Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.
Honourable members of the committee, I see a quorum.
I must inform members that the clerk of the committee can only receive motions for the election of the chair. The clerk cannot receive other types of motions, cannot entertain points of honour nor participate in debate.
We can now proceed to the election of the chair.
Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the chair must be a member of the government party.
It is my pleasure to nominate Martin Champoux for the position of second vice-chair.
I also want to say that I personally support the idea that there should be a third vice-chair from the NDP. They should also be represented as one of the vice-chairs. I know that this is before PROC, and I hope it will come out successfully. I know that we can't do it without a change in the rules.
Now we're going to go on to the routine motions. For those of you with experience, you know exactly where we're heading with this.
If the committee agrees, we will now proceed with the adoption of routine motions. Members have received the committee's routine motions from the previous Parliament in an email. As a reminder, a motion must be moved by a committee member. It doesn't need to be seconded.
Are there any members who would like to move routine motions at this time?
That the Chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and to have that evidence printed when a quorum is not present, provided that at least four members are present, including one member of the opposition and one member of the government, but when travelling outside the Parliamentary Precinct that the meeting begin after 15 minutes, regardless of members present.
That witnesses be given 10 minutes for their opening statement; that, at the discretion of the Chair, during the questioning of witnesses, in the first round, there be allocated six minutes for the first questioner of each party as follows: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party. That for the second and subsequent rounds, the order and time for questioning be as follows: Conservative Party, five minutes, Liberal Party, five minutes, Conservative Party, five minutes, Liberal Party, five minutes, Bloc Québécois, two and a half minutes, New Democratic Party, two and a half minutes.
Regarding document distribution, I move that the clerk of the committee be authorized to distribute documents to members of the committee only when the documents are available in both official languages and that witnesses be advised accordingly.
That, if requested, reasonable travel, accommodation and living expenses be reimbursed to witnesses not exceeding two representatives per organization; provided that, in exceptional circumstances, payment for more representatives be made at the discretion of the Chair.
Chair, if I may, the House of Commons precinct spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for video equipment here. Most committees, for reasons unknown, don't use this. This is the 21st century and we are the heritage committee. I would encourage this committee and all other committees to use video conferencing.
I know that we have certain things for which we may need our guests to come here live, for delicate situations, but this is a set-up of $100,000-plus throughout the precinct and we're not using it like we should. I would like to see this committee use this and demonstrate leadership. We have the teleconferencing. I've been on many committees in the past and we don't use it enough. I would like us to use this more and have less bringing of guests here to committee.
Before I weigh in on that, does anybody else want to respond to the point made by Mr. Waugh?
Seeing none, you're correct. We have used a lot of it in the past. It is of high quality and it's been pretty good. I don't know if anyone with past experiences in video conferencing would say otherwise, but we have used it.
Would you like to move an amendment, or would you just like that for the record?
That, unless otherwise ordered, each committee member be allowed to have one staff member at an in camera meeting, and that one additional person from each House officer's office will be allowed to be present.
Regarding notices of motions, I move that 48 hours' notice, interpreted as two nights, shall be required for any substantive motion to be considered by the committee, unless the substantive motion relates directly to business then under consideration, provided that (1) the notice be filed with the clerk of the committee no later than 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday, that (2) the motion be distributed to members in both official languages by the clerk on the same day the said notice was transmitted if it was received no later than the deadline hour, and that (3) notices received after the deadline hour or on non-business days be deemed to have been received during the next business day; and that when the committee is travelling on official business, no substantive motions may be moved.
Regarding independent members and clause-by-clause, I move:
That, in relation to Orders of Reference from the House respecting Bills,
(a) the clerk of committee shall, upon the committee receiving such an Order of Reference, write to each Member who is not a member of a caucus represented on the committee to invite those Members to file with the clerk of the committee, in both official languages, any amendments to the Bill, which is the subject of the said Order, which they would suggest that the committee consider;
(b) suggested amendments filed, pursuant to paragraph (a), at least 48 hours prior to the start of clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill to which the amendments relate shall be deemed to be proposed during the said consideration, provided that the committee may, by motion, vary this deadline in respect of a given Bill; and
(c) during the clause-by-clause consideration of a Bill, the Chair shall allow a Member who filed suggested amendments, pursuant to paragraph (a), an opportunity to make brief representations in support of them.
Colleagues, are there any more routine motions you'd like to deal with at this time?
Seeing none, I move that we go to committee business.
Before we go to committee business, may I just interject here for one quick moment? You'll see in front of you, from the Library of Parliament, of which I'm a huge fan—being here for 16 years, I can attest to the fact that they do wonderful work—this research paper, “The Work of the Heritage Committee”.
We also have the French version, entitled “Travaux du comité du Patrimoine canadien”.
It is something we should all look at, especially if you're new. They do a great job with this. Please go ahead and ask them any questions you may have.
I just wanted to mention that because these are wonderful little things that can give us a good overview before we actually start into the business.
That being said, would there be anything else someone would like to raise regarding committee business?
I am pleased to see that the committee is now set up. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the analysts for the report they produced during the last session, entitled “Shifting Paradigms”. During the summer, I received many positive comments on the recommendations in the report, which were unanimous, as I recall.
However, as I was saying before the meeting, it would seem that we have not given the government the opportunity to respond to the report. It contains recommendations that were approved by the government of the time, a government that is still in power. I don’t know whether that is an oversight. I just wanted to inform you that I am going to introduce a motion to give the government an opportunity to respond to the report, which was by consensus and which has received a lot of support.
In addition, and you can tell me whether this is necessary or not, I intend to present a motion to invite the authors of the report submitted by Janet Yale and entitled “Canada's Communications Future: Time to Act”. We would then have the opportunity to hear them present the report to us.
I bring this to your attention. We can debate it later, if necessary.
I've had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Blaney before this meeting. There's a date referred to within that motion as a hard deadline, but that hasn't been run by the people who are seeking to call the witnesses.
I would propose a friendly amendment, I believe, to make it “at the earliest convenience” of the witnesses sought in that motion.
I will read it with the proposed amendment, Mr. Chair. It would say that the committee invite the broadcasting and telecommunications legislative review panel to present the report “Canada’s communications future: Time to act” to members of the committee at the earliest convenience.
First of all, since Mr. Blaney accepted the amendment and he read that as part of the motion, I don't think we have to deal with an amendment. It's part of the principal motion now.
Just for clarification, Mr. Blaney mentioned that he would need unanimous consent. I'm not sure he would need unanimous consent to put forward this motion. I believe this falls under committee business, and this motion could just come forward. I wanted to seek clarification as to whether or not that's true.
My experience tells me that you don't have to, only because if we pass the motion and do the study, then we can have a discussion about who will be the witnesses, and propose witnesses after that. You can if you wish, but I don't think it's really necessary.
I would like it to specify that we would like a francophone representative and an anglophone representative to be present. The report has two excellent spokespeople. Ms. Simard is one but there are perhaps others. Whatever the case, it would be appropriate for a francophone representative of the group to be present.
I completely agree that we should also invite Ms. Simard.
As far as I am concerned, Mr. Chair, no study is being proposed. It is just a meeting to which we are inviting the group. The motion should specify that people should speak to the report. We would like Ms. Yale and Ms. Simard to come and testify together, if possible. This is a friendly amendment.
We were fortunate to have an informal information session given by Ms. Simard and Ms. Yale. The spirit of the motion is to hear from those who speak for the report. I am perfectly comfortable if we specify that in the wording of the motion. We could also instruct the clerk in that regard. That is fine with me.
Forgive my ignorance on the subject. This is the first time I have sat on a committee. I don’t know the precise way to make an amendment like that. My goal is simply for it to specify that there should be francophone representation when this very lengthy report is studied.
My apologies. I didn't mean to put you on the spot. It's just that I had the feeling you were headed toward an amendment. You would just like us to know you would like to have both francophone and anglophone witnesses.
Mr. Chair, I do not believe that an amendment is necessary. Mr. Blaney has clearly stated what he would like. We agree that the clerk can invite Ms. Simard and Ms. Yale to come to the committee together. Let’s hope that we can find a date soon and that they will both be able to come to testify.
Basically, I think it's only fair that I give notice of a motion that we would discuss at the next meeting, because I'd like people to have it in advance. I'd like to put forward a motion that I'd like the clerk to distribute, which would be basically as follows....
Maybe I will wait until it's distributed. It's the social media one.
I would like to talk about why I am making this motion.
In the last Parliament, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights published a report asking that “the Government of Canada establish requirements for online platforms and Internet service providers” to ensure that we have rules to combat hate and crime online. In the mandate letter issued to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, he is asked to create those rules. I believe that it is important for the committee to study the matter and make recommendations to the Minister on the best way to proceed.
If possible, Mr. Chair, I will read my motion and we can discuss it at the next meeting of the committee.
Whereas the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights studied the issue of online hate in the previous Parliament and in recommendation 8 recommended that the Government of Canada establish requirements for online platforms and Internet service providers with regard to how they monitor and address incidents of hate speech and the need to remove all posts that would constitute online hate in a timely manner; whereas the Minister of Canadian Heritage has been asked in his mandate letter to establish such requirements; whereas hate speech and other expression prohibited by Canada's Criminal Code, such as incitement of violence, incitement of genocide, creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda and exploitation of children, have been deemed by our courts to either not be expression protected under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or speech that can be validly restricted in Canada under section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and whereas it would be advisable for the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to study how to best implement such new regulations, including a review of what foreign jurisdictions such as Germany have done in this regard, be it resolved that the Committee study the creation and implementation of new regulations for online media platforms and Internet service providers requiring them to monitor, address and remove content that constitutes hate speech and remove any other content which is illegal in Canada or prohibited by the Criminal Code, such as incitement of violence, incitement of genocide, creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda and exploitation of children, in a timely manner; that the committee hold at least no less than four meetings on this subject with relevant witnesses; and that the Committee report its findings to the House of Commons.
I would note that I addressed the concerns that I know many of my colleagues have about free speech in this area, and I've made it very clear that the issues we're dealing with are criminal in nature, are prohibited under the Criminal Code, and thus are not covered as freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights. Because the minister has this in his mandate letter, I think it would be appropriate for the committee to weigh in and hear from witnesses prior to such time as the minister comes out with his recommendations. If my colleagues have any questions over the course of the next few days before our next meeting on Monday, they should not hesitate to come and see me.
There is one bit of housekeeping we have to do, which was pointed out. It is customary in a motion in front of the committee not to include the preamble that you have. The motion would actually start at the fifth paragraph. Do you see “Be it resolved”? It would start where it says, “That the Committee study the creation”. That would be the text of the motion that we would be voting on and discussing in the next meeting.
Is everybody okay with that? Are there any questions about the logistics of this as opposed to the actual subject matter? Are we okay with that?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chair: Okay. Nothing is required right now, other than the fact that we'll ask Mr. Housefather to discuss it along with possible amendments at the next meeting.
Mr. Housefather, this also brings up another point, and I'm not trying to single you out here.
Everyone, for the benefit of people who are watching or listening to this, because it is broadcast through audio—and also for our gentleman in the back here, who is in charge of recording—whether it's in camera or not, it is recorded. I ask that you please not just jump into any discussion that is going on. Please catch my attention, or at least try to, because I would like to recognize everyone who speaks. I mean that when it comes to committee business as well. It's so much easier for them and for us to keep moving. I hope everybody is okay with that. I probably should have said that when I was campaigning for the job, so I hope I didn't fool you.
Nevertheless, thank you, Mr. Housefather, for that.
Is there any more business to discuss at this first meeting?
I was a professional athlete myself for a number of years and clearly, I started at the bottom of the ladder. The following motion is important for me. It seeks to create a national culture of safe sport.
Whereas the Minister of Canadian Heritage's mandate letter asked him to deliver on certain priorities, including fostering "a national culture of safe sport, including physical safety and sporting environments free from harassment";
Whereas a disturbing number of incidents have been reported by athletes ranging from the junior levels to elite levels of sport, including with respect to being subject to unsafe environments;
Be it resolved:
That the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage commence a study to reach conclusions on how to best ensure a national culture of safe sport consisting of both physical safety and sporting environments free of harassment, abuse and discrimination;
That the committee hold at least three meetings on the subject with relevant witnesses;
That the committee report its findings to the House.
The last two motions were distributed, but I suspect we don't really have to distribute a copy of that. I think we all understand what Ms. Dabrusin is asking for. She has moved it, so is there any further debate on the motion?