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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage


NUMBER 001 
l
1st SESSION 
l
43rd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    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.
    I am ready to receive motions for the chair.
    Mr. Blaney, you have the floor.
    Madam Clerk, we had an excellent chair in the previous parliament. They will be big shoes to fill, though they are small in size.
    I would like to propose that Scott Simms be elected as chair of the committee.
    Mr. Blaney moves that Scott Simms be elected as chair of the committee.
    Are there any further motions?

[English]

     Are there other motions? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
    I declare the motion carried and Scott Simms duly elected chair of the committee.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

[English]

    I would also like to acknowledge Ms. Dabrusin as well and the fine job she did as chair. I never sat in on many meetings, but I heard they went really well.
     I thank you so much.
     It's been a while since I've been on the heritage committee, but it is certainly good to be back and is certainly an honour to be sitting here.

[Translation]

    Thank you once more.

[English]

    Now it's the election of the vice-chairs.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the first vice-chair must be a member of the official opposition.
    I am now ready to receive motions for the first vice-chair.
    Mr. Shields, you have the floor.

[English]

    I nominate Mr. Blaney.
    Are there any further motions? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     I declare the motion carried and Steven Blaney duly elected first vice-chair of the committee.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
     Is it the wish of the committee to proceed to second vice-chair at this time? Okay.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 106(2), the second vice-chair must be a member of an opposition party other than the official opposition.
    I am now prepared to receive motions for the position of second vice-chair.
    Mr. Housefather.

[Translation]

    It is my pleasure to nominate Martin Champoux for the position of second vice-chair.

[English]

    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.
    Are there other further motions? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the motion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     I declare the motion carried and Mr. Champoux duly elected second vice-chair of the committee.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

    Congratulations, Mr. Champoux.

[English]

    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?
    I would like to, Mr. Chair.
     At this time, I have routine motions to propose. I have French and English copies, and if it's okay with you, I'll read the English.
     Please proceed.
    I move:
That the committee retain, as needed and at the discretion of the Chair, the services of one or more analysts from the Library of Parliament to assist it in its work.
     Is there any discussion on this or any comments?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Now we can invite the analysts to the table, who have been patiently waiting, I might add. If the committee will indulge me, please, a round of applause for our great analysts.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Chair: You'll notice that we did that in advance of your wonderful work, by the way.
    There's no pressure.
     None whatsoever. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Louis, please proceed again.
    Regarding a subcommittee on agenda and procedure, I move:
That the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure be established and be composed of five (5) members; the Chair, one Member from each Party; and that the subcommittee work in a spirit of collaboration.
     Is there any further discussion on this?
    (Motion agreed to)
     We now go to Mr. Louis once more. Thank you.
    Regarding reduced quorum, I move:
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.
     Is there any discussion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Mr. Louis.
    Regarding the questioning of witnesses, I move:
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.

  (1550)  

     Is there any further discussion on this?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Mr. Louis.
    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.
     Is there any discussion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Now, for some of you, this may prove to be the most important part of our deliberations.
     Mr. Louis, I turn to you once more for this very important matter.
    Regarding working meals, I move:
That the clerk of the committee be authorized to make the necessary arrangements to provide working meals for the committee and its subcommittees.
     Is there any discussion?
    Ms. Dabrusin.

[Translation]

    Personally, I would like vegetarian meals to be provided for those who prefer them.

[English]

     Would you like to move a formal amendment on that?
    I don't know if it needs a formal amendment. I would just say, please, that it be duly noted.
    Duly noted it is. Thank you, Ms. Dabrusin.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Regarding witnesses' expenses, I move:
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.
     Is there any discussion?
    Mr. Waugh.
    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?
    For the record.
    It is duly noted. I completely empathize with what you're saying.
    (Motion agreed to)
    Mr. Louis, go ahead once more.
    Regarding staff at in camera meetings, I move:
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.
     Is there any discussion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Mr. Louis, go ahead once more.
    For in camera meeting transcripts, I move:
That one copy of the transcript of each in camera meeting be kept in the committee clerk's office for consultation by members of the committee or by their staff.

  (1555)  

     Is there any discussion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Mr. Louis, go ahead.
    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.
     Is there any discussion?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Mr. Louis, go ahead.
    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.
     Are there any further discussions?
    (Motion agreed to)
     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”.

[Translation]

    We also have the French version, entitled “Travaux du comité du Patrimoine canadien”.

[English]

    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?
    Mr. Blaney.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    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.

  (1600)  

[English]

     Just for clarification, then, there are two motions that you want to bring.
    Right.
     One is regarding the report and the other is regarding the recent Yale report and the witnesses involved in that report.
    Exactly, Mr. Chair.
    Actually, on this one, I would seek unanimous consent to table that motion today. It's to invite the author of the report to come in front of us and present her conclusions.
     Since you've already given us the notice, we can distribute that now.

[Translation]

    Okay.

[English]

     You don't need unanimous consent for that.
     Is there any discussion?
    Ms. Dabrusin.
    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.
     Before I go to Mr. Housefather, can I ask Mr. Blaney to read the text of the motion, please?
    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.
    That reflects the amendment.
     Before we get into any amendments, I'll go to Mr. Housefather, who wants to comment.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    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.
     Yes. That's correct.
    You just read your motion as you want it to be voted on, without any amendment. Is that how you want it?
    It's with the amendment “at the earliest convenience”, to take into account the availability of the witness.
    Just to clarify, the wording of the amendment is “at the first opportunity, at the convenience of the witnesses” instead of the date suggested in the motion?
    Exactly.

[Translation]

    I am not in the habit of sweating the small stuff, as one might say.
    Thank you.

[English]

     Is there any further discussion on this?
    Mr. Waugh, go ahead.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Do we need to say in this...? There were many hands in this Yale report. Is the one we want to bring in Ms. Janet Yale? Do we have to be specific about who we want?
    I'm just throwing that out here.
     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.
    Monsieur Champoux.

[Translation]

    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.

  (1605)  

[English]

     Before we go madly off in different directions, I'm going to look for some direction.
    Mr. Champoux mentioned having two witnesses, one francophone and one anglophone. I'm looking to Monsieur Champoux for direction as to how he would like to amend Mr. Blaney's motion.

[Translation]

    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.

[English]

     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.

[Translation]

    Actually, I would like to make sure that there is francophone and anglophone representation.

[English]

     Thank you.
    Mr. Housefather.

[Translation]

    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.

[English]

     We will go with that motion right now.
    Does anyone have an amendment at this point on this particular motion?
    An hon. member: No.
    The Chair: Monsieur Blaney's motion is before us.
    (Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
     The motion is carried.
    Is there any further business?
    Mr. Housefather.
    Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
    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.
     Stepping into this pause I would like to say hello to everybody, and thank you very much for having me as chair.
    I'm just trying to fill time.
    Mr. Chair, you're from Newfoundland. You can kill time better than anyone.
     You have no idea. I can take 12 minutes just to clear my throat.

[Translation]

    Okay. I think everyone has a copy now.
    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.

[English]

     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.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    Feel free to come and see me. I will very gladly answer your questions.
    Thank you.

[English]

     There are just a couple of things, Mr. Housefather.
    You do not wish to open this up to discussion right now but to bring it up at the next meeting, if I understand you correctly.
    That was my suggestion, because people haven't had a chance to study it yet.
    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.
    Can we meet offline?
    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?
    Madame Bessette.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Simms, and congratulations on your appointment as Chair.
    I am a recently elected member, so forgive me if I am not as perfect as Mr. Housefather.
    I would like to introduce a motion to foster a national culture of safe sport. Does everyone have a copy in English and in French?

[English]

     We'll provide the interpreter with a copy, if you could hold on for one or two seconds.
    Would you like to distribute it before you talk about it?
    Yes.
    In the meantime, how is everybody doing?
    Martin, it's been ages. I want to say welcome. I love your tie, Martin. It's very nice.
     Thank you.
     It has Alberta written all over it. I mean, literally, it has “Alberta” written all over it.
    I'm glad you noticed.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Madame Bessette, go ahead, please.

[Translation]

    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.
    I move:
    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.
    Thank you.

  (1615)  

    Thank you, Mrs. Bessette.

[English]

    As before, we have to do the same process where the preamble is taken out, so your motion as submitted will start with “That the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage".
    Do you wish to introduce this now, just for the sake of bringing it to everyone's attention, or would you like to have a discussion and vote on this particular motion?
    That's a good question.
    You can either just give notice or you can actually move the motion for debate and discussion, followed by a vote, if you wish. You have the choice of the two.
    I prefer to vote probably Monday.
    Is there any other business to discuss?
    Madam Dabrusin.
    We've brought up the minister's mandate letter a few times today. It might be helpful to hear from the minister about his mandate. I would like to move a motion for an invitation to the minister:
That the committee invite the Minister of Canadian Heritage, at his earliest convenience, to present and answer questions on his mandate letter for Canadian Heritage.
     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?
    Mr. Blaney.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     I realize that this is a public session.
    We are in favour of the motion and we will support it.

[English]

     Is there any other discussion or debate?
    Seeing none, are we ready for the question?
    (Motion agreed to)
     Is there any further business?
    Do we have agreement to adjourn the meeting?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Thank you, everybody, for your confidence.
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