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Results: 1 - 15 of 283
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House as a father from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. We are grappling with a real crisis. Young women are getting dragged into a process that will destroy them. As a father, I am deeply troubled by that.
I know nothing about this subject, seeing as I am not a lawyer, but the point raised by my Conservative colleague caught my attention. It is true that $5,000 sounds like a paltry fine. I do not know much about this.
The government says that we have been talking about this for however many days and hours, but when it decides to cut our debate time short, it is not respecting the standard regarding the number of hours that should be allocated to debate on a given issue. The Liberals say it is fine, but this is an issue I really care about.
Do they think all bills should be debated for less time? Is the Minister of Justice trying to tell us that the parliamentary process in general is too long?
The debate on this issue does not seem like an appropriate place to save time. This is such a serious issue that we should have enough time to discuss it fully, but the Liberals are saying we have talked enough.
Does my colleague think the parliamentary process is too long? It seems to me that it is shorter in China.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, as part of this exchange, I would like to hear the Liberal government explain why it believes that tripling oil sands production will not triple pollution. It could have decided to support Alberta's economy, which I understand, by requiring the increased production to be offset by a decrease in emissions per barrel. However, there is no mention of that. This is an election ploy designed to obfuscate. The government is talking out of both sides of its mouth. I will ask a very straightforward question.
How can the Liberal government believe that tripling production will not triple pollution?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, about six months ago, on December 6, on behalf of the NDP, I joined forces with a group of about 50 MPs from the Green Party, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to call on this government to work with all parties and hold a kind of summit where everyone could agree on the importance of meeting these targets.
Sadly, six months on, I have yet to receive an answer from either the Conservatives or the Liberals.
How can that be, when my colleague just said we all need to work together?
He was perfectly right in saying that, but the government has a responsibility to bring people together to tackle a crisis that is like a major war.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni.
This is probably my last chance to express my opinion about this government.
I listened to my colleague from Malpeque, and I know his heart is in the right place. He talked about the new horizons for seniors program, which is a very good program in many of our ridings. It is indeed a success.
However, I listened to my other colleague who spoke before him about the government's social housing initiatives, and I had to work hard to keep from shouting. The truth is that places like Longueuil—Saint-Hubert need social housing. We do not spend enough time talking about that. Sadly, the poverty rate in the City of Longueuil and its two suburbs is incredibly high. Over a third of the children belong to families living below the poverty line. I know for a fact that we need social housing. The Longueuil housing office's waiting list now has over 2,000 names on it. We need this kind of initiative, but the Liberal government has never done more than talk about it.
Once again, we are seeing their obsession with always calculating the very best time to announce some big carrot they want to dangle in front of people right before the election. That is what they did. Even though that was two years ago, they told us they were investing $10 billion in social housing. What they have put on the table so far is really just peanuts. What will we get later? It will be a nice gift. We will see if Canadians are smart, if they have realized that they have to trust the blue bloods in the Liberal Party of Canada. Now we will get small carrots here and there; we will get what is to be expected. It is appalling.
The media industry is now in crisis. How are the Liberals going to support the media? They are offering more carrots. No changes were made to the legislation.
Getting back to the people of Longueuil, what did the government do right away? It eliminated the tax credit for public transit passes. That is fantastic. It is almost as good as pipelines. Let us encourage people to take the bus. Congratulations, that is fantastic. I will not even mention the subway, since we obviously still do not have our subway extension.
Quebec has a lot of needs and a lot of ambition, and we can be proud of that. People in Montreal and the rest of Quebec really want to use public transit. Are we going to get some support from higher up? I sure hope so. I would love to see some big announcements before the election. They had better be good, and the Liberals would do well to keep their word and not lose the election. I hope members on that side can really understand how things are for the people of Longueuil.
Longueuil has had the same metro station since 1967. It is 52 years old. Nothing has been built since. God knows we need more. The bridges in my riding, especially the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are constantly congested. When people need to get to Montreal, they do not even consider taking public transit because it takes two tickets to cross the river and the return trip costs $13, so they drive their cars.
In fact, that is why I am so passionate about electric cars and the electrification of transportation. The people in my community were early adopters because it seemed like we were always stuck in traffic. Many drivers ended up going electric. Again, we got peanuts for the electrification of transportation. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at least had the vision to support a few good projects, but the Department of Transport has not offered up a penny, for Pete's sake. How pathetic. Electric cars are nothing new. Tesla reinvented the car years ago, but Ottawa is asleep at the wheel.
Being here among the 338 MPs who represent the people of Canada is an incredible opportunity. It is time to wake up. We see a lot of apathy, especially on the other side of the aisle. I have said over and over how ashamed I am that this Parliament cannot stand up and make sure e-commerce is properly taxed, at least at the same rate as our own businesses. Peter Simons has opened a store here on Rideau Street, and what a store it is. It was not that guy from Amazon who did it; it was Peter Simons. He got people involved by investing his own money and hiring employees.
Taxes are to be expected, since they fund our services. Paying a tax is not a shame. Roads and hospitals do not pay for themselves, nor do the boats that keep us safe on the water.
The government is letting web giants into the country. Does Amazon, a competitor to Simons, for example, pay taxes? I am not so sure. People are always surprised to hear that someone who ordered a product on Amazon did not pay tax. This cannot work. We are not in a little village in 1812. This is 2019 in a G7 country. I am trying to refrain from swearing.
This is shameful. Why is the media in a crisis right now? The government thinks it is complicated and that it is a new paradigm. I remember I had an eBay account about 20 years ago. This is not a new paradigm, and that is not an excuse.
It is a fact that the Conservatives ignored this for 10 years. The Liberals are even worse. They have been calling this situation appalling for four years, but they are not doing anything. The truth is that the media sector is in one hell of a mess right now and has lost 16,800 jobs since 2008, and the Liberals are partly at fault, since they had four years to do something.
We do indeed need to amend legislation, but the government should have done it sooner. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, they said that they were going to change this because it is important. They said that they would consult, but they did not manage to get everyone together. A government is meant to be able to unite people. Did this government do so? Absolutely not. I do not want to sound alarmist, but that is the truth. Anyone in the culture industry would tell you that.
Currently, we are talking a lot about the 75th anniversary of the brave heroes who defended our democracy in the Second World War. That is what we call patriotism, correct? The person who made a documentary on the Second World War—I forget the name of the production company, but no matter—sold one million copies of his DVD. Three years later, or around four years ago, they made another documentary, this time on the First World War. I can see how people could have found it a little dated and would not have been as interested, but that is not the point. They sold 100,000 copies of this documentary.
The band Alfa Rococo received $16,000 in public performance royalties for one of their radio hits, which makes sense, given that the radio was playing their song. During the same period, they only got $11 from Spotify. Clearly, this is the kind of thing that influences the decision of whether to go into music or not. That said, we are all happy to have music.
The government is well aware of all the problems. This morning I was asked in an interview whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage is incompetent. I said that I believe he is not incompetent so much as powerless. He is powerless before the will of the Prime Minister and he is powerless before the intellectual dishonesty of the Minister of Finance, who, when asked why the GST is not applied to Netflix subscriptions or ads on Google and Facebook, always says that this is very complicated and it should be taken up with the G7 and the G20.
Most of the U.S. states apply a sales tax on accounts like that. Everyone is asked to pay sales tax. For example, when we go to a small-time garage to buy some washer fluid and the employee says it will cost $4 in cash but he will have to add the tax if we pay by credit card, we raise a disapproving eyebrow, but that is what we are allowing to happen.
I did the math. GST would cost Netflix roughly 75 cents a month per subscription. That is roughly $10 a year per subscription. Ten dollars times roughly ten million subscriptions is $100 million.
Do the Liberals not want that money? Canadians do. We need it. The Liberals have to wake up.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, in my response, I will consider the fact that my colleague is a former journalist and has the utmost respect for that profession, which is very important in our country.
The distribution of government support to the media, electronic or print, must be carried out in the most impartial way. We made several recommendations, such as supporting journalists independently of the platform they use. Naturally, the report was shelved because the Liberals are in the majority and are in charge at committees. I have been an MP for eight years and, unfortunately, most of the time, reports are shelved. That is disgraceful. The report had not even been tabled yet and the Prime Minister dismissed it, as did the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Several suggestions were made, in particular in Mr. Greenspon's report, which was not acted upon. What did the Liberals do? Just before the election, they realized that they needed to do something. They asked themselves who might be involved. They made a choice knowing that that would work to defeat the Conservatives, and told themselves it was not a problem, it would do the trick.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my heartfelt thanks to my colleague. I know she is doing a fantastic job in her riding. If anyone can talk about local media, it is her. I know that she writes for a local newspaper, for instance. These newspapers are often free, like the Pamplemousse in the riding of my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I will not make a joke about his riding's name.
Local media need support. Unfortunately, the program that was created specified that they needed to have at least two employees, which is often impossible for local media outlets. They did not get any support at all.
Many reports on this issue have recommended supporting local media in the transition to digital platforms. However, that requires Internet access, which is another thing the regions may not get.
The survival of our information and our culture is vital to our democracy.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question.
The first point in their motion reads:
(a) take note of the importance of a free and independent press to a healthy democracy;
The Conservatives want a “free and independent” press. Do they also want a sustainable press or do they want a dying one? From what I know, things are not going well.
What are they proposing?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I am beginning to feel like a parrot and it is getting tiresome. Why does another four years have to go by before something gets done?
He is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. His minister's predecessor launched the ecosystem review process four years ago.
It was passed from committee to committee, then there was a committee report, and then it went back to committee. The election will be over and still nothing will have been done.
How is it that the Liberal government has not accomplished anything in this regard in four years?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona.
I am happy that the masks are coming off today, because we are talking about something that the NDP has been concerned about for a long time. For around eight years, we have been standing up for Canadian news media and cultural content, and particularly in Quebec, where there is a great deal of provincial investment in businesses that offer such content. Furthermore, as a result of the changing paradigm, every investment the Government of Quebec makes involves greater risk.
Last night, the Québec Cinéma Gala celebrated the talents of director Ricardo Trogi, actor Debbie Lynch-White, actor Martin Dubreuil and Sara Mishara, who did the cinematography for the movie The Great Darkened Days. The Québec Cinéma team reminded us that Quebec is so good at telling its stories because of giants like Jean Beaudin and Jean-Claude Labrecque, who passed away last week.
A pioneer of filmmaking on nearly 100 Canadian films and keenly attuned to the evolution of Quebec society, Jean-Claude Labrecque, considered the filmmaker who captured the essence of Quebec, used to describe himself simply as the guy holding the camera. He did right by us, as the great man he was.
To pay tribute to Jean-Claude Labrecque is to pay tribute to the architect of what we inherited today. We inherited a system that allows us to tell our stories through fiction and documentaries, but also through the news media. It allows us to talk about our democracy and to monitor what our politicians do. That is precisely what is currently at stake, because of the partisan games and mediocrity we are seeing from Canada's two main parties.
Under the Conservatives we had 10 years of inaction. Ten years of acting like nothing happened. Then the Liberals came to power saying that something had to be done, that we absolutely needed to fix the problem. That was four years ago and they have done absolutely nothing since then. This government has done a poor job because it is afraid of the opposition. I am talking about the official opposition, of course, because the NDP has been fighting for this cause for at least four years, if not eight, since this issue was not as urgent at the time. This situation has truly deteriorated in no time at all.
It is unacceptable that 80% of Internet advertising revenue currently goes to the United States. All legislators in Canada should be ashamed. It is not unusual for a society that lives in the north, like ours, to import pineapples or bananas. However, we are now importing advertising signs. Is it not appalling that we are letting all our advertising investments go elsewhere? That is a pathetic trade record. Time and again I find myself having to face the fact that we have no backbone. We have to wake up and protect our industry. We have to stop being mesmerized by five different colour letters just because they represent the most beloved brand in the United States, by Republicans and Democrats alike. We need to wake up.
It is not Google's fault that we are slackers. It is not Netflix's fault that we have not asked it to collect the GST, our country's basic tax, which is a consumption tax. The Liberals will not do it for utterly embarrassing reasons. They are afraid that those opposite, the Conservatives, who only want to win the next election, will say that a Netflix tax will raise prices. Give me a break. All Canadians pay the GST on goods they purchase. That is normal. We pay for goods and services, but they will not charge the GST.
You should all be ashamed. I, for one, as a citizen of a country like Canada, am ashamed that we are not taking a stand and charging our consumption tax. That is just disgraceful. As we can see, this mainly concerns the GST.
The government has been avoiding the issue and thinking pretty highly of itself for four years. For the past four years, it has been ignoring other people's advice. For four years, it has been afraid of being known as the government that taxed Netflix, but come on, Netflix raised its rate by about 33% a year ago and nobody said boo. The Liberals say they will not charge the GST for that kind of service. They know they do not have a leg to stand on, but they will not do it. There might be questions at the year-end review. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are literally lying to us when they say taxing an intangible online service is complicated. They talk about seeking advice from their G7 and G20 friends. Seriously, though, this is a sales tax. What is the deal here? You are lying to our faces. This kind of situation—
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the fact is, we are here in a Parliament where the opposition is supposed to be able to propose things and take a constructive approach. I have been fighting for the media for eight years now, and the NDP has been working tirelessly to protect our stories and our journalism, to ensure a level playing field for everyone. It is not happening. We are not the only ones. In January 2017, a report entitled “Shattered Mirror” recommended the following:
Recommendation No. 1: Enhance Section 19 and 19.1 of the Income Tax Act
We have talked about this. It is completely unacceptable that, in a wealthy, western democracy like ours, we are incapable of amending a section of an act that online advertisers are shamelessly exploiting. Basically, if a company pays to place an ad in an American magazine, it cannot include it as a deduction for its advertising expenses. It cannot put it in an American or Canadian magazine, because it is not an eligible expense. However, placing an ad on Google or Facebook is an eligible expense. It is completely ridiculous.
The Conservatives were no better. That loophole has been around for a long time but the Liberals let it be because they are afraid of being taxed. They have spent four years doing nothing even though this is such an important issue, an issue so crucial to our identity. Our stories are disappearing along with our journalism and possibly even our democracy. A number of us have pointed out that many of the weekly papers that cover local politics in every one of our ridings are closing. They are closing because advertisers can jump on that kind of outrageous advantage. That recommendation I just quoted was the first one in the January 2017 report. That was two years ago, and it came from an expert. The heritage minister requested the report. Two years have passed, and nothing has been done. The government has not done a thing about it even though that was the first recommendation.
Here is another recommendation from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's June 2017 report:
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage explore the existing structures to create a new funding model that is platform agnostic and would support Canadian journalistic content.
That was two years ago. Let me point out that both the heritage minister and the Prime Minister summarily dismissed the report.
Here is the second recommendation from the other report from January 2017:
Extend GST/HST to all digital news subscription and advertising revenue for companies not qualifying under new Section 19 criteria. Rebate GST/HST for those that do qualify
Nothing was done. That was in the January 2017 report published by Mr. Greenspon, a distinguished journalist and expert. The Liberals did nothing.
Now, a little like the huge boondoggle they made of the SNC-Lavalin affair, the government decided once again to improvise. It slipped a line somewhere in the omnibus bill, thinking no one would noticed, but they were wrong. The government should have consulted everyone. It would have been nice if it had not tried to hide this in a huge bill the size of an Eaton's catalogue. What happened as a result? Many jobs were lost in Quebec. People might be in difficult situations, but it is not the government's problem. It is, however, a serious problem for Quebec.
Once again, a committee was thrown together at the last minute. It smacks of conflict and does not look good on the members opposite. They have always known just how much the unions hate them because they are always saying they do not care about the news or the situation facing our media here in Quebec and Canada.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I will focus on the second part of the member's comment, so that my answer is as constructive as possible.
In the second part of his comment, the member asked me what we would recommend. First, we would recommend that the government take things seriously and acknowledge that information promotes a better democracy. Such a fundamental issue should have been tackled much earlier. It would have been preferable not to wait until the last minute, as the government did with a number of very important bills. It also should have done some research and not thought it was so superior that it was above criticism.
Obviously, it is going to be a bit controversial when the government chooses a union that has very much taken a side in the debate and when it makes the announcement at the last second, right before the election. Nevertheless, the Conservatives should not be surprised. They are hated by almost everyone in the news and communications sector. The Conservatives hung us out to dry for 10, or even 14, years, because they were threatening the government.
As for the first part of your comment, you claim to have done things. The Canada Council for the Arts budget was doubled four years ago. Stop saying that; you have not done a thing since.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
That will not be easy, Madam Speaker.
I thank my colleague. I know he means well, and I appreciate his province taking the lead.
He is absolutely right. This definitely demonstrates how pathetic it is that this government does not to have the guts to do the obvious and just apply the GST to a service like this. He is right that we all need to work together. As a result of the government's inability to show federal leadership and persuade the telecom giants to join the comprehensive review, the stakeholders are left to watch as the system falls to pieces. They are petrified of being swallowed up by Big Brother, Google, GAFA and others.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important speech, particularly since, in his riding, the Franco-Ontarian fact is, of course, very vulnerable and must always be promoted and protected.
I would like to know where small newspapers and local weeklies stand. Did the people who run them feel reassured by the government's announcements? If the member has any time left, I would like him to tell me why the Liberals took so long to present solutions that were looked into two years ago in a number of reports submitted to the government.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech and excellent work at committee, where we discussed these issues at length.
I will not ask her why we had to wait until the last minute because I have already asked that question many times today. A lot of people are wondering if they are going to pack up next weekend because the parliamentary session is almost over. It cannot believe that we are tackling this issue today, but the Conservatives wanted to raise it.
Is my colleague surprised by the Conservative belief that choosing a union such as Unifor to represent the views of workers and others is some kind of a game?
I find it appalling that they waited until the last minute, just before the election, to introduce such a highly debatable motion.
Is she surprised by the Conservative belief that unions do not look favourably on the Conservatives and do not believe them to be on their side?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague works with me on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, where we talked about this issue many times.
Does he not find it shameful that the Liberals once again waited until the last minute, when they could have been much more effective in helping our media outlets make more money? For example, the government could have amended the exemption in section 19 of the Income Tax Act so that Internet ads are considered expenses for income tax purposes just as magazine ads are.
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