Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I heard what Mr. Manly said, but personally, when I read new paragraph 9.2(a), as proposed in the amendment, I think of Canadian creators of programs. Since Mr. Manly is a producer, he sends a lot of content, so I imagine that he has people who help him and that he's used to the process. On the flip side, I think of Canadians who post content on social media. The issue is hotly debated by members on the committee and in the House of Commons.
The minister keeps engaging in demagoguery, claiming you are either with GAFA and the web giants of the world or with Quebec and Canadian artists. He always talks about Quebec, trying to play to the crowd there. We are defending the freedom of every Canadian who uses social media and other web applications, Canadians who create audiobooks and podcasts.
In my riding, we have artists who earn their living from their craft, without asking for any assistance. When asked about it by journalists, they said they wondered why the government, through the CRTC, would want to poke its nose in social media or try to regulate such platforms. Those artists chose to have their work seen by the entire world and they are worried other countries will take similar steps, preventing the artists from showcasing their talent for all the world to see. I am talking about artists with more than 560 million subscribers on YouTube alone. Their work is also on Spotify and every other music platform, and they earn their living from their craft. They are just as much artists as are members of the Union des artistes or any other association, but they have no representation whatsoever.
Why am I so worried? Since the beginning, we have shown good faith, but we have concerns about the bill. As originally introduced, the bill had a certain purpose, and the minister touted his bill on that basis when he did the rounds of the media outlets. However, the purpose of the bill changed when the section he proposed adding to the Broadcasting Act, section 4.1, was removed. The bill now applies to social media and other applications. That puts the bill in a whole other realm, and those affected never had a chance to have their say. The minister was more than happy to talk about the fact that the committee had heard from a hundred-odd witnesses and received numerous briefs, but all of that feedback related to the bill in its original form. All of those who became subject to the bill once proposed section 4.1 was removed will have never had their voices heard or shared their concerns with the committee, not to mention that the committee refused to adopt amendment CPC‑9.1, which would have remedied the problem.
We are reviewing a 30‑year‑old act, and it will be around for another 30 years. Further to these changes, we are giving the CRTC extreme powers without knowing everything that could happen as a result. We have no idea how many Pandora's boxes we are opening.
I am very worried. I should point out that what Mr. Manly is proposing is not what worries me. I think he is indeed attempting to fix the problem, and for that, I genuinely commend him. However, it just further goes to show that it will not be enough. I don't see how the CRTC or the government will manage to inform all Canadians in real time, whenever they upload content, that they can choose to be subject to the Broadcasting Act for discoverability purposes.
I have huge concerns, ones that call to mind the concerns I had at the beginning. The government wants to impose time allocation on debate of the bill to keep us from getting at the facts as we examine all of these amendments. They have been put forward by the government and the opposition parties, including the Green Party, which was allowed to participate in the committee's proceedings and is trying to help us make a bill that is full of flaws as good as it can be.
I'm not sure whether the amendment is plausible, Mr. Ripley. At the end of proposed paragraph 9.2(a), it says “except where the Canadian creator of a program has voluntarily chosen to be subject to the Act for discoverability purposes”. Would you say that refers to all Canadians who post information on social media or just to Canadian creators of programs who are registered and recognized by the CRTC?
I am eager to hear your answer.