I am looking forward to the reception tonight where everyone who comes will have the chance to see a NASCAR race car up close.

Food Shortages

    Mr. Speaker, along with others in the NDP shadow cabinet, I recently had the opportunity to brief the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
    Although it is regrettable that Canada is the first developed country to be investigated for failing to protect the right to food, our meeting was a welcome opportunity to raise the profile of what is wrong with the Canadian food system.
    Despite our country's relative wealth, more than two million Canadians regularly do not have enough to eat. People on government income support and those earning minimum wage are often forced to choose between food and rent.
    At the same time, farmers and fishers are going out of business, a quarter of Canadians are considered obese, and the industrial food production system is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
    Food bank use has soared by 28% in the past three years. In a typical month more than 850,000 Canadians are using a food bank.
    We desperately need a national food policy, and I am hopeful that the UN rapporteur's report will be the catalyst for government action.
    In the meantime, I urge all Canadians who are able to donate to a food bank now. Donations drop off in the summer, but the right to food must be protected every day of the year.

Maternal and Child Health

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Newton—North Delta claimed that “recent cuts to CIDA's budget threaten Canada's commitment to maternal and child health in the world's poorest nations.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
    Thanks to this government, in Mozambique 141,000 women and children are receiving lifesaving HIV treatment. In Haiti new maternal clinics are providing a full range of neonatal services.

[Translation]

    Canadian taxpayers are giving tangible help to women and children in developing countries. I am wondering if the hon. member thinks that such action is endangering the health of mothers and newborns.
    Our record is clear. It shows that Canada is the world leader in the effort to reduce maternal and infant mortality. It is a record of which Canadians can be proud.

Palliative Care

    Mr. Speaker, last week was National Hospice Palliative Care Week. Across the country, events focused on raising awareness about palliative care, an issue that deeply affects all Canadians. Palliative care is too often and wrongly considered incidental rather than an integral part of our health care system.

[English]

    My riding of Lac-Saint-Louis is very fortunate to be home to the West Island Palliative Care Residence. This truly outstanding organization has been providing quality end-of-life care in a home-like setting since 2002, allowing patients from the western part of Quebec to live their last days in comfort and dignity.
    Unfortunately, this type of care, which I consider to be a human right, is not universally available. Less than 30% of those who require palliative care currently have access to it.
    I therefore call upon the government to implement the recommendation contained in the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care that the federal government re-establish a palliative care secretariat to bring together various levels of government and stakeholders to develop and implement a national palliative and end-of-life care strategy.

  (1415)  

Budget Implementation Legislation

    Mr. Speaker, last night we were pleased to see Parliament pass the jobs, growth and long-term prosperity act at second reading.
    Our government has a proven track record on the economy. That is why I was so pleased to see over 58,000 jobs created last month alone.
    Canada's economic action plan 2012 is full of measures for job creation, and the sooner this legislation passes, the sooner these measures can help create more jobs and economic growth.
    We consulted far and wide on what Canadians wanted to see in the budget. In fact, we held over 150 consultations with businesses, families, stakeholders and individuals right across the country. It was overwhelmingly received by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    The NDP members should quit playing their silly games, put Canadians' best interests first and work with our government to pass this job-creating legislation.

[Translation]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, less than a week after the unemployment rate goes up, the Minister of Finance has the gall to blame the unemployed. He is telling them to bite the bullet and accept any job.
    This Conservative government is proving how out of touch with reality it is. There is a problem with the minister's twisted logic: for every job created in April, 23 Canadians were lining up for the dole. Is that what he calls a job creation strategy?
    Even worse, the government wants to ram down Canadians' throats a 425-page budget that will restrict access to employment insurance.
    The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development cannot even define suitable work. In addition, she confirmed that she would not define it before the budget passes. She does not seem to realize the scope of the announced changes.
    Canadians are tired of being treated with contempt by this government, which is reducing access to employment insurance, cutting government services and slashing old age security. Enough is enough.
    In 2015, this government will be out of work.

[English]

New Democratic Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP leader recently announced his new shadow cabinet and there is certainly weakness among the ranks. He appointed the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl as critic for ACOA and post-secondary education. This member has developed the reputation of an “unapologetic Newfoundland separatist” and is willing to take extreme positions on unity.
     He certainly has not been prepared to stand up for one of Newfoundland and Labrador's oldest industries, the seal hunt. Instead of standing up to the radicals who oppose this traditional way of life, he suggested that it may be time for sealers to just give up. Our government is proud to stand up for Canadian sealers. It is shocking to hear the member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl speak so harshly against this important industry.
    The NDP threatens dangerous economic experiments, job-killing taxes—
    Order, please. Oral questions. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, until now the Conservatives had refused to come clean on how much they plan to cut from old age security. Finally yesterday, when asked whether the Conservative cuts would take about $10 billion out of the pockets of Canadian seniors, the Minister of Finance said, “I've heard that number. I've heard $12 billion also. Something in that area.” I guess it is not just the Minister of Defence who has arithmetic problems.
    Would the Prime Minister refresh the memory of his Minister of Finance and table the full cost of his old age security cuts in the House?
    Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to refresh the memory of the leader of the NDP. Of course, in this budget there are no reductions to old age security. Seniors of Canada know that.
    We are looking at adjustments to the age of eligibility that will not begin to take effect until the year 2023. In the meantime, seniors will have the option of delaying receiving these benefits and receiving them at a higher rate if they choose to do so.
    Mr. Speaker, it will not take effect. They will have been thrown out of office before then.

[Translation]

    The Conservatives want to pick the pockets of our seniors and take $12,000 from each one of them. That is what this means for our seniors. The Conservatives want to force them to work two extra years. That might cost $10 billion or even $12 billion.
    What are the real figures? Why are the Conservatives refusing to disclose them? We know why. If the Conservatives disclose these figures, then everyone will know the simple truth: that the system is sustainable and there is no reason to add two years and take $12,000 from every senior.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, again, our seniors and our retirees know the truth. Their pensions are not being cut in this budget. On the contrary, the eligibility age will not change until 2023.
    Next year, seniors will have the opportunity to delay receiving their OAS in order to increase the amount they receive. They have that option.

[English]

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance's remarks about OAS were not the only disturbing comments he made yesterday afternoon.
    When asked whether unemployed teachers and nurses should be forced to take any job that comes along or be taken off EI, the minister said, “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job.”
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I will ask hon. members to hold off on their applause until the Leader of the Opposition has finished his question.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister said, “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job. So I drove a taxi--”
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.
    “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job.”
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. We will have to make up the time somewhere else.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, then he went on to say that he had driven a taxi and refereed hockey.
    Does the Prime Minister actually agree that our teachers and our nurses should be taking jobs driving taxis rather than being given a chance to look for work in their own field?
    Mr. Speaker, I remind the leader of the NDP of the superior employment creation record of the country. When compared across the developed world, we have created 750,000 net new jobs since the recovery began. Those jobs are overwhelmingly private sector. They are overwhelmingly full-time and they are overwhelmingly well-paying.
    We want to make sure going forward that people continue to have those opportunities. We anticipate that labour shortage is going to be a serious concern in the Canadian economy in the years to come. We want to make sure all Canadians have the opportunity to get the kind of work they need.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance also went on to say that we are going to have significant labour shortages in this country. The solution? “That means we are going to have to encourage more persons with disabilities to work, more seniors to work.... We need to get rid of disincentives in the employment insurance system...”
    Could the Prime Minister tell us how retirement is a disincentive, how living with a disability is a disincentive? The only disincentive here is the Conservatives hurling insults at seniors and people with disabilities. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things that has changed very positively in the course of my lifetime has been our realization that people we call disabled are able to do a whole range of functions that every Canadian can do. An example of that is right before all of us, right here in the Minister of State for Transport, who is able to be Minister of State for Transport.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, their attitude is reprehensible and nasty. What they are really doing is attacking people with disabilities. People with disabilities are not asking for anything more than to take their place in society. This government should be helping these people, rather than calling them lazy. That is what this government is doing.
    Why attack our seniors? Seniors should not be a source of cheap labour because this government wants to force them to delay their retirement so it can steal $12,000 from each of them.
    Why are the Conservatives attacking seniors and people with a disability instead of helping them?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, it is the Leader of the Opposition who thinks that people with a disability should be unemployed. On the contrary, in the course of my lifetime, I have learned what people with a disability are capable of when they are given the right opportunities.
    A perfect example of this is the Minister of State for Transport, a minister of the Crown. People with a disability are willing to do their part and participate fully in our society's labour force.

[English]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, for most governments, George Orwell's 1984 is not exactly a guide to action. It is supposed to be a cautionary tale.
    Yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs admitted that the reason the government had cut off the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy was because it was providing advice with which the government disagreed. The National Council of Welfare is also providing advice with which the government disagrees. Many charities are currently being attacked and pilloried by the government because they are doing things with which the government disagrees.
    Does the Prime Minister not realize that he has to listen to people with whom he disagrees?
    Mr. Speaker, I have to listen to the leader of the Liberal Party every day.
    In reviewing the range of in-house research that is undertaken by various agencies and operations of the Government of Canada, we are making sure that we find administrative savings. Obviously, where expertise is already available within departments or outside departments, we do not need to duplicate that work. Those are the measures the government has taken in this particular economic action plan.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have to say that neither I nor the members in this corner of the House have ever had the sense that either the government or the Prime Minister listen to us. They do not give me that impression.
    His answer is completely different from the frank and candid answer we got from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Yesterday, the minister revealed what is really going on with this Parliament and this government: they are smothering everything they hear from people they do not agree with.
    Mr. Speaker, I can listen to the leader of the Liberal Party, but I still have to use common sense.
    When deciding what changes to make in this budget, the government looked at research sources within departments and outside departments. Obviously, we do not want research duplication. That is what the government is doing in its economic action plan.

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, this morning the Auditor General, in speaking to the public accounts committee, reaffirmed every piece of information that is contained in his report with respect to the difference in his opinion between what information should have been given to Parliament and what information should have been given to the people of Canada, and what information was not in fact given to Parliament and that information that was not correct was given to Parliament.
    My question, once again, is for the Prime Minister. How can we possibly carry on with a situation when the Auditor General of Canada is telling us that Parliament has not been given accurate information?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have said many times before, we have accepted the analysis of the Auditor General and we are acting on his recommendations.
    Far from carrying on, the government has indicated that it is making a number of changes. It will undertake a multi-step process before proceeding with this particular purchase. We have not yet bought any aircraft or signed any contract.
    We will ensure that we obtain all the information that is necessary and give that information to Parliament before deciding on how to proceed.

[Translation]

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the government how much money it was planning to steal from seniors by increasing the age of eligibility for old age security benefits. The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development once again dodged the question.
    The Minister of Finance even told the media that he was unsure, that he had not planned that far ahead and that it might be $10 billion or $12 billion.
    Is there a minister who can give us the actual amount that the Conservatives are going to cut from old age security?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, this budget does not make any cuts to old age security. We will be starting gradually in 2023 to change the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.
    Starting next year, seniors will be able to collect more benefits if they so choose. If they want to, they can receive more benefits than they are receiving now.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources knew her government was taking between $10 billion and $12 billion out of Canadians' pensions but simply refused to fess up. All along we have heard misleading talking points that have long since been refuted by independent economists. The Conservatives simply do not want Canadians to learn about the real impact of their Trojan Horse budget.
    Are the Conservatives really taking $10 billion away from Canadian seniors just to spend it on F-35s? Is that their plan?
    Mr. Speaker, the simple answer to that is no. The member has it wrong.
    We will be starting gradually in 2023 to raise the age of eligibility for OAS for seniors from 65 to 67. However, there are no cuts to seniors' pensions in the budget, none at all. Starting next year seniors will be able to delay their OAS and collect more if they choose.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to contradict themselves.
    At first, they said the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy had to be cut because other groups do the same work.
    Yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that it was abolished because the Conservatives did not agree with its research. For once, the Conservatives are being honest.
    Why are the Conservatives so afraid of the objective advice given by independent organizations?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has already answered that question.
    I would remind my colleague that I have thanked the national round table for a quarter century of service, service that, quite frankly, is no longer required.
    At the same time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was quite right in saying that this government does not support a carbon tax and this government, unlike all of the parties over there, will not impose a carbon tax on hard-working Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not straightened out the fact that last week, the Minister of the Environment claimed that the round table was cut because it was redundant and then yesterday we heard the Minister of Foreign Affairs say that it was cut because the Conservatives did not agree with its independent research.
    It seems that disagreeing with the government makes for a very short career with the Conservative government.
    Why did the Minister of the Environment mislead Canadians about why the national round table was cut?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is entitled to his opinions. He was, after all, my predecessor but--
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of the Environment has the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure my cabinet colleague would agree with me that when the national round table was created it was a relevant and rather unique organization in terms of relating to connections between the environment and the economy. It no longer is.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, I think I see tire tracks across the back of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    A few weeks ago, the Auditor General released a scathing report on how the Conservatives bungled the F-35. In response, the deputy minister of defence testified that the Auditor General got his numbers wrong, which is interesting, because today the Auditor General told committee that he actually got his numbers from the Department of National Defence.
    Will the Minister of National Defence now direct his officials to stop attacking the Auditor General's report?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is far from the truth.
     We have, as was indicated, accepted the findings. We are acting on the recommendation of the Auditor General. There is a seven-step plan in place. We intend to honour that stepped plan. There is a secretariat in place that will put finite numbers to the issues that the Auditor General was concerned about.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the mismanagement of this file is truly worrisome. On the one hand, the Auditor General claims that the Department of National Defence knew the total cost of the F-35 jets. On the other hand, the Deputy Minister of National Defence is saying that he does not know where the estimated total cost came from.
    Could the minister of self-defence help out his deputy minister, or will the minister continue to make excuses for keeping the information from Canadians?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that premise is absolutely incorrect.
    The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure that due diligence, oversight and transparency are firmly embedded in the process to replace Canada's aging fighter aircraft. We are following a seven-step action plan to fulfill and exceed the Auditor General's recommendation. We are going to stick to that and do the best we can for our men and women in the Canadian Forces, as well as Canadians.

[Translation]

Afghanistan

    Mr. Speaker, let us stick to defence and perhaps we will get some real answers.
    The White House has asked the Conservatives to extend the mission in Afghanistan. Now it is the NATO secretary general's turn to say that he wants our troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Parliament has already decided that this mission must end.
    Will the government give in to the pressure and agree to extend the mission or not?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, no, this government never buckles to pressure. We always take principled stands.
    Canada is committed until 2014 to participate in an international mission to train Afghan security forces to prevent that country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists. We will assess that as we will assess what is necessary to meet those objectives. We have not made any final decisions at this time.
    Mr. Speaker, when we asked the government a month ago about a U.S. request to extend our military mission in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said that he was not even aware of it. Now the Secretary-General of NATO is making his request publicly.
    We know that the Conservatives want to extend this military mission, and they will not be able to avoid this question for much longer. Will they keep our soldiers in Afghanistan after 2014, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems to believe he already has an answer, which begs the question of why he is getting up in the House to ask it.
    We e sent a training mission to Afghanistan that arrived last year and will go until 2014 to help the Afghan forces develop the capacity so that they can provide for themselves and their country's own security. The men and women of the Canadian Forces are doing an absolutely splendid job representing Canada and assisting the people of Afghanistan in that security. We wish them very well in that important mission.
    Mr. Speaker, the last time we asked this question, the Prime Minister thought it was a good time to talk about Hitler, so I suppose that is some kind of an improvement.
    The Conservatives will not give us a straight answer but they have left the door wide open to extending the military mission past 2014. The United States has asked and NATO has asked.
    The last time the Conservatives extended the military mission to Afghanistan, they acted without a vote and refused to put it to a motion in the House. Will they bring this latest military extension to this House for a vote, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, there is, of course, nothing to bring to the House for a vote because there is no decision.
    The member opposite is factually incorrect. The House of Commons did vote on the combat mission, as the House is permitted to by any of the opposition parties from time to time.
    The Prime Minister has made a commitment that before any combat troops or any military mission takes place off our shores that there will be a vote and that he will consult Parliament. The Prime Minister has shown more respect to Parliament in that regard than any prime minister in our history.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, I want to look at the case of a single mother in Margaree Harbour in Cape Breton who contributes to the success of two seasonal industries. She works as a chambermaid during the tourism season and she makes Christmas wreaths at a small shop each fall. EI helps feed her family between seasons. Like many rural Canadians, she has no access to public transit or child care, and members should know this: her attitude is not defeatist.
    As the Prime Minister now makes the rules for EI, in the case of this single mother, will she be packing or will she just be poor?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us face it, Canada is facing unprecedented shortages of labour and skills. We need to help Canadians who are unemployed to get back to work quickly. The changes that we are proposing will help the unemployed find jobs in their local area and will, at the same time, address the skills shortages faced by Canadian employers.
    Canadians will be expected to take jobs appropriate to their skill level in their area.
    Mr. Speaker, recent comments by the Minister of Finance reinforce the government's attitude toward those who are unemployed through no fault of their own.
    Clearly, it is the government's intention to force anyone looking for work to pack their bags and take whatever job is available, regardless of his or her circumstances. This would mean having to leave families behind for low-paying jobs, which would make it impossible for people to make ends meet.
    Why is the Prime Minister, whose prejudice against Atlantic Canadians is well known, forcing them to take jobs that would make them financially worse off?
    Mr. Speaker, all those statements are completely wrong. We are facing skills shortages right across the country right now. We need to help employers find the workers they need. We will help connect people who are out of work through no fault of their own get access to those jobs in their local area in their range of skills.
    Mr. Speaker, I will try a question for the regional minister for Prince Edward Island.
    With respect to employment insurance, we have heard the immigration minister insult both the unemployed and foreign workers, the Minister of Finance's comments yesterday were clearly an attack on the seasonal industry with this “just move” attitude, and now the minister's answers clearly show that cabinet does not understand seasonal workers and their needs.
    How can the minister stand in her place and allow Parliament to be passed over, Islanders to be blindsided and all decisions on employment insurance being made by the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, we are facing skills shortages and labour shortages right across the country. We want to ensure that we help Canadians who are out of work through no fault of their own to get access to those jobs, help the employers stay in business so they can produce for the country and to help the families.
    We will help connect these people with jobs and, yes, they will be in their own area and within their appropriate skill level.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives are slashing services to veterans, the chair of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board is dipping into veterans' coffers to pay for trips to London to see his wife give speeches. He has wasted over $7,000 on his transatlantic trips. It is not surprising to see, when the example comes from the top.
    Why are the Conservatives cutting services to veterans and yet allowing the chair to lavishly spend money that should be used to help those who served our country?
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that all services to veterans are being maintained and that the best way to support our veterans is to support budget 2012.
    That being said, I expect the review board, which is an independent organization, and its members to rigorously enforce all public administration rules, since it is managing taxpayers' money.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, arm's-length does not mean out of reach.
    The Minister of Veterans Affairs signed off on this trip. The head of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board was just condemned by the Veterans ombudsman for denying so many people of the appeal board their rightful benefits by not applying the benefit of doubt. What does he do? He takes a junket over to England to visit with his wife, who just happens to be there, at a cost of over $7,000. That kind of money would help a lot of disabled veterans.
    How does the minister allow that kind of abuse of taxpayer money to carry on? Why does he not remove the member of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board or, in fact, remove the entire--
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Veterans Ombudsman is going in exactly the opposite direction of the irresponsible way of the NDP. The NDP is suggesting abolishing a tribunal that 4,000 veterans turn to every year. We will stand by the tribunal.
    We expect all board members to be responsible and show respect for taxpayer dollars at all times. I am confident that this board will keep on providing good services for the veterans, who deserve the right to appeal the decision and to be well served by this government and this country.

[Translation]

Canadian Heritage

    Mr. Speaker, things are going from the ridiculous to the absurd today.
    As time goes by, the Conservatives are having a harder and harder time finding friends in the arts community. First, the Minister of Canadian Heritage made the chairman of the CBC pledge allegiance, and now he is asking the next board chairman of the National Gallery to maintain a relationship with him. Facebook friends are not necessarily the best people to run museums.
    What is more important: a thorough understanding of our shared heritage or being buddies with the minister?
    Mr. Speaker, the selection process for candidates for this type of position is typical and standard. It has been in place for years and will not be changed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our common heritage is too important, and those entrusted with it should not have to be required to be the minister's BFF.
    It is not only the chair of the CBC who is required to be friends with the minister. If anyone want to apply to be chairman of the National Gallery or the National Battlefields commissioner, I guess they are going to have to “like” the minister's status too.
    If the minister really wants more friends—and it is clear that he needs them—why does he not stop picking the pockets of Canadian artists?
    Mr. Speaker, the approach that is being used and the language come from an iPolitics story. That is really ridiculous. The process by which we choose people for these kinds of appointments is open and transparent. Yes, it does require that the minister and these organizations, crown corporations and agencies have an open dialogue and an ongoing conversation for the best interests of taxpayers. This process has been used for years, and we will continue to do so.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to boast about their tough-on-crime agenda, but the more we look into it, the more we realize that it was written on the back of a napkin.
    Quebec's public safety department estimates that Bill C-10 will increase the prison population by 20%. That means an additional 1,000 people in the prison system, which is already 96% full.
    If the government were serious, it would co-operate with the provinces to make sure they have the necessary resources.
    For the time being, the only thing it does is send the bill to the provinces. Why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we work with the provinces, and the bill specifically targets drug dealers and those who molest children. I completely reject the math that says 1,000 people a day in the province of Quebec are going to get locked up for drug crimes or sex crimes. That is absolutely wrong, and I think most people would agree with me and this government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we already know the minister's script, but what Canadians want is real answers to questions.
    Quebec's public safety department has estimated construction costs for new detention facilities at $750 million, and that was before the Conservatives announced their decision to close the Leclerc Institution in Laval.
    Where will all those inmates be placed? Can the minister explain how it is possible to shut down penitentiaries, impose legislation that will increase the prison population by 20% and say that it will not cost a penny more?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the NDP may find this offensive, but we are going after the individuals who traffic in drugs in this country, the people who are into child pornography and the people who molest children. We have had these conversations with the provinces. We are on the right track when we stand up for victims and law-abiding Canadians in this country. I wish the NDP would get on board with that just for once.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, proposed Conservative changes to federally regulated slaughterhouses would mean already-dead animals could be butchered and sold to Canadian consumers. These regulations exist as a direct result of the rotten meat scandal that plagued the industry in the 1970s. However, now Conservatives want to turn back the clock and allow animals previously unfit for human consumption to end up on the family dinner plate.
    Will meat from dead stock be clearly marked in our grocery stores?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, that will not be a problem because it will not be in the grocery store.
    Let me quote the Canadian Cattlemen's Association:
    The Canadian Cattlemen's Association strongly supports the proposed change...to allow for the rare circumstances where food meat animals can be euthanized on farms under veterinary supervision....
    That is what this change is all about: making sure that farmers can receive what they need for those animals in a humane way and move them through the process.
    We would never put food safety at risk, and these proposed changes would never do that.
    Mr. Speaker, that is not reassuring for Canadian families.
    It gets worse. Hundreds of employees with the CFIA, including front-line food inspectors and indeed veterinarians, are on the chopping block. How does the government expect a smaller number of CFIA inspectors and veterinarians to do more with less resources?
    CFIA is meeting with USFDA today to actually look at food regulations. Instead of consult first, regulate later, the government is putting the industry at risk with our largest trading partner.
    Why is the government potentially putting Canadian industry and our health at risk with its risky new meat regulations?
    Mr. Speaker, as usual, the NDP has it completely upside down and backwards.
    We are working with our major trading partner, the United States, to harmonize our regulations to make sure that we can do more with less. We will recognize their regulations, as they recognize ours, and we will end up with stronger system for both countries. That is the purpose behind this.
    As we continue to reinforce CFIA and our border inspectors, the opposition completely votes against it. We put money in, and the opposition voted against it in the budget. When we add inspectors, they vote against those numbers.
    Again, the NDP has it upside down and backwards.

[Translation]

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, in the most recent budget, almost 260,000 Quebec families have been abandoned. With the end of federal subsidies for affordable housing, at least 125,000 housing units in Quebec will be affected.
    A number of organizations, some local and some throughout Quebec, including the Association des locataires de Villeray, FRAPRU and FADOQ, are mobilizing thousands of people and trying to find solutions to this crisis.
    We know that this government has written off Quebec and the poor, but would the minister at least have the decency to explain how he can outright abandon so many people?
    It was our government that brought in five-year agreements with the provinces and territories, for five years of stable funding for affordable housing. In most cases, programs are delivered by the provinces and territories.
    We are supporting renovations operating expenses for more than 600,000 affordable housing units.

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, healthy fish stocks and fisheries are hugely important to British Columbians.
    Critics of the government's failures in fisheries management and governance get louder every single day. The commercial and recreational fishers, former fisheries ministers, and now even diehard Conservatives like B.C. Conservative Party leader John Cummins and the Prime Minister's own best buddy from the oil and gas patch, Gwyn Morgan, all disagree with the government.
    On top of all the cuts, the government is now gutting fish and habitat protection laws. Why is the Prime Minister condemning Pacific fisheries to the fate of the Atlantic cod?
    Mr. Speaker, it is just the opposite. We are focusing our fish and fish habitat protection rules on Canada's fisheries, not in farmers' ditches.
    As a matter of fact, there are major improvements to the act that the opposition likes to ignore. There will be several improvements and conservation tools. We will be identifying ecologically sensitive areas, making Fisheries Act regulations enforceable and allowing for higher maximum penalties for rule breakers.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, a court case in Vancouver is shaking residential school survivors' trust in our judicial system.
    While the facts of the case are before the courts, nearly 1,400 survivors' claims are sitting in limbo while the deadline for the independent assessment process fast approaches.
    What is the minister going to do to make sure that these survivors are not victimized once again?
    Mr. Speaker, this issue is before the courts. This process is one where we have advertised the upcoming expiry date, the final date for application. That message has reached over 95% of the potential claimants.
    In terms of where we go from here, this is a multi-party activity that will have to occur. We will have to wait for the courts.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are coming up to the anniversary of the apology, and residential school survivors need more action from the government.
    The situation is deteriorating so badly that the Assembly of First Nations is asking for an eminent survivor to be appointed to restore faith in the judicial process.
    With the deadline fast approaching and many survivors' claims still waiting to be processed, what will the minister do to help residential school survivors before that deadline?
    Mr. Speaker, any claimant who puts in a claim before the expiry date this fall will be processed, no matter how long that processing goes beyond that date.
    If somebody misses that date for extraordinary circumstances, we have provisions whereby we will certainly be cognizant of and sensitive to that. This worked for the comprehensive claims process, and I think it will work for the independent assessment process as well.

Post-Secondary Education

    Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on jobs, growth and future prosperity. Today we announced new measures to help part-time students access post-secondary education and training.
    Would the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development please update this House on what she is doing to ensure that Canadian students and their families can access post-secondary education and training?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that we have made changes to allow part-time students to have greater access to student loans and grants.
    In fact, 8,000 part-time students will now qualify for student loans, and a further 1,500 part-time students will be able to access the Canada student grants program.
    This is in addition to the previous changes we made that stopped the accumulation of interest on loans for part-time students while they were still studying. That is another great example of how we are helping students continue with their education in Canada—
    Order. The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

[Translation]

Firearms Registry

    Mr. Speaker, now that unrestricted long guns are no longer covered by the Criminal Code, it is a question of ownership and retailing, which is an area of provincial jurisdiction.
    Why is the minister interfering in an area of provincial jurisdiction by trying to stop the provinces from requiring retailers to keep a list of their sales of unrestricted weapons? Why does the minister not just mind his own business?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is wrong. The long gun registry has ended. The requirements for businesses and individuals to register their long guns has been abolished.
    CFOs operate under federal jurisdiction. We expect that they will follow the directives of the RCMP commissioner, who is also the Commissioner of Firearms in this country.
    The long gun registry has ended. We expect the letter and the spirit of the law to be adhered to.

Aboriginal Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, Biwaase’aa is the after-school program for aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay. It provides healthy food, recreational activities, first nations cultural teachings and emotional support to some 500 students in seven elementary schools. It does this for $5 per day per student.
    By all measurements, it is a program that should be replicated, not cut, yet the government has cut funding after a decade of success. It finds billions for limos, gazebos, jails and jets. That is no problem. Why is it cutting valuable programs like Biwaase’aa?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on ways to maintain the essential work we do to make Canada a better place for first nations, Inuit, Métis and northerners, but in better and more efficient ways. We are achieving reductions by reducing the costs of operations while protecting services in communities as much as we possibly can. We are working closely with all our employees to make sure this transition happens in the least disruptive, most effective and most transparent way possible.

  (1500)  

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the government knows that the natural resources sector is a cornerstone of Canada's economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic growth for small rural communities in every corner of this great country.

[Translation]

     These communities are found in British Columbia, in Ontario, in the Atlantic provinces and even in Quebec. I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Can he tell this House about Quebec's latest natural resources plan?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for that very astute question.
     Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    Mr. Speaker, the northern plan explains the important role played by resource development in Quebec. While Quebec is proud of our resource heritage, the NDP leader calls it a disease. The NDP leader must apologize to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians throughout the country who work in the resource sector.

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport met with Quebec's municipal affairs and intergovernmental affairs ministers about the Neuville airport. Finally.
    As I have been doing in this House since November, they pointed out to him that the entire region is against the project and asked him to take action on this issue. The minister apparently said he was aware of the many problems that this airport is causing residents. It is about time, because planes have already started flying over the town.
    Can the minister tell us if he now intends to meet with the mayor of Neuville and use the authority conferred on him by the Aeronautics Act to intervene in this matter?
    Yesterday, we did in fact have a meeting with Quebec government ministers about a number of issues, including the Neuville airport.
    I would like to point out that the mandate of the Minister of Transport is to promote the economic development of the aviation industry in a manner that is stable and safe. There is no question of safety in this case. Even if there were a regulatory change —and none is foreseen—it would in no way concern Neuville, as it is a matter that we consider settled. If the mayor did not believe in the airport, he would not have signed an agreement after proposing seven possible locations.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, the fact that the federal government is withdrawing its funding for affordable housing is shameful. Despite desperate needs, the government is going to terminate operating agreements for these housing units. By 2016, thousands of Quebec families will lose the financial support that helps them afford appropriate housing. This morning, I presented part of a petition, with over 6,000 of a total of 27,000 signatures, condemning these cuts, which will affect the most vulnerable people in Quebec.
    Does the government intend to renew this funding or is it going to again make the less fortunate pay for its deficits and absurd budget choices?
    Mr. Speaker, that is completely absurd. It is our government that stabilized the housing market by allocating almost $2 billion over five years for affordable housing. It is our government that helped these people in need. Unfortunately, the Bloc opposed every initiative that we took to help these people.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1505)  

[Translation]

Copyright Modernization Act

    The House resumed consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    The hon. member for Gatineau has seven minutes to finish her speech.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that so many members will hear my speech on Bill C-11.
    Before question period, I congratulated my colleagues from Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, Timmins—James Bay and Jeanne-Le Ber, who are very passionate about this issue, and I congratulate them publicly again.
    Why are they so passionate about it? I am going to give you a few facts that can sometimes be a little surprising. We often say that the government opposite does not like arts and culture because they are not big business, like oil and gas; arts and culture are not as important.
    The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, or ACTRA, estimates that the arts and culture industries in Canada contribute $85 billion a year to our economy. That represents 7.4% of Canada's gross national income and supports 1.1 million jobs, or about 6% of the Canadian labour force. These industries and the jobs that depend on them can survive only in an environment where intellectual property is protected.
    Despite the important contribution of these industries, the average income in 2009-10 for an artist in Canada was only $12,900 a year, which I find very sad. A 2008 report by the Conference Board of Canada indicated that the cultural sector generated approximately $25 billion. We are talking money and taxes. That is three times the $7.9 billion investment in culture by all levels of government in 2007.
    How much does the federal government invest in arts and culture? A meagre 1.6% of total government spending.
    I was struck by another telling statistic in connection with this entire issue of copyright and the reform of copyright. In 2008, the Statistics Canada survey on household spending found that Canadians spent $1.4 billion on attending live artistic performances, twice as much as on sports events. And we know how much the government opposite likes to talk about sports and how little it talks about arts and culture.
    What does such a change mean? When we look at the bill, it seems rather complicated. That is why I strongly disagree with the government's move to once again force the adoption of a time allocation motion. That forces us to shorten the debates and limit my colleagues' speaking time and right to speak here in this House. Most of my colleagues are here for the first time. It is highly likely that this is the first time in their lives they have heard about the Copyright Act.
    In the summary of the bill we see that some changes have been made to the Copyright Act to:
(a) update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards;
    We know that the Internet is now a major player when it comes to copyright because a great deal of created material is on the Internet, including movies, music, books, you name it.
    The summary also indicates that these changes to the Copyright Act will also:
(b) clarify Internet service providers’ liability and make the enabling of online copyright infringement itself an infringement of copyright;
(c) permit businesses, educators and libraries to make greater use of copyright material in digital form;...
    Thus, these amendments to the Copyright Act change many, many things.
    The kinds of changes being made to this legislation can be categorized into three main groups: changes defined as sector-specific reforms, compromise provisions, and no-compromise rules regarding technological protection measures.

  (1510)  

     The NDP is looking to strike a balanced approach. Our party is seeking a balanced system between the rights of creators and those of the public. I hope that all the members of this House want to ensure that the public has access to as much information as possible while protecting copyright, which goes without saying.
     With this bill, and with our friends opposite—with whom we are less and less friendly—we get the impression that any efforts have instead focused on meeting the demands of the big owners of American content. They are the big global players in this area. I am referring to film studios, record companies, developers of video games, and others.
     Will Canadians one day have a law that meets their needs? That much is not clear, and this legislation will certainly not do the job.
     I only have one minute left, which is very little time. I would have liked to discuss a great many things about this bill, which is riddled with shortcomings and defects. Amendments have been proposed, and it is my hope that they will be seriously considered so as to prevent foolish things from occurring. For example, students who are enrolled in distance education because they reside in remote areas would be forced to destroy their notes after a certain number of days.
     There are things in the bill that make absolutely no sense. I want to commend those people who work in the area of arts and culture. I particularly salute those people who work very hard for the City of Gatineau and the Maison de la culture de Gatineau, whose board I had the pleasure to chair for a number of years. They do extraordinary work when it comes to disseminating arts and culture. They help new artists, along with well-known artists, to make a name for themselves.
     Let us therefore protect artists and, at the same time, ensure that the public enjoys the best possible access to arts and culture.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her speech and for all the work she does in the House.
    We on our side have said from the get-go that copyright legislation should balance the rights of artists and their need to be paid with the rights of consumers and their needs. We feel that, on a number of different levels, the government did not get that balance right.
    I am wondering if my hon. colleague could speak to the issue of the importance of fostering a vibrant arts and culture sector in her community and what that means both to the economy and to the community as a whole.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague, who is also doing an absolutely phenomenal job in this area. He is an artist, a musician I very much like listening to.
    The figures I cited earlier are absolutely incredible. It is often said that arts and culture are the poor cousins of the economy, but that is definitely not as a result of their impact in our communities. ACTRA estimated that the arts and culture industry in Canada injected $85 billion a year into our economy, which represents 7.4% of Canada's gross national income. That is not peanuts. People attend more shows than hockey games or anything else.
    And yet it seems that artists and people who work in the cultural field are forced to spend their lives fighting for money, whether from the Minister of Canadian Heritage or from Quebec's Minister of Culture. I see that in Gatineau. It is a constant struggle, and artists always get the impression of having to beg, of being poor cousins. And yet they ultimately inject an enormous amount of money into the economy.
     There are activities and shows in the Outaouais, in Gatineau, among other places. Year after year, for example, L'Outaouais en fête fights for a minuscule grant from Canadian Heritage and is unable to get it. It seems that it is asked for much bigger guarantees than what big businesses are asked for—oil companies, banks or other businesses—on the grounds that it is part of the cultural sector. And yet it is an extraordinary economic organization. It is excellent for us. It represents us in Canada, in Quebec, among other places, where culture and the arts are flourishing so well.

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, earlier my colleague mentioned the contribution that artists make to the economy. However, we know that most artists are not Céline Dion or Bryan Adams. They do not make millions of dollars. They earn only a few thousand dollars a year.
    How will the bill, as it currently stands, affect the careers of most artists?
    Mr. Speaker, what a good question.
    In my speech, I talked about the $85 billion that is injected into Canada's economy. However, and this is shocking, by comparison, the average salary of Canadian artists is $12,900. That is terrible. It is below the poverty line.
    When you look at a bill like this one through the eyes of an artist, of a person who works in the cultural sector, you may well wonder whether you will see any part of those billions of dollars. The answer is "no" because, in our view, the Conservatives' bill is so unbalanced that we get the feeling its purpose, once again, is to protect the big fish, the major American studios, for example, the major American record companies and so on.
    Has anyone looked at this bill through the eyes of a Canadian or Quebec artist? I very much doubt it. This is really not a balanced bill. That is why we have introduced a number of amendments. Unfortunately, as is the case with all other bills, everything has to come from this government, and what comes from other parties is fundamentally bad.
    It is unfortunate that the Conservatives have this attitude, because we will be inheriting an act that cannot achieve the objectives for which it was drafted.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to this bill. I am pleased that our government is getting closer to delivering on its commitment to modernize the Copyright Act.
    I would like to invite all of my colleagues to join me in ensuring the swift passage of Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. By supporting the legislation, we will be delivering on our government's commitment to modernize the Copyright Act in a way that balances the needs of creators and users.
    The road that has led us to where we are today has been a lengthy one. Once we pass the legislation, this will be the first time in more than 15 years that we have completed a comprehensive overhaul of the Copyright Act. During this time, we have heard from thousands of Canadians and have had ample time to debate copyright modernization.
     As my colleagues may recall, the copyright modernization act was first introduced following the largest consultations of their kind in Canadian history. In the summer of 2009, we set out to hear the views and opinions of Canadians from across the country. We leveraged new technologies to provide as many people as possible with access to this important process. We hosted interactive and web-based discussions. We held live events from coast to coast in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Gatineau, Peterborough, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Finally, we also accepted written submissions.
    The response we received was impressive. Around 1,000 Canadians participated in the live events. More than 8,000 submissions were made, the website received 30,000 unique visits. We had more than 2,500 online forum posts and hundreds of followers on Twitter.
    Based on this response, it was clear that Canadians from all walks of life understood the importance of modern copyright legislation, and this is still the case. During those consultations, Canadians told us about how copyright impacted their daily lives. Canadians told us about the importance of copyright to the digital economy and its effect on Canada's global competitiveness. Furthermore, Canadian creators and users told us that they needed clear, fair and predictable rules.
    Our government listened to all of this and we responded with the introduction of the copyright modernization act in 2010 and its reintroduction last fall. We have responded with legislation that takes a common sense, balanced approach to copyright modernization. This approach considers the needs of both creators and users of copyright material. We have responded with legislation that reflects a uniquely Canadian approach to copyright modernization, an approach that takes into account the perspectives that Canadians have shared with us as creators, consumers and citizens during our consultations.
    I would like to highlight four specific things we heard during the consultations and highlight how our government responded.
     The first thing we heard was that Canadians thought that technological neutrality was an important guiding principle for copyright modernization. They emphasized that Canada's copyright regime must be able to accommodate technology that did not yet exist. They told us that any copyright reform must reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape. We responded. The copyright modernization act includes a number of exceptions that are technologically neutral. They reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape. They will stand the test of time.
    The second thing we heard was that Canadians wanted to make reasonable use of content that they had legally acquired. We responded. The copyright modernization act includes a number of exceptions that facilitate commonplace private uses of copyright materials.
     The third thing we heard was that Canadians did not think it was fair that one could risk facing huge penalties for minor copyright infringement. We responded to this, too. The copyright modernization act would create two categories of infringement to which statutory damages could apply. The first category is commercial and the second category is non-commercial. For non-commercial infringement, the existing statutory damages in the Copyright Act will be significantly reduced. The copyright modernization act also introduces proportionality as a factor for the courts to consider when awarding damages.
    The fourth thing we heard was that Canadian copyright owners wanted new rights and protections to sustain business models in a digital environment. We responded to this as well. The copyright modernization act would implement the rights and protections of the Internet treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. These include a making available right, a distribution right, moral rights for performers and protections for digital locks and digital watermarks.

  (1520)  

    These four things are just examples of what we heard during the 2009 consultations. There are numerous other things we heard and we responded to. Perhaps the easiest way to sum it all up is to say that the 2009 consultation demonstrated to us the importance of a balanced approach to copyright modernization, an approach that balances the interests of all Canadians, creators and users alike. This is the approach we will be delivering to Canadians by passing Bill C-11.
    Large scale national consultations have been held, legislation has twice been introduced and debated, witnesses have testified and submissions have been received. Committees have studied the bill at length and a number of technical amendments have been made to improve the clarity of certain provisions.
    The bill is back before us. We need to pass the legislation and deliver results to Canadians. The fact is that after 15 years, it is time to turn the page on this chapter of copyright modernization.
    Our government recognizes that new challenges may emerge in the future for the Copyright Act. That is why we have included in the bill a mandatory review of the legislation every five years. This five year review will ensure that Canada's copyright regime does not fall back into the outdated state it is today. However, before we can think about all this, we need to first modernize the Copyright Act by passing the bill.
    Canadians from all walks of life have an interest in modern copyright laws. The benefits of copyright modernization are many. However, Canadians will not enjoy them until we have passed the bill.
    I urge all members to join me in supporting the swift passage of the copyright modernization act.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments of my colleague. He would have us believe that this is a very balanced bill and that based on the consultation, the government has weighed in to protect both consumers and artists. However, when one examines the bill, this is not the case.
    We could argue quite well that the real winners in Bill C-11 are the recording industry and major movie studios. In fact, this is one explanation why the technological protection measures, or TPMs, provided in the bill virtually trump all other rights to allow record companies and movie studios to strengthen their ability to generate enormous profits.
    Would the member respond to that criticism? It is not just us saying this. People who have been very involved in the bill's process are very concerned that it favours these very large players.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, she used a word that we heard over and over, and that was balance, that we had to strike a balance. That was the overarching objective of our government, and we did achieve that balance.
    I will illustrate that. By having sat on the committee that studied the bill, we heard from a number of witnesses. It was very common to for witnesses to thank us for bringing in copyright legislation, but then they would say that there was one little thing we could change. We heard that from all sides of the spectrum.
    At the end of day, the bill before us is one that is balanced, one that recognizes the needs of creators and also recognizes the needs of consumers. Some of the protections we have in place now for copyright holders, including distribution rights, moral rights, is the use of digital locks for those who choose to use them to better protect their copyrighted material.
    It is a balance. We are in a new era. When this study first began, we knew that technologically we had advanced by leaps and bounds. We have to keep up with the times. Bringing in this copyright legislation now is the right thing. It is the right time. It is also the right balance. We heard this over and over at committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to ask a number of the hon. member's colleagues this question. Given his involvement in the committee stage, the concern that many of his constituents and my constituents would have is the whole idea of the digital lock.
    If constituents purchase a favourite album, which has a digital lock, and they want to back it up or put it on one or two of their MP3 players for jogging purposes or whatever it might be, but strictly for personal use, should constituents not be allowed to do that?
    Mr. Speaker, this bill would legitimize the activities Canadians are doing everyday. I will give the member some examples. It would recognize that Canadians should not be liable for recording TV programs for later viewing, copying music from CDs to MP3 players or backing up data, if they were doing so for their private use and had not broken a digital lock.
     The issue of a digital lock is up to the copyright holder. We heard from the testimony at committee that a digital lock is a way some people would choose to protect their copyrighted material. We also heard in committee that other creators are moving well beyond that. They do not want to use a digital lock. They want their material to be shifted from one format to another, and they are embracing these new technologies and the ways consumers are using them.
     However, we have to strike that right balance between the many creators we celebrate in Canada being able to continue to do the great work they do, making us proud and earning a living as a creator, with the issues consumers face with the technology available to us today, being able to use material in the way they see fit. This bill would strike that balance.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that I have to rise in the House once again to condemn this excessive and unbalanced Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act. The people of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, consumers and many creators alike, will not be happy to see that the Conservatives did not take advantage of the study in committee to make the necessary changes to this bill in order to take into account their rights and concerns.
    As the New Democrats have been saying from the outset, Bill C-11 does not really protect creators' rights, since it will take millions of dollars in revenue away from them and erode their market.
    We are not the only ones to say so. Over 80 arts and culture organizations have said that this bill is “toxic to Canada's digital economy”.
    One of them, the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada, states that:
    The desired balance between the interests of creators and those of consumers and users is, in our opinion, completely absent.
    The people in my riding are concerned about this bill. I have received a hundred or so emails and phone calls from constituents who simply do not trust this bill or this government.
    To these concerned citizens, I responded that, although changes to the act are necessary, those set out in Bill C-11 were harmful to artists, teachers and consumers. We need legislative changes that protect artist royalties, while making sure that distance education is not hampered and that young people are not exposed to unfair and costly fines.
    That is what the people of my riding, what Quebeckers and what all Canadians want.
    A person in my riding, from the municipality of Lac-Simon, wrote:
    Thank you very much, Mylène.
    Copyright is an issue that is close to my heart, and I fully agree with its renewal… but I do not have faith in the majority government in place…
    In a few words, that sums up this government's problem. Its majority is going to its head and is preventing all intelligent discussion. We need a bill to modernize copyright, and the opposition wants to discuss and work constructively with the government. Unfortunately, the government's response is to muzzle debate. It is limiting the debate and, in the end, taking measures that will do nothing to improve the situation of artists and consumers.
    This government's lack of subtlety and judgment is perfectly illustrated in one measure in this bill.
     Bill C-11 proposes to block the use of content for which people have paid and which they are therefore entitled to use. For example, if you take a distance training course, you have an obligation to destroy the course notes 30 days after completing it. That is absurd and unfair. What happens if you take another course and are asked to use the concepts from the first course? What happens if you fail the course and have to take it again? This is really absurd and unfair.
     Here is another example of improvisation: the only protection measure that can be taken by content owners—who are often not the creators themselves—is to lock their works, which will really hurt consumers. Rights owners do not like it either, because it often benefits only the big companies.
     This bill is also not good for consumers because digital locks make criminals of Canadian users who are entitled to access those works. The bill criminalizes the act of circumventing digital locks, regardless of the reasons for doing so, even for legal purposes.
     This bill ultimately gives consumers rights with one hand and, with the digital lock, takes them away with the other.
     Another nonsensical aspect of this bill is more technical but illustrates the way this government makes things up as it goes along.
     This bill creates an artificial and inconsistent legal distinction between "copying for private use" and "reproduction…for…private purposes". I just compared section 80 of part VIII of the Copyright Act and paragraph 29.22(2)(e) of the proposed Copyright Modernization Act.

  (1530)  

     The government is indiscriminately tackling complex legal provisions and imposing disproportionate penalties such as the possibility of a fine of more than $1 million and five years in prison.
     As in other matters, the Conservatives are self-styled experts, drawing inspiration from their retrograde ideology and, in this case, the controversial American legislation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
     This bill creates legal uncertainty that will result in many costly court cases. In short, artists and creators, as well as consumers, archivists, teachers and students are opposed to this unbalanced bill. That is why, with the support of many stakeholders, the New Democrats, at committee stage, proposed 17 amendments that would have made it possible to have a more balanced bill that was fairer to artists and consumers.
    In a nutshell, here are a few of those amendments: eliminate the loophole that the Conservatives included in the bill and that takes $21 million away from music creators; protect the moral rights of artists for new forms of content produced by users, such as mashups and YouTube videos; link the ban on circumventing digital locks to acts of violating copyright, thus allowing the circumvention of digital locks for legal purposes, which also involves ensuring that people with visual or hearing impairments have the explicit right to circumvent digital locks to gain access to a work; remove the "book-burning" provisions that the Conservatives are imposing on students and educational institutions by requiring them to destroy their educational material once the course is over.
    These proposed amendments, which would balance this bill, were rejected by the Conservatives, despite the broad consensus of creators of culture in Quebec and in Canada. Instead of protecting creators by protecting their rights and ensuring that they will be paid for their work, instead of protecting Canadians and Quebeckers by giving them access to content, this bill aims to protect foreign interests. The Conservatives' priority is not to create a balanced system between the rights of creators and the rights of the public, but to respond to the demands of big U.S. content owners.

  (1535)  

    If the Conservatives had really wanted to create a balanced system, they would have listened to the witnesses in committee. The brief submitted by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges clearly condemned digital locks:
    The digital-locks amendment will, in effect, severely limit how one can access and use digital information. In practice, this would mean that educational institutions, teachers, and students would lose their rights under fair dealing, educational and library exceptions, or other users' rights in copyright law to copy, perform, or share electronically a digital work that has been locked by a “technological measure”.
    The Canadian Library Association also strongly criticized this measure: “The prohibitions on the circumvention of digital locks in Bill C-11 exceed Canada's obligations under WIPO copyright treaties.”
    I am going to wrap things up now because I have just one minute left. Copyright modernization is long past due, but this bill has too many major problems. Canada has an opportunity to become a leader by implementing copyright regulations and taking a balanced approach between the right of creators to be compensated fairly for their work and the right of consumers to have reasonable access to content. It is clear that the NDP is the only party that truly stands up for the rights of artists and consumers.

  (1540)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech with interest. It was concerning to me because the world is undergoing economic challenges and our government has been focused on job creation. In her province of Quebec the electronic gaming industry relies on digital locks in order for its business model to work. It is coming up with new models, guaranteed, but right now creators historically have been able to say that they own the intellectual property with their creations. Companies like EA in Montreal spend literally tens of thousands of hours creating a video game. That video game is locked. Companies sell the video game to consumers and the consumers know it is locked. That is their business model. They choose it. There is freedom for them to choose that model. What she and her party are proposing is that these locks should be able to broken. Today with the new technology, that means one person could buy that game, upload it on the Internet and this great company that employs literally thousands of Canadians could lose that intellectual property. It would cause extreme job losses, not only in her province but across Canada.
    What could the member say to people in the gaming creation industry about her party's policy and why would she propose those job losses?
    Madam Speaker, I think my colleague misunderstands our position. What we are saying is that this would go far beyond what is needed. Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act, essentially would give with one hand and take away with the other from the consumers. That is what we are saying. This bill contains a few concessions to consumers but they are then undermined by controversial issues like digital lock provisions. That is what is going to be undermining all sectors of the creation economy.
    What my colleague does not seem to understand about our position is that we are talking about a more balanced approach. The digital lock provision is a sweeping legislation in favour of the companies and not there for the creators or for the consumers. This is really, in most cases, going to be in favour of the companies that are not usually based in Canada. So there needs to be a lot more battling.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel on her speech.
    I totally agree with what she said in the House about the importance of a balance between users and creators. I think she will agree with me that this balance cannot be found in this bill. This is why we are against it.

[English]

    I am hoping that my colleague might be able to share with us her views as to whether she believes that this lack of balance in this copyright legislation is similar to what I think is a general disregard that the Conservatives and their government have had for supporting arts and culture in Canada. If the government were interested in supporting creativity and cultural industries, some of the cuts we have seen, for example to Radio–Canada, to CBC, to the arts council and to Telefilm Canada, would not have taken place.
    Does my colleague agree with me that it is part of a larger framework of a disinterest in the arts? I represent a region of the country where there is a vibrant artistic community and it is suffering under the current government.
    Madam Speaker, I am glad my colleague from the Liberal Party agrees with me. I am never sure, with the Liberal Party's record, what its members are going to say. However, I am very glad he does agree and that we are talking about moving forward and modernizing in a way that is more equitable.
    I agree that the Conservatives do not really think about creators or the artists. There are numerous artists in my riding. One of the most famous is Gilles Vigneault. Obviously he has a very strong position on creator rights. This is his source of income and it needs to be protected and understood by everybody. However, that obviously needs to be balanced with consumer rights. That is what makes this legislation difficult. That is where we need to be putting the emphasis and that is not where the Conservatives are putting the emphasis.

  (1545)  

    Madam Speaker, it is so wonderful to see such agreement on the other side of the House.
    I am pleased to rise in my place to speak to Bill C-11, the copyright modernization bill. This legislation is a result of an extensive amount of consultation and debate. I believe that we have arrived at a good bill that is ready to be passed by this House. While the process to get here has been long, we have seen the support of representatives from across Canada's creative industries, like software producers, as well as consumer groups.
    The name of this bill says it all. This is a bill to modernize Canada's copyright regime. Why do we need to modernize Canada's copyright law? Because it was last updated in the late '90s. Let us consider that for a moment.
    In the era of SMART Boards and e-learning, the current Copyright Act is weighted down by provisions that apply to overhead projectors and dry erase boards. This says nothing about how consumers' lives have changed since the advent of smart phones and PVRs. This law is simply out of touch with our daily lives. We live in a global digital environment yet have copyright laws that were last updated in the 1990s, before the dot-com era, before social media, and before tablet computers and mobile devices allowed us to access thousands of songs, movies and gaming applications at the touch of a button or at the swipe of a finger.
    We went from 8-bit video game consoles to motion sensing input devices that can use gestures and spoken commands instead of hand-held controllers. Video game consoles can be found now in households all over Canada and they have many times the processing power of computers from the '90s.
    Our government's approach to copyright is clear. We want Canada to have a modern, forward-looking, technologically neutral copyright regime that balances the rights of creators and rights holders with the everyday activities of Canadians in the 21st century economy.
    One of the motivating principles behind our government's approach to protecting intellectual property is to promote and spur innovation in Canada. Our government knows the important role that innovation plays in creating economic growth and jobs now and in the future. That is why, as part of our jobs, growth and long-term prosperity bill, we have proposed considerable investments in programs that support business-led innovation and research and development. All of this would be for nothing if those innovators, entrepreneurs and creators did not have the legal tools available to them to protect their works. A modern copyright regime is one of those tools.
    Following the legislative committee's review of Bill C-11, the committee proposed a targeted set of technological amendments to the bill to ensure that the spirit of the legislation is implemented. It is for this reason that the committee adopted specific technical amendments to support innovative companies in the information technology sector. I commend the committee for its work and fully support the amendments it has proposed.
    Allow me to explain. The amendments to the bill's exception for reverse engineering, interoperability and security testing will serve their purpose in encouraging these economic activities while not exposing other businesses to needless risks. When conducted in good faith, these kinds of activities are a necessary step in the process of developing new computer applications or computer security tools, thus driving innovation.
    However, we cannot ignore the possibility that some individuals would pursue such activities for malicious reasons. To ensure that this does not happen, the bill has been amended to firmly establish that these exceptions should never apply to an activity that is otherwise in violation of the Criminal Code of Canada.
    Furthermore, the committee proposed an amendment that seeks to clarify the section of the bill that brings many of those everyday activities that Canadians are already doing, namely time and format shifting, onto the right side of the law.
    The amendments recognize that creators' and rights holders' interests could have been unduly compromised by an ambiguity in the original version of the clause, which did not specify that these exceptions are meant only for the private purposes of the person who made the copy, not for somebody else's private purposes. This change, while seemingly minor, made sure that the adequate protections remain in place for the legitimate interests of rights holders and creators. It also gives consumers the clarity they need to understand what is allowed and what is not allowed.
    Finally, all of us in this House know the incredible growth potential that is still to be realized in the digital economy. Year over year, e-commerce continues to grow even despite broader uncertainty in the world economy.
    Dematerialization of video games, for instance, is only one of the new phenomena produced by the progress of the digital economy. This part of the Canadian economy is a hotbed for innovation and the creation of new technologies, like cloud computing. Our government is completely committed to supporting the digital economy and our record to date reflects this amazing commitment.

  (1550)  

    That is the big reason why we have included elements in the bill that strike directly at those who undermine legitimate online businesses by enabling the large scale infringement of copyright.
    illegitimate online services like these drag down the economic potential and opportunity of the mainstream digital economy. The piracy they enable makes creators and rights holders think twice about engaging in this new and emerging market. This is bad for creators and bad for consumers. Jason Kee, from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, said in committee that we are talking about an industry that employs approximately 16,000 people in good quality jobs. He pointed out that it accounts for an estimated 11,000 more in terms of indirect employment, and contributes $1.7 billion in direct economic activity.
    That is one reason why we need this bill. It give creators and copyright owners the tools they need to specifically target these piracy enabling services. This is where the committee identified the need to tighten up this clause in order to ensure that the services that enable the violation of copyright are rightly identified and exposed to the appropriate level of liability.
    I believe that the amendments that I have described today make it absolutely clear, the government does not tolerate piracy. This bill would make it much more difficult for commercial pirates to get away with infringement. Everyone in the House should welcome these technical amendments. They are the product of an extensive committee review process that stretched over two Parliaments and which met for 21 combined days of deliberation, hearing the testimony of 110 witnesses.
    For