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43rd PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 032

CONTENTS

Thursday, November 19, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 150
No. 032
2nd SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner

    It is my duty to lay upon the table, pursuant to section 28 of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, Appendix I, a report from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner entitled “Maloney Report 2020”, dated November 2020.

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 12 petitions. These returns will be tabled in electronic format.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

Petitions

Opioids 

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to table this petition today on behalf of petitioners who are raising concerns regarding the fentanyl poisoning crisis and demanding action be taken. This is timely, given that the Mayor of Vancouver is calling on the government to decriminalize the possession of opioids in Vancouver and all drug supply.
    They are calling on the Government of Canada to declare the current opioid overdose and fentanyl poisoning crisis a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act in order to manage and resource it, with the aim of reducing and eliminating preventable deaths; reform current drug policy and decriminalize personal possession, which is what the mayor of Vancouver is asking for; and create with urgency and immediacy a system to provide safe, unadulterated access to substances, so the people who use substances, whether experimentally, recreationally or chronically, are not at imminent risk of overdose due to contaminated sources. The petitioners cite that the 15,000 deaths in our country were all preventable.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present e-petition 2827. The climate crisis and destruction of ecosystems, or ecocide, are the result of many years of harmful industrial activities permitted by law, with many of the risks having been known for decades by the companies choosing to continue these practices and the governments subsidizing those activities.
     The international community lacks a legal framework to ensure shared nation responsibility for financing humanitarian and environmental aid and assistance to ecocide territories, despite numerous treaties, agreements and civil lawsuits. The petitioners call upon the House of Commons and Parliament to declare its support for an amendment to the Rome Statute and advocate its adoption internationally in the knowledge that many countries must stand together for the long-term protection of all life on earth.

Questions on the Order Paper

     The Speaker: Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Broadcasting Act

    The House resumed from November 18 consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak to Bill C-10, which is an initiative that has been a work-in-progress for a number of months, possibly even years. The government has recognized the importance of the growth of the Internet, which has been applauded universally. There is no doubt about that, but it has a number of different issues that governments around the world have had to deal with. That is the primary reason we have Bill C-10 before us today.
    There are many multinational or large corporations that play a very important role in terms of broadcasting. This is something Bill C-10 attempts to deal with. I have had the opportunity to listen to the minister's comments in regard to the bill, and I would encourage members to review what the minister said because there is a great deal of substance, not to mention passion, in the words that were spoken.
    There are three parts to what the minister said that I want to take the opportunity to highlight, along with providing some further comments in terms of how important culture and arts are to our nation.
    First, we would probably find the minister wants to talk about the need for equity. There is a real need for equity when it comes to our broadcasting industries. We have Canadian companies that fall under the CRTC. There are regulations in place, and those regulations do a number of things. They have ultimately served Canadians well over the years.
    However, we then have, for a lack of better words, foreign web giants. We know what many of those web companies are. We are talking about companies like Google and Facebook. It is really important that we recognize that expecting industries such as Google to voluntarily comply with regulations in Canada is the wrong direction for us to be going.
    Bill C-10 would ensure that the regulatory framework applies not only to Canadian companies, but also to those foreign web giants. That will go a long way in ensuring that Canadian interests are in fact being protected.
    Then we look at the issue of Canadian content as a whole and how this legislation will benefit it. In terms of dollar value, it has been suggested by the minister and others that we are talking about hundreds of millions additional new dollars going to the support of Canadian content. That injection of new dollars will help the industry substantially.
    This is the type of thing that I believe is going to have a very positive impact on such an important industry to our country. Again, it will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1 billion, which equates to hundreds of millions of dollars. That is a very strong positive.
    When young people go onto different types of platforms, whether it is Netflix, Amazon, Spotify or other platforms, it can be a challenge to identify Canadian content. Within Bill C-10 we find, particularly for young people, that it will be easier to discover Canadian content. The issue of discoverability is something that is really important and has been identified in this legislation.

  (1010)  

    I look at Bill C-10 as a win-win-win. I look to the Conservatives, the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois to get on board and support the legislation.
    In listening to the minister responsible for the legislation, I thought he was very open to ideas for amendments and was looking to opposition parties, if they have a good idea, to not hesitate to make the minister aware of it. I would encourage my opposition colleagues, if they have some thoughts on the bill, even during second reading, to develop those ideas and possible amendments and bring them forward to the minister's office, even before it gets to the standing committee level, because in the minister's comments he was inviting members to do so. It was quite encouraging when at the very beginning of the minister's remarks he extended that invitation and a sense of wanting to work with all members of this House to ensure that this legislation, which is somewhat historic in the sense of outreach to the World Wide Web, protects the Canadian interest. Therefore, I look forward to having Bill C-10 advance to the committee stage.
    There is a good reason, and I have had the opportunity in the past to talk about the importance of culture and heritage. Yesterday, in one of my questions, I made reference to an organization that I have mentioned in the past to the House. It embodies a lot of things that would assist the industry.
     We often overlook the economic impact that culture and arts groups throughout our country have, and how they contribute. There is the most obvious, and we have had some fantastic programs. In fact, one of the programs, Schitt's Creek, is something that I, unfortunately, did not even know existed until not that long ago. I know that surprises a number of people in the chamber. When it received all those awards, it was being talked about more and I thought that maybe it was time that I investigated this show. I must admit that periodically I do a bit of Netflix bingeing. I have taken the time to watch every episode of it over a three-week period.
    For those who have not seen the program, I would encourage people who are following the debate on Bill C-10 to watch it because it embodies why it is so critically important that we advance bills like Bill C-10 and recognize the industry. Schitt's Creek really does reflect many of the values that Canadians have today in a very wide spectrum of people. I suspect it is one of the reasons why we did so well with that particular program and that it has now been recognized worldwide.
     It is not alone. Another show that comes to my mind is Corner Gas out of Saskatchewan, and that should appeal to a lot of my western colleagues, in particular those in Saskatchewan, as we take pride in now. I do not know if I have watched every episode, but the attempt has been there.

  (1015)  

    It is nice when we get this reference to the wonderful province of Saskatchewan and the fine work that it does. Another program that I have had the opportunity to watch at least a few episodes of is Kim's Convenience, a program that takes place in Toronto. Again, we see different types of reflection. Canada over the years has been recognized as having some phenomenal comedians and many different actors and actresses. One of my favourites has always been Star Trek and good old Captain Kirk. He is Canadian-born, and I think he might be from Saskatchewan. I am not 100% sure of that.
    The point is that we have so many actors and actresses and individuals with so much potential, many of whom are yet to be discovered. Bill C-10 would go a long way in supporting those new discoveries and ensuring that an industry that is so critically important to all of us is better served.
    We talk about those who get the light shone on them as a result of being an actor or actress, but that is only a part of it. I really enjoy it when I see these large numbers of vans and semis pulling up into our communities, because they often are there for productions. I remember over the summer I wanted to get a large van for rental purposes, and I could not. I asked when I could get one, and the agency said that it would not be for a while because they had them rented out to a movie production. To me, that is one of those spin-off benefits that are really important for us to recognize.
    I suspect that if I were to check with people in all the different areas of our country, I would find at times, in different regions, that I would see multiple sets being established in public buildings like, for example, the Manitoba legislative building, or our streets and communities, and I would see production crews. There is a high level of expertise. As the industry continues to grow, that level of expertise will grow, and when we see that, not only does it increase the skill sets of thousands of Canadians, it provides jobs.
    When a movie set goes into a community, those individuals who are operating that movie set are getting paid. They are more often than not local employees or people from Canada with Canadian expertise moving into these communities and getting a salary. They are also buying lunches and snacks, they are occupying hotels for extended and short periods of time, and contributing to the local economy.
    Suffice to say, when we take a look at a production that comes in, it creates interest. I am very much interested, for example, when I see a facility that is being used for a movie production and then I see it in the movie. Whenever I hear the city of Winnipeg being sighted in a movie or a TV production, there is that sense of of pride. These are the types of things showing why it is so important that members on all sides of the House recognize the real value of Bill C-10.

  (1020)  

    On the surface, it does not take too much to read through. We can appreciate what the bill is hoping to accomplish, with hundreds of millions of dollars, ensuring that we have more new money and more Canadian content, it is a good thing. The bill talks about discoverability, where young people would have easier means to locate that Canadian content, and that, too, is a good thing. We talk about having those multinational companies, those large platforms, being put on a more level playing field by incorporating them into the regulatory system, and that is a good thing.
    The CRTC has done exceptionally well for Canadians over the years. It is hard to imagine what the industry would look like today if we did not have the CRTC, and if we did not have a government that valued Canadian content in the creation and distribution, and supporting the industry as a whole. This is legislation that would ensure the longevity of that.
    Like everything else, the coronavirus has had an impact on the industry today, and at different levels. That is why I made reference yesterday, when I was with the minister, to the organization of Folklorama. There are many talents that ultimately go on to become productions here in Canada and abroad that come out of other organizations and smaller cultural events, and I should not use the word “smaller”.
    I often make reference to Folklorama, which is an organization in Winnipeg that has been in place for over 50 years now. It has literally thousands of volunteers. Every year, during the summer, for a solid two weeks, there are all forms of entertainment and heritage promotion. Fifty-plus pavilions often participate in it. I have seen presentations that have gone from a pavilion into actual television production or have been a starting point for many artists who have originated in Winnipeg. The benefits by government continue, whether directly or indirectly.
    I was so pleased when the current Minister of Heritage had a virtual meeting, and so did the Prime Minister, with Folklorama and the Folk Arts Council, because we were concerned about how they were being impacted by the coronavirus. It is the type of organization that, as a country, we cannot afford to lose. Whether it was from the Minister of Heritage or the Prime Minister, it was so nice to hear that, through things such as the wage subsidy program, these organizations were able to continue on during this very difficult time. As a result, I know that we will have Folklorama for another 50 years.
     Our cultural and heritage industry as a whole needs organizations like Folklorama, because that is where many of the future actors, actresses and production people will be coming from. That is why it is so absolutely critical that when people look at Bill C-10 they recognize its true value to Canadian society.

  (1025)  

     I encourage all members of the House to follow the advice of the minister. If they have ideas or amendments, they should bring them forward. We are open to ensuring that we have the best possible legislation.

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here listening to the member opposite. I always appreciate his interventions in this place.
    My dog ran away and it did take three days.
     I had been reading the minister's mandate letter, which talks about creating new regulations for social media platforms. Does the bill clarify whether social media platforms are publishers, or are they just curators?
    Mr. Speaker, what is really encouraging is that the Prime Minister has made mandate letters public. As a result, the member can read the mandate letters of all the different ministers.
    What members will find is that Bill C-10 incorporates a good part of the mandate letter that has been given to the Minister of Heritage. A part of his mandate was to look at the web giants, such as Facebook and Google, and how the government will ensure that we are taking proactive actions to support Canadian society.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech to justify Bill C-10, which is currently before us.
    I have to admit that I was rather disappointed. The Liberals are saying that this is a great bill with extraordinary content, but the bill surrenders our culture to foreign businesses and leaves us with no control over anything. What is more, it does not provide any guarantees regarding French-language content.
    Since the beginning of this week, we have been talking about the importance of preserving the French language. The member for Saint-Laurent denied the decline of French and the president of the Liberal Party said that Bill 101 is oppressive. On top of all that, the Liberal government is not imposing any obligations for French-language content on the media's future cultural productions. I cannot understand that at all.
    Wilfrid Laurier described Confederation as the tomb of the French race and the ruin of Lower Canada. The Conservatives are denying climate change and the Liberals are denying the fact that the French language is in jeopardy.
    I would like to know whether the member opposite, as a living representative of francophones who are losing their language, is ashamed to be part of Canada. Does he not understand that, in a way, his government's measures justify Quebeckers' desire to have their own country?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to be kind, but at the end of the day the Bloc is trying to give a false impression.
    The Prime Minister, the government House leader and the Minister of Canadian Heritage have been so clear, and not just during this debate or in the last week. I remember the Prime Minister sitting as leader of the third party. I believe the Prime Minister of Canada is one of the strongest, most able-minded advocates for French language not only in the province of Quebec, but across Canada.
    Members of the Bloc would do the province of Quebec well by recognizing that the French language is a beautiful language that needs to continue to be promoted and encouraged throughout our nation. The opportunity for this is there, and I hope the Bloc will recognize the true value of the French language and make sure that we do whatever we can throughout Canada to do that.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my friend's description of Corner Gas and Captain Kirk. He thinks this is going to somehow create a vision for dealing with Facebook and Google, even though we know that the government has been deeply embedded with the web giants. The Prime Minister deals with Amazon; Leslie Church, a top Google executive, became head of the department that is overseeing whether Google comes under regulations; and the Prime Minister has close involvement with Facebook.
    The idea that the CRTC is going to regulate the digital platforms may be the best idea of 1994, but it certainly does not recognize the real issues we need to deal with regarding the web giants today. For example, as a simple issue, they are not paying taxes, and with the bill they would still not be paying taxes.
    The idea is that the government is going to handle the web giants by giving this over to the CRTC while they have a huge advantage in not paying taxes. Cable companies have to pay taxes, newspapers have to pay taxes and artists have to pay taxes, yet Google and Facebook, which are so deeply embedded with the government, do not. It is ridiculous.
    I do not know if there was an episode of Corner Gas that talked about this or—

  (1035)  

    We will have to leave it there and move on to get in other questions.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, if the member is mocking me and is saying he does not like Corner Gas, that is fine. There are a lot of Canadian productions out there that I hope the member likes. However, that is not necessarily the issue we are debating today. I was trying to highlight the importance of the industry by using some examples, and I think most Canadians would agree with the examples I was using.
    What the NDP seems to think is that we can just click our heels and hundreds and hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars will magically flood into the country. They are trying give the impression that the bill does not have an impact, but close to $1 billion of new money will be going into the industry as a result of the bill. That is the reality.
    Mr. Speaker, William Shatner is, in fact, from the wonderful city of Montreal.
    One of the interesting aspects of the bill, one could argue, is that for the first time ever, it puts an emphasis on indigenous production, whether it be with regard to music, TV or the big screen. I am wondering if my hon. colleague could help us understand how this would help reconciliation with indigenous peoples in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, incorporating this into the legislation continues the idea of reconciliation. It complements other things the government has done, such as recognizing the importance of indigenous languages by establishing a fund and legislation to support ongoing education and promotion of indigenous languages that were being lost.
    Introducing legislation to ensure that we recognize the true value of indigenous heritage, making sure that dollars ultimately flow for the creation of programs and supporting languages are all important to this government and the idea of reconciliation.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to celebrate Canadian content as well and highlight Trickster, which is a new series that is really great.
    There have been comments about making Netflix finance Canadian programming. It appears as though the government has passed the buck back to the CRTC. The bill says that the CRTC should regulate similar types of broadcasters in an equitable way, but it also leaves the CRTC the option to not regulate Netflix and the foreign streamers at all. This would be entirely up to the CRTC.
    Given its history of inaction on this front, is there reason to be concerned that nothing will change?
    Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate what the member is saying. I do not believe that is the case. I believe the CRTC has done a fantastic job overall in protecting the interests of Canadians.
    The legislation is fairly clear in what it is doing, and the CRTC is most capable of doing what is necessary to generate the type of Canadian content we all expect and want to see from web giants.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to the bill before us today, Bill C-10.
    Canada's cultural sector, communications and broadcasting companies and the media in general have been eagerly awaiting this bill.
    The thing is, everyone was expecting a bill that would be in step with changes in the communications sector since the Broadcasting Act was first enacted decades ago.
    I have a great deal fo respect for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who made a passionate case for Bill C-10 this week. Here is how he began his speech:
     From 2011 to 2019, the number of Canadians with Netflix subscriptions has grown from one in 10 to nearly six in 10. The number of Canadians using Spotify to listen to music online has jumped from 2% in 2014 to nearly 30% in 2019. We welcome these innovations that bring so much richness to our lives and so much diverse content. However, prolonging the status quo will only further undermine our ability to tell our own Canadian stories.
    Unfortunately, it did not take long for the minister, who signed on to the Liberal Party of Canada shortly before the 2019 general election, to pick up the Prime Minister's and the Liberal government's bad habits.
    Bill C-10 is full of fine words and intentions, but provides few measures and, more importantly, few answers to the many questions Canadian consumers, companies and media are rightfully asking. The media industry was expecting, and calling for, more.
    I will tell you about the developments in the media industry as I experienced them myself over the years. I started my career in radio, in 1984, at a tiny station in Asbestos, now called Val-des-Sources. That radio station was CJAN. I was a casual employee and hosted a weekend show. I was also a news host when the need arose.
    At the time, the radio station and the local newspaper were the only sources of local information in the Or-Blanc RCM, as it used to be called. Two hosts and a reporter worked full time, and then there was a casual employee and the management staff. There were a lot of hours of local production.
    Then I went to Thetford Mines, a bigger city, and worked in an AM radio station. Some of the people who were elected in the last election probably do not even know what AM radio is. CKLD had about 30 advertising employees, reporters and hosts. Production was 100% local.
    These two stations were part of what was called the Appalaches network, an independent association covering the Eastern Townships, Chaudière-Appalaches and part of Centre-du-Québec. At the time, I wrote my stories using a typewriter and carbon paper so I could keep a copy. That is how it was.
    Then we began to see technological developments and I was given a typewriter that miraculously kept one line of text at a time in memory, which meant that I no longer needed correction fluid to fix my mistakes.
    Then FM radio, computers and cell phones came along. All of this turned broadcasting on its head. When I started at the station in 1985, there were between 25 and 30 employees. Seven years later, I had to leave. There were only four full-time news hosts left. This was before the Internet.
    I took a break from radio for a few months and became editor-in-chief of the Thetford Mines Courrier Frontenac. At the time, we were publishing the Courrier Frontenac, the Wednesday edition and a monthly for another sector of the RCM, and there was also another specialized newspaper. We had a team of five reporters, as well as collaborators. In short, it was a prime example of a local communication undertaking.
    To put things in perspective, at that time we had to have our camera film developed, layouts were done almost entirely by hand, and we had to deliver the finished pages to the printer ourselves for printing and distribution. That is how it was. Thetford Mines even had a second weekly.

  (1045)  

    There were enough journalists in Thetford Mines at the time to form a softball team. We called ourselves “Les Chevaliers du Crayon”, the knights of the pencil. There was enough local coverage and enough journalists in our community to have a softball team. That says it all.
    When I left in 1998 to go into politics, there was only one weekly paper left and a dwindling number of journalists. Competition was still fierce, but it was still local. Then came the electronic bulletin boards that people could connect to through their modems and get access to free content. Cellphones became increasingly portable, and then there was the Internet, data compression protocols, high speed, Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook and all the social media.
    Back home in Thetford Mines these days, we still have one radio station and one weekly paper. I can count on two hands the number of people who work at those two places, and I need only two fingers to count the number of full-time journalists left in Thetford Mines.
     Yesterday was rather serendipitous. The Courrier Frontenac published an article in its weekly edition under the byline of News Media Canada. I will read a quote from it:
    From the very inception of newspapers in Canada, the best journalism in Canada has been supported and sustained by advertising revenues. Yet virtually all our digital media outlets now face an existential threat because of the anti-competitive practices of web giants Facebook and Google. These two global giants control 80% of all advertising revenues.
    Now let's talk about radio. Last August, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, or CAB, released the results of an economic study on the crisis in their field and the future of local broadcasting. The numbers that were released are terrifying. According to the forecasts in the report, 50 radio stations could well close their doors in the next four to six months, another 150 radio stations could do the same in the next 18 months and at least 40 of the 94 private local television stations in Canada could close down in the next 12 to 36 months.
    These numbers have me worried. Lenore Gibson, chair of CAB's executive council, said the following in the press release accompanying this report:
     Without immediate action, Canada will see a wave of local television and radio closures over the next three years. This will deny many communities a daily local media voice, and significantly reduce the diversity of news choices and voices in almost every community in Canada.
    This is worrisome. Carmela Laurignano, vice-president and radio group manager of Evanov Radio Group, rightly stated, “If we allow local news to die, the health of Canadian society will be seriously undermined.”
    Let us get get back to Bill C-10. How does it help radio stations and newspapers in my region and other Quebec regions? It does absolutely nothing for them. This was, however, a unique opportunity for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to take concrete action to help local production. When I say local, I really mean local, and that is 100% francophone back home.
    Members will understand that I expected the amendments to the Broadcasting Act to be in step with the changes in the media industry in recent years. I am extremely disappointed. This bill will not hold Internet giants like Google and Facebook to the same competition rules as Canadian undertakings.
    In its report entitled “Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy”, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, of which Canada is a member, made several recommendations concerning the collection of information in the digital economy and companies without a physical address.
    The other members of the G20 and the European Union, Australia—which has been much talked about—South Africa, Japan and South Korea have all modernized their laws to adapt to the new realities of e-commerce, but not Canada.
    In recent weeks, and since 2015, we have often heard say that Canada comes last among the G7 and G20 countries. There is one exception, namely that the Liberal government has made Canada the first country in the G7, the G20 and the world to approve an agreement with Netflix for a one-off investment, but with no guarantee from the Internet giant with respect to French-language content.

  (1050)  

    We do not know the details, but one thing is certain: Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon and Spotify are not taxed in Canada. They do not contribute to the Canada Media Fund, and they are in no way obliged to broadcast Canadian content. We are helping these companies that generate billions of dollars by allowing them to play by rules different from the ones imposed on local undertakings, which are obliged to pay taxes in Canada.
    The result of all this is unfair competition that leads to significant job losses in the cultural and journalism industries and that erodes the quality of our national product. The problem is not a lack of creativity. We are well aware of Canada’s vast wealth of creativity. However, to create, we need resources and if we do not have the necessary resources because profits are leaving the country, we will lose hundreds of millions of tax dollars that could have been used to improve creation in Canada and Quebec.
    When we started hearing about reforming the Broadcasting Act, we were all expecting taxation to figure into the reform. After all, this was one of the main recommendations in the Yale report, entitled “Canada's communications future: Time to act”, which was the basis for Bill C-10. I quote:
     The application of GST/HST to foreign online services is a different matter. Consistent with actions taken by some provinces and many other countries, we recommend that sales tax be applied equitably to media communications services provided by foreign online providers. This would eliminate the disadvantage to competing Canadian providers.
    Businesses are either taxed or they are not. During the Conservative Party leadership campaign, the member for Durham and Leader of the Opposition quite rightly proposed that the GST be removed for subscriptions to Canadian digital platforms, which would promote online cultural content broadcast by Canadian cultural businesses, such as Club illico and ICI Tou.tv. That would level the playing field with foreign digital platforms, such as Netflix, Crave or Disney+.
    Historically, every substantive reform of the Broadcasting Act has brought clear definitions for new technologies and how they compare to conventional players. In 1929, it was radio; in 1968, cable television; and in 1986, satellite television and pay TV. Then, there was a review in 1991. Now, almost 30 years later, there has been an unprecedented number of major technological breakthroughs, all occurring in a very short period of time. However, the bill introduced by the Liberal government does not explain how or on what terms the digital platforms and conventional players will compete with each other in the same market.
    Furthermore, the definitions are vague and at times absent. What is the definition of “social media”, as mentioned in the exclusions list under the “carrying on broadcasting undertaking” category? Subclause 1(3) of the bill amends the Broadcasting Act by adding the following after subsection (2):
    
    (2.1) A person who uses a social media service to upload programs for transmission over the Internet and reception by other users of the service — and who is not the provider of the service or the provider’s affiliate, or the agent or mandatary of either of them — does not, by the fact of that use, carry on a broadcasting undertaking for the purposes of this Act.
    Does this include Facebook or YouTube? Does this include YouTube's pay channels, which have 2.5 billion views?
    Another point that absolutely needs to be addressed is the fact that Bill C-10 will give the CRTC broad discretionary powers to define what is an online undertaking and to require such undertakings to spend money on producing and distributing Canadian content. Furthermore, the requirement for undertakings to contribute up to 5% of their gross revenues to the Canada Media Fund, which subsidizes Canadian productions, is not explicitly stated in the bill, nor is the calculation used to estimate the $830 million in contributions that the minister referred to. It could also be $1 billion, because the minister sometimes gives that figure as well.
    Broadcaster contributions to the Canada Media Fund for 2019-20 totalled $193 million. The minister says that Bill C-10 will increase that to $1 billion. I would like to know what math he used to come up with that estimate.
    The government chose, in the end, to hand over its responsibility to the CRTC rather than stick its neck out. First, we know the CRTC's position on this issue. In a 2018 interview with La Presse, CRTC chairman Ian Scott explained that there was no need to impose conditions on Netflix or other undertakings regarding French-language content. I quote:

  (1055)  

    It works very well because the objectives of the Broadcasting Act are being met: there is a healthy industry that is successful in both official languages. We see that the system is not broken, even though it is under severe pressure.
    This is the CRTC chairman saying that.
    Second, there are decisions such as the exemption order for digital media, which is continually renewed. We know that the CRTC is going to take at least nine months to make a decision. With Bill C-10, the Liberal government is rolling out a broad delegation of powers to the CRTC, without including clear guidelines on the percentage of Canadian content, contribution fees and expenses, French content requirements, and so on.
    In fact, the bill even chooses to limit the oversight powers of parliamentary committees with respect to CRTC directives and regulations and the ability of a broadcaster to appeal a CRTC decision.
    The message that the government is sending to the CRTC, ultimately, is that we need to just trust them and that we will see later. It will therefore wait several months for the CRTC to act, and Parliament will have a very limited oversight powers.
    Not everyone shares the minister's optimistic opinion about the benefits of Bill C-10 for Canadian production. Here is what Michael Geist, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa and the Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce law, had to say.

[English]

    In the short term, this bill creates considerable uncertainty that could lead to reduced investment in Canadian film and television production and less consumer choice as potential new streaming entrants avoid the Canadian market until there is greater clarity on the cost of doing business. Canada is set to become a highly regulated market for Internet streaming services and the uncertainty regarding those costs are sure to have an impact. The regulatory process will take years to unfold with a call for public comment, a lengthy hearing, the initial decision, applications to review and vary the decision, judicial reviews, and potential judicial appeals. If any of the appeals are successful, the CRTC would be required to re-examine its decision and the process starts anew.

[Translation]

    It is someone who studies laws and everything that is happening in the area of commerce and digital distribution who said that. I want to once again quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage. He said:
     We will also go a step further and will instruct the CRTC on how to use these new tools. This will happen once the bill receives royal assent, as the bill makes amendments that allow for this essential policy directive.
    What does “once the bill receives royal assent” mean? What will these instructions be? Why did the minister not include the instructions for the CRTC in a schedule to the bill? What is there in those instructions that the minister does not want Canadians to see? Are the instructions in question a way of saying that the government did not do the work, that it promised to do something but was not sure how to go about it and that it certainly does not want to be seen as the bad guy who hurt the social networks? Are they a way of saying that the government is going to make the CRTC do the dirty work and give it the responsibility for making all the decisions?
    That is the problem with Bill C-10 and the Liberals. They are all about appearances instead of action.
    In short, the bill is vague, and fails to address a number of important aspects. It does not guarantee that Internet giants such as Google and Facebook will have to compete with other companies and play by the same rules as Canadian companies. It does not explain how digital platforms and the traditional media will compete under similar conditions. It does not address the issue of exclusive content shared on digital platforms. It does not set out guidelines for the production of Canadian content and contributions to the Canada Media Fund.
    We will propose amendments in committee. It is time to reform the Broadcasting Act. It has allowed too many local radio stations across the country to go under. It is allowing newspapers and traditional media to disappear, and is doing nothing to halt the propagation of hate speech.
    The minister is asking that we help improve his bill. We will work with him, but we must agree that the current version is far from acceptable. We will need content, clarity and clarifications. The ball is in the minister's court. We will see whether the minister is prepared to listen to the opposition parties' recommendations and proposals.

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his speech and his passionate testimonial about local media.
    I myself delivered La Tuque's L'Écho when I was a boy. I also wrote for several local media outlets. However, there appears to be some confusion. Bill C-10 is about broadcasting, not the media. I publicly announced my intention to table another bill on the media and the use by Internet giants like Facebook and Google of Canadian content without appropriate compensation.
    My hon. colleague is talking about the Yale report on which our bill is indeed based. It is somewhat ironic, since the former leader of my hon. colleague's party, on the day the report was published, proposed that we scrap it, so I am not sure I understand.
    If the local media is so important, and I believe my hon. colleague in that regard, why is it that the Conservative Party has opposed our every effort to help Canadian media?
    Mr. Speaker, the best way to help local media, local radio and Canadian media would be to make their market free and fair. Unfortunately, the government's approach is to throw money at the problem over and over again, without actually dealing with the issues that put the media in this situation to begin with.
    Focusing on cash-intensive band-aid solutions will not fix things for Canadian media. That is what we are against, the fact that the government is breaking out the band-aids and making itself look good, but does not want to tackle the real issue. That is what is so sad about what the Liberal government is doing now.
    Plenty of articles have reported that the much-touted assistance the media is expecting from the government has not gone out the door yet. Many media organizations are still waiting for that promised assistance. Once again, the government is all talk and no action.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, which was very interesting, especially the personal and professional aspects. It was nice to hear him talk about his past.
    We all agree that this bill is a weak response to the Yale report. However, this legislation was long overdue. It is important to remember that 16,000 journalists have lost their jobs since 2016. In Quebec and Canada, 250 media outlets have been forced to shut down, and there has been endless restructuring everywhere, including at La Presse, CTV and TVA.
    I would like my colleague to give a clear answer to the following question: Will the Conservatives be voting against the bill, or will they propose a series of amendments?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his kind comments.
    I am glad to have had a career in local and regional media and to be able to share my experience with my colleagues. I worked in radio for a long time and had to live with the CRTC rules for years, so I know how CRTC decisions can impact different sectors.
    The current version of Bill C-10 is imperfect, incomplete and insufficiently transparent. It is therefore very difficult for me to agree to support it in its current form. However, as the time has come to overhaul the Broadcasting Act, I hope that the committee will be able to make it more acceptable and ensure that the much-touted directives to the CRTC are made public. I hope that they will be included in the bill so that when we vote on the final version of Bill C-10, we will know what we are voting on.
    At present, the government has good intentions, but Bill C-10 has so few tangible applications that it is hard for us to support the bill as drafted.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank my colleague for sharing his thoughts on the bill and for sharing his own experience, which is highly relevant to our debate today.
    My colleagues have already highlighted the NDP's concerns about this bill, especially about whether the CRTC will be able to take real action and whether it will have the authority needed to protect Canadian content and Canadian artists. Does my colleague share these concerns?
    Also, is my colleague concerned about the fact that the Liberals have already shown they are siding with the web giants? This is a problem for this bill, but also for Canadian media in general.

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I share some of her concerns about how the current Liberal government is cozying up to the web giants.
    The CRTC is being given a huge new mandate and is being asked to do the government's job for it. We have yet to see how the CRTC is supposed to discharge these obligations. It already has a lot on its plate, what with expanding Internet access in rural areas and taking care of its other responsibilities. Now, with Bill C-10, the government thinks it can snap its fingers and call on the CRTC to fix the problems that the government has not been able to fix since it came to power.
    I am also very concerned about whether the CRTC will be able to quickly carry out the mandate that the government is assigning it through Bill C-10.
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his excellent speech. He obviously has a lot of experience in this field.
    Many francophones in my riding in Alberta enjoy French-language media content and would like to get even more. They are pleased with the work that our party is doing to protect the French language. This is important not just in Quebec, but also in the west and for francophones in every region of Canada.
    The minister says that other topics will be addressed in a future bill. I think it is rather ridiculous that a clear plan was not presented in the bill. It is hard to assess a future bill that we have not seen.
    I would like my colleague to elaborate on this process.
    Mr. Speaker, I quite liked my colleague's question.
    During the last Parliament, I had the opportunity to visit a francophone radio station in Alberta. I can say that the people there were very passionate about their work and their mission, which is to inform francophone Canadians living in Alberta about local and national news and to be at the heart of their community. We must not forget that important aspect.
    As for the minister's comments about another bill being introduced, we will judge that other bill when the time comes. Today we have to study the bill before us. As I was saying, we expected Bill C-10 to be in step with the changes that have occurred in the communications sector in the past few years.
    Unfortunately, it is full of grey areas and uncertainty. There are no guidelines. The government is asking the CRTC to do our job. Then it criticizes us for asking questions about what is missing from the bill, when the minister himself says there is nothing in this bill because there will be another one that will have something in it. It is a bit hard to follow.
    I completely agree with my colleague. He asked a very good question.

[English]

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to debate Bill C-10 and the measures it contains to support francophone creators and French-language content.
    Our government is the first since 1991 to modernize the Broadcasting Act in response to technological change. I want to remind the House why this legislation is so important and crucial for our artists and creators.
    TV and radio have been with us all of our lives. I remember TV shows such as Bobino et Bobinette and Passe-partout and films that have marked our history such as The Decline of the American Empire and Crazy. Each of us fondly remembers the programs that shaped our lives.
    TV and radio are sources of entertainment, discovery, culture, and information. They move us, inspire us, fill us with wonder, and give us a window to the world. Television and radio help forge our identity, especially our francophone identity. They also help us to get to know and to understand one another in all of our diversity.
    Historically, under the Canadian broadcasting system, traditional broadcasting services, such as radio, TV, and cable, were required to fund Canadian content, our stories, and our songs. However, online broadcasting services, such as Netflix, Crave, Spotify, and QUB Musique, are not subject to the same types of regulatory requirements as traditional services.
    This situation has resulted in a regulatory imbalance and jeopardizes the future of Canadian content funding. Our bill seeks to ensure that traditional and online broadcasting services contribute to the creative sector. To achieve this, we need to change the definition of what constitutes a broadcasting undertaking to include online undertakings, which did not exist in 1991.
    Amending this definition in the Broadcasting Act will require online undertakings to contribute financially to Canadian and Quebec cultural production. Of course, these contributions will need to support a wide range of Canadian creators and consumers, as well as francophones across the country.
    We know that French Canadians and Quebeckers enjoy their TV productions and musical artists. French-language programming in the francophone market and francophone musical artists are very successful and enjoy good ratings.
    For Quebec and all francophone minority communities, French-language TV and radio play a vital role in encouraging children to learn and use French and creating a sense of belonging among communities that are often isolated.
    Television and radio play a very important role in forging our identity, and even more so in the case of francophones, who are a minority in North America. The arrival of online broadcasters has disrupted the Canadian broadcasting sector, and the French-language market was not spared.
    Online broadcasters pose tremendous challenges to the availability and promotion of French-language content, especially content produced by our minority francophone communities and content produced in Quebec.
    Statistics show that 47% of francophones watch mostly English content on Netflix, whereas French-language services capture 92% of the audience in the French-language market on traditional television. This shows that francophones look for content in their language.
    We must also point out that the average budget for English-language film and video productions has been increasing for several years unlike the average budget for French-language productions, which has decreased and for which foreign funding remains relatively low.
    With respect to music and digital platforms, in 2017, only six French Canadian artists were among the top 1,000 music artists with the most popular streams in Canada. Clearly, we must stop twiddling our thumbs. We must take action.
    The creation of content in both official languages is a vital cultural objective, no matter the technological or other advances in the broadcasting sector.

  (1110)  

    That is why our bill gives the CRTC the tools it needs to ensure that the funding and regulations support Canadian content in both official languages and, more importantly, that they take into account the particular needs of francophones. The survival of French-language content and the protection of our cultural sovereignty depend on it.
    For many years, the CRTC has been overseeing the implementation of a strict regulatory framework for traditional services to support and promote French-language content. Thanks to its efforts, in the past 10 years, the volume of French-language television production has been stable, accounting for 25% of the total volume of Canadian television production. The CRTC has also succeeded in promoting French-language music. French-language radio stations must devote at least 65% of their weekly popular music programming to French-language music.
    We can be sure that the CRTC will establish a regulatory framework for online broadcasters that is just as strict. It will ensure that online broadcasters fairly and equitably support Canadian content in both official languages and that they take into account the particular needs of francophone creators across Canada, especially in Quebec.
    I am pleased that the modernization of the Broadcasting Act will give the CRTC a regulatory framework for expenditures, to ensure that a portion of revenues is reinvested in Canadian productions.
    In short, this bill acknowledges the importance of investing in the creation of diversified content that reflects all francophones and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It demonstrates our commitment to fostering the creation of stories and songs in both official languages in the digital era.
    We are committed to strengthening the Official Languages Act, taking into account the particular reality of francophones in North America. I know that my colleague is preparing to present this shortly. The ultimate goal of this bill is to preserve an enduring broadcasting ecosystem that continues to support Canadian stories and songs. This legislative and regulatory framework will provide Canadian broadcasters, producers and creators with unqualified support.
    Since the creation of the first Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting in 1928, the Government of Canada has continually worked to develop policies in step with technological developments. I am proud that our government is continuing that tradition by modernizing the Broadcasting Act for the new digital era. I am convinced that every member in the House is keen to preserve our cultural sovereignty and encourage the all-important cultural sector.

  (1115)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, good morning on a cold snowy Edmonton day.
     Does anything in Bill C-10 suggest that CRTC would change its mandate or limit its role as an effect of the bill?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the bill we are studying today aims to give the CRTC the regulatory powers it needs to better invest in Canadian creators. That is what is in the bill before us today.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague said some things that really made my ears perk up.
    She said that the bill aims to maintain an ecosystem and that we need to protect our culture.
    All that takes money. In the last Parliament, the Bloc Québécois repeatedly reminded members that the web giants pay no taxes here, despite being billionaires. They use Canadian culture and news but do not produce any at all.
    Would my colleague not agree that this bill has more holes in it than Swiss cheese?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my opposition colleague for her question.
    I would like to remind her that our government is the first in 30 years to have invested so much in culture in Canada, particularly in Quebec.
    We doubled the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts. We reinvested in the CBC to protect our public broadcaster.
    I would like to remind my colleague that people from the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo, the ADISQ, and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique, the AQPM, are very pleased that we are giving the CRTC the obligation and power to regulate web giants so that we can reinvest in our culture and creators.

  (1120)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend said something very important. She said that we have to act. The problem is that, in the midst of this public crisis, our cultural sector workers have been fearing job losses in the face of unfair competition from the web giants. They were expecting concrete action. While the Liberals seem to want to fix this disaster, such as they did with Netflix in 2017, using some band-aid solution, time is running out for the industry and its workers.
    With Bill C-10, the minister is punting the problem to the CRTC, which means it could take almost a year before we see any real changes, if anything at all. Does the member not feel this is just a little irresponsible?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I would like to remind him that we have an agency, the CRTC, that has been enforcing regulations to protect the creative sector and other local sectors since 1928. It is the best tool we have right now to ensure that, in the future, the web giants will contribute to local productions.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, how will the bill ensure that online producers of content produce content in both official languages?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Once again, I think that it is important to give the CRTC the powers it needs to regulate what the web giants are doing so that we can reinvest in our creators and productions.
    The most important thing for the future is to increase investment revenue in local production. That is the only way we can be internationally competitive.
    The hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou has time to ask a brief question.
    Mr. Speaker, our broadcasting rules are pretty clear. Content must be 55% Canadian, and 50% of that must be in French, if memory serves, although that was over 25 years ago.
    In addition to collecting tax dollars, would it not also be a good idea to think about increasing those quotas, specifically to protect and promote our artists?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very important question. I would like to share with her some comments made by the ADISQ and the AQPM:
...it would be hard to include percentages in the legislation and...it would be better to debate the best conditions to impose on broadcasters and online businesses before the CRTC.
    We have an institution, the CRTC, so let's trust it. This institution has been defending quotas and the French language for many years now. I think we can trust the CRTC.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an absolute privilege for me to stand in the House today on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport to speak in support of Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts. I am truly grateful for the leadership of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the work that he, his parliamentary secretary, his department and his team have done with respect to the bill.
    As I have mentioned a number of times in the chamber, my riding of Davenport in Toronto's west end is home to more artists, creators and those in the culture industry than probably most ridings across this country. They include film producers, writers, directors and musicians, and also art galleries and museums. Anything that impacts the arts and culture sector is of great interest to my riding.
    The Canadian broadcasting, film, television and interactive media sectors are also a huge part of the Canadian economy. They contribute about $19.7 billion to Canada's GDP and account for nearly 160,000 jobs. A lot of people do not know this, but the arts, culture and heritage sector is a $47.8 billion contribution to the Canadian economy. It employs over 650,000 Canadians in this country. It is a huge and very important sector, so this type of legislation is particularly important.
    We have been promising to update the Broadcasting Act to level the playing field for a number of years now, so I am really happy that Bill C-10 is now before the House.
    We mentioned in our 2019 platform that within our first year we wanted to move forward with legislation that would take appropriate measures to ensure that all content providers, including Internet giants, offer meaningful levels of Canadian content in their catalogues, contribute to the creation of Canadian content in both official languages, promote this content and make it easily accessible on their platforms.
    We also know that in January 2020, the broadcasting and telecommunications panel released its report entitled “Canada's Communications Future: Time to Act”. It included a number of recommendations and proposals on how to improve our broadcasting system here in Canada, which we now see encompassed in Bill C-10.
    What is being proposed in Bill C-10?
    The first is to modernize the Broadcasting Act, which has not been updated since before the digital age. My understanding, as my colleague just said, is that the last major reform to the Broadcasting Act was almost 30 years ago, in 1991.
    Canada has a long history of supporting the creation of and access to Canadian film, music, television and digital media programming, while at the same time facilitating the access of Canadians to foreign content. Historically, we have had what we call a closed broadcasting system, which has been oriented around Canadian ownership and control of businesses showing Canadian content. However, today, with the increase in programming being consumed over the Internet, the legislative and regulatory framework for broadcasting needs to be modernized. That is the first thing that Bill C-10 does. It clarifies that online broadcasting is within the scope of the act. It is crazy that it took us so long to do this.
    As we know, Canadians have more and more access to music and television through online services like Netflix, Spotify, Crave and CBC Gem. We know these online video services have grown their revenues by approximately 90% per year over the last two years, while traditional broadcasters have seen a steady decline of almost 2% per year over the last five years. The shifting market dominance illustrated by Netflix, which is now present in most Canadian households, including my own, generated over a billion dollars in revenue in Canada in 2019.
    We also know that online broadcasting services are not subject to the same rules as traditional broadcasting services like over-the-air television, cable and radio. Under Canadian broadcasting laws, online broadcasters are not required to support Canadian music and storytelling, and other important broadcasting objectives. What is the result? We see the revenues of online broadcasters growing, yet they are not required to contribute to Canadian music and storytelling. At the same time, the revenues of traditional broadcasters are stagnating and declining, which means we have an overall negative impact on funding Canadian content and Canadian creators moving forward. Therefore, support for Canadian content is at risk and this bill is hoping to address that issue.

  (1125)  

    Furthermore, it would also address a regulatory imbalance that puts traditional Canadian broadcasters at a competitive disadvantage compared with online broadcasters. Bill C-10 would update broadcasting and regulatory policy to ensure a fair and equitable treatment of online and traditional broadcasters, so we do not have one set of rules for Canadian broadcasters and another one for foreign broadcasters.
    The amendments proposed by Bill C-10 would empower the CRTC to implement a modernized broadcasting regulatory framework that would ensure both traditional and online broadcasting undertakings contribute in an appropriate manner to the Canadian broadcasting system.
    It is important to note that while we know this is an important first step, we also know we are going to have to engage in further reforms in order to more fully modernize the broadcasting system and ensure Canada will continue to support the creation and production of audiovisual content in the digital age.
    What else would Bill C-10 do? It would also update broadcasting regulatory policy so the CRTC would be enabled to showcase more diverse creative voices in the broadcasting sector, most notably with respect to indigenous peoples, racialized communities and persons with disabilities.
    This is a huge ask from those artists and creators in my riding of Davenport, where 40% of them were born outside of the country. For them, it is really important to hear the creative voices from our diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions and ages. It is a huge ask from my community, so I want to thank them for their continued advocacy. I am delighted this would be enabled by Bill C-10.
    The bill would also amend the act to take greater account of indigenous cultures and languages. To me, this is extraordinarily important because it is part of our ongoing effort to build a new nation-to-nation relationship with Canada's aboriginal people. A way for us to better understand and learn about each other is through our stories.
    I am also pleased to say that an updated Broadcasting Act, one that treats online and traditional broadcasters equally, would increase the funding available to Canadian artists and creators. Indeed, it is estimated these changes would result in an increase in contributions to Canadian music and stories of as much as $830 million per year once the new system is put into place.
    We should note that how artists and creators receive income has changed. A world that has become increasingly digital has exacerbated the overall issue of how Canadian artists earn their income. Providing some changes to the Broadcasting Act to start addressing this issue is really important for us to do.
    I also want to note that we are going through an unprecedented pandemic right now, and arts and culture are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. These types of legislation would help make some of the structural changes and help us create a more healthy and economically viable sector moving forward.
    I should mention that what is not included in Bill C-10 is user-generated content, so video games and news media would not be affected by our proposed changes. It is important to note that.
    I know my time is coming to an end, so I am going to conclude by saying I am absolutely delighted by the efforts of our hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage to modernize the Broadcasting Act and level the playing field so all our creators have more funding for Canadian stories. I very much favour this bill. It provides us with an opportunity to have a more inclusive broadcasting sector for all Canadians, whether francophone, anglophone or from racialized communities: Canadians of all diversities and statuses.
    The bill would ensure the circumstances and aspirations of all Canadians are reflected in the Broadcasting Act. It would result in a more equitable broadcasting system, requiring online broadcasters to contribute their fair share. These amendments would absolutely modernize the Broadcasting Act for the digital age for many years to come.
    I would like to end by saying I want to echo the Minister of Canadian Heritage's words yesterday, urging all of my hon. colleagues to support this bill. The sooner we get this bill passed, the sooner we will be able to put a fairer system in place.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, one of the things I find interesting about the Liberals is that whenever they are doing something it usually involves new taxation, and this bill is no exception to that. It looks like we are headed for new taxation here.
    What I am a little frustrated with is that there is no clarity in this bill around whether our online content creators and the online social media platforms would be deemed as publishers or as just platforms. That is an ongoing debate happening around the world. I thought the government was headed in the direction of clarifying that, so I am disappointed.
    I am just wondering if the hon. member opposite thinks we should be classifying the social media platforms as content curators or platforms.

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, this bill would do nothing to increase anyone's taxes.
     The objective of the bill is truly just to modernize the Broadcasting Act in order to ensure that online broadcasting is within the scope of the act. It also provides some updates around the broadcasting and regulatory policy so that it better reflects the enormous, wonderful diversity we have in this country. It also has a renewed approach to regulations so that we have fair and equitable treatment between Canadian broadcasters, who are sort of traditional broadcasters, and those who are online broadcasters. It would modernize the enforcement powers of the CRTC and provide some additional oversight and information-sharing provisions. However, there is absolutely nothing in here that says we would increase taxes in any way.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    I am quite worried every time I hear that we need to trust the CRTC. There is no requirement in the bill to broadcast or fund French-language content. That is left up to the CRTC.
    In another life, I was a spokesperson for Mouvement Montréal français, and we made a complaint to the CRTC because some privately owned radio stations in Quebec were getting around their French-language music quotas, which I believe were set at 65% at the time. During peak listening hours, they would skip the end of French songs and segue into up to 10 consecutive English songs.
    This meant that the 15 minutes of English music counted for one song under the quotas. It also meant that those stations were respecting the quotas, but there were 15 minutes of English music during peak listening hours instead of having French music. That is a problem. We also know that they would get around CRTC regulations by playing French music at night, when no one was listening.
    Therefore, we cannot trust the CRTC. If we are not able to give it clear broadcasting guidelines, the CRTC will not do it out of its own accord. Private radio stations will do everything they can to get around the rules.
    It seems, then, that the government should impose certain limits on the CRTC in its bill. Why has it not done so?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for those who do not know, the CRTC is the regulatory agency that is responsible for the broadcasting sector. It governs the regulatory framework that supports creators and producers of Canadian content in Canada.
    I very much appreciate the hon. member's question. I know that there are those in my community of Davenport who tried to bring issues before the CRTC, and they found it very difficult to actually bring their issues forward. They found that there were some regulations that need more clarity, as the hon. member mentioned, and I agree with him. I think that we also have to do a much better job of encouraging the CRTC to make sure that where there is not clarity around regulations that they be made clear, and when there are some legitimate concerns, it is made much easier for Canadians to bring them forward to the CRTC.
    Mr. Speaker, we know that the Broadcasting Act of 1991 was brought in to safeguard the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada, but we saw, from 2008 to 2018, 189 community newspapers go under and 36 daily newspapers close down. Now, with the pandemic, many of them are struggling.
    We learned from the Yale report that Google and Facebook receive nearly 75% of the advertising revenue in Canada. In comparison, the websites of conventional television stations and local newspapers account for only 8.5%. We know that the government has been meeting a lot of secret lobbyists, and we know that it wants to fix its disastrous Netflix deal of 2017 with band-aids with the bill, but time is running out for this industry and for its workers.
    Is it not irresponsible that, in Bill C-10, the minister is moving this problem by punting it down the road to the CRTC? It could take almost a year before we see any change.
    I am hoping the member can acknowledge the seriousness of this issue, given the pandemic and the plight of local newspapers, especially in my riding, which are struggling right now. They are reaching out and calling on Parliament to take action on the unfair, plain advantage of Netflix and these huge web giants.
    Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House that those in my riding have almost exactly the same concerns as those that the hon. member has mentioned. I am just going to clarify.
    We hope the changes we are proposing to the Broadcasting Act will help to unleash as much as $830 million that could help Canadian content creators, both online and from traditional sources, in Canada. I will acknowledge with my colleague that we absolutely have to provide a level playing field and ensure there is a fair contribution made by platforms like Netflix and Yahoo, that all the money that comes from them goes directly into local media and into any way to support independent information sharing across the country, and also that it goes directly back to supporting our Canadian creators and artists across the country. I would say it is absolutely vital for us to do so.
    I will also say that I am extraordinarily concerned by the loss of our local media. Mine might be the only riding in the whole country that actually has a local newspaper, the West End Phoenix, that has been created in the last five years. It has been a very successful local publication, but it is one of too few. We need to find solutions, urgently and immediately, to support local journalism across the country.

  (1140)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to speak to Bill C-10, the broadcasting bill introduced by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
    The Broadcasting Act clearly needs modernizing. The last time it was dusted off and updated was over 28 years ago. At the time, the Internet did not exist. Social media did not exist. There was no such thing as web giants, and we were not permanently attached to our tablets and constantly using apps. The context has most certainly changed. If there is one thing all members of the House can agree on, it is that urgent action is needed. Implementing these measures is important.
    Back in 2015, the government promised it would modernize the act. Expectations were high. The government conducted extensive consultations. It made lots of promises. It envisioned a very good scenario in which everyone would have to pay and contribute. Things were going well in that regard. Now, three ministers and over five years later, a bill has been introduced.
    Earlier I heard a member from Quebec use a cheese analogy, saying that the bill reminded her of Swiss cheese, because it has so many holes in it. We are looking for the cheese, but all we see are the holes. This metaphor is also apt because we are talking about cheese and the Liberals have delivered a mouse. This is actually a very serious subject, since we are talking about an incredible industry. It is part of our Canadian identity, which includes language, culture and Canadian content.
    Unfortunately, the bill does not really do much. Basically, it off-loads all responsibility onto the CRTC, which ultimately will have to take action. There are many things this bill does not do.
    We are told the bill makes changes to ensure that online broadcasting falls within the scope of the act. What does that mean? It means that the legislation governing the CRTC will apply to online broadcasters. We know that. My Liberal colleague mentioned how the CRTC can sometimes be a rather cumbersome administrative straitjacket. Things are not easy for our traditional media in Canada.
    The minister is telling us that he is going to off-load the responsibility to the CRTC and that a year from now, as another colleague mentioned, slightly stricter rules will be applied to online broadcasting. That is not what the Yale report called for, and it is certainly a far cry from what the industry is asking for.
    Web giants like Google and Facebook are not affected by this bill, and yet we know that they are generating major revenues from our society and competing with our Canadian companies.
    Bill C-10 also fails to explain how digital platforms and conventional players can compete under these conditions. In a way, the playing field is not level for everyone. The bill also fails to say how exclusive content will be shared on digital platforms. There are no details about guidelines for the production of Canadian content and the famous contribution to the Canada Media Fund. Some companies, therefore, have to make a contribution based on established parameters. Finally, we can see that the parameters here are very flexible. There does not seem to be any apparent fairness in the bill.
    As we have seen this week, culture is also a factor. Canadian culture comprises the English language, the French language and Quebec culture. This bill seems to ignore that reality, and as some of my colleagues in the Bloc have pointed out, what's in it for Quebec culture? That is not clear at all.

  (1145)  

    With respect to copyright, Quebec artists have complained about seeing their works circulated on digital platforms without fair compensation for their own investment. This bill does nothing to address that issue, however.
    Ultimately, the bill would essentially subject online broadcasters to the CRTC. The government is off-loading this issue onto the CRTC and waiting to see what happens.
    I do appreciate that the bill mentions indigenous culture, persons with disabilities and Canadian diversity. However, it would also be important to mention Quebec and French-Canadian culture, as well as the concept of our country's linguistic and cultural duality.
    We need a level playing field here, and we think that policies should account for changing markets. All this bill does, however, is put off to tomorrow what should have been done a long time ago. We would also have liked the minister to find a way to reinject tens of millions of dollars, or even hundreds of millions of dollars, in our system.
    For those who are watching at home, section 19 of the Income Tax Act applies to the Canada Revenue Agency and would allow for the full deduction of any money spent on advertising with foreign digital media distributors. That means that, in its attempts to restore balance, the Canadian government is contributing to the imbalance.
    The agency has not changed its interpretation of the act since 1996, an interpretation that is based on jurisdictions established prior to that time and that date back even as far as 1935. There was a small loophole, because computers did not exist at that time. The definitions of newspaper and broadcasting do not reflect what is known as the technological neutrality of the Broadcasting Act, which was modernized in 1991, nor do they reflect the tremendous revolution that has occurred since 1996. This small loophole has become a giant vortex.
    As a result, foreign companies like Facebook and Google, which represent up to 80% of Canada's online advertising revenues, are competing with our advertisers and our traditional broadcasting and print media while receiving a bit of a leg-up from the government. This situation has been criticized. We cannot encourage foreign companies to compete with our Canadian companies, but the government is complicit in that.
    My colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable said that the government's problem is that it is always looking for superficial solutions instead of trying to fix systemic problems. The government needs to fix this problem with Canada's tax system and create a level playing field for Canadian and foreign players by restoring market conditions that do not give web giants an edge.
    The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications urged the government to take a close look at the loophole in section 19 of the Income Tax Act, which is contributing to the media's decline. The committee also asked the government to look at ways to make things better for all Canadian companies. The committee's report was tabled a year and a half ago and has just been gathering dust since then.
    We heard that message over and over from witnesses representing various segments of Canada's media industry. They told the committee that eliminating the tax deduction for ads on foreign websites could give Canada's industry a much-needed boost.
    Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is also strongly advocating for the elimination of this tax deduction. This organization produced a very detailed document on the situation. It argues that closing the loophole would enable the Canadian government to collect more taxes, because companies would not stop advertising in foreign media, but they would have an incentive to choose Canadian media. Companies would not be encouraged to do business with foreign companies. Instead, there would be neutral conditions that would allow them to choose.
    The Public Policy Forum shares this view. It says that simply fixing section 19 could produce a revenue stream of $300 million to $400 million a year for the media industry.

  (1150)  

    The government has presented band-aid solutions even though real solutions do exist. They do not need to look for them, they simply have to stop subsidizing web giants.
    The time has come to conduct an in-depth review of section 19 of the Income Tax Act. That is the responsibility of the Minister of Heritage because it goes to the crux of the matter, namely the money that the cultural sector, in this case the media and print media, is losing to web giants.
    Companies like Google and Facebook are free to operate in a business-friendly environment like ours, but they are not contributing anything. In this bill, there is a blatant inequality between traditional media and web giants, which, I will repeat, are not covered. That is one of the bill's flaws.
    Another flaw is that the bill does not address the issue of disclosure. The bill refers the matter to the CRTC, but there must be some facility for disclosure. How much revenue do the web giants earn? What is the breakdown of their revenue and expenses? We need to know this so that we can make sure they are treated the same as other Canadian businesses. That is something that is also not in the bill.
    One journalist said that the web giants burst out laughing when they saw the minister's bill. The Liberal government introduced a highly anticipated bill the day after the U.S. election. I think all members would agree that that is a good time to introduce a bill under the radar.
    The web giants burst out laughing because this bill has some huge flaws, some gaping holes. The idea is good: The government wants to regulate the web giants, which are sucking the life out of our media. In reality, however, the bill gives them free rein. That is a problem because, again, web giants like Google and Facebook are in no way required to pay royalties to news media for the content they share.
    People use social media to access information, and this information often comes from Canadian media. When people get it off Facebook, Canadian media outlets come away empty-handed. They do not earn anything. The bill does not address this issue that is very important for our media, especially in a pandemic.
    The same goes for taxing ad revenue generated by these platforms in Canada. They do not even collect taxes per se, whereas Canadian businesses do. This too is unfair, yet the bill does not address it. Billions of dollars in revenue are at stake for the government, and Canadian businesses are being unfairly treated.
    All in all, I would say that the bill unfortunately misses the mark. The most worrisome aspect is that even as the government introduced the bill, we learned that Facebook was already trying to hire the CRTC officials who draft legislation. I can see why the web giants are taking notice, because 70% to 80% of ad revenue in Canada comes from digital and media platforms.
    Why is this cozy relationship between the CRTC and Facebook being permitted, when we know that the CRTC will be responsible for enforcing the act? Is this not like letting the fox into the henhouse? That is what troubles me.
    Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and others have criticized this situation. As I mentioned, they pointed out that the Broadcasting Act was modernized in 1991 but that there is still some flexibility. The bill seeks to include digital media in the act, but the CRTC already has the regulatory capacity to do that. All the minister has to do is tell the CRTC to apply the provisions of the 1991 legislation rather than undertaking a process that will take another year.
    We know that these web giants are continuing to rake in huge profits with each passing week and month, while our Canadian media are in a very precarious situation. The Conservatives are not the ones saying that. It is the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting that are saying that the bill does not definitively eliminate all of the ambiguity surrounding digital distribution.

  (1155)  

    Ultimately, the bill does not clarify this important issue, which creates a double standard. As I said earlier, the government is taking an approach that addresses issues in an piecemeal fashion.
    As a result, new digital media will benefit from a flexible approach while traditional media will be caught in a regulatory straitjacket. The government is not trying to restore balance by loosening the regulatory straitjacket on traditional media but is instead trying to impose it on new players.
    The Yale report makes some interesting points. One thing in the report that we agree with is that there is an urgent need to act. Unfortunately, the government is not taking action. It is off-loading those powers to the CRTC, a year in the future, when it could have been quite possible to exercise those powers through regulatory means.
    At the same time, they say that the ecosystem needs to be opened up so that the conventional players have room to breathe and are able to compete with the new ones. In this regard, the minister does not seem to be willing to create this breathing room for our Canadian undertakings, which are being smothered under a straitjacket, while there are no rules for the new players. Now they are saying that they are going to start trying to impose things on them. That said, this only applies to digital broadcasters. I would point out that this does not apply to the web giants. That is a major flaw in this bill.
    Our friends at the CBC are critical of the fact that the bill is vague about Canadian content. This is fundamental. We see the web giants investing in the production of Canadian content, but we do not know how to define that. It is not at all clear.
    The Yale report mentioned the review of CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate. That is another major flaw in the bill. The report made recommendations in that regard, but again, there is nothing on that.
    That is what we are left with in theory. It is not much.
    What is even more troubling, given the last few days and weeks, is the minister looking to have an open media landscape where both Canadian and foreign media would be allowed to freely disseminate information.
    This brings us to a statement by the minister, who appeared this week on Radio-Canada. He spoke about freedom of speech, and we found his statement somewhat disturbing and quite surprising. He said that the right to express oneself ends where another’s pain begins.
    A Quebec commentator, journalist and intellectual asked whether the minister wanted to make information channels subject to the tyranny of sensitivity. For example, if you do not like someone saying something about a community or a religion, can you say that this person needs to be silenced?
    Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of our democracy. It is the reason we can express ourselves. As my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent said, freedom of expression does not apply only when we like what we are hearing. There are some things we do not like hearing. That is exactly what freedom of expression is, and we already have laws governing it. Hate speech and statements that incite hatred or violence are not allowed.
    If the minister has a hidden agenda, that would be good to know. This is not the first time he has said something fishy. At one point, he wanted to make news media companies get licences, so it is not clear.
    In conclusion, this is a major issue for Canada. This week, we saw just how problematic the status of French in Montreal is. Our culture itself is at stake. The question we are asking ourselves is whether there truly is a will to preserve Quebec's cultural ecosystem and recognize it. Just recognizing it would be good, but there is nothing in the bill to suggest that is the case.
    Unfortunately, what we saw this week was the president of the Liberal Party saying that legislation to protect the very foundation of Quebec's ecosystem, its language, is oppressive.
    Does the government have reservations, some reluctance preventing it from protecting the foundation of Quebec's cultural ecosystem? The bill is silent on that subject.

  (1200)  

    Other colleagues have stressed this, including our Bloc Québécois colleagues—
    The hon. member for Jonquière.
    Madam Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's speech, especially the part about the tyranny of sensitivity. That is a new concept.
    My colleague talked about the gaping hole in the bill with regard to taxing the web giants, GAFAM. I am surprised, because I always thought that Conservatives supported the principle of the less taxes, the better.
    Do my colleague and his party agree with taxing web giants?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    I cannot take credit for the expression “tyranny of sensitivity”. It was coined by the intellectual Mathieu Bock-Côté, to give credit where credit is due. It means that we have to be able to express ourselves even if we occasionally offend someone. That is freedom of expression.
    Getting back to my colleague's question, one of the major Conservative principles in supporting our Canadian businesses is fairness. There is currently a tax fairness problem, since the web giants are not contributing to the Canadian ecosystem, while Canadian businesses are in a fiscal straitjacket as well as being shackled by the CRTC.
    We believe it is important to have the same conditions for all players. The bill does not create these conditions. It is more hole than cheese.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, throughout my history in the House, I have never seen the Conservatives as allies for protecting our arts community. I see Bill C-10 as very supportive of ensuring Canadian content, among many other things.
    The member critiqued the bill, and it is fair for the official opposition to provide criticism. However, I am curious if the member supports the bill going to committee. There he could again critique the bill, and possibly show some initiative on behalf of the Conservative Party by not only talking about it, but supporting it and possibly bringing forward some amendments.
    Madam Speaker, I have a question for my colleague in return.

[Translation]

    If we can use regulatory means, then why have a bill?

[English]

    I thank the member for recognizing the immense contribution of the Conservatives to our culture in the country. The member might be interested to know that the first bill to promote culture in Canada was introduced by former prime minister Bennett. I was not born then and the member was not either.
    I recommend that my colleague look at what the Harper government did during the economic crisis. What the cultural sector is asking for now is a package, and at that time, a package was provided to support the cultural sector in a very difficult period. All experts recognize that this was a very well done state-of-the-art program. It supported our cultural sector when it needed it the most during the economic crisis. That is exactly what is needed now as we go through this pandemic.

  (1205)  

    Madam Speaker, I was interested in my colleague's comment that the Conservatives believe in equity and the importance of making sure there is an even playing field. I wonder if he could elaborate a little on that. Because of the cozy nature of the government's relationship with Facebook, for example, does the member feel this is again about the Liberals picking winners and losers?
    Madam Speaker, as I just mentioned, it is a basic Conservative principle that we have fairness among businesses. What we have now, and the Yale report has recognized it, is unfairness and an emergency to act. Unfortunately, the Liberal bill in front of us does not address this critical issue. It would be so simple for the government to come up with measures to establish a level playing field for all players, but unfortunately it is not. The Liberals have been talking about it for a while, and it is a lot of talk but no action.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate everything my hon. colleague contributes to this place. He was one of the first MPs I met when I got here. He is one of my caucus colleagues, and I appreciate him and all he does.
    He spoke at length about the uneven playing field. In this country, concerning media, we have a national broadcaster that seems to compete in every field. It is pushing out the little guys and being subsidized by the government.
    What are the member's thoughts on that?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his interest in this very important issue, which is about the role of the CBC in our country and the way the CBC can coexist with the private sector, especially at a time when the private sector has been hard hit. How can we ensure that the CBC is focused on its mandate, instead of competing with the private sector, and that we get the funds that could be very useful?
    Again, there is a big void in the bill. There is nothing in it about the role played by the CBC or its mandate, nor about the fact that at times it can interfere with the private sector when the private sector has been hard hit.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague talked a lot about equality. I would like to talk about equality between the traditional media, which are considered important, and media like Facebook. During the election campaign, the two major parties spent tens of thousands of dollars on Facebook ads.
    Would my colleague agree that they could choose to give money to our traditional media instead, to help them survive?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent question. She is quite right.
    During the pandemic, I even approached the minister about investing in our regional weeklies and community radio stations. This was done on a very small scale. Many Quebec organizations are reaching people across the country. Ricardo's website and Véro's website come to mind. Unfortunately, our own government, the Liberal government, is investing more in the web giants' digital platforms than in our own media. As the saying goes, charity begins at home.
    I fully agree with my colleague that the Canadian government has a duty to invest first and foremost in Canadian media. That should be the priority.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, as I am a recovering broadcaster, like many of my colleagues in the room, it was very troubling to hear yesterday about another wave of layoffs, this time hitting Rogers Communications. Several very good friends of mine at the outlet in Vancouver lost their jobs. This trend has been going on for some time.
    Seeing as my hon. colleague brought up the CBC, I want to know if he is onside with his leader's contention that CBC News should be defunded or basically disbanded?

  (1210)  

    Madam Speaker, I share the member's grief in seeing some of his friends lose their jobs. In my riding, there is some rationalization among local media. There used to be two newspapers in Lévis and now there is only one. The media sector has been impacted hard.
    As I mentioned in my speech, the way to incentivize Canadian companies to invest in Canadian newspapers is by correcting section 19. However, this is not in the bill.
    It is certainly important to review the mandate of the CBC. It was recommended in the Yale report. However, again, there is a void in the bill in this regard; there is nothing about it. We are willing—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.

[Translation]

     Madam Speaker, I am pleased to share my time with the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.
    I have stated the obvious on a few occasions in the past, and I would like to make it crystal clear today: One nation does not entrust its soul, identity, art, culture, history, dance, music, theatre, cinema and, least of all, language to another nation.
    We learned that the Liberals and their NDP butlers will vote against the Bloc Québécois's bill on French-language proficiency. This is proof that one should not entrust one's language to another nation. This is not posturing. It is based on something we can measure and assess over time. Bill C-10 contains two clear examples of the danger of entrusting one's soul, culture, language and art to another nation.
    I will start with foreign ownership. This is so blatant that nobody could get me to believe that the government does not know what it is doing. If it does not, it should not be here. Right now, there are rules saying that a broadcasting or telecommunications undertaking must be under Canadian control. This gives some protection to the arts and various forms of expression—Canadian, in this case—from the hegemony of power that dominates global culture today. It makes no sense to give up this protection and replace it with a cheque, as if our soul were for sale to the highest bidder. In our case, that is our next door neighbour.
    The idea that one's soul, culture, arts, music, and songs should not be left in the hands of another nation applies to Canada as well. Margaret Atwood is not Californian, and Robert J. Sawyer is not Texan. This surrender, this laying down of arms before American culture is extremely dangerous.
    Here is an extreme example: An American web multinational required to invest 30% in Canadian production can mandate an undertaking it bought in Canada to produce a TV series in English only. What is in it for us? This is a serious setback.
    The other example, of course, is the percentage of French. In previous programs, particularly the music ones that I am familiar with—I even sat on the Canadian Music Council, which some will find amusing—there were rules requiring a certain percentage of French. Often, in the agreement, it was 40% French. Why was that? Because first of all, it takes a critical mass to provide a basis for professionalizing these sectors. This was true in the music sector for Musicaction, FACTOR or even Fonds RadioStar, among others.
    That was before a formal review of the rules, as is now proposed. Today, this obligation must be enshrined into law. This assurance that French-language production has access to basic tools and a minimum of resources must be maintained. It now needs to be formalized.
    Let us not kid ourselves. If this obligation is not enshrined into law, then what the CRTC will understand is that, both for Canadian ownership and for maintaining the percentage of French content, Parliament's intention is not to protect, but rather to not protect. Indeed, there is no such thing as a neutral position, and the law is supposed to set out Parliament's intent.

  (1215)  

    The government said that it did not want to set a percentage for French-language content, for fear that the minimum percentage would become a maximum. I felt a pang, and realized it was true. Imagine Netflix, Disney+, Spotify and Canada deciding one day that they want to invest 45% in French content but they would not dare do so because the minimum was set at 35%. It is as though they do not understand the meaning of the word “minimum”. People are smarter than they think.
    This does not have a neutral effect. The call for capital that comes with that 30%, on top of what companies are already able to do under this kind of legislation, is channelled to English-language productions. We have all seen those series produced by Netflix for Netflix, some of which are filmed in the native language and then dubbed in English, but the English subtitles do not match the English words being said. People generally stop watching halfway through an episode because it is completely unwatchable. The lips do not match the words being spoken, and those do not even match the subtitles. It may be because I am not too bright, but I do not find that enjoyable. Others decide to do the series in English right off the bat. Netflix is happy, people are watching at home and everyone is happy.
    This does not have a neutral effect. We emphatically stand up for these people. These are actors, singers, authors, performers of all kinds who have the desire, because that is in their soul, to express themselves in French, to bring out what they have inside that needs to come out, because that is what being an artist is all about. They want to express themselves and to do it in French. Some may dabble in other languages from time to time, but that is where their soul is and that is what they want to do.
    It is not just the current money or the new money that will be channelled. There is a call for capital to do business and take over the world. Producers are doing business. I used to be a producer and I was not making songs. I was selling the product. Producers want to go and work where there is the biggest market in English, with all the money that is in those web multinationals. This does not have a neutral effect. I tell francophone artists that they must not let themselves be taken for a ride. The resources that are now invested in French-language production will drop. It will not be the same. It will certainly not go up. It will drop, because, without any form of protection, the call for capital will go to English.
    I think it is fair to say that the bill in its current form does not make anything better. In fact, it could even make things worse. Everyone is gushing over the French language at this point, but their actions will reveal how they truly feel; before then, however, someone has to stand up and say that this will not do.
    If this is corrected and if Canadian ownership and the percentage of French is included in the act, then the modest expertise of the Bloc Québécois, which has occasionally touched on this a bit, will be put to good use.
    Otherwise, I wish to inform the House that the Bloc Québécois will take as much time as it takes, but it will never give up its soul, which is first and foremost, like Quebec's, French.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like my colleague to say a few words about the importance of Quebec culture.
    Does he believe it is being protected by the bill? Does the bill promote it? I did not see anything in the bill to suggest that to be true.
    Does my colleague believe that the bill as currently worded will improve or deteriorate the situation?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.
    Let me give an example that comes to mind because the holiday season is approaching. There is an old tradition of making a cake and baking a coin into in. The person who gets the coin wins something. I am not sure what the prize is, but the person wins something. The entire cake is good, but it is the coin that counts.
    The coin in this legislation is Canadian ownership without any obligation to French. This legislation essentially tells producers that they can do whatever they want. They can buy Canadian companies and turn them into content producers for Netflix. They can even pay a little less, which is music to their ears. No Canadian ownership and no protection of French, that is the coin.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to know what the leader of the Bloc Québécois thinks of the concerns we raised about the CRTC's capacity to do what the government is asking it to do.
    I would like to know if he shares concerns about the close relationship between the Liberals and the web giants, media giants who are neither Quebeckers nor Canadians and about the repercussions of this close relationship on the ability to protect the work of Quebec and Canadian artists.
    Madam Speaker, on the topic of the close relationship between Internet giants and the government, there are days where I expect to see Facebook lobbyists in the seats of the members opposite.
    They do have a close relationship. For a while, when he was dealing with these issues, it was as if there were a line at the Prime Minister's door. They are a bit more discreet nowadays, but at one point, a few years ago, it was common knowledge. That led to the Netflix debacle, which we should actually be bringing up more often as an example, not that the people at Netflix are not fine people. They do business. We tell them to come do business with us, that we will give them ideal terms and that they are required to spend x amount of money in Canada. Quebec really missed out, because of the language issue and because they essentially wanted American content, preferably with lasers.
    They are way too close. There needs to be a buffer. This lobby must be regulated, and this is true in many areas. We could even talk about judges, but I digress.
    The other fundamental issue is the protection of arts and culture, which is a passion of mine because I am familiar with that community. That responsibility falls to the CRTC.
    I think the CRTC acts in good faith but that it adopts the legislator's intention. Right now, the legislator, which is never neutral, is saying to forget about the protection of Canadian ownership and forget about the percentage of French content. That is extremely serious and I invite associations of artists and artisans in the industry to remain open. We began talking to them because, together, we may be able to correct this legislation.
    I am not talking about stalling for time, getting things done quickly or trying to get a cheque but about correcting this legislation so that it really serves the soul of Quebeckers.
    Madam Speaker, I really enjoyed the speech given by my colleague, the leader of the Bloc Québécois and the member for Beloeil—Chambly.
    In the context of Bill C-10, where we clearly see that that the Liberals neglected or even ignored or snubbed francophone culture and the importance of protecting it, I would like to know whether we can draw a parallel with what we saw this week, including the fact that the member for Saint-Laurent said that French is not in jeopardy and the fact that the government announced that it is going to vote against our bill to make knowledge of French mandatory for citizenship.
    I would like to know whether parallels can be drawn between all of these things the government has done.
    The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly has time for a very short answer.

  (1225)  

    Madam Speaker, French is the best language in the world for expressing love, and it is a language that is easy to love. Loving French means loving its expressions and all its forms. If not for the allure of my French, my wife would never have married me.
    When we are like that, we are sincere in—
    I am going to stop the hon. member there, but he will have the opportunity to continue.
    The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.
    Madam Speaker, I thank the leader of the Bloc Québécois, who is the member for Beloeil—Chambly and a friend.
    I am at a bit of a loss. I am a little intimidated by my colleague's eloquence. It is not easy to speak after such a political legend.
    I will speak about my personal experience. Arts and culture is a vast field. It includes all forms of creations and inspirations. We could talk about painters, dancers, film, screenwriters, authors. I am not going to be invited to testify at any of the committees because I am an MP, so I will share my personal experience with the House.
     I am an artist by vocation. I also work in the hospitality industry at my parents' hotel. I was born to it, as the saying goes. When I was young, my influencers, to borrow the popular term, were the visitors who came to our little hotel at the end of the island, and who enjoyed seeing one another in this intimate setting and would arrange to meet at our place. Sixty years later, nothing has changed. I grew up in a world where Michel Brault and Pierre Perreault would have a chat and later Gilles Pelletier and Françoise Graton would show up with their big dog. These people would sit around the fireplace and talk with my father and mother. I was a child at the time, so I became accustomed at very young age to these profound discussions with these famous Quebeckers, who left a mark on Quebec's history through their art.
    People may be familiar with Pierre Perreault's films, such as La Trilogie de l'Île-aux-Coudres and Pour la suite du monde, which earned accolades throughout the francophone world. That experience sparked my desire to write songs. That is my art form. I inherited my mother's big, warm voice and my father's love of words, which means I am comfortable expressing myself in French and in poetry.
    After participating in the Festival international de la chanson de Granby, a festival that has launched quite a few Quebec artists and where I got to the semi-finals, I wanted to write my own songs. I had signed up as a singer who covered other people's songs, and all of a sudden, I wanted to write my own songs and share my own messages. I realized that I could make my mark on Quebec's cultural landscape and join the ranks of those who have stopped time for the length of a song, to create something that did not exist before.
    I immediately saw the effect this had on people. It was a joyful, beneficial, stimulating effect. Depending on the message we send as creators, when we sit down and put our message to paper, yes, we do influence society. We influence the people we work with, the people we publish with, the people we rub shoulders with. All of a sudden, when a creator hears their song on stage, sees their film in theatres or sees their painting hanging in a gallery, the message gets through, the message is delivered.
    We want to deliver our messages in our mother tongue, for that is the language we grew up with, the language we were socialized in, the language that taught us how to say what we want to say to others, if only to pack up and take our songs on the road. Although I am not very famous, I have been lucky enough to travel to Switzerland, France and even the United States to sing in my own language.
    Even though people in the U.S. did not always understand what I was singing, they appreciated the energy and passion I put into delivering my message. People bought my CDs, and some told me that they had gotten a dictionary so they could understand French and try to translate my lyrics. These people saw how passionate I was about my message.
    That kind of passion really comes out in its mother tongue. That is why I rise today to speak to Bill C-10 and say that we must not stray too far when we make legislation. We need to stick to the basics.

  (1230)  

    The basics in this case means the content created by artists, artisans, journalists, singers, writers, film producers and many others.
    To put this in terms I am familiar with as an islander, the high tide of the online world has surged into our community. This is a good thing in some respects. Not everything is black and white. However, we need to build levees to protect ourselves against the rising tide, or else it will quickly flood the land we have spent years tending to, planting beautiful flowers and all kinds of things. This is nothing new to the people of Isle-aux-Coudres. This is a common occurrence with the arrival of the autumn tides. They do not ask for permission.
    If there is no levee to contain the flood tide of the online world, we will lose the essence of who we are, our cultural territory. That is what concerns me about the bill that was introduced by our colleague opposite, the Minister of Canadian Heritage. I get the impression that the government is straying from the basics and drifting off course, to use another maritime term. It is not attached to the very essence of the subject it is dealing with.
    That is what I want to bring to the House, an attachment to the subject we are dealing with, namely our entertainment and our culture, which basically describes who we are. Our culture describes our dances, our stories, our songs, our dreams, our ambitions and our values, and it influences who we will be in the future. In order for that to happen, we need to support our creators and find ways to help them keep creating.
    The situation was desperate before, but it has become downright alarming since COVID-19. We now see many top-notch artists taking other paths. They are investing their energy in something other than what they did best. Right now, it is very dangerous to rush things and to set aside what is most important because of the urgent nature of the situation.
    I urge my colleagues to think about that. Without our content creators, there will be nothing left of our culture. At this moment in time, protecting the French language and the market share held by cultural content producers and companies is essential, as is making sure the House understands the importance of staying on course. The Bloc Québécois will do its utmost to make sure of that. That is what we are here for.
    I would also remind the House that Quebec's National Assembly unanimously adopted a recommendation that the government include a percentage in the act so as to protect the francophone character of our culture.
    I thank all my colleagues for listening to me. I hope my remarks will put everyone here back on course.
    Madam Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's heartfelt speech. Her strong attachment to her culture and her language came through loud and clear. She herself is a very talented artist.
    In her speech, she talked about protecting content creators. This morning, I talked about protecting copyright. I would like her to explain to me what that means to artists financially, for, as they say, money makes the world go round.
    Is there some way that this bill could address that, because it is extremely important to the survival of Quebec culture?

  (1235)  

    I thank my colleague. It is true that we have had some chats in the lobbies and we have had an opportunity to convey the affection we both share for culture.
    Indeed, this bill amends the Broadcasting Act and does not deal with copyright. The government and the heritage minister have informed us that there will be another bill on copyright and neighbouring rights, and we eagerly await that legislation.
    At the time, before more than 50% of our rights and royalties were gobbled up by the tide of the web, it was easier to control and measure what we earned from our creative endeavours. If there was a problem, someone like Luc Plamondon would get up at the ADISQ gala and make a statement, and things would suddenly begin to move. Corrective measures could be taken if necessary, because we had tools to take tangible measurements.
    However, we have given up a lot of ground since then. I am really looking forward to what the government has to say on this topic, and I hope it will come very soon.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. friend for her passionate speech. It was very interesting.
    We, in the NDP, feel it is very important that we protect the French language and culture. I am hoping that we can have an open dialogue when we go to committee to improve and enhance this bill.
    I also wondering if the member will work with us to make that happen, not only to protect the French language, but also the cultures of indigenous and racialized communities, from the overwhelming dumping of American culture on our screens. Are Bloc members willing to do that?

[Translation]

    I thank my colleague for his question.
    We are naturally open to all forms of collaboration and discussion. Our disagreement with what is being proposed does not mean that we cannot discuss and improve it. We will work with our colleagues from different parties to that end.
    We must naturally protect other languages besides French. I had the opportunity to share the stage with my friend Florent Vollant, who sings in his mother tongue. I enjoy that a lot. I even have a song about this language that I love so much, and I tell myself every day that I will learn it, except that I do not have the time to do so.
    We will certainly look at this issue and work with our colleagues on both sides of the House to improve this bill so that it becomes a useful tool for us. We have been waiting 30 years, which is a long time. Therefore, we are going to take the time to work on it and polish it with much conviction and passion.
    I remind her that an order in council requires licence holders to be controlled by Canadian interests, and this order will not be affected by the bill. My question for her is the following. Would my colleague prefer that online companies not be subject to the provisions of section 3 of the act?
    Madam Speaker, these issues will be handled in committee, and I very much look forward to debating them with my colleagues opposite.
    There are a lot of factors we will have to study in this bill before making a decision. The topic of licences is a complicated one. We will probably have to very thoroughly study this aspect, but we do not have the time for that today.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to be able to join the debate today on Bill C-10, the government's bill that purports to modernize Canada's Broadcasting Act. It raises many issues.
     I have certainly enjoyed listening to the debate and seeing the passion that colleagues from all parties on all sides of the House have for Canadian culture and for the particular linguistic or regional identities that animate their corner of what constitutes Canadian culture. I want to start by identifying the objectives of the bill and then highlighting some of the challenges and some of the concerns that we have in the Conservative caucus with respect to Bill C-10.
    As I said, Bill C-10 proposes to modernize the Canadian Broadcasting Act and certainly Conservatives recognize the need for change, modernization and updating, but we have some significant concerns about the way the bill fails to live up to its stated objectives. I am struck again and again by this.
    I think a particular thing about the government and the way its members speak about their proposals is that they often want to focus on the objectives of what they are doing instead of on the substance of what they are doing. Regularly, government members talk about the objective being this or the objective being that, but it falls to us in the opposition to then point out that good intentions are not enough. It is not the intention but the text of the bill that becomes law, and the failure of the text of the bill to live up to the intention of the bill creates big problems for those who are then impacted by the measures that have been put in place.
    More precisely, under the ambit of modernization, the bill confirms that online broadcasting is covered under the act. It seeks to introduce additional provisions for encouraging more diverse content in Canadian broadcasting, including content that is reflective of the experiences of Canadians around gender equality, as well as those of LGBTQ2+, racialized communities, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples. That is one of the identified objectives.
    It purports to create a more flexible approach to regulation that would allow the CRTC to establish rules for all broadcasting services that operate in Canada. I will speak more about this in a few minutes, but, when the government talks about a more flexible regulatory approach while in the process of giving powers to an external agency, this should be a red flag for all of us.
    Effectively, what this gets at, in coded language, is the fact that vaguely worded legislation is giving powers to the CRTC. These powers are not as clearly or precisely described as I think most Canadians would expect them to be. The language that the government uses around regulatory flexibility is something that I think we should watch out for and understand what is underneath it.
    The legislation also purports to “modernize the CRTC's enforcement powers [and] update oversight and information sharing provisions to reinforce the CRTC’s role as a modern and independent regulator”. What is the context in which we see this legislation, and what do we make of these purported objectives?
    One thing that all of us as members of Parliament should think about is how we are defining broadcasting in the world of changing technology. In a sense, as a member of Parliament, I am a broadcaster. While I do not think this speech is being livestreamed on my Facebook currently, although obviously sometimes we do that, it is likely that clips of what I am saying will end up being broadcast to my some 30,000 followers on Facebook, as well as possibly on Twitter and Instagram. Therefore, I am a small broadcaster. There are many people out there who have podcasts or YouTube channels who are using the unique power they have through social media and other channels to broadcast their own opinions. This is really a revolutionary power for everyday citizens to have.

  (1240)  

    Historically, when we spoke about regulating broadcasting, it was because there was a limited amount of bandwidth in terms of radio and television air waves. Decisions had to be made collectively about who had access to that bandwidth. There was a hope that certain content would be broadcast in that way.
    However, now we are living in a world of unlimited broadcast capacity on the Internet, where people can access more of the different kinds of content that they want. That world of unlimited broadcast capacities lowers the barriers to entry in terms of becoming a broadcaster and being a person who is broadcasting their views to a wider and wider audience. This is the new world we are living in.
    There are many cases where somebody working out of their basement on their own YouTube channel may have far more views and importance as a voice than certain “mainstream” networks and channels, so how do we define what constitutes a broadcaster? If somebody is running a very popular YouTube channel where they express their own views, are we going to expect them, through the CRTC, to have a certain proportion of a certain kind of content? Is that where we want to be going with modernizing this act?
    I think most members would accept that it is not particularly reasonable for that to happen, and that the idea of prescribing parameters around broadcasting is aimed at only the very large producers and purveyors of content, but that is a slippery space to be in. It raises, I think, some questions on the regulations around the parameters of content in a world where the barriers to entry are so low. We are not dealing with the same limited supply of bandwidth in terms of television or radio that we dealt with historically.
    Under the label of modernization, this bill brings the online world into the existing legislative framework, but I do not think that it engages enough with this question of whether or not the current frameworks are aligned with the kind of world we find ourselves in today. I would be concerned about the possibility that Canadians who are not running big budget operations, who are just broadcasting their views and making content of different kinds, would become subject to CRTC intervention if the level of public attention crossed a certain threshold.
    I want to flag as well a continuing issue concerning broadcast regulation, and that is this issue of market demand and how we define Canadian content. It is my observation and my contention that there is actually a strong market demand for more and more diverse content. There is a great deal of interest among people I talk to in learning more about indigenous culture and indigenous communities. I think there is a real demand for that content, and that is good to see.
     I think there is growing interest among people in my Alberta constituency to learn French and consume content in French. That market demand is really necessary for the increasing knowledge of those things, because if there is no market demand for these shows and messages to be produced, then people will not consume them.
    It is one thing to say someone may want more diverse content on a major online video platform. The question comes down to, though, whether people will consume that content. If people are eager to consume that content then, presumably, the incentives will exist for there to be increased production of that content. As parliamentarians, I think we all want to see increasing diversity and to see that reflected in media.

  (1245)  

    I also think we should recognize there is demand for that content and some of that increase in diversity is happening. It will continue to happen, naturally, but I think it is something we should be aware of and looking at. We should be seen putting in place policies to reasonably incentivize that development, without giving the CRTC powers that are excessive, in terms of its intervention.
    Then there is the question of how we define Canadian content, or how we define content in terms of whether it is reflective of different diverse communities. Something that I looked at in university was precise definitions of what Canadian content is. It always struck me as a little odd that we could have a story that takes place in California, and that is the film, but then we have an actor who was born in Canada playing a prominent role, or we have a director who is Canadian, or maybe it was filmed in a location in Canada, even though the story purports to take place in California. However, by some definitions, that film is defined as Canadian content because of the national backgrounds of some of the people involved, even though the story that is being told is not actually about Canada.
    When we talk about indigenous content, I think there are some questions that perhaps should be looked at by the committee in terms of what is meant by this. If we have an indigenous actor, but the story does not show that character as being indigenous, is that indigenous content? If we have a story that purports to be about indigenous culture, but does not represent that culture accurately, and that particular show was not created through engagement with indigenous communities, does that still constitute indigenous content?
    The challenge is that at an individual level we might be able to look at whether a particular representation qualifies or not and come to our own conclusions. When we have regulatory definitions of these concepts, it can raise some significant problems in terms of whether the regulations, in the way they are applied, actually achieve the intended objectives. I think that is something that members need to think about as well, as we study and go deeper into this legislation.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    I think there many problems with this vague bill, which seems to be typical of Liberal bills.
    The bill is vague with regard to the powers of the CRTC. First of all, it does not guarantee that foreign tech giants like Google and Facebook will follow the same rules as Canadian tech companies. Some people have accused these foreign tech giants of misusing Canadians' personal information and censoring some Canadians' opinions. Unfortunately, this bill will allow the tech giants to continue their unfettered reign over Canadians.
    I am also concerned about the lack of specific guidelines regarding Canadian content and the distribution of funding to Canadian media. We know that the French language is under threat in Canada, as my colleagues have emphasized in recent days. Canada is a proudly bilingual country, and our French culture, which has such a strong presence in Quebec, is the key to Canada's bilingual future.
    Canadian French-language media outlets have a wealth of unique cultural content. That is why the Conservatives will work to preserve and maintain funding for French cultural programming once we are elected.
    I am proud to be speaking in French today, even though it is not my first language. Many people in my province of Alberta enrol their children in French immersion programs because they want their children to proudly speak both official languages.
    I am also concerned that this bill does not modernize copyright. At a time when the Internet dominates our lives, it is crucial that content produced by Canadians be protected against unfair use such as plagiarism.
    Canadian artists work hard to produce high-quality content, and we ensure that their rights are fully protected. Unlike the Liberals, we Conservatives believe in modernized copyright legislation, new measures to preserve the French language, and protecting Canadians from foreign tech giants that need to assume their responsibilities.
    Once our leader is elected prime minister after the next election, our Conservative government would eliminate the GST on Canadian digital platforms to support and promote Canadian media content that showcases the beauty of Canadian culture. We understand that proper CRTC legislation is important for the benefit of our nation and its people, and we wish that the Liberals understood that too.
    The Conservative Party is a national party that is there for all Canadians. We are the only party with MPs in every region of the country. We are proud to have Alberta MPs who, like me, stand up the French language, and Quebec MPs who stand up for oil workers. We are the party that unites all Canadians and respects the unique characteristics of each region.
    The French language is important not just to Quebec. There is a strong francophone community in my riding in Alberta, and I love working with that community. There are francophones as well as francophiles. There are communities of francophones who have been there a long time, and there are francophone communities full of newcomers.
    I invite my francophone colleagues, especially those in the Bloc Québécois, to come to Alberta to discover our vibrant francophone community, as well as to visit Fort McMurray.

  (1255)  

[English]

    I would like to reiterate some of those points in English.
     I am very proud to be part of a Conservative Party that is studying these issues carefully, diligently and recommending amendments, identifying problems and looking at the text as well as the intentions. I am proud to be part of a Conservative Party that is serious about uniting Canadians from coast to coast. We have MPs all across the country, Anglophones and Francophones, who recognize and defend the importance of English and French in all regions of the country. Also, we are a party that stands up for jobs and the economy in all regions of the country.
    As a final note, I want to briefly touch on this. It is striking to me that the legislation speaks about the representation of people with disabilities, and it is very important it does that. However, people from all kinds of disability organizations are descending on Parliament Hill. They are deeply concerned about how the poorly drafted Bill C-7 entrenches discrimination against people with disabilities.
    At the justice committee, so many different disability organizations have spoken out about those problems, calling for real and meaningful changes. The best the government can do for people with disabilities is to include in an amendment to the Broadcasting Act an expectation for representation of people with disabilities.
    Sure, that is a nice to have, but if the government were really listening to people from diverse communities facing particular challenges, including people with disabilities, it would be doing far more than including a line in the Broadcasting Act. It would be taking the steps that are necessary, and that groups have been calling for, to support the dignified life for people living with disabilities. It would support reasonable amendments that have been put forward by disability organizations. It would be engaging in proper consultation instead of shutting it off.
    I look forward to continuing debate on the bill.

  (1300)  

    Madam Speaker, the bill before us now is the first major revision to the Broadcast Act since 1991. During that period of time a number of governments, including Conservative governments, just let things slide. It was also, by the way, a time when, during Mr. Harper's reign, funding to the CBC was cut quite drastically, damaging that organization, which we have been trying to restore.
    On the hon. member's point about diversity in media, over the years we have seen a huge range of diversity appear, with so many cable channels and radio stations. In fact, I would submit that nobody is broadcasting anymore; they are narrowcasting.
     What would the member like to see in the bill that would get more diversity on an individual channel so people might be exposed to contrary views or different views of things rather than a constant stream of Conservativism, Liberalism, NDPism or any other -ism.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague began his comment by saying that he wished Stephen Harper had passed more bills. If only we had been re-elected in 2015, we would have passed so many more bills. It is somewhat an inconsistent complaint coming from the Liberals.
    His point about the value of individuals consuming content from a variety of different perspectives and not just being in an echo chamber is a very good and important point. However, I do not necessarily think this it is a point that the government can do all that much to solve or should do all that much to solve. It is always going to be up to individuals in a free society to consume the content they want. Even if we have intellectual diversity in a particular newspaper or particular channel, it is up to people to read what they want, or watch the shows they want or tune things out. This is an important cultural question, but not everything comes down to the action of government.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and for his efforts to speak French. I commend him for that.
    I would like him to clarify something. I am not sure I heard the same thing in French as I did in English. In French, the member said that it was important to protect francophone culture. In English, he seemed to be saying that too much legislation is bad and that the free market and diversity are good.
    The issue for Quebec is the protection of francophone culture. If the government does not intervene in this regard, nothing will happen. The government needs to intervene by setting guidelines for francophone content and subsidizing it. I would like to remind my colleague that less than 50% of people in Montreal have French as their mother tongue, and that figure has fallen below 80% in Quebec as a whole. There is an important culture to protect. This requires legislation that will protect French-language content in the media. This legislation is flawed, and the government should give the CRTC guidelines.
    Does the member believe that the government should intervene to protect francophone culture? Over the past few days, his leader has been saying that francophone culture is important. Conservative members took a stand in favour of francophone culture.
    Is this really important to my hon. colleague?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member is right that I did not repeat the same words in English and French. We have interpreters operating and I think the point is available to people in both languages.
     In response to his question, I am happy to emphasize the point that the French language is very important. There are absolutely legitimate measures for government to step in, protect the French language and preserve its use, recognizing the reality that the use of French is threatened and that the Government of Canada can and should step up on the protection of the French language. However, I do not think that is exclusive with the recognition that there is real demand in the market and communities. People want to learn French as well. It is not just a matter of the government. It is also a fact that the government, individuals and civil society all have an interest in working together and taking steps to do this.
    As Conservatives, we take a balanced approach. The government has a role. At the same time, it is not all about the government in every case. There is a role for government, there is a role for civil society and there is a role for everybody—

  (1305)  

    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Courtenay—Alberni.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for talking about the gap in the share of advertising going to Google and Facebook. We have seen over 200 publications and local newspapers collapse over the last decade. We have seen a lot of producers of Canadian content displaced by the pandemic and the disparity has grown even further.
    The government talks about building back better, yet it tables a bill without a sense of urgency when many jobs are at stake, whether in local media or producers, especially in my riding where indigenous communities are having a difficult time getting their stories out. How are they supposed to compete with these multinational web giants, which do not pay their fair share of taxes in Canada?
    While we have this opportunity to build back better, could my colleague speak to the sense of urgency that is needed right now to improve the legislation?
    Madam Speaker, Canadian content is very important. The member mentioned the indigenous communities in his riding that want to tell their stories, and I think there is a significant appetite for people to hear those stories. I have talked to many people in Canada who are not from indigenous backgrounds. They desperately want to learn more about how they can engage better and really understand the ideas and traditions that are part of our indigenous communities. We need to think of how to do that on a level playing field where we do not have existing tax advantages for some of these non-Canadian organizations.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague has raised a very good point about the Liberal government talking a lot about supporting official languages. However, in places like Quebec, many Quebeckers are unsatisfied with the government's handling of that, ensuring they can receive services in English or French, particularly French, when they are looking for government services.
    A number of people in the community of Peachland in my riding have retired from Great Britain. Many of them have told me they watch BritBox on Amazon Prime. BritBox is a British channel devoted exclusively to British drama, soap operas and other types of content. Under this bill, these streaming companies have to provide Canadian content. How does that work with a service that has specific British content for the retirees in my riding to enjoy a narrowcast, as my fellow member from British Columbia has said? What will they do if they cannot have this diversity and enjoyment in the quiet of their homes?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague makes a very important and thoughtful point.
     In this age of online content, there are so many different kinds of “broadcasters”. They are, in many cases, focused on very specific things. There is BritBox, which provides British television shows. I presume there will not be much French language or Canadian content on BritBox. On the other hand, there might be a broadcaster from France or another French-speaking country that does not have any English content.
     There are different examples like this where a broadcaster is focused on a specific thing. It is reasonable for those entities to exist. The way we will see more diversity and content is when people seek it out. I think that is starting to happen. Giving vague powers to the CRTC without clarity with respect to what they are, what they mean or how they would function creates significant concerns for people regarding how services like BritBox would be affected.

  (1310)  

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.
    I am happy to speak to this particular bill because it would really bring us into the 21st century. As everyone has said, it was in 1991 that we amended the Broadcasting Act and we have done nothing about it since, so I am happy to speak to this amendment of the Broadcasting Act.
    In 1991, we were in a predigital era. From 1991 until now, we have seen a change in how people access information and entertainment. It is through streaming on their own devices, iPads, computers or whatever. They are not accessing it the usual way anymore, so we need to get in tune with the times and move this forward.
    At the same time, we have heard since 1991 from Senate committees, House of Commons committees, independent panels, and the media and cultural sectors that it is an important time for us to recognize that, while we have certain rules for Canadian media and entertainment, we do not have the same rules for the Internet giants from the United States and internationally that enter our homes every day through these various devices and are not regulated.
    They have shown that they do not wish to self-regulate. They have been asked to self-regulate and they have shown they will not do that, so it is time to regulate them because we regulate Canadian content, Canadian broadcasting, Canadian news, everything about Canadian media. Therefore, Canadian media is at a total disadvantage when we look at the unregulated international media. This is not something we are doing just because we are Canadians and want to be parochial. It is not.
    The European Union is saying it needs to maintain European cultural content. Australia is saying it needs to look at Australian cultural content. Everyone is concerned about the disinformation that is unregulated and spread by international giants. Our own Canadian media have to be careful about how they process information, what they say and how they say it, because they are subject to CRTC rules on this issue. We are bringing everything down to what I call “levelling the playing field”.
    One of the important things about this is that 1997 was the last time Sheila Copps decided to go to bat for Canadian content, when she looked at how magazines coming into Canada were giving us news from the United States and everywhere else, but very little Canadian news. Journalism is under stress right now because we are not getting a lot of Canadian news from our own journalists as they are being laid off rapidly. Therefore, we are getting the news from international news aggregators, such as Google and Facebook, that are taking everybody else's news from whatever source, not necessarily a source that is regulated for the veracity of its content. They are taking it from anywhere, they are aggregating it, people are reading it and they do not know what is true or what is misinformation or disinformation.
    By not regulating themselves, these Internet giants are also not following rules on things like hate content or looking at the content that is spread that is very dangerous and harmful, yet our Canadian media have to follow all these rules. We are bringing this up to scratch so that we are on a level playing field.
    It is also important that when Sheila Copps in the 1990s talked about Canadian content, she also looked at how she could protect the music sector. She got a lot of flak for it, but it worked out to be exactly what we needed. People were buying blank tapes, downloading everybody's music and playing it without having to pay a charge, so she added a surtax on the buying of blank tapes. That money went into a pot so that we could create what later turned out to be a great time for Canadian music. It began to be spread around the world. We saw that the divas were mostly Canadian. We saw all of this happening.
    It is time we stand up not only for Canadian content but for Canadian cultural sovereignty.

  (1315)  

    We also want to reflect that Canadian culture is very diverse. It is a culture made up of official bilingualism, of French within and outside of Quebec. The government said clearly in the throne speech that it is going to protect that. We have indigenous cultures, which are so rich. We have many ethnic and racialized cultures, along with LGBTQ voices. We know, geographically, the Atlantic provinces' cultural content is very different from B.C.'s. We need to get to know each other as Canadians. We need to understand each other's stories, hear them and tell them.
    What I always hear from Canadian creators is that they are actually out there writing stories, etc., and it is being pilfered by other people. They are not getting any kind of reimbursement for their intellectual property. Let us talk about how we are going to reimburse Canadian intellectual property. Let us talk about how we are levelling the playing field. That is what this bill is doing.
    It is not a nefarious bill. Nobody is saying that people will not have the opportunity to stream what they want. All we are saying is that the CRTC has required that Canadian entertainment must have up to 45% of its production as Canadian content. They must put money into creating that. However, we have not said this for all of the other media content we get from media giants, which are making a lot of money from Canadian content and not reimbursing that to Canadians and not reflecting the diversity of Canadian life and Canadian regionality. We do not want this in a global world.
    Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, from UNESCO, said something about this back in the late 1990s. He said that globalization has one flaw to it: that the world is now in some kind of amorphous culture and we are losing a sense of our own sovereignty, our own cultural identities.
    Europe has taken a step to make sure that is not going to happen. It is doing something similar to what we are doing. Australia has also taken steps to ensure this. We do not want Canadian media to be under certain restrictions and regulations, and then have international media giants spreading information, disinformation, hate and all kinds of inappropriate things on the Internet, which we cannot regulate.
    This is a good time. The idea that we could get money and that they are required, like Canadian media, to put money into creating Canadian content is something that our creators need. Our music industry needs this. All of that wonderful intellectual property needs this.
    Nobody has to tell us, as Canadians, what great storytellers we are, what great writers we have, what fabulous producers or content we have. We can just look at Schitt's Creek and see it has become a major piece of Canadian storytelling and Canadian comedic acting.
    We need to protect that, but more than anything else, we need to level the playing field. This is not asking the CRTC to do something nefarious. It is just asking them to make the same requirements and regulations for the international media giants, which do not have to follow any of these rules, and level the playing field for Canadian media.
    They are also going to be required to contribute to Canadian content in the same way that Canadian media must do. We are also saying that they need to reflect the diversity of Canadian culture, which is very different from other international cultures. This is not something that is strange, big brother or anything like that. We are just trying to level the playing field. We are trying to give our Canadian content a break and make sure we tell and hear our own stories. This is important. The regulation of information is very important.
    We look at all the panels, Senate committees and House of Commons committees, the last one being the committee I chaired that gave its report in 2017, which pointed out that we are not seeing ourselves in our own news, media and entertainment. We are not hearing indigenous voices or regional voices. We are not seeing the racialized, LGBTQ and ethnic groups within our country telling their stories.
    We are unique as a nation. We are very different and we need to reflect that difference. Maybe other people streaming Canadian content out there in France, the United States or anywhere else might learn about who we are as Canadians. They might actually be inspired by some of the things we can do and say—

  (1320)  

    We have to go to questions and comments.
    The hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola.
    Madam Speaker, Irene Berkowitz published a report on behalf of her and her colleagues called the “Watchtime Canada” report. I have spoken about this in the House before. There are over 160,000 Canadian YouTube content creators right now and, under the existing rules, 40,000 of them have been able to monetize and hire 28,000 Canadians.
    These particular content creators have been able to produce such good content, made in Canada by Canadians, that it is now pushed up and they are able to make a living from it. Is the member not concerned that by arbitrarily changing the rules we will see other Canadian content that may not be as high quality get pushed to the front of many Canadian YouTube screens? That could harm an industry, these mom-and-pop operators that have worked so hard to produce high-quality content.
    Is the member not concerned that by changing those rules, it actually may harm some Canadian content that is already being watched because it is great content, not because it meets an artificial algorithm dictated by the CRTC?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to say that I am not concerned.
    Specifically this bill, as the member would understand if he had read it carefully, does not apply to the mom-and-pops or the guy in his mother's garage doing whatever they need to do. This applies to international megabusinesses that are making money by entering everyone's homes without any regulation whatsoever. We are talking about Google. We are talking about Facebook. We are not talking about me making a dance video in my living room tomorrow morning, which I intend to do. We are not talking about those things.
    We are talking about regulating groups that are making billions of dollars by using other people's intellectual property—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Madam Speaker, this issue is really important. Facebook has $19 billion in global revenues, and it does not pay any tax.
    What concerns me, however, is that our previous heritage minister was supposed to regulate and bring taxes in, but her chief of staff was a top Google executive brought in by the Prime Minister's Office, Leslie Church. The Prime Minister's close connections to Google and Facebook raise really serious questions.
    When I look at this bill, I see the fact that Facebook and Google, which have 64% of all the Internet advertising dollars in Canada, are not going to be paying any tax on that advertising, still. This is one of the biggest outstanding issues, and the government is ignoring it.
    How can we have a level playing field when all advertisers, artists and cable companies pay advertising and taxes, yet under this bill Facebook and Google still will not be paying tax?
    Madam Speaker, that is a very important question the hon. member is asking. In fact, in our 2017 House of Commons heritage report, we pointed out that level playing field with regard to GST and HST being levelled against Canadian media and Canadian content, and not being levelled against the Internet giants.
    This bill will be going to committee, and there will be an opportunity for people to talk about levelling the playing field. However, when we brought it forward at the committee, it was very clear that the Conservative Party was spreading the rumour that we were taxing people.
    We are talking about levelling the playing field. It could mean removing taxes Canadian media has to pay. We could talk about increasing the taxes on international media. I do not know, but I agree with the member about taxation. I think it is an important piece that we have to look at, because it gives the international giants a 15% advantage over Canadian media.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    This bill is obviously very important for us Quebeckers. It could become something that helps to protect the French language, even though it does not right now.
    Does the member agree with her hon. colleague from Saint-Laurent and the Quebec president of the Liberal Party of Canada, who think that the decline of the French language is a myth and that Bill 101 is oppressive?

  (1325)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I know how our Prime Minister feels about Bill 101, and I am not here to talk about that right now.
    In our Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister said very clearly that the Government of Canada has a responsibility to ensure the French language inside and outside of Quebec is promoted, and it is assured we are going to tell the stories outside and inside Quebec. This is something that we—
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.
    Madam Speaker, Canada did not happen by accident. Canada is a conscious act of will to create a distinct political, economic and cultural space in the upper reaches of the North American continent. Today we are focusing on our cultural space.
    Ensuring the continued vitality of Canadian cultural content is what this bill is all about. In so many ways, Quebec is the model and inspiration for Canada's broader cultural affirmation. It is proof that it is possible to preserve and fortify one's cultural voice against unrelenting pressure, and that it is possible, and indeed a duty to oneself and one's fellow citizens, to build and sustain a cultural realm that reflects, supports and strengthens our collective identity.

[Translation]

    Culture is a reservoir of ideas, values, symbols, ways of doing things, and individual stories woven together into shared stories. We need to keep replenishing that reservoir if we want it to remain full and deep. If we do not, it will evaporate over time or be refilled by other sources that no longer reflect who we are or offer up nothing but faded outlines.
    Quebec has taken care to sustain its cultural reservoir, and so has the rest of Canada, often inspired by Quebec.

[English]

    This affirmation of the value of one's culture as an alternative lens through which to view the world accounts in part, I believe, for the long overdue attention now being given to supporting Canada's indigenous languages and cultures, including, incidentally, through the provisions of the bill we are debating today.
    As Canadians, it is vitally important that we be able to see ourselves in books, plays, TV shows and films, and hear ourselves in music. When we see ourselves reflected through these media, we see ourselves in motion doing, accomplishing, overcoming challenges and sorting out contradictions and complexities moving forward. We are also witnessing our potential. What could be more invigorating and motivating than that, on both an individual and collective basis?
    For well over a century, we in Canada have proved there is no such thing as cultural determinism. There are no foregone conclusions about a culture's ability to survive and thrive, even in the face of powerful outside cultural forces. The strength of a culture, its staying power, is a function of people's determination and ability to craft effective cultural strategies that are continuously adapted to a changing environment.

[Translation]

    Whether our culture survives and thrives depends on us, on our desire to keep creating content and to ensure we have the means to share that content. Everything depends on us tuning in and paying attention to the sometimes rapid changes and technological and economic challenges that keep coming our way.

[English]

    The creation of the CBC was an act of political will. It was a conscious collective response to the challenge of a new medium: radio. Cancon on radio was an act of political will that spawned a homegrown music industry that, 30 years later, conquered global markets in the genres of country, jazz and rock.
    The list of studies, analyses and policy initiatives we have undertaken over decades with the aim of shoring up Canadian culture in the face of technological and economic challenges is too long to describe in the time I have, but here is a sample.
    In 1929, the Royal Commission on Radio, called the Aird commission, recommended that Canada establish a single national, publicly owned broadcasting system. Not long after, in 1932, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act was passed.
    In 1936, a parliamentary committee called for a corporation resembling the BBC. Thus the CBC was created and, in 1937, it opened a French-language radio station in Montreal that became the beacon Radio-Canada is today for francophone culture in Quebec, for francophones outside of Quebec and, it should be added, for francophiles across the country, whose numbers increased following the adoption of the Official Languages Act by the government of Pierre Trudeau.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    When I think of our cultural infrastructure, which Canada cannot do without, one of the things I think of is CBC/Radio-Canada. We cannot underestimate the crucial importance of Radio-Canada in particular. It disappoints me to hear the Conservatives talk about privatizing CBC/Radio-Canada. In many ways, the Crown corporation is the spring that keeps Canada's francophone cultural reservoir full.
     To continue, the Massey commission was created in 1949 and tasked with examining radio and television broadcasting in Canada. In 1958, the Broadcasting Act was passed. In 1959, quotas for Canadian content on TV were instituted.

[English]

    In 1969, the CRTC noted that cable technology had become a major factor in the Canadian broadcasting system, and it set out rules for the services cable systems were required to carry, which we refer to today as “must-carry” rules.
    In 1971, the Canadian content regulations came into force for AM radio music and the CRTC allowed simultaneous substitution, whereby a local TV channel was substituted for a U.S. one on cable if both stations were carrying the same program. This was designed to help local stations keep their local audiences and the advertising dollars that go with those audiences.
    In 1983, the broadcast program development fund was created to ensure the production of high-quality Canadian television in the under-represented categories of drama, variety, children and documentary.
    In 1984, the Federal-Provincial Committee on the Future of French-language Television was created to examine challenges facing French-language television.
    In 1992, the CRTC issued its policy on gender portrayal.
    In 1996, the minister of Canadian heritage, Sheila Copps, announced the creation of the Canada television and cable production fund, combining the cable production fund and telefilms broadcast fund.
    In 2002, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, published “Our Cultural Sovereignty: The Second Century of Canadian Broadcasting.”
    Jumping to 2018, our government created a six-member panel to review Canada's Broadcasting Act, Telecommunications Act and Radiocommunication Act. The Yale report, entitled “Canada's Communications Future: Time to Act”, is the basis of today's bill.
    There was a time not long ago when conventional wisdom held that we could not interfere in any way with the Internet, and that resistance to the all-encompassing juggernaut of the worldwide web was, plainly, naive and futile. Partly in keeping with this view, in 1999 the CRTC exempted Internet retransmitters from the requirement to be licensed or regulated under the Broadcasting Act. The decision was reviewed and upheld in 2009.
    In 2001, Bill C-48 attempted to bring Internet retransmitters under the umbrella of Canada's copyright regime. However, the bill was amended in favour of a continued prohibition on retransmitters using proprietary content.
    In a sense, Bill C-10 is taking care of unfinished business. Bill C-10 will bring online streaming services within the scope of the Broadcasting Act. Internet-based platforms such as Crave, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify will be required to contribute a percentage of their gross revenues to the creation of Canadian programming, as is required of traditional broadcasters.

[Translation]

    Furthermore, cabinet will have the power to order the CRTC to ensure that adequate funding is dedicated to French-language programming. In the modern world of mass communications, cultural transmission has become extremely high tech, whether we are talking about radio, television, film, recorded music or online content. This bill will strengthen our modern cultural infrastructure. In order for a culture to thrive, it takes a collective will, as well as resources, meaning money. This bill aims to ensure that the necessary resources are made available to ensure that our beautiful, magnificent culture survives and thrives.

  (1335)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member opposite that I would appreciate his feedback on. Any time the CRTC seems to get involved in making decisions on regulations and different things like that, the one person who ends up always paying more and, in the end, losing, is the end user or the consumer.
    I am wondering what the government would do to protect the end user, or the consumer, from being the one who ends up losing in this situation.
    Madam Speaker, I do not agree that the end user ends up losing. The end user in Canada has access to an array of programming but also to homegrown programming through private broadcasters, and especially through CBC/Radio-Canada. Yes, we pay fees for cable and so on, but we do not pay a fee when we buy a television. That used to be the case, but the CRTC removed that fee many decades ago, so I do not agree with the premise of the member's question.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I listened to the speech given by my colleague across the aisle in support of Bill C-10.
    I must say that I personally am very disappointed with Bill C-10. The web giants are still not paying taxes. Now web giants might be required to produce Canadian content, but not French-language content. Of course, Canadian content is not French content.
    These are still foreign-controlled and foreign-owned companies. The government's refusal to require the production of French-language content is perfectly consistent with the comments made by the member for Saint-Laurent, who said that French does not need to be protected. It is perfectly consistent with the comments of the president of the Liberal Party of Canada, who said that Bill 101 is an oppressive law. It is perfectly consistent with the government's opposition to requiring knowledge of French for people to immigrate to Quebec.
    Rather than shedding crocodile tears, can the member opposite be honest and admit that the Liberals do not care about French in Quebec?
    Madam Speaker, according to some estimates, this bill will allow us to collect approximately $1 billion that could go towards Canadian programming, which obviously includes Quebec programming.
    One of the government's priorities is to ensure that we have enough French-language programming to allow Quebeckers and all French-speaking Canadians to express their views, values and culture.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my question to the government member is with respect to the concern that we have raised about the documented close and collaborative relationship that this government has been proven to have with web giants, and the extent to which that relationship is coming ahead of good policy on behalf of Canadians, whether it is affordable service or Canadian content, including French content from Quebec. We are very concerned about the role that web giants have had with respect to this government. We also believe that they should be taxed, and that is something we have not seen leadership from the federal government on.
    Does the Liberal government believe that web giants like Netflix, Amazon and others should be taxed like everybody else?

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, this bill is going to raise almost $1 billion from the web giants that was not being raised before. I am not sure what relationship the hon. member is talking about between the government and web giants, but that relationship is going to result in almost $1 billion more for Canadian programming.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Toronto—Danforth, and I would ask that she go first.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak to the bill and I will be sharing my time with the member for Milton.
    The bill is about building sustainability back into the Canadian broadcasting system and putting Canadian broadcasters on equal footing with their online competitors. The objective of the bill is to ensure that online broadcasting services that operate in Canada contribute to the creation of Canadian content and support the Canadian audio and audiovisual creative ecosystems, just as licensed Canadian radio and television broadcasters have been doing for decades.
    Up until the web giants came along, the broadcasting system was managed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, as a Canadian regulated sector. To operate a broadcasting service in Canada's protected market, one had to get a licence from the CRTC. As a condition of that licence, these broadcasters had to contribute to the overall broadcasting system. They had to support the creation and promotion of Canadian stories and music. This was the framework of the Canadian regulatory bargain.
    This regime worked well for decades as our broadcasting system grew and matured. Over time, Canadians went from receiving two or three TV channels, I actually remember having that clicker on my TV for those, to the hundreds that are available now. As a result of the globalized ecosystem, the CRTC established new rules and regulations to allow some foreign channels such CNN to be distributed on cable and satellite systems in Canada, while ensuring that Canadian operators would remain competitive.
    Even as it expanded, the closed licence broadcasting system was maintained. TV stations, radio stations and cable and satellite distributors were largely profitable and film and video creators and musicians benefited from sustained and stable support from the broadcasting system. However, the emergence of multinational web giants has changed the game. Early on, the CRTC chose to exempt those services from licensing in order to encourage the development of innovative technologies and business models. As a result of this, foreign online broadcasters are now able to sell their services to Canadians while avoiding the regulatory obligations placed on traditional broadcasters, including the requirement to support Canadian creators.
    However, these online broadcasters do not get a free ride any longer. The revenues of online video services have grown some 90% each year over the last two years, while the situation for Canadian traditional broadcasters has worsened. They have seen a steady decline in revenues of 1.8% per year over the last five years. Not to put too fine of a point on it, the legislation as it stands has been putting our own Canadian companies at a disadvantage. We need to help the home team. For too long, we have been helping the away team.
    Traditional Canadian broadcasters are forced to compete against online platforms that are playing by different rules. This needs to change. Bill C-10 would restore competitive balance to the system. It would provide the CRTC with the tools it needs to establish a modern regulatory framework for broadcasting that is appropriate for the digital, online and on-demand era that we live in today.
    Importantly, this new regulatory regime would encompass both traditional broadcasters as well as online services. Our approach is a balanced one, which includes strong guardrails. We would be excluding user-generated content, news content and video games from any regulation.
     Additionally, while these amendments would apply to online broadcasters, obligations would only be imposed on those that have a material impact on Canada. In practice, this means it would only impact common household name streamers. The very first broadcasting policy objective that would appear in the amended Broadcasting Act would state that all broadcasting undertakings shall contribute in a manner that furthers the implementation of the broadcasting policy for Canada. This would help level the playing field and restore equity and fairness to the system. Online broadcasting services would be required to support the creation and promotion of Canadian stories and music. This would help stabilize funding for Canadian film, video and music creators and establish sustainable support for a new generation of Canadian artists.

  (1345)  

    Canadians have benefited from the flexibility and choice that online platforms have to offer. Canadian creators, stories and music have achieved international success and reached new audiences through global streaming platforms. When I think about it, I think of people like Alessia Cara or programs like Anne with an E, the TV show that many people have loved.
    However, I need to emphasize for hon. members that the intent of this bill is not to restrict the ability of Canadians to access online broadcasting services or to subject foreign online platforms to rules that do not also apply to Canadian broadcasters. The intent is equally not to subject Canadian online broadcasting services to rules that do not apply to foreign ones.
    The CRTC, as the expert regulator, would be expected to put in place a regime that does not discriminate and treats similar services in a similar manner. No online broadcaster, Canadian or foreign, would require a licence from the CRTC. The message is that they are welcome to come in and join the game, but must play by the same rules as the other players on the field.
    The Minister of Canadian Heritage has indicated that the bill before us is just the first step in a broader approach that the government plans to implement to position Canadian broadcasting for the on-demand online environment. He has indicated that he intends to direct the CRTC to act quickly to ensure that online broadcasters contribute appropriately to the Canadian broadcasting system. The CRTC would be asked to address existing regulatory asymmetries. Regulatory requirements should be flexible, yet predictable, recognizing the amazing diversity of creators Canada has to offer, as well as business models and technologies in the Canadian broadcasting system today.
    We need to restore a measure of fairness in the broadcasting system. A lot has changed from the time I mentioned when we had TV sets with a turn dial, and we had maybe six channels. This bill maps a way forward toward a more equitable regulatory framework that would allow traditional broadcasters to compete on a more level playing field. It would have direct impact toward increasing stable and sustained income to Canadian creators.
    Bill C-10 would put the online broadcasters on fair footing with traditional Canadian broadcasters, and it is up to us, as members of this House, to pass this bill quickly in order to restore competitive balance to the broadcasting system and give our Canadian broadcasters a fair shot at getting back into the game.
    Madam Speaker, DAZN is a streaming service that allows for people to watch the NFL and Major League Baseball, as well as soccer leagues, content that is not available by any other source online. Yet, this member is saying, as the Liberals are, that somehow the CRTC is going to be able to require these services to have Canadian content.
    I would like to ask the member a question, because she said that if a broadcaster wants to get in the game, it has to play by these rules. How, precisely, will the National Football League get Canadian content sufficient enough to be able to pass this legislation? Will DAZN simply say that Canada was a great run and that it is no longer offered? What will the Liberals and this member say to their constituents when they cannot receive this content via streaming?

  (1350)  

    Madam Speaker, this bill is actually so that we can continue to build out the system that has been coming into play. It is actually taking into account the fact that the world has changed and that new streaming services are available that we did not have many years ago when these rules were put into place. It is simply not fair to be able to have certain services, and that all of the name-brand kinds of services that people talk about, like Netflix and Spotify, should be able to profit from being here in Canada without also paying to the creation of Canadian content. When I say this, it also includes being able to support important jobs that all of our communities rely upon.
    Madam Speaker, I hear my colleague say that there needs to be a sense of urgency, but what she is talking about doing is fast-tracking a bill and sending it to the CRTC, which could take up to a year for it to come back with solutions. We knew from the Yale report that Google and Facebook had taken over 75% of the market share for advertising compared to 8.5% for local newspapers like the Comox Valley Record in my riding, the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, the Alberni Valley News, the Westerly News or the Ha-Shilth-Sa, all important newspapers in my riding telling really important stories, covering really important issues.
    We need the government to amend this bill, protect those newspapers and important media and make sure that these web giants are paying their fair share. They are still not paying their fair share and it is very important that the member and her government take immediate action instead of punting this down the road and expecting the CRTC to do something on this, especially with the vulnerability of these publications during COVID right now.
    Madam Speaker, I am happy my friend across the way raised media, because it is absolutely important to all of our communities. I was happy that Jerry Dias of Unifor, who represents many people who work in the media industry, said that this is a good bill, but what it deals with is broadcasting reform. It would create a framework by which there would be further investments in Canadian culture and content.
    However, the news media piece is also something the Minister of Canadian Heritage is working on. He has been speaking with his counterparts in Australia and France to talk about their different models so that we can take action on the very issue that was raised, and we will.
    Madam Speaker, Bill C-10 has some very good pieces of progress in it. I am certainly looking forward to studying it in committee and proposing amendments.
    I want to ask the hon. parliamentary secretary whether she believes we need to improve the act to do more to define Canadian culture and creative activity. I take the point from my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan that we do not just want Canadian cities used as backdrops for filming stories that are taking place in Chicago or New York. I wonder if the hon. parliamentary secretary has any comments.
    Madam Speaker, the member across the way and I have had some interesting conversations about this very topic.
    The point of this bill is to increase investments in Canadian culture and to level the playing field. The CRTC will ultimately be the body, as it has been all along under our existing system, to determine the set rules as far as domestic content, but—

  (1355)  

    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.
    Madam Speaker, I would first begin by acknowledging that, while the House sits on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe, I join the House from my community office here in Milton, the traditional territory of many first nations, including the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, the Anishinabek, the Attawandaron and, more recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
    Major changes to the Broadcasting Act occurred in 1991 and since then, we have seen the rise of the Internet and online broadcasting services, which has completely changed the ways that Canadians listen to music and watch television. The Broadcasting Act has not kept pace with these changes and as a result, online broadcasters have been left unregulated.
    Bill C-10 would modernize the Broadcasting Act for the digital age. It would provide the CRTC with the tools it needs to be regulated online and to ensure that they contribute to the creation of Canadian stories and music, just as traditional broadcasters have done for decades. This will mean more funding for Canadian producers, directors, screenwriters, actors and musicians to create high-quality audio and audiovisual content. It would generate more opportunities for them to make their stories and music available to Canadians. It would mean a more fair and flexible regulatory system where comparable services are subject to similar regulatory requirements, regardless of whether they operate online or over the air.
    Our approach also includes strong guardrails, where we exclude user-generated content, news content and video games from any regulation. Additionally, while these amendments apply to online broadcasters, obligations would only be imposed on those that have a material impact in Canada. In practice, this means that it would only impact common household names.

[Translation]

    This means that Canadian music and stories will be more widely available through various broadcasting services. However, technology is not the only thing that has changed since 1991. Canadian society has also changed.

[English]

    That is why, today, I want to highlight the important changes that the bill would make to the Broadcasting Act to support greater diversity for women; indigenous peoples; racialized communities; anglophones and francophones, including those who belong to official language minority communities; the LGBTQ2S community; and persons with a disability.
    The bill makes it clear that we need to encourage individuals from all of these groups to express themselves and share their stories and music. It also makes it clear that these voices and stories are important and a defining part of Canadian culture.
    Broadcasting plays a critical role in sharing cultures, experiences and perspectives. That is why it is so important for creators from more marginalized communities to participate in the broadcasting system.

[Translation]

    Broadcasting is an essential medium for sharing our lived experiences with one another. By presenting content that is representative of different cultures, communities and languages, it can help build a welcoming, empathetic, compassionate and inclusive society. Broadcasting can help us celebrate our differences while strengthening the common bonds that unite our society.

[English]

    Lately it has become very clear that this has become more important than ever. Recent events have shone a bright light on the fractures and inequities that still exist in this country.
    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls both highlighted the persistent colonial, patriarchal and racist policies that resulted in generations of trauma, marginalization and abuse for indigenous peoples. The #MeToo movement made us re-examine how we support victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, and it underscored how important it is for us to work harder to address elements in our culture that perpetrate gender inequity and inequality.
    We have more work to do to ensure that all gender identities and gender expressions are recognized and respected. We need to continue to strive for equality and acceptance for all two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual people. The Black Lives Matter movement has drawn attention to systemic racism that continues to result in discrimination, aggression, oppression and violence against the Black community—

  (1400)  

    I am going to interrupt the hon. member, as it is two o'clock. The hon. member will have five minutes and 22 seconds remaining when we return from question period and take up this topic again.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Be a Santa to a Senior Program

    Mr. Speaker, seniors have faced significant challenges during COVID-19. During this holiday season, many of our seniors will experience loneliness and will receive neither a gift nor a visit.
    I am proud to rise in the House today to highlight the Be a Santa to a Senior program, led locally by Home Instead Senior Care in Tecumseh. The program is a national campaign that asks residents and businesses to donate gifts, such as grocery gift cards, blankets, gloves and small gift items, to be shared with our seniors. Since 2003, the program has provided approximately 2.1 million gifts to more than 750,000 seniors across Canada and the U.S.
    This will be the 10th year for this program in Windsor-Essex, and through the leadership of Ryan and Colleen Jershy at Home Instead, the Be a Santa to a Senior program has provided 10,000 seniors in my community with gifts and comfort.
    I encourage all Canadians to be a Santa to a senior and spread some holiday cheer with our most vulnerable seniors, who have helped make Canada the home we love.

Cystic Fibrosis

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians living with cystic fibrosis need the government to deliver for them. Patients across Canada, like my constituents Martin in Taber and Amanda in Chestermere, have been advocating fiercely for Health Canada to provide the potential life-saving drug Trikafta. This drug has been called a miracle drug and has the potential to not only stop the degeneration of the lungs and organs, but actually improve them. For cystic fibrosis patients struggling to breath and living through COVID-19, this drug is what matters.
    Martin and Amanda needed this drug yesterday. It is approved in 17 other countries, such as the U.K. and U.S., but not in Canada. The manufacturer has indicated it is applying for approval, despite its concerns about the government's PMPRB reforms. Once this application is submitted, Health Canada needs to consider it as the highest priority, and not within years or months, but within weeks at the most. Martin and Amanda, and thousands of Canadians with CF, have waited long enough.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House to recognize small businesses, which are the backbone of our local economy, especially in my community of Newmarket—Aurora. During COVID-19, small business owners have demonstrated an exceptional resilience by innovating and adapting their business models and finding ways to support our community. I am proud to support them every chance I get, especially when it is my turn to cook dinner.
    Today, I would like to thank the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce and the Aurora Chamber of Commerce for their outstanding support for local businesses, especially over the last eight months. From hosting virtual networking sessions to creating learning opportunities to hosting town halls, including a recent one held with the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, there is no doubt that our local chambers have gone above and beyond.
    It has not been an easy year, but I want to assure small businesses that we will continue to do whatever it takes to support them. We will get through this together.

[Translation]

Bertha Frigon

    Mr. Speaker, today Bertha Frigon is blowing out 100 candles.
    This caring and engaged citizen from my riding has 17 children, 36 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren, but she still found time to get involved in our community.
    Whether running a Christian women's group, a second-hand clothing service, a day care, or the One Child, One Tree project, which teaches children about environmental protection, nothing has ever stopped Mrs. Frigon from doing whatever she set her mind to. At 87, she even published her first book, with the title Les jours meilleurs, on les construit, or better days are what we make of them.
    As everyone knows, this year has not been easy. I know that in Lac-Saint-Jean, the days are made better by the people in the community.
    Mrs. Frigon, on behalf of our community, thank you and happy 100th birthday.

  (1405)  

World Diabetes Day

    Mr. Speaker, November 14 is World Diabetes Day, a day aimed at raising public awareness about this disease.
    To mark the occasion, I spoke to Stéphane Leblond, chairman of the board of the Eastern Townships diabetes association. We talked about the dramatic growth of the disease and the challenges for the people living with it.
    I know a thing or two about diabetes, because in February 2017, at age 18, my son Charles was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Charles needs four injections of insulin a day, but that does not stop him from playing all kinds of sports with prodigious energy.
    I just want to take a moment today to highlight the courage of people with diabetes, but also to commend the family and friends, health professionals and organizations that all work together to give them a good quality of life. Thank you.

[English]

National Child Day

    Mr. Speaker, National Child Day is recognized on November 20 each year. It celebrates the adoption of two documents: the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1959 under Prime Minister Diefenbaker, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989 under Prime Minister Mulroney.
    National Child Day is a symbol of our commitment to ensuring that all children are treated with dignity and respect and that children have a voice, are safe from harm and are guaranteed the opportunities to reach their full potential. As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers and legislators, we all have the responsibility to keep our children safe, healthy and engaged. National Child Day is about recognizing children as active citizens who are learning about their place in society, while at the same time reinforcing the rights of children and youth in Canada.
    I ask members to please join me in wearing blue tomorrow to show their support for National Child Day in Canada.

COVID-19

    Mr. Speaker, over the past month in British Columbia, over 4,400 people residing south of the Fraser have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Currently, in Surrey, a staggering one out of 178 people has tested positive over the same period. At the current rate, the Fraser south region could have up to 1,000 new cases per day within the next month. This is a critical situation.
     I ask residents south of the Fraser to please wear a mask, isolate with immediate family, maintain physical distancing, wash their hands frequently, cut out all unnecessary outings and download the COVID Alert app. Let us do our part, because we are all in this together.

Recognition of Bravery

    Mr. Speaker, today I want to recognize two of my constituents, Roy Helmer and Shelly Wood.
     In the early hours of October 16, Shelly heard sounds that would bring any of us into a full state of panic. Upon investigation, she was shocked to see a bear attacking someone just outside her door. She tried to distract it, but then ran to get Roy, who grabbed what was readily available. He hit the bear with a small concrete statue, which gave him just a moment to quickly pull the injured girl into the house. Many Canadians live near wildlife, but we still do not expect this.
    I would like to recognize and commend Shelly and Roy for their actions. Their quick-thinking response saved this girl from a much more severe outcome. I would also like to thank first responders, Hay River RCMP and the staff from Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada for their assistance. I wish a speedy recovery to the young girl who was so unexpectedly attacked.

  (1410)  

Reese Meyer

    Mr. Speaker, I am going to talk about Reese Meyer.
     Reese was kind of a big deal. His sister Avalon said that he was the strongest, bravest, smartest, kindest kid. They shared a special bond. He looked up to his dad, Glenn, and he adored his mother, Jennifer.
    Reese played right defence with the Caledon Hawks. When he was diagnosed with cancer, the Canadian hockey community rallied around him. His short but incredibly meaningful life was marked by a unique joie de vivre.
    When Reese was diagnoses with cancer, his courage and love of life was an inspiration. Whenever he wondered why he had cancer, he would think of this quote, “God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.” A strong soldier he was.
    Reflecting on his life, Reese wrote, “I got cancer because God knew I could handle it better than anyone else on earth.” May Reese's legacy continue to inspire us and may we all strive to be a little more like Reese every day.

Florentino Rosario

    Mr. Speaker, the Montreal Filipino-Canadian community and broader Montreal community have lost a true humanitarian, gentleman and civic builder.
     Dr. Florentino Rosario's life and career as a surgeon took him from the Philippines to the United States to Ottawa's Montfort Hospital and later to Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital and Lachine General Hospital.
    A gentle and humble man, his ethic of service extended beyond the professional realm to caring for the social and cultural well-being of his community. In 1976, noticing that more Filipino Canadians were moving to Montreal's West Island, Dr. Rosario founded the Filipino Canadian Association of West Island, which today continues to provide opportunities for West Islanders of Filipino heritage to celebrate their history and culture, and youth to socialize through sporting and other activities.
    To Dr. Rosario's wife, Pat, we offer our deepest condolences on this tremendous loss that is shared by so many.

Suicide

    Mr. Speaker, prior to the COVID pandemic, it was estimated that 10 people on average died by suicide every day in Canada. However, we know the numbers are likely higher as many cases go unreported due to the stigma attached to suicide and mental health. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults, and males account for 75% of all suicides.
     Since the pandemic began, the existing mental health crisis across Canada has only become worse. Crisis hotlines have experienced a 200% increase in calls, which has led to increased wait times. These statistics are alarming and we need to do better.
     I recently tabled a motion in the House that would consolidate all existing suicide prevent services into one national suicide prevention hotline, with a simple to remember three-digit phone number, 988. When minutes count, a three-digit number could make the difference between a life saved or a life lost. The United States has taken real action on this and there is no reason why colleagues in the House cannot rally together and do the same.
     My inbox is overwhelmed with messages from Canadians who have had experiences with suicide. I know that with the support of all colleagues in the House, we can do this. We have the opportunity to take real action right now. Let us work together and bring 988 to Canada.

Conservative Party

    Mr. Speaker, this fall I celebrated my 12th year as a Conservative MP. I am thankful for the numerous individuals, men and women alike, who encouraged me to run, and the tremendous support I received from the Conservative Party once I made my decision.
    When it comes to women in leadership, I am proud of our history, as ours truly is the party of firsts in the country: the first female cabinet minister and the first to serve as acting prime minister, Ellen Fairclough; the first woman to lead the official opposition, Deb Grey; Canada's first female foreign minister, Flora MacDonald; and, finally, Canada's first female prime minister, the Right Hon. Kim Campbell. They were all Conservatives.
    As a mom to four beautiful, strong women and grandmother to seven granddaughters, I am grateful for these role models. I am proud to work alongside incredible women in our caucus today and I invite Canadian women all across the country to take another look at our Conservative Party.

COVID-19 Pandemic

    Mr. Speaker, in my riding, we have the largest health care tribute mural in Canada in my riding. It was created by local artist David Derkatz and depicts a local nurse and doctor fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.
     With the second wave upon us and the numbers of those infected and hospitalized exceeding levels seen this spring, we must reflect on what is next. Front-line health care workers, including those working at Windsor Regional Hospital, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, long-term health care facilities, those providing health care services in people's homes or those delivering services in the community, have been battling the pandemic daily for more than eight months now for all of us, with many more months to go before it is over.
     We should take a moment to reflect on how their work life has been altered since the start of this pandemic and think about the emotional highs and lows they have endured as they fight COVID-19, sometimes being the final person someone sees before passing from this world.
    For those who have not been wearing masks, it breaks public health orders and creates problems for those who are doing their jobs to protect us. We must all remain vigilant and do our part. If people love their families, friends, neighbours or even themselves, please wear a mask. Let this not all be in vain.
    I thank our health care workers.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Christmas Miracle in Grand-Mère

    Mr. Speaker, for 12 years now, a group of jovial retirees, including my very friendly neighbour across the street, have been getting together starting in early November to whip up sweet and savoury pies and other traditional Christmas comfort foods.
    I will let members picture these men slaving over the stove under the stern yet amused gaze of their wives, who also lend a skillful hand to create these delights that taste as good as they smell.
    In the basement of Saint-Paul church in Grand-Mère, a Christmas miracle happens over and over and over. Serge Leclerc and André Vanasse lead a team that proudly bakes around 14,000 pies and raises about $46,000 a year for people in need in Grand-Mère and Shawinigan. This makes the local city councillor very proud, and me too, of course.
    Way to go, guys. You are doing great work.

[English]

China

    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to Canada's approach to China, the Liberal government has it drastically wrong and refuses to do anything about it. That is why Conservatives brought forward a motion to force the Liberals to change course, to make a decision on Huawei and to develop a plan to protect Canadians against China's aggressive foreign operations.
     Canada is the only Five Eyes country that has not banned Huawei. With increased Chinese ownership of critical Canadian assets, widespread hacking and intellectual property theft and the intimidation of our citizens by Chinese agents right here at home, we are in urgent need of a plan.
     However, only five Liberals put the security of Canadians first and all the others voted no, but they lost. Now they must provide a decision on Huawei and they must provide a plan within 30 days. Will they? Canada's economic and national security hangs in the balance. Canadians will be watching.

Long-Term Care

    Mr. Speaker, today on Parliament Hill the advocacy group “Canadians for long-term care standards” led an emotional memorial called “Broken Hearts, Empty Shoes”. They placed over 2,000 pairs of shoes in remembrance of those we had lost in long-term care homes this year and years past due to neglect. Many families in my community have been impacted.
    Families like the Parkes family, who lost Paul Parkes when he sadly passed away at Orchard Villa last spring. Mr. Parkes' family could not be by his side in his final days and his family had to hear about the deplorable conditions he and other vulnerable seniors were left in. Mr. Parkes' daughter, Cathy, has been sharing his story like so many family members who have lost loved ones. They have been advocating for the necessity and urgency of establishing national standards in long-term care.
    I am grateful to our Prime Minister for his leadership and commitment to establish national standards. We need to ensure that our most vulnerable seniors are cared for and these tragedies never happen again.

Oral Questions

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today the Liberal government voted against the state of Israel at the UN General Assembly for a second year in a row, contrary to our long-standing Canadian policy of opposing all resolutions that single out Israel. This is a policy that former prime minister Paul Martin had put in place. Even Ambassador Rae said he disagreed with the preamble of the resolution.
    Why did the government break with long-standing Canadian policy and vote against the state of Israel at the UN General Assembly today?
    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Israel is a close and important friend of Canada, and Canada will always stand with Israel.
    Let me also be very clear to Jewish Canadians in my riding and across the country. We stand with them, particularly today when we are seeing an appalling rise in anti-Semitism here and around the world.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, last year the Liberals broke with Canadian policy in pursuit of a UN Security Council seat. We all know how that ended. Canada lost the vote with six fewer votes than it had received in 2010, which is a damning indictment of the government's foreign policy. That is six fewer countries that see Canada as a leader on the world stage today.
    When will the government restore Canada's long-standing opposition to these anti-Israel resolutions, which were upheld by previous Liberal and Conservative governments and put in place by former prime minister Paul Martin?
    Mr. Speaker, let me speak to Canada's place in the world and to our foreign policy.Today we are living in a world where there is a worrying rise of authoritarian regimes and a worrying rise of anti-democratic populism. Our country, in that world, will always stand up for human rights and will always stand up for the rules-based international order. That may not always be popular, but that is the Canadian way.

[Translation]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, I have five names: Robert M. Dysant, Arthur T. Doyle, Charles LeBlond, Tracey K. DeWare and Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard.
    What these people have in common is that they were all appointed as judges in New Brunswick and they are all friends of the Liberal member for Beauséjour. It pays to be friends with a Liberal MP. They just have to buy him lunch, and they get a job for life.
    What does the Minister of Justice consider most important in the selection process? Is it donating to the Liberal Party, or is it knowing the Liberal member for Beauséjour?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is proud of the process we introduced.
    In 2016, we made essential reforms to the existing process, which included bringing back judicial advisory committees. This led to the appointment of 400 first-class legal experts to the bench by our government. It is a transparent and fair process that has contributed to diversity on the bench.
    Mr. Speaker, just recently, another lawyer, Philippe Bélanger, was appointed to the bench. The scoop is that he was not friends with the member for Beauséjour, but he was friends with the Minister of Justice and had donated close to $10,000 to the Liberal Party. Should we be surprised? No.
    In 2016, the former minister and current independent member for Vancouver Granville promised to review the judicial selection process to make it more transparent and merit-based.
    Does the minister still intend to move forward with that reform?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Our Minister of Justice was a law professor at McGill. He is a lawyer with very strong ethics and principles. We are very proud of the judicial selection process introduced by our government. It is a transparent process, far more transparent than the one we had before.
    Mr. Speaker, the process is supposedly transparent and relies on a committee that includes important figures from the legal community.
    That very committee suggested an experienced lawyer from Quebec. A judge even supported the candidate, and she met all the criteria, except for one: the Liberal criterion. The lawyer in question is the spouse of one of our key Conservative volunteers in the riding of Drummond.
    Why are the political views of candidates' spouses being taken into consideration when appointing judges?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not fully agree with the question.
    The reality is that our judicial appointment process is a clear process, a transparent process, an open process, a process that has led to a more diverse judiciary. It has helped select highly qualified judges in Canada.

  (1425)  

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals say they want to defend French in Quebec, but they do not walk the talk.
    Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he supported Bill 101, but the federal government has been gutting it since 1977. This government has refused to apply Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses. The Liberals even said at the time that it was a disgrace.
    Today, the Bloc is proposing a bill to make an adequate knowledge of French a condition for becoming a citizen in Quebec. The Liberals do not want that, and they will be voting against it.
    At the end of the day, is the Liberal Party’s real position on French in Quebec the same as the position of the member for Saint-Laurent?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I am obviously an anglophone, but I must say that I agree that the French language in Canada, in Quebec and in Montreal is in a very fragile position. I agree that all of us here in the House have an obligation to work to help and preserve the French language in Quebec and Montreal. This is very important to us.
    Mr. Speaker, it looks like the Liberals have finally agreed that they want to promote French.
    They recognize that French is in decline in Quebec. We thought that if the Bloc introduced a bill in favour of French, they would support it. Instead, however, they are threatening to oppose requiring a minimum knowledge of French for citizenship in Quebec.
    Their words are hard to follow, but their actions are much clearer: they are against it. Why do they have this discomfort with French?
    Mr. Speaker, defending the French language and Quebec culture is a priority for our government.
    I want to give an example. During the negotiations on the new NAFTA, which were very difficult, we held a very firm position, which was to not allow any changes to the cultural exemption that protects Quebec culture and the French language. We succeeded in protecting that. It was very important to us.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis together, but the climate crisis is still going on. People are worried.
    In 2007, Jack Layton introduced the first bill to combat climate change. Jack would not have been happy with the Liberal government's proposal to wait 10 years for results. People are worried now. They fear for the future, for the planet.
    Is the Prime Minister committed to combatting climate change with the intention of winning?
    Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. That is why I am very proud to say that the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will require the federal government to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are all faced with the crisis of COVID-19, but the climate crisis is still here. People are worried about the future.
    In 2007, years ago, Jack Layton proposed a bill to fight the climate crisis. It was the first of its kind. Jack would not be satisfied with the Liberal government's proposal to wait 10 years before seeing any results. People are worried right now, and they want to see a real commitment.
    Will the Prime Minister commit to fighting the battle against the climate crisis as if he really wants to win it?
    Mr. Speaker, of course the Prime Minister will, and so will everyone on this side of the House.
    I will ask, respectfully, the leader of the NDP, whether the NDP will commit to supporting the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act. This is landmark legislation. It sets Canada on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050. I am so proud of Canada for this legislation and I hope all members of the House will support it.

  (1430)  

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, with the crisis that is happening in Nova Scotia with the lobster fishery, if there is one file and decision that the Minister of Fisheries should have read by now, it is the Marshall decision. Shockingly, yesterday at the fisheries committee, the minister admitted she has never read it.
    How is it that the Minister of Fisheries does not have the time or the interest to sit down, read and know the law on the most important file that she is dealing with?
    Basically, what I was asked last night at the fisheries committee was if I had read it in its entirety. I have read the Marshall decision. I needed more context on it. I went to legal experts as well as the member for Sydney—Victoria, who is a treaty rights person, to give me more context on the decision. I have since finished reading that decision. It is an extremely important one, but what is really important is making sure we implement first nations treaty rights.
    Mr. Speaker, she read it last night is basically what she is telling us.
    Commercial fishermen were calling for the minister's resignation weeks ago, and now Chief Sack is also calling on her to resign. Why? She has not met with the Mi'kmaq fishers in a month. The fisheries minister does not have the time or interest to read the important legal decisions on her file, and now she cannot be bothered to meet with commercial or Mi'kmaq fishers.
    Just exactly what is the fisheries minister doing to fix the crisis that is literally threatening the backbone of Nova Scotia's economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I have been actively meeting with both first nations leadership as well as commercial harvesters since the onset of this issue. I will continue to do that. I met with Chief Sack this morning, as a matter of fact. I will continue to have those very important conversations. We know that the only way forward, to make sure that we find a long-term solution to this issue, is through negotiations.
    I will continue to have those conversations.

[Translation]

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, we already know that the Liberals sent CERB cheques to prisoners. We also know that the Liberals told officials who suspected fraud to send the cheques anyway. Today, we learned that the government sent cheques to people who had not even filed income tax returns, even though they were supposed to have had an income of $5,000 the year before.
    What did the government do to ensure that every person who received money was entitled to it?
    Mr. Speaker, the CERB has been critical from the beginning of this crisis. It has helped millions of Canadians pay their rent, clothe their children, buy school supplies and put food on the table.
    There are clear rules. People who did not follow these rules will face consequences.
    We have no regrets about implementing programs that were so important to all Canadians.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, everybody believes that those who lost their jobs because of COVID shutdowns should have been helped with the CERB. Everyone should also believe that those hard-working people earning minimum wage bagging groceries or doing other essential work should not pay taxes to send CERB cheques to prisoners or suspected fraud cases. Now we find that the government sent out 800,000 CERB cheques to people who had not even filed taxes in the preceding year, failing to prove they were eligible for that money.
    What did the government do to ensure that the money did not go to people who did not earn the right to receive it?
    Mr. Speaker, our income support programs have played a fundamental role in getting Canadians through the first wave of the COVID crisis, and they are going to get Canadians through the second wave.
    When it comes to fraud, that is completely unacceptable. The hard-working public servants in the CRA are doing an outstanding job, and they are going to make sure that all claims are legitimate.

  (1435)  

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the B.C. premier is set to announce province-wide travel restrictions. People live, work and look after family members between municipalities. I am hearing from constituents who are stressed out. The federal government's approving of an at-home test could help this, yet the Prime Minister says it is not his job. Actually, it is his job to ensure that Canadians have access to the best tools available to fight this virus as quickly as possible, just like other countries have.
    When will at-home tests be available in British Columbia and across Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member opposite is interested in testing. In fact, we have delivered almost five million rapid tests to provinces and territories, 345,000 to B.C. We know that provinces and territories are looking at how they can best deploy these safely. We stand ready to assist them with that deployment as needed.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Ontario health minister announced the number of vaccine doses Ontario would be receiving in early 2021. However, before the day was over, the parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of health went on CTV and said the numbers were wrong. The Liberal government refuses to table a plan for vaccine distribution, leaving Canadians with mixed messages and doubt.
    Why does the government not have one clear plan for Canadians when it comes to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine?
    Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to thank the vaccine task force strategy, yet again, for its expert advice, which has placed Canada in an amazing position to be able to acquire effective vaccines. In fact, we have more vaccines per capita than any country in the world.
    As I work with the provinces and territories to ensure we have an equitable, fair and logical distribution plan, we will be coming to Canadians with that plan. I want to thank all the provinces and territories for arranging sharing agreements to date on things like personal protective equipment and testing. That work will continue.

[Translation]

Justice

     Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that the Liberals vet judicial appointments using their pet partisan tool, the Liberalist, where they check political connections to find good Liberals. Today we learned that another good, generous Liberal was offered a seat on the bench. He is a long-time acquaintance of the Minister of Justice, an old acquaintance who made $2,900 in political contributions to that very minister. As such, my question is for him.
    Did this candidate receive preferential treatment?
    Mr. Speaker, our government created an open, transparent and accountable process to identify and select highly qualified jurists.
    With respect to this individual, the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner reviewed the situation and determined that there was no conflict of interest and that a recusal was not necessary.
    I acted proactively. We are proud to have appointed over 400 jurists, men and women, to the bench. These are high-quality jurists.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister's own actions prove that the process is partisan. No one questioned the judge's qualifications, but the minister was so afraid that the appointment would appear partisan that he delayed it for months to protect himself.
    If the appointments were non-partisan, the minister would never have needed to go to the Ethics Commissioner beforehand. The problem is that the Liberals have made so many patronage appointments that even they now think it looks bad to appoint a Liberal.
    The process needs to be non-partisan, non-partisan and non-partisan.
    Does it need to be said in English in order to make sure that the Liberals understand?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I sincerely believe that I am answering in French.
    I have considered the recommendations of the judicial advisory committees, which are independent, as well as this appointment, and following consultation, it was determined that he is a serious and qualified candidate.
    However, since he is a professional acquaintance—I do have some—who had made political contributions before I was appointed Minister of Justice, I consulted the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who provided me with a response. I subsequently made the recommendation.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia starts on Saturday. This is a unique opportunity to call for the release of Raif Badawi so that he can return to his wife and children in Quebec.
    Historically, the Saudi Arabian kingdom has shown mercy by freeing prisoners during events of significant importance. Mr. Badawi has already served 80% of his sentence, and his health has suffered greatly as a result.
    Does the government intend to use the G20 summit as an opportunity to call on Riyadh to make this magnanimous and humanitarian gesture?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his important question.
    We in the House are all gravely concerned about Raif Badawi. I believe I can say that on behalf of all Canadians as well.
    We have raised this issue privately and publicly on several occasions. We will continue to do so at every opportunity, because human rights are a cornerstone of Canada's foreign policy.
    I would to thank the member for his question. We will continue to use every opportunity to bring attention to the case of Raif Badawi.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Saint-Laurent's comments and lack of sensitivity about the decline of French in Quebec are shocking.
    However, we have not seen very many Liberal members stand up to condemn her comments and even fewer Liberal members from Quebec. Their silence is disturbing and it confirms more and more what everyone is thinking: Many Liberal caucus members think the same way as the member for Saint-Laurent.
    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and immediately take the member for Saint-Laurent off the Standing Committee on Official Languages, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to say what I thought about her remarks.
    The member apologized and, of course, as we stated in the throne speech, we will always be there to protect the French fact in Canada and recognize that French is a minority language that needs more support.
    How strange it is to see the Conservative Party suddenly become a great champion of the French fact in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot even answer a simple question about removing the member for Saint-Laurent, who does not believe that French is in decline. That is what she thinks, and that is what the Quebec president of the Liberal Party thinks.
    We will take no lessons from the minister of the two official languages or the Prime Minister when they claim to be defending francophones across the country, including in Quebec.
    I would also like to hear the other members from Quebec stand up once and for all to defend francophones and Quebeckers. I am talking about members from Quebec like the members from Louis-Hébert, Saint-Maurice—Champlain, Compton—Stanstead, Sherbrooke, Brome—Missisquoi and Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
    They need to stand up and they need to condemn the comments—
    The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
    Mr. Speaker, the members from Quebec—and I see many here, including the member for Papineau and the member for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, basically from all over Quebec—are standing up every day and defending francophones, the French fact, our language and our culture.
    We do not need any lectures from the Conservatives, who cut the CBC's funding, who took francophones to court and who let the provinces cut back on francophone services. We will not be lectured by them.
    Mr. Speaker, let's tone things down because it seems like the government House leader is about to blow his top.
    Let's look at the facts. The Liberals have been in power for five years, and in that time, nothing has been done for official languages. Canadians and Quebeckers alike can all come up with countless examples, such as WE Charity, labelling, and text alerts sent in English only.
    If the Prime Minister is truly sincere and a man of his word, then why does he not introduce the bill on modernizing Canada's two official languages before Christmas, as requested by every organization advocating for Canada's two official languages?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know that Halloween just passed, but I want to remind hon. members of the horrors of the Conservative Party when it comes to official languages.
    The Montfort hospital, the Campus Saint-Jean, and the French-language university in Ontario are examples of Conservative cuts to French services. The ghosts of the court challenges program and Supreme Court justices haunt the Conservative Party.
    When my colleague brings up our legacy on official languages, I have no problem telling him everything we have done, such as making an additional $500-million investment in official languages, protecting Radio-Canada, appointing bilingual judges to the Supreme Court, ensuring that French is protected—

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, today Canadians learned that a lawyer who contributed thousands of dollars to the justice minister's political campaigns was appointed to be a judge by the Liberals.
    People need to have trust in the justice system, which must be free from even the slightest perception of partisan considerations in the appointments process. Last month, the Liberals said that accessing their party database containing donor information when vetting judges had nothing to do with partisanship.
    In light of today's news, how can the Liberals possibly defend those claims about merit-based judicial appointments?
    Mr. Speaker, we want candidates from all backgrounds and political stripes to apply to the bench.
    Political donations are neither an advantage nor a disadvantage when applying to the bench. In fact, the Ethics Commissioner said, “Making donations to a political party, or to a particular riding, does not indicate in itself a friendship. It is perfectly legal to make political donations.”
    I proactively went to the Ethics Commissioner. In this case, this candidate went through the process and was recommended by the judicial appointments committee. I am proud of this appointment.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, no one should have to face the impossible choice between paying rent or filling a prescription, but one in five Canadians is not taking the medicine they need because they cannot afford it.
    The Liberals have been promising pharmacare for 23 years, but Canadians are still facing sky-high prescription costs. Liberals say the right things, but when it comes time to act, they put the profits of big pharmaceutical and insurance companies ahead of what Canadians need.
    Will the Prime Minister finally back up his talk with action and support the NDP pharmacare bill to deliver universal, public pharmacare for all?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has, in fact, done more in a decade than any government before it to lower the costs of prescription pharmaceuticals in this country, and we are going to do more.
    As members know, we have been proceeding to ensure that we do have a universal pharmacare program. Budget 2019 allotted monies for the Canada drug agency. We are working on that right now. We are taking the steps necessary to work with provinces and territories, which will deliver the pharmacare programs in their jurisdictions.
    I agree with the member that nobody should have to make that choice.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, constituents in my riding are deeply concerned about how we are going to address climate change and how we can retool our economy for the future. Leading environmental NGOs such as My Sea to Sky and businesses such as Carbon Engineering and Nexii know that this is not only a moral imperative but that it also presents tremendous economic opportunities. In the last campaign, we promised to introduce legislation that would ensure our government and all future governments will fight climate change and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
    Can the Minister of Environment and Climate Change please update the House on this important work and how we are working with Canadians to build a better, cleaner future?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his efforts in addressing climate change.
    Earlier today I was very pleased to introduce the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act, which would establish a legally binding process for this government and future governments to set and meet Canada's net-zero emissions goal between now and 2050, based on the best available science.
    Over 120 countries, a thousand businesses, two thousands chambers of commerce, 452 cities and some of the largest investors in the world have committed to a net-zero future. We will work with members and parties in this House who are committed to achieving climate change goals and moving forward on this important step to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and protecting the future for future generations.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, in 2015 the headlines read that the PM had pledged to eradicate all drinking water advisories in first nations communities by March 2021.
    Fast-forward five years and the Prime Minister will not commit to keeping his promised timelines. This has huge implications for first nations such as Neskantaga, which has been evacuated because of the drinking water.
    The government made a solemn promise to this community. Will it guarantee the people of Neskantaga will be home for Christmas with safe water?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to speak to chief and council yesterday. Currently, members should know that the timeline for getting back into the community would be early December.
    Obviously, with COVID we are being extra careful to prevent contamination in vectors of the spread of COVID in the community. However, there is currently a cycle of 14 days in the new plant that Indigenous Services Canada built over the last two years. That cycle needs to be respected, and testing needs to come back in a good way.
    If those tests are positive, and we are cautiously optimistic about them, the community will be back, we hope, by early December, but this is a decision that will be made by the community.
    Mr. Speaker, as this water crisis drags on, the people and the children of Neskantaga have been moved 400 kilometres away to Thunder Bay, Ontario. They have been relegated to hotel rooms far away from home.
    Their youth are going through a difficult time. Lyndon, a 12-year-old, said he feels invisible, stating, “We're not animals or things. We are humans, like you guys.”
    Can members imagine someone feeling that way? Again, let me ask the minister, without weasel words, will the young people be home for Christmas?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said to the member, we are cautiously optimistic. This is a decision that will be taken in conjunction with the community and not dictated by Indigenous Services Canada.
    I would ask the member what she would have said to that community, with the abhorrent investment the Conservative Party did of $300,000 a year over 10 years. What situation would it be in today had we not invested $16 million to build a new plant?

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are paying more for food, and it could get worse this winter. Last March, grocery sales were up $2.5 billion over February. While grocery giants bank this windfall, they continue to gouge farmers and processors with fees that they say are because of the pandemic.
    Will the Prime Minister tell his rich, grocery giant friends to stop gouging suppliers that are putting Canadian families' food security at risk?
    Mr. Speaker, I understand the frustration the member has raised and the impact this is having on grocers, food producers and processors. They have played a critical role during the pandemic and so have essential workers across the country.
    We share these concerns. That is why we are going to continue to work with the provinces and territories to make sure we move forward in a manner to protect our workers and, more importantly, the supply chain when it comes to grocers.
    Mr. Speaker, what about protecting farmers and processors? Loblaws, Walmart and Metro want to gouge farmers and processors. Loblaws saw record third-quarter profits of about $400 million. Metro's fourth-quarter profits were up 11.4%. However, they want farmers and processors to pay for store expansions while groceries for families from Streetsville, Pointe-au-Baril and across Canada get more expensive.
    When will the Prime Minister tell his rich, grocery giant friends to pay for store improvements out of their own windfalls and stop putting Canadian food security and affordability at risk?
    Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing to see grocery stores imposing these costly fees that fall on Canadian producers, who are working hard to feed Canadians. We are open to discussing the issue at the next meeting of the ministers of agriculture, which will take place shortly. However, contracts between suppliers and buyers are in the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. We encourage our provincial and territorial counterparts to examine this matter.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, the government reiterated today that it wants to attain net-zero emissions by 2050, but there are no solutions in its bill to get us there.
    The government has not set itself a greenhouse gas reduction target, and it is not requiring itself to do anything for 10 years, until 2030. There is nothing for 2025. It is even giving itself the right to change these future targets at any time if it does not reach them. It is not required to be accountable to an independent authority. There is no accountability.
    Is that the Liberals' environmental strategy: no plan, no target, no oversight?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will hold the federal government accountable for its commitment to attain net-zero emissions by 2050.
    Many countries are accelerating their transition to a net-zero economy, and Canada cannot afford to fall behind. We must use climate action as an economic opportunity. That is why achieving net-zero emissions is not just a plan for a healthier environment, it is a plan for a cleaner and more competitive economy.
    Mr. Speaker, the government needs to move beyond its fine words and take action.
    The government is introducing its bill to fight climate change, but meanwhile, it is also promising to pressure Joe Biden to protect the dirty Keystone XL pipeline, and it is approving 100 offshore oil drilling initiatives without environmental impact assessments. That is the action the Liberals have been taking. They have had a year to put together a strong, binding plan to fight climate change.
    My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Can he look us in the eye and tell us that this plan will really enable us to meet our Paris targets by 2030?
    Mr. Speaker, we put a plan in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    It is a historic plan for Canada. We are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 megatonnes by 2023. We promised to come up with a plan to accelerate progress in the fight against climate change. We will present a new plan in the coming weeks. 

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Bar Association has said that the use of the Liberal database to vet judicial applicants raises doubts about the independence of the judicial appointment process. We have now learned that the Minister of Justice appointed someone to the Quebec Superior Court who donated thousands of dollars to his nomination campaign and that of his riding association.
    Why is being a Liberal as important as being a lawyer when it comes to federal judicial appointments?
    Mr. Speaker, the only criteria to be appointed to the bench is quality and the only consideration is diversity. Each candidate passes through a judicial appointments committee that has no access to any partisan data. Then we vet those candidates very carefully to make sure they are of the highest quality.
    I am proud of the judicial appointments we have made, the over 400 of them, in a transparent and responsible process. Over 55% of them are women and there is a high degree of diversity. It is unprecedented and I am proud of it.

[Translation]

Government Programs

    Mr. Speaker, has the government used its own tools to get any kind of federal help?
    I highly doubt it, because if it had, the government would realize how much paperwork is involved in doing so: one form here, another there, sorry, application denied because such and such form was forgotten, please start over.
    For example, Richard Savoie of Sainte-Marie had to apply for his daughter's social insurance number three times because, for one thing, he forgot to include a copy of the back of a document.
    Does the government not see the appeal of simplifying things?
    Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that we will always work toward cutting excessive red tape and regulations.
    We will work with my colleague to ensure that the people of his riding get good service. In the meantime, if they have more specific questions, they can always get in touch with the Canada Economic Development team in the beautiful region of Beauce, which is there to support business owners and sometimes help them navigate the intricacies of the federal government.

[English]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government triggered Australia's World Trade Organization challenge to the federal excise exemption on 100% Canadian-made wines when it implemented an escalator tax in 2017. As a result, hundreds of wineries and thousands of Canadian jobs are now at risk. The Liberals caused this mess and it is now on them to fix it.
    Will the Minister of Finance commit today to supporting our wine industry in budget 2020-21 with an industry-supported program that will protect our proud wineries, wine businesses and the great Canadian jobs they create?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree that the wine industry in Canada is vibrant. It is full of incredible entrepreneurs and producers.
    We are really pleased that we came to an arrangement with Australia on this very matter. We look forward to continuing to support Canadian wineries and producers in our country.

COVID-19 Emergency Response

    Mr. Speaker, Cape Bretoners have been very fortunate in keeping COVID cases low. The Atlantic bubble has been extremely successful, and I thank Maritimers for their vigilance and the commitment to keeping each other safe.
    The federal government has been a partner with Nova Scotia from the very beginning, and it is great to see all levels of government working together to combat COVID-19. Can the minister update us on the supports that the Government of Canada has provided to Nova Scotia throughout the pandemic?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his hard work and advocacy for the people of Nova Scotia.
    Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces have been an international leader in slowing community spread of COVID-19, and we have been there to support them from the start. We have sent Nova Scotia 70,992 rapid tests and almost 1.5 million items of personal protective equipment to date. Through the safe restart agreement, Nova Scotia received $290 million to support testing, contact tracing, data gathering and vulnerable people in long-term care.
    We have been there for Nova Scotia and we will continue to be there for Nova Scotia.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the House voted to instruct the Canada Revenue Agency to postpone compliance audits on small businesses receiving the wage subsidy. Canadians expect their government to respect the will of the House and its democratically elected members.
    My question is for the Minister of Small Business. Will she stand up for small businesses that are fighting for their very survival and instruct her government to respect the will of Parliament and postpone wage subsidy audits until next June?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, our government took quick, decisive action to support Canadian workers and the businesses that employ them. The Canada emergency wage subsidy has clear eligibility criteria as well as a verification process for extraordinary or unusual applications. The CRA administers the wage subsidy and conducts independent, impartial assessments according to the eligibility criteria. I thank my colleague for bringing this issue to my attention. However, I cannot comment on specific cases, so I encourage him to follow up with our offices.

[English]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, recent storms that ripped through my constituency especially ravaged the remote community of Pelee Island with high winds and waves. Isolated in the middle of Lake Erie 14 kilometres south of the mainland, Pelee Island has no fibre links and intermittent cellphone coverage when the power goes out. It does not even have 911 for any emergency services. For Pelee Island, reliable connectivity is not an Internet line; it is a lifeline.
    When will the government be there for Pelee Island and deliver this desperately needed service?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely right. Too many Canadians at the moment do not have access to this essential lifeline.
    I would encourage him to reach out to my team and I. We will work with him to see if the rapid response stream, the $150 million we set aside for immediate connectivity projects, would be eligible for his community. If that does not work, we can see if the core UBF program of about $1 billion, which includes cellphone access, would work for his community.
    Every Canadian deserves access to this essential service. Our government is there for Canadians, and together we can connect every Canadian to the Internet.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, we have all witnessed COVID-19 tragedies, families torn apart, young people losing hope, stress over money troubles. There are long lists of phone numbers to call for help, but in times of crisis, every second counts. For people in distress, help must be easy to find and access. A 988 hotline can save lives. A 988 hotline must save lives.
    Will the Prime Minister help us prevent suicide and support the creation of a 988 hotline?

  (1505)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased that the member opposite is raising the deep concern that we all have for the mental health of Canadians. In fact, suicide prevention is top of mind for us as well.
    As the member opposite knows, we have been supporting provinces and territories with additional funding for mental health services on top of the wellnesstogether.ca resources that are available to all Canadians free of charge. I have committed to his colleague that I will look into how we can accelerate work on a single-access point for suicide prevention.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, today is an important day. Our government kept a promise we made to Canadians and is taking measures to protect our environment. The science is clear: we need to achieve net-zero emissions to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
    Can the Minister of Environment and Climate Change explain to the House how this law will enable the current government and future governments to achieve net-zero emissions?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel for her work on climate action.
     The Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will legally require the current government and future governments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It will set five-year emissions reduction targets and require plans for reaching those targets. It provides for a process based on accountability and transparency.
    We are taking an important step toward net-zero emissions, and we fully support the direction that is already being taken by our businesses and innovative industry.

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, today, thousands of shoes have been placed on Parliament Hill representing those who died of COVID-19 in long-term care homes across Canada.
    For-profit, long-term care homes run by Revera Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, are among the worst in the country for COVID deaths. The Public Service Alliance has called on PSP to end its investments in these appalling facilities.
    The government can end the suffering that our seniors and people with disabilities are facing in homes owned by Revera Inc. now. Will the Prime Minister commit to ending the for-profit nature of long-term care homes in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I think I can speak for all of us to say that we must do better to protect the lives of people who are living in long-term care and communal living settings. It is very important that we work together with provinces and territories to do so, which is why the safe restart agreement included $740 million to provinces and territories to strengthen their processes to protect against infection from COVID-19.
    We will do more. The Speech from the Throne committed to national standards on long-term care, and that is exactly what we intend to do with provinces and territories.

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, travel agents worry that they will have to return thousands of dollars in commission under the new airline bailout plan. Independent travel agents who have already paid back thousands in earned commission from refunded airline tickets are worried that they will owe thousands more after the minister suggested that any kind of government bailout for the airline industry would hinge on companies issuing refunds to customers.
    Can the minister please explain what protections the government has in place for travel agents under the new bailout plan?
    Mr. Speaker, as I made very clear on November 8, an aid package to the air sector would require certain conditions with the airlines and one of those conditions was to reimburse ticket holders who had been given vouchers, and that is something that we are going to do. We are beginning those negotiations with the air sector. I cannot go into details about how those negotiations will proceed, but our initial position has been made very clear.

[Translation]

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, here comes the traditional Thursday question about the business of the House.
    We know that we are in the last stretch before the holidays, with have four consecutive weeks of parliamentary business here in Ottawa. I would like to know what the government has in store for parliamentary business for the next two weeks, and I would especially like to know if the government is going to respond to the proposal we made yesterday to hold a take-note debate about the quality of French in Montreal.

  (1510)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my kind colleague for—

[English]

    Order. We would like to hear what is asked and what is replied. I want everyone, if they are going to talk, to please whisper or maybe go to the lobby.
    The hon. government House leader.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my kind colleague for the extremely important and very useful question he repeats every week on the status of parliamentary business.
    This afternoon we will continue debate at second reading of Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act. Tomorrow we will resume debate at third reading of Bill C-3, an act to amend the Judges Act. Monday of next week will be devoted to the study of Bill C-8, on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action number 94. On Tuesday, we will begin our study of Bill C-11, an act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act, which was introduced earlier this week by my colleague, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

[English]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), I would like to designate Tuesday, November 24 for consideration in committee of the whole of the main estimates for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Thursday, November 26 for the Department of Health.

[Translation]

    Lastly, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
     That a take-note debate on the status of the French language in Montreal be held, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, and that, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House: (a) any member rising to speak during the debate may indicate to the Chair that he or she will be dividing his or her time with another member; and (b) no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
    This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will ask only those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement.
    Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. minister moving the motion will please say nay.
    The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
    There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

Points of Order

Respect for House Rules  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I have a second point of order, but first I want to thank the government for making the right decision about holding the take-note debate on the quality of French, which, as we know, sometimes vigorously animates our question period. I congratulate the government on this.
    My second point of order is on a somewhat more delicate topic.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all rules must be respected in this House, even though this is a hybrid Parliament, with a virtual portion and a portion in the House. In this regard, I would like to point out that we should be very vigilant about parliamentarians in the House who, at times, may use their telephones. I remind you that, in the House, we cannot have conversations on the telephone. We can write, text and read, but we cannot speak directly to someone on the phone.
    I want to bring this to your attention. I believe I have seen one particular member do this on several occasions. I urge respect for the rules, Mr. Speaker.
    I would like to thank the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent and remind all members that using a mobile or other phone is not allowed in the House.
    I thank the hon. member for raising this point.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Broadcasting Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, I also applaud the minister's plan to instruct the CRTC to ensure that contributions from online broadcasting services flow to French-language and indigenous creators. I agree with his suggestion that the CRTC consider using incentive-based tools to encourage greater support for creators from equity seeking groups.
    The bill would amend the Broadcasting Act to assert that the Canadian broadcasting system should, through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests of all Canadians, including Canadians from racialized communities and Canadians of diverse racialized backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, abilities and disabilities, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and ages, and reflect their circumstances and aspirations, including equal rights, the linguistic duality, the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society, and the special place of indigenous peoples within that society

  (1515)  

[Translation]

    This type of language sends a clear message. It underscores that diversity and inclusion are fundamental for our society and that this must be reflected in our broadcasting system.

[English]

    This message is also filled with hopes and dreams that commit us to working together to strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada. This work cannot wait. That is why I am pleased to see that the bill also emphasizes that programming that reflects the indigenous cultures of Canada, programming that is accessible without barriers to people with disabilities and a range of broadcasting services in English and in French must be made available to Canadians regardless of resource availability.

[Translation]

    Before wrapping up, I want to go back to my initial remarks and my recognition of the indigenous peoples who were here long before us. In my opinion, this bill is particularly important for indigenous peoples.

[English]

    As highlighted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and in the calls for justice issued by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, broadcasting can play a key role in promoting and protecting indigenous languages, arts, cultures, traditions and perspectives.
    The bill would support indigenous creators so that they can tell their own stories in their own words. It emphasizes the need for indigenous-run broadcasting services. The bill would contribute to fulfilling the commitments Canada made in committing to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am hopeful it will move us further along the path toward reconciliation. We have much to learn and discover from deep, vast and rich indigenous cultures and voices. Hearing them, allowing us to live the stories they tell, will not only have us in awe. It will contribute to reconciliation and mutual understanding.
    Broadcasting has the ability to remind us where we came from, to hold a mirror up to our current selves, showing us the good parts and the bad. It also has the ability to point the way to a better future for everyone. This bill points a way toward a Canada that embraces diversity and promotes inclusion. That is the reason I urge all hon. members in the House to support the bill.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a question about the general application of the bill. I am from the Okanagan. The Okanagan Nation Alliance includes many indigenous first nation bands in my area, the Similkameen area and the Colville band in the United States. Much of their culture predates Canada and the United States.
    How would this law then apply if a Colville band member or Okanagan band member were to film stories that predate Canada or the United States in Washington state on Colville tribal grounds? Would that count as Canadian content even though first nations see themselves as part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance? I would like some clarity from the member.

  (1520)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is a really good question. I assume that type of conversation will arise at committee when we talk about the bill in further detail.
    I agree that indigenous history is not limited to the land that is currently Canada. Certainly indigenous nations and various different indigenous peoples walked across borders that did not exist then. It is really important that we recognize that. I am so grateful that we have so many incredible indigenous content creators across our country on new technologies, like Instagram. I follow so many and I learn so much. Earlier this month, my friend from Sydney—Victoria sent me a video so that I could learn a little more about treaty rights in Canada.
    I am constantly learning, as we all are. This is certainly one of those things that we need to take into consideration. Canadian history, as we call it, includes the last 160 years or so, but the land that we are so fortunate to be on, to gather on and thank indigenous people for allowing us to share with them, its history is far greater than that.
    Mr. Speaker, the member and I collaborated on a cross-partisan video talking about the need for Canadians, all of us, to come together to follow public health guidelines. I want to thank the member for his leadership on that.
    We are in a public health crisis. Right now cultural workers and local media workers are scared about job losses, because of unfair competition from web giants. They were expecting the government to take concrete action.
    The Liberals must ensure that web giants like Netflix are contributing enough in the creation of French-language content, that they contribute as much as local broadcasters and that these funds are administered independently and transparently. However, the secret deal with Netflix and the federal government's refusal to subject Netflix to the same tax rules as our local companies show that the Liberals are still too close to the web giants.
    Could the member comment on his party's close relationships with these web giants?
    Mr. Speaker, of course, I always appreciate the opportunity to collaborate in a multipartisan and non-partisan way with members like my colleague from Victoria.
    This is a good question. For the first time, the bill actually recognizes the French fact and the importance of investing in francophone stories and music. I hope that encourages people, including those who are learning French, like me and my colleague from Victoria, but also ensures that a portion of this funding is devoted to the creation, availability and discovery of francophone programming.
    Broadcasting is absolutely an essential medium for sharing our experiences with each other, but at the same time this is about competition and the competitive nature of the media landscape around the world. As much as we need to work with producers and the platforms, we need to make sure they are paying their share. After looking at the bill, I am really confident that we are going to make sure the web giants pay their share and contribute in a real way, not just a performative way but a real way, to the viability and competitiveness of Canadian media from producers here in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here in the chamber this afternoon. I will be splitting my time with my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Surrey—Newton.

[Translation]

    It is an honour to rise to debate Bill C-10. I want to take this opportunity to discuss an important issue that was raised by several members, namely, the best way to support our creators, including francophone creators.

[English]

    I want to first remind the House why the legislation is so important. Historically, under the Canadian broadcasting system, traditional broadcasting services, such as radio, TV and cable, were required to fund Canadian content, our stories and our songs. However, the emergence of online broadcasting services, such as Netflix, Crave, Spotify and QUB Musique, which are not subject to the same types of regulatory requirements as traditional services, has resulted in a regulatory imbalance that jeopardizes the future of Canadian content funding.
    The bill seeks to ensure that traditional and online broadcasting services are appropriate for Canada's creative sector. Of course these contributions must benefit a wide range of Canadian creators and consumers, including francophones across the country, as I heard from my colleagues in the opposition.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    I now want to speak about the issue of support for francophone creators and French-language content produced by francophone minority communities.
    First, it is important to recognize that this is a key issue and that the concerns expressed by stakeholders are entirely legitimate. We must not forget about the minority status of francophones in North America, which is dominated by the English world.
    Online broadcasting giants like Netflix and Spotify will not necessarily consider the needs of francophones in Canada, whether they live in Quebec or in a minority community in Canada. However, we know that television and radio are vitally important to language, culture and the identity of the francophone minority in North America.
    It goes without saying that measures are needed to support and promote francophone history and music. We agree on that, especially now that online broadcasters have turned Canada's broadcasting sector upside down, and the French-language market is no exception.
    Online broadcasters present unique challenges regarding the availability and promotion of online content in French, and especially content produced by our francophone minority communities. I want to point out that 47% of francophones watch primarily English content on Netflix. That is a departure from traditional television, where 92% of the francophone market tunes in to French-language programming.
    Similarly, the appetite for English-language films and audiovisual productions has been increasing for years, as has funding from foreign investors, but the average budget of French-language productions has decreased, and these productions receive little funding from foreign investors.
    On the music and digital platforms front, in 2017 there were just six French Canadians in the top 1,000 most popular streaming artists in Canada.

[English]

    Obviously we must act, but how? Some have proposed to include quotas or mandatory investment thresholds for French-language content in the Broadcasting Act.
    At first glance, this may seem like the best way to remedy the problem, but what is it really? The fact of including a mandatory investment threshold in the act fixes it permanently and, as the Minister of Canadian Heritage rightly pointed out, the minimum is likely to become the maximum.
     There is no reason to cut funding for French-language content in this way. A better way to do this is to give instructions to the CRTC, telling it to ensure that an appropriate portion of the funding is devoted to the creation of French-language programming and to take into account the difficulties inherent in the creation and broadcasting of French-language programming, particularly in minority communities.
    This is how our government suggests we proceed. Regulation is a flexible tool that allows action to be taken that is in tune with technological advances, the development of industry and the values of Canadian society. It should be noted that the CRTC has long overseen the application of a rigorous regulatory framework of traditional services to support and promote French-language content. The CRTC's record is unambiguous. It has demonstrated a firm commitment to the imposition of regulations that ensure support for francophone creators.
    Thanks to the CRTC's efforts, for the past 10 years the volume of French-language television production has been stable and represents 25% of the total volume of Canadian television production. The efforts of the CRTC have also served to promote French-language music. French-language radio stations must devote at least 65% of their weekly programming to this purpose, from popular music to French-language music. The CRTC can be expected to put in place an equally stringent regulatory framework for online broadcasters. It will ensure that it provides fair and equitable support for Canadian content in both official languages and that it takes into account the specific needs of francophone creators across Canada.
    We all agree that action must be taken to support francophone creators and French-language content across Canada, its primordial, and also all creators and content creators in Canada. Our bill and the instructions it gives will give the CRTC all the tools it needs to ensure that funding and regulations support Canadian content in both official languages, but also indigenous, multicultural, real Canadian content and just a window into Hollywood.
    This is the best approach to ensure that Canada's creators can continue to create audio and audiovisual works that reflect who we are as a country. The creation of content in both official languages is an essential cultural objective. Regardless of technological or other advances in the broadcasting sector, this modern and equitable legislative and regulatory framework will provide unequivocal support to broadcasters, producers and creators across Canada.
    I encourage all members of this honourable House to hastily send the bill to committee to be improved and to deliver real changes to the broadcasting sector, which it has been requesting for so long.

  (1530)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, I want to pay all my respects to my colleague. I have a lot of fun with him and a lot of respect when we work together in the parliamentary committee. I also want to pay all my respect for the quality of his French. The member is working very hard on the quality of his French, like some of my colleagues from B.C. I deeply appreciate it when each and every member of Parliament tries the best to speak his or her second language. French is the second language for an anglophone and English is my second language because I am a francophone.

[Translation]

    My question has to do with the two official languages and the bill being debated today. The member talked about a number of aspects of this bill, but there was one that he left out. The Liberals often boast about how there will be a lot of new online productions, but the bill does not contain any requirements relating to Canada's two official languages.
    Why?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent for those very kind comments. I encourage all members of the House to have a vigorous debate at this stage of the legislative process. Let us get the bill to committee, where the committee members can put forward their amendments and ideas and the full committee can rigorously debate those. Let us always try to improve all legislation that comes forth from this honourable House.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, Quebec culture is at the heart of the Bloc Québécois's mission.
    Broadcasting is no doubt the most effective tool to disseminate culture and help define the national identity. Obviously, the Bloc Québécois supports the modernization of the Broadcasting Act, given the astounding evolution of information and communication technologies.
    However, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters is concerned. According to the CAB, 50 radio stations could shut down in the next four to six months and 150 others could follow suit in the next 18 months.
    What does the government plan to do about those losses?

  (1535)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, a vibrant Canadian cultural sector in both official languages is very important to me. I am excited and proud to say that my children are enrolled in French immersion and are learning French.
    With respect to the hon. member's questions and comments, we of course want a vigorous debate on how we can strengthen and maintain all our services in both official languages and truly be the bilingual country we are and strive to be on a daily basis.
    Mr. Speaker, as a person who represents a very rural and remote riding, one thing that concerns me greatly is how important our local Canadian content is. We know the Yale report outlined clearly that Google and Facebook were receiving nearly 75% of online advertising revenue in Canada, which really leaves local television and newspapers receiving only 8.5% of that Internet advertising.
     When I think about the local papers in my riding and how important they are, I want to ensure they get the support they need. Could the member talk about why the government continues to push this further down the line when what we really need is for these web giants to pay their fair share so our local content can be saved?
    Mr. Speaker, we all need to support our local newspapers.
     When I was a young individual, I delivered the Prince Rupert Daily News door to door. That was great content for households in the hometown in which I grew up.
     Today we need to modernize many aspects of our legislative framework in telecommunications and broadcasting. Bill C-10 is one part of that.
     Let us get the bill to committee stage where there can be a vigorous debate. We know that with the world evolving as it is and with technological change, it is very important our legislative frameworks and structures correspond to that and that we continue to update them.
    Canadian content is very important for me, for our government and for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Mr. Speaker, could the parliamentary secretary comment on why this is so important now? According to some statistics I have, 32% of streamers are between the ages of 25 and 35, and 22% are between the ages of 35 and 45. It seems that the older we get the less likely we are to listen to online content, but the younger generations in particular do.
     Why is it so important to implement this now, given that it is the younger generations that are using online content for those experiences?
    Mr. Speaker, we see the trends for content consumption and the platforms that are utilized. Currently, online undertakings that deliver audio and audiovisual content are exempt from licensing. We want to ensure the regulatory requirements that the traditional broadcasters and platforms have are extended to those online undertakings. We need to ensure a vigorous framework for broadcasters, which is what we are doing with Bill C-10.
     I again encourage all my hon. colleagues to get the bill to committee stage so the learned committee members can have a vigorous debate and put forth even more ideas that could potentially improve the bill, and have the process to continue.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Vaughan—Woodbridge for sharing his time and for his willingness to work with other members of Parliament across the nation.
    I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act. It is sad that in the digital age in which we are living, the law is rarely able to keep up with technological advancements. This digital revolution, referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, is characterized by a pace of breakthroughs that we have never seen before. Every industry in every country around the world is being disrupted. As a result, it is impacting production, management and governance.
    A 2016 paper from the World Economic Forum on the fourth industrial revolution makes one point very clear. The only way for governance and regulation to work in such a complicated environment is to operate with a clear foundation of values rather than playing regulatory catch-up. This is the essence of the bill.
    With audio and audiovisual content being offered for mass consumption online over the past two decades, Canada has been exposed when it comes to fostering Canadian content, as has been done for decades through the CRTC. Supporting the telling of Canadian stories, giving a platform to Canadian voices and sharing Canadian perspectives for our population from coast to coast to coast has always been a challenging issue with Canada being located next to the largest producer of content in the world; that being the United States.
    The CRTC is unique in that it is not only a regulatory agency but, rather, a key component of our Canadian cultural landscape. It serves as the primary actor in facilitating Canadian content production to the broadcasting sector. It is our path toward preserving local culture as well as our national identity.
    Since the Broadcasting Act was last updated in 1991, Canadians' consumption of content has changed dramatically. Millions of Canadians have cut the cable, so to speak, and are receiving their news and entertainment through online platforms. As an example, as of 2019, Netflix is present in 62% of Canadian households, with other streaming services continuing to grow year after year.
    To give some context on how large digital content consumption has become in Canada, it is estimated that revenues for Canada's digital media market will hit over $4.7 billion in 2020. This number is skyrocketing when compared to other forms of media consumption, such as television and radio. In other words, updating our Broadcasting Act is long overdue.
    The streaming that we now consume in the comfort of our homes carries stories from across the globe as consumers have never had more choices and access to such a diversity of content. However, that also means that Canada's history of promoting and supporting Canadian content must be extended into the realm that so many of us rely upon daily.

  (1540)  

    We are lawmakers, and we have an obligation to not unduly disadvantage Canadian content creators in the digital era. We have an obligation to do everything in our power to ensure the diverse voices that make up our country, including indigenous peoples, racialized communities and persons with disabilities, have the same ability to share their stories as the international content producers that are so readily available to us now.
    This is where the intent of the Broadcasting Act becomes so apparent. As mentioned, our lives are filled with receiving and consuming online content. We might wake up in the morning and check the news headlines on our phones or other digital devices, which of course was a role filled in the past by news publications: independent media.
    We might now stream music on our commute to work, as opposed to traditional radio that might have filled our vehicles or headphones. In the evening when we get home from work, we might then search through our favourite streaming service to find a show or movie we can relax to. This is just a very general snapshot of the types of activities and choices of content in 2020.
    Of course, this is particularly heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, where social interaction is now regularly replaced by consumption of this content.
    Ultimately, Bill C-10 is defined by the principles of equality, inclusivity and, most importantly, by Canadian content creators and sustainability. While this legislation would modernize the CRTC's enforcement powers and update the oversight and information-sharing provisions it has available, ultimately it is about creating opportunity through collaboration. It is about mandating the streaming services that want access to the Canadian marketplace to meet certain broadcasting obligations that provide financial support to allow for more Canadian content to be produced and consumed.
    While members across the House might attempt to characterize this bill as an example of over-regulation or limiting free speech, the reality is far different. Simply put, this is an update to our Broadcasting Act that would allow Canadian stories to be produced. It would allow Canadian consumers to have ample access to such stories and, most importantly, it would allow our unique cultural identities to have ongoing security and opportunity in the rapidly evolving digital world.
    In conclusion, I hope this bill is widely supported by all parties in the House as it is an update that goes beyond politics or ideology. For the most part, technology moves far faster than we do as legislators. This legislation is a tool that would ensure we are always ahead of the curve in preserving our diverse voices in the age of digitization. This is about ensuring Canadian content can thrive for generations to come, and ultimately, there should be no party or member in the House who can argue with this fundamental principle.
    I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on this important piece of legislation today.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member opposite. He is from British Columbia, and I certainly understand many of his positions, but I do not agree with them, and I will say why.
    First of all, many members today have said that they specifically support this because they want to see diversity, they want to hear indigenous voices, and they want to hear young people and have their voices magnified. However, Irene Berkowitz and her colleagues put out the “Watchtime Canada” report last year, which said that there are 160,000 Canadian YouTube creators who produce content, and 40,000 of them are monetizing: that is, they are actually drawing funds from YouTube's model, and they employ 28,000 Canadians.
    The problem we have here is that the member and many in his caucus believe that Google, the owner of YouTube, is a broadcaster in the traditional sense. If this government forces this legislation onto the CRTC, then those YouTube creators, who actually create the content, may be forced to adhere to these rules. They may then elect to actually have their Canadian-drawn content pushed out to other parts of the world, and would not advertise, would not show up here in Canada, because they would not qualify under the rules.
    Does the member understand that, by changing this, it is a misperception that YouTube would somehow respond by forcing all of these small ma-and-pa content creators to change their business model? I think the member is mistaken.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for having his own opinions, and he is welcome to have them.
    Certainly, when it comes to this regulation, the broadcasting bill that we brought forward is long overdue to make sure that we are able to protect our Canadian identity, that we are able to protect our Canadian culture, that we are able to protect indigenous voices and racialized voices, and this will—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasize the importance of local radio.
    Local broadcasting is essential because local information cannot be covered in national news reports. Local radio stations are needed to cover municipal and school news. They also mean local journalists, local artists who can send in their productions, and local jobs.
    These radio stations could be decimated over the next few months if we do not take action. In my riding, there are two radio stations that I love to listen to. They are Radio Acton and Boom FM. What will I tell those stations about targeted support and the more flexible regulations that they need in this time of crisis?
    Why is there nothing about that in Bill C-10?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, i n fact, on the issue the member raised, I met with a local media outlet just last week that produces the local paper, and it had a similar concern that the hon. member raised. Earlier, an NDP member from British Columbia raised the same issue.
     I fully support the member's thought process, and this bill is a positive step moving forward. When it comes to local papers and local radio, I am fully supportive of that. Certainly, in the coming months we will have legislation, if we all work together, to help those local papers and radio stations in our communities.
    Mr. Speaker, I just want to comment on the fact that the Liberals are promising to rebalance the market between the traditional TV platforms and the new digital platforms, but they are kicking those decisions off to the CRTC.
    How can they live up to those promises?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier in my speech, once this bill has gone through the House, the government is alloting more money and more resources to make sure that we are able to take care of those issues that the hon. member has mentioned.

  (1555)  

Points of Order

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The purpose of my intervention this afternoon is to address the House on the report tabled today by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Throughout my 25 year career as a lawyer and my time as a member of Parliament, I have always taken my ethical and disclosure obligations seriously. I understand and accept the commissioner's report that finds that I filed my complete disclosure statement past the required deadline. My initial disclosure statement was filed in January of this year with additional information provided more recently, and I apologize for not fully completing all of my disclosure obligations when I filed in January. I assure the House that it was not my intention, nor did I withhold any information.
    The House appreciates the information passed along by the hon. member.
    We will now resume debate and the hon. member for Saskatoon—Grasswood.
[Government Orders]

[English]

Broadcasting Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to have the opportunity this afternoon to speak to Bill C-10. It is an act to amend the Broadcasting Act. Updating this Broadcasting Act is crucially important. The statutes in the act provide the guidelines for everything in our media industry, from how our Canadian broadcasters operate to how we support Canadian content and production.
    Updating it right now is particularly important because, as we know, the Broadcasting Act has not really been updated at all since 1991, a long time before Internet companies and online streaming services were competing with Canadian broadcasters.
    It is deeply disappointing that the government’s proposals are so incredibly lacking. I am going to focus in on four points today. First, the legislation does nothing to address social media companies, such as Facebook and Google, and their various properties, such as YouTube, to pay its fair share. Second, it does not bring digital platforms, such as Netflix and Spotify, into a system in which they are on a level playing field with the conventional Canadian broadcasters.
    Third, it does not provide any details on Canadian content production and media fund contributions by digital broadcasters. Finally, it gives all of the power to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, commonly known as the CRTC, which is a body that is not only ineffective at regulating in its area, but that also often struggles to even enforce its own regulations.
    Before I dive into the details of this bill, I want to give some background. A lot of people in the House know that prior to my election, I spent over 40 years as a radio and television broadcaster here in the province of Saskatchewan.
    During my broadcasting career, I experienced first-hand the dramatic evolution of those industries and how Canadians interact with their media. When I first entered the industry back in the 1970s, radio and television were the dominant forces of entertainment here in this country.
    Over time, as television became more and more accessible and mainstream, demand for radio really declined. More recently, we can look at music streaming services such as Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music, which have attracted many Canadians away from radio. This has resulted in many stations across the country being forced to either greatly downsize or shut down entirely. We have seen that here in Saskatchewan.
     I will give some details on the radio industry. Right now, a lot of stations in Saskatchewan run for only 12 hours. They will come on at six in the morning and broadcast until six at night. They will then have repeat programming for the next 12 hours. This is disturbing. It is hard to find a live disk jockey or newscast at night because these stations only run 12 out of 24 hours.
    It is disturbing because, as a young broadcaster back in the 1970s, that was how one learned the business, by working nights and late nights. That has been taken away from people in this province. It is hard to find a live announcer after 7 p.m. on any Saskatchewan radio station.
    Major conglomerates have gobbled up some of the radio industries in Saskatchewan. Stations in places such as Prince Albert, North Battleford, and even the satellite feeder in Meadow Lake, are now part of the Pattison Group.
    We have seen a sort of renaissance in the province with smaller radio stations trying to make it on the FM dial, such as Humboldt and recently Assiniboia. This past January, Nipawin got its licence for the first time in the north-east area of Saskatchewan. There was an intervention by one of the big players in the country, but today Nipawin has its own FM radio station. It got approval from the CRTC in January.
    I would be remiss to not mention MBC radio, of the Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation. It is Saskatchewan's only indigenous radio station, and it is located in La Ronge. For some 10 hours a week, it broadcasts in Dene, and for another 10 hours a week, it broadcasts in Cree.

  (1600)  

    With this bill, Bill C-10, this is where I would really like the CRTC to concentrate. We have seen that this station uses Cree along with Dene up in northern Saskatchewan. It is needed. In fact, during the election I caught a 30-second advertising spot by a candidate done in Dene, telling the people up there to vote for him or her. It was kind of interesting. It was really good.
    I also had the fortunate opportunity to go to Nunavut just two years ago. I went to eight communities up there. They speak a lot of English. Inuit and Inuktitut are spoken as well. I went up there and saw the people up in Nunavut, including Chesterfield Inlet, Arviat, and so on. That is their way of communicating.
    This is my concern today with the CRTC. How is it going to look after this whole Bill C-10, and the Broadcasting Act? It is big. We have a big country. I have just pointed out the needs in Nunavut and northern Saskatchewan. There are many other places in this country. This is a very, very big bill.
    Similarly, streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and even Disney+, are increasingly becoming the default source of entertainment for many across the country. Many television studios are struggling and beginning to downsize and cut costs. We saw that today with the announcement from Rogers.
    Much like their radio counterparts, television stations here in Saskatchewan have been forced to make cuts. Many local stations have either been shut down or have really reduced staff. I can tell the House that, as a former broadcaster in that province, I remember when Swift Current had its own television station.
    Yorkton and Prince Albert are repeater stations now. Prince Albert rebroadcasts Saskatoon, and Yorkton rebroadcasts Regina. I remember at one time that CKBI, Prince Albert television, had over 80 staff. We do not have that any more, so we can see that the industry is coming down. Swift Current no longer has a TV station. Yorkton basically has two or three people, and the same thing at CKBI Prince Albert.
    For a long time, I think that sports was considered the bedrock of television. While television series could always be recorded, watching sports live had a particular importance. No one wanted to miss that big game or have the results spoiled.
    However, today even sports, a sector that has long thrived based on live television, is moving away from the traditional broadcasts. Services such as NHL GameCenter, Dazn, Sportsnet NOW, and TSN Direct allow sports fans to watch their favourite teams from wherever they would like. They can flip between games and even watch multiple games at once.
    I will make this point. I remember the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The president of Bell Media was in line for the gold medal game, the women's hockey gold medal game. There was a big crowd in Vancouver. No one could get into the game on time, but at that time the game was streamed.
    The president of Bell Canada went on his phone and watched the game. He turned to his assistant while he was in line and said that this was the future of broadcasting, and that Bell Canada had to buy it. That was in 2010. Lo and behold, a short time after, Bell reacquired the CTV television network.
    The reality today is that the way most of us here in the House of Commons consumed entertainment growing up is no longer the norm. Many growing up today would consider it simply out of date or even obsolete.
     Certainly, even though many of these changes have been revolutionary and have benefited consumers, they have created many problems for the Canadian broadcasting sector. Our laws and regulations need to be updated to match the changes of the last 30 years. That raises this question: What exactly needs to be fixed in a modernized broadcasting act?

  (1605)  

    The Internet giants such as Netflix and Spotify are simply not paying their fair share. These companies do not pay taxes. They are not required to pay into the Canada Media Fund, as conventional broadcasters are today. They are not required to meet the Canadian content requirements that conventional broadcasters are bound by.
    As more and more attention is paid to major streaming giants, and they are taking up more and more of the market share, conventional Canadian broadcasters, both at the local and the national level, are being pinched out, and they know that.
    The current circumstances not only create an uneven playing field, they also put Canadian broadcasters at a significant disadvantage in having to allocate their resources, when Internet giants simply do not have to do that. The Broadcasting Act clearly needs to be updated for the world that is dominated today by the Internet.
     Unfortunately, the legislation that the government has put forward to us today is wholly inadequate in addressing the issues that I just laid out. Let us begin taking a look at what the government's main solution seems to be in Bill C-10. I think they are passing the buck solely to the CRTC. It is unfortunate the government is simply passing off the responsibility to the unelected body that has historically had many issues fulfilling its own mandate, particularly on this issue.
    At the beginning of this year, the Canadian Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review panel tabled its report, known as the “Yale report”. In fact, I attended that news conference in Ottawa in January when the panel released its 94 recommendations. That news conference lasted almost two hours. There were plenty of questions directed at the panel, and it was directed by conventional broadcasters.
    Many of them expressed concerns about some of the 94 recommendations that were made that day. The objective of the panel was to review the current broadcasting and telecommunications framework and present possible paths forward for Canadian broadcasting.
    While I have my own issues with some of the recommendations in this report, one thing that has been raised as a major concern in my meetings with industry stakeholders is that the Yale report makes it clear that the CRTC already has the power to regulate Internet giants like Netflix. That surprised a lot of people.
    If the CRTC can already regulate Netflix and its online counterparts, why has it not done so? Let us be clear here. The CRTC, the Canadian broadcasters and the government have all known for years what the impact of the unregulated online market is. It is crushing Canadian broadcasters. The CRTC done absolutely nothing with the power that it has to regulate, despite having had years to act.
    One cannot help but wonder if the Canadian media today would be in a much better state if it were not for the CRTC's lack of desire to actually take some action. This bill would not change that. It simply reiterates it. It restates a power that the CRTC already has and has opted not to use, so why would it use it now? There is absolutely no reason to believe that the CRTC is going to change now, when there is no compulsion to do so.
    Even if the CRTC decided to finally take the steps that it has had the power to do for years and regulate the web giants, I am highly skeptical that they would bother to enforce them. Sure, the government claims that this legislation before us today would modernize the CRTC's enforcement powers to ensure compliance with hypothetical regulations that the CRTC is not bound to actually make, but we already know that the CRTC does not necessarily use the powers that it is given.
    On the specific issue of enforcement, I remember during my time as a broadcaster that when the licence renewal would come up every five years, everyone would be on their best behaviour in the station. Station management would make sure that everything was perfect for its hearings with the CRTC. Once it gave us the licence renewal, we would not hear from the CRTC again until five years later. The CRTC did not follow up to make sure we were abiding by the terms of our licence at all.
    I also think about a more recent example of the CRTC simply failing Canadians. Earlier this year, at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBC decided to pull Compass, its 30-minute local news program in Prince Edward Island. It is the only local news for P.E.I., and CBC took it off the air.

  (1610)  

    At a time when islanders needed their local news the most, the CBC abandoned them. What did the CRTC do? Absolutely nothing. It was only through the outrage of viewers in that area that the CBC brought Compass and the newscasts back to the people of Prince Edward Island.
    If the CRTC is not going to act when Canadians need it the most, how can we expect it to actually act in the best interests of Canadians when it comes to Internet giants?
    I remember an instance when Global doing something similar here in the city. In Saskatoon we had a newscast that actually came out of Toronto. The CRTC was unaware of that, but it has since been rectified in the city.
    I think everyone here can understand my skepticism today of putting all of our eggs into one basket by dumping this onto the CRTC. However, for the sake of argument, let us pretend it is not an issue. Let us pretend that the regulator has absolutely no issues with fulfilling its mandate. Are there are any other problems with the bill?
    Let us start with social media. The legislation does nothing to ensure that online platforms, such as Facebook and Google, that have built their businesses by sharing other people's content are paying their fair share. In fact, the bill absolves those companies from responsibility for content posted on their platforms.
    Then we need to consider what measures are being proposed to make sure that conventional broadcasters are on a level playing field with digital platforms. The reality is there is nothing. It gives no guidance or explanation of how the regulations or guidelines should be created or drawn.
    Finally, this legislation provides no guidelines at all as to whether or not digital platforms will be forced to meet the same Canadian content production rules or be required to make payments into the Canada Media Fund. All of our conventional broadcasters must still meet these requirements. This sounds nothing like levelling the playing field.
    However, we should not worry if this does not go well, because the government is here to save the day. It can settle issues with an order in council afterwards. Instead of being clear with broadcasters and Canadians, the government is going to wait a little longer and potentially implement policy later. That is simply not a plan. Broadcasters cannot prepare for the future while these discussions and regulations are created behind closed doors.
    Who could blame Canadians if they begin to wonder what the government is planning to implement that it is not willing to put in today's legislation. What is it hiding? The government has not told us.
    Let us review. There is no guarantee that the CRTC will actually fulfill its obligations and produce regulations. It could have before, and it did not. If it does, will it enforce them?
    What about the rules for platforms and conventional broadcasters? What are they going to look like? The bill does not tell us. We do not know what the rules around the Canada Media Fund or even Canadian content will be. There is nothing new for dealing with social media platforms.
    What do we know? Well, not a lot, actually. What we do have is a lot of uncertainty.
    The government is leaving the whole process up in the air with regard to the CRTC. Industry cannot be sure what the government is going to do to regulate in this area because it has totally neglected this in the past. Even if it does, it is going to take months for Canadians to hear anything from the CRTC, and that means months of more uncertainty at a time when our media industry is already greatly struggling.
    I want to reiterate my serious concern about the legislation before us today. Canadian broadcasters and creators are struggling mightily. We know that. The government needs to do something to remedy the situation.
    The power to regulate companies like Netflix already exists under the CRTC, but it has chosen not to act and this legislation does not compel it to. What reason do Canadians have to believe that the CRTC will bring in new regulations or that they will be enforced?

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague clearly knows a lot about the industry regarding how it has developed over the years, the challenges it has gone through, the challenges it is dealing with now and where he thinks things need to go.
    He pointed out a total of four problematic areas that he saw with regard to the bill. I realize from his comments that he sees a genuine concern and need to make adjustments as we go forward.
    I have a simple question for him. Will he support the bill at this stage so that it can go to committee and he can contribute the extremely meaningful input that will produce a better bill at the committee stage?
    Mr. Speaker, this is a tough bill to support. I just gave a 20-minute speech about the reasons why I am hesitant to support it.
    We all know that Canadian broadcasters are suffering, and the bill does little. It is disappointing because from 1991 to today, nearly 30 years, we have not touched this issue. In seeing the bill come out now, 28 years later, I ask the member this: What would a bill look like today if we went 28 years further, to 2048?
    I am a little disappointed, and today I cannot not support the bill going forward in the House.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the bill before us, which we are currently discussing, purports to institute a degree of governance.
    In other words, web and video giants, including streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime and Netflix, would be subject to the Broadcasting Act. One might say it is about time.
    Does my colleague think it is okay that digital giants have been calling the shots in this country for so long?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, the bill has been 28 years in the making. Industry is changing fast right now, with the Internet and the technology changes. I wanted to see more about the Internet giants in the bill. We did not get that. The way Netflix, Spotify and others are going, this should have been considered first and foremost.
    I am a little disappointed in the Minister of Canadian Heritage for not pointing that out in the bill. I have heard many people say today that it can go to committee and we will work on it. Why did the Liberals not work on it here? They have known the problems with the CRTC not regulating the industry, which is why we have a meltdown right now with Canadian broadcasters, but they have not dealt with it.
    I am a little skeptical, going forward, to trust the CRTC because it has not dealt with this, even though we know about the carnage taking place in the broadcasting industry each and every day.
    Mr. Speaker, I share a number of concerns that the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood raised, particularly about web giants being required to pay their fair share and about supporting Canadian content and Canadian content producers. I certainly share his skepticism with regard to the efficacy of the government when it comes to making good on the commitments that it makes.
    I recall hearing some of the member's Conservative colleagues speak against Canadian content requirements, saying they just create market distortions. I have watched as Conservative governments of the past made deep cuts to the CBC. I have watched as Conservative governments of the past criticized others, like the NDP, for raising the idea of taxing web giants. They called it a Netflix tax at the time.
    The member had criticisms for the government, and we heard a lot of them in his speech, which is fair enough. However, I would like to know what the Conservative Party is proposing as a way forward to ensure not only that web giants pay their fair share, but also that we are able to support Canadian content and Canadian content creators. What are some constructive ideas that the Conservatives can put on the table? So far I am not aware of any, and I did not pick up on any in the member's 20-minute speech.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think foreign Internet broadcasters should be contributing to Canadian content. It is extremely tough for Canadian broadcasters to make 30% of their programming Canadian only and put it on during prime time, from 7:00 to 9:00 or 7:00 to 10:00 at night. The CFL and NHL are considered Canadian programming, but as we have seen with Corner Gas, Murdoch Mysteries and Schitt's Creek, we need a device to get more Canadian programming produced in this country so that we have avenues on CTV, Global, CBC and so on to put it on during prime time. We have seen the success of the three shows I mentioned.
    As for the CBC, I think it needs to be modernized. Our leader, the member for Durham, mentioned this during the leadership race. He is exactly right that it does need to be modernized.
    Mr. Speaker, some of the stories and anecdotes the member shared were familiar to me, as I am somebody who has worked in radio and television.
    I agree that the CRTC should be regulating Internet giants and we should be getting them to pay their fair share of taxes in this country. This is Disney, Amazon, Netflix and so on. What the member missed is DZAN, which is taking all of the sports broadcasting revenue that really helps with CanCon in this country. Sports programming is a cash cow for broadcasters and this has all been soaked up by DZAN. It is another company that needs to be taxed properly.
    Would the hon. member agree that YouTube and Facebook are indeed publishers rather than platforms and that the information published on their websites by users should be regulated in terms of its content? A lot of misogyny, racism and misinformation is put on these sites. Would the hon. member agree that we should be treating these companies as publishers rather than platforms?
    Mr. Speaker, I have talked to stakeholders and industry people about this, and YouTube is completely unregulated in Bill C-10. It has been 28 years since we last updated the Broadcasting Act. Where do members think YouTube is going to be in the next 28 years? Should we be regulating YouTube? Sure we should be regulating it. That is my personal opinion. It is one thing we have talked to industry and stakeholders about. They are concerned that YouTube is not involved in this.
    Only two provinces in Canada have a tax on Netflix. One is Saskatchewan and the other is Quebec. It is being taxed in only two jurisdictions, and I would say that it is getting away with murder in the rest of the provinces and territories.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, my friend and colleague from Saskatoon—Grasswood touched on something that is dear to my heart and that I know is to his. We should understand Corner Gas and where it comes from. Small communities in Saskatchewan and all over Canada are dealing with trying to make certain they are able to get the information they need.
    When we talk about those communities, we can talk about Dog River and Wullerton. These types of communities are all over the place, and they understand the lack of access they have, particularly community newspapers, which are trying to level the playing field by getting federal legislation requiring Facebook and Google to pay for the news content they use from local and national publications.
    I am wondering if the member sees any similarities between that comment and the legislation.
    Mr. Speaker, with the replays of Corner Gas, set in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, it is more popular today worldwide, because it is going worldwide, than it was when it was first produced. Just this week, two old vehicles from Corner Gas were auctioned off and $1,800 was paid for a truck and $800 for the other vehicle. Rouleau has been put on the map worldwide because of Corner Gas. The main star of the program is Brent Butt, who is from Tisdale, Saskatchewan. The bill really needs to do some tinkering with regard to rural Saskatchewan and rural Canada.
    We have heard of the production houses in Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver, but at the end of the day, some of the best programming has come from rural Canada. The member is correct that we should look into this. What are the stories that can be told in northern Saskatchewan, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories?
     Part of the bill deals with indigenous issues and others, and this is a great opportunity for Canadians. There is APTN, out of Winnipeg. When it was launched, everyone said it would not be successful, but I think today it is the voice of indigenous peoples in this country. It has done a fabulous job since it has been put on the board here in Canada.
    I feel like the hon. member's producer down here, with this lifelong career radio personality. I am doing my best to manage his interventions this afternoon.

[Translation]

     Before resuming debate, I wish to inform the House that there have been more than five hours of debate on this motion during this first round. Consequently, the maximum time allocated for all subsequent interventions shall be 10 minutes for speeches and five minutes for questions and comments.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
    I understand that broadcasting identified me as the member for Edmonton Manning. I am actually the member for Souris—Moose Mountain.
    The House administration apologizes. That has occurred from time to time in broadcasts, but we will make sure it is corrected. Of course the Journals, the Debates, will reflect the proper riding name of the hon. member.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by acknowledging this House sits on the ancestral lands of the Algonquin Anishinabe.
    Canadians are enthusiastic early adopters of technology. Time and time again they have readily embraced the wide variety of broadcasting services available to them, foreign and domestic. These broadcasting services empower consumers with the ability to watch what they want whenever they want it and however they want it. The same goes for listening to music and hearing the news. Bill C-10 will not limit the ability of Canadians to access the programming platforms of their preference; rather, it will ensure the Canadian broadcasting system continues to meet the needs of Canadian consumers.
    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is the independent regulator of Canada's broadcasting systems. It requires television and radio stations and cable and satellite distributors to support the creation and display of Canadian stories and Canadian music. These are requirements that have been in place for decades and have resulted in greater investment and promotion of Canadian content and talent, including high-quality journalism, groundbreaking musical artists and compelling and acclaimed programming.
    However, in the current regulatory framework, online broadcasters are exempt from most broadcasting regulations. In other words, they are not required to contribute to the Canadian broadcasting system as is required of the traditional broadcasters. This is because the last time major changes were made to our Broadcasting Act was in 1991, before we experienced the new digital age and its challenges. We are well into the digital age now and it is time for our legislation to join us. It is time for online broadcasters to be treated the same as traditional broadcasters.
    Bill C-10 would create a level playing field where all broadcasters have a fair chance to compete by ensuring that online broadcasters are subject to the same regulatory framework. Most importantly, it ensures that both traditional and online broadcasters contribute to a healthy and vibrant Canadian broadcasting system. For Canadian artists, this means securing sustainable funding that will allow them to continue telling stories and making music from a uniquely Canadian perspective. For most consumers this means the ability to access more content that will allow Canadians to see themselves, their communities and their stories reflected through different points of view. For Canada it means a stronger cultural unity, a shared national identity and a more inclusive society.
    By presenting the content that is representative of different cultures, communities and languages from across Canada, broadcasting provides a window into the diverse experiences of Canadians. Made in Canada content is considered personally important to 78% of Canadians. It is clear that Canadians see value in seeing their stories on the screen and in hearing Canadian artists on the radio.
     I am proud to say that the interest in Canadian content exists far beyond our borders. The hit show Schitt's Creek recently brought home nine Emmys, the film Indian Horse won an award at the 2018 San Diego International Film Festival and Quebec native Céline Dion is one of the best worldwide selling artists of all time. The list goes on. Including online broadcasters in the broadcasting regulatory framework could result in online broadcasters being requested to invest more than $800 million in our creators, music and stories by 2023. It could result in more Canadian successes being enjoyed and recognized abroad.
    Whether getting traffic and weather updates or learning about the day's events from prime-time broadcasts, the broadcasting system is an important source of news for Canadians. Traditional broadcasters have long supported journalism and the delivery of local, regional and national news. By including a new policy objective that promotes the provision of news, including that produced by Canadians and reflecting Canadian perspectives from a variety of sources, we are strengthening the role of news in the broadcasting system.

  (1630)  

    Recognizing that a free and independent press is the cornerstone of our democracy, the bill would not contemplate the licensing of news organizations. However, the bill does create an equitable framework for broadcasting that will help safeguard news production. This way, traditional broadcasters who are important sources of news, and particularly local news, would be better able to compete with online broadcasting services.
    The bill was also crafted to keep both online and traditional broadcasting services affordable for Canadians. We understand that, every day, Canadians are making difficult choices on how to spend their hard-earned dollars. This is especially true during these trying times.
    Bill C-10 provides the CRTC with the ability to tailor regulatory requirements to specific business models. For example, the CRTC could impose mandatory Canadian programming expenditures on services that are already in the business of commissioning and producing content. Requiring services, such as Netflix and Crave, to spend a certain amount of money each year on Canadian content will help us move the needle on directing investments toward programming that is created and produced by Canadians, for Canadians. This will help the CRTC avoid imposing undue regulatory burdens on a particular service that would then result in raised prices for consumers.
    These are just some of the ways that Bill C-10 would benefit Canadian consumers, creators and artists. The exemption for digital services was originally put in place to allow for the innovation and development of new online media services. In 2020, when Canadians mostly access programming online, these exemptions no longer make sense.
    The inclusion of online broadcasters in the Canadian broadcasting system with regulatory clarity would promote the entrance of new players into the Canadian market. It supports a vibrant and healthy competition in the sector, creating additional pressures to keep costs down. For Canadian consumers, it leads to a wider variety of high-quality content, with a greater diversity of views in which Canadians proudly see themselves and their stories. After nearly 30 years, it is time to modernize our broadcasting system and to safeguard it for the future.

  (1635)  

    Mr. Speaker, workers in the broadcasting industry and our Canadian cultural workers are struggling. For many, time is running out.
    Why does the bill punt the problem to the CRTC, which means it could take almost a year before we see any real change. The government has a tendency of making promises and then kicking the can down the road. It has done this with some of the most pressing issues of our time. Today, the government tabled a climate accountability bill that does not have any real accountability measures for the next 10 years. It says it supports pharmacare, but when?
    It is so important that we support our cultural workers and workers in the broadcasting industry. If the Liberals truly want to fix their disastrous Netflix deal, why not do it now?
    Mr. Speaker, first, I do not agree with the terminology of kicking the can down the road. The CRTC is an organization that was established to focus on the industry and to do what is important for the industry in the interests of Canadians. Having the bill directed toward the CRTC and having these corrections in the hands of the CRTC is the appropriate place for them to be. I would liken it to going to see a surgeon when surgery is required, as opposed to going to a general practitioner. We are relying on an organization that has the strength, intelligence and experience to deal with the bill.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter, and yet the government is not moving from words to action. What is the federal government waiting for? We still have questions, and I think they are worth asking.
    We have been talking about medical assistance in dying since the beginning of this parliamentary session. Quebec is ahead on that front. Then there was the issue of conversion therapy. There again, Quebec is ahead. Since January 2018, web giants have been charging the QST, the Quebec sales tax. The federal government is watching the train leave the station. Meanwhile, the Liberals are able to build pipelines. Since January 2019, Amazon has had to charge QST, and even Facebook followed suit.
    There is nothing in this wishy-washy bill to make the web giants collect taxes and make their contribution. There is nothing to ensure that there is Canadian content either. We know that culture is not very important to the Liberal Party.
    Can my colleague tell us when the Liberals are going to require the web giants to charge tax?
    Are they waiting for another pipeline or another train to go by?

  (1640)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what we are doing is trying to move this bill forward. There is an opportunity, when this bill goes to committee, to listen to the suggestions that we have here. I am all for collaboration. I would like to see us have the benefit of the member's perspective, but let us do that in committee and let us implement that as we move the bill forward. We want to go ahead. All we need is to have the vote to take it to committee and start getting to work on this. Let us work together on it.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague from Newmarket—Aurora's speech and I am very interested in Bill C-10 and seeing it get to committee.
    The member made the point that this treats the live-streaming digital giants in the same way that we would treat other parts of our economy. I want to ask him if we do not need an amendment to direct that, in the case of outfits like Twitter and Facebook that are actually gutting our Canadian journalism, they be treated as publishers and not this fiction that they are platforms. Then, all the rules of libel and slander, etc. would apply to them.
    Mr. Speaker, the member raised some really good points. That is why it is important for us to get into committee, to hear that type of input so that we can build a better bill. The minister has said that he would welcome the other perspectives, we would welcome amendme