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Results: 1 - 100 of 29786
View Tracy Gray Profile
CPC (BC)
I would request a recorded vote, Madam Chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, just a point of order.
I wasn't here for the last consideration of this. I guess I'm a bit confused about one point. Normally, committees are masters of their own domain. They set their own rules. We're operating now, though, under a framework of a House order, where the committee is constrained in terms of what it can do.
In the past, when committees have operated under a House order around time allocation on amendments, they have in every case abided by the House order in terms of not allowing amendments to be moved. But we're in a situation now where the committee has overruled your ruling on that and is arguably defying a House order. I'm not sure if the committee can do that, overrule a House order.
You've just told us a number of things we have to do vis-à-vis the House order. If members of the committee have decided through a challenge to the chair that they're not going to abide by the House order, it raises lots of questions. One of them is, why does the committee have to adhere to any of the House orders? I guess that's what—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay, Mr. Chair, but—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I have just a follow-up point of order, then.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
From what I understand in terms of the ground rules you've laid out at the beginning, the committee can, by majority, at any point overrule those ground rules if they challenge the chair. If that puts us at odds with the House order—again, we're already potentially at odds with the House order—you're saying those are arguments that can be made or not made in the House, but that they can't be made here, essentially, because you have to adhere to challenges, whatever they say.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, on a point of order.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I would like to know if it is possible to withdraw amendment CPC‑11, so that it will not be voted on. It is an amendment that I had tabled. I do not want to move a subamendment; I just want to know if I can withdraw it. I may need unanimous consent to do that.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I would like to challenge your ruling.
If I correctly understand the rules, they don't allow me to make arguments for that challenge.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
My challenge is no reflection on yours, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
No. Yes, in fact, we did understand well, but I want to vote against it.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
It was clear, but not convincing. I'm challenging the chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
But you're not reading the amendments, Mr. Chair, with all due respect. If you're reading a ruling but not reading the amendment, I mean—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I challenge you, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, you are by far the best chair I have seen managing a group like ours.
After three extremely difficult decisions for your morale, I want to know if there is anything I can offer you to help you keep smiling until the end of the meeting. If so, you can email me your address, and I'll have something delivered immediately, whether it's flowers or a small glass of something strong.
I just wanted to say that I felt for you.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Yes. I would like to move a subamendment to the amendment from Mr. Housefather.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
I'd like to challenge your ruling that I can't submit a subamendment.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, on the point of order, though, the challenge was whether the amendment was admissible. The challenge has been overruled, which means the amendment is admissible.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Just let me finish the point of order.
The amendment has now been submitted. I would like to submit a subamendment to the amendment before it goes to a vote.
In the past we have had cases where you made a ruling, based on your view of the House order, that was overruled by the committee. You have again made a ruling, based on your understanding of the House order, that a subamendment is not admissible. I am challenging your ruling that a subamendment is not admissible.
Let's vote on the challenge. If the challenge is sustained, then I can't submit this subamendment. If it's not, then I can.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
It's a subamendment to LIB-9.1.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, it is a subamendment to this amendment, so you can't have a vote on the amendment when I'm seeking to make a subamendment to that amendment.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Prior to the vote...yes.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I challenge the ruling you just made.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, you can't refuse a challenge to the chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Can I just clarify my position?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
My position is that this committee has already defied the House order, because the House order said “without further amendment” and the amendments were not moved at committee. Notice had been given of those amendments, but those amendments had not been moved at committee. My position is that, if the committee is able to defy a House order, then it is able to defy a House order. You can't say that there's a challenge from a Liberal member seeking to overturn a ruling, and allow it, defying the House order, but that's going to be—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
The amendments were not moved, though.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I have a point of order and I would like to be heard on my point of order.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Yes, Mr. Chair, insofar as it responds to what Mr. Méla has said.
What happened at the last meeting was that you made a ruling that the amendments had not been moved. Therefore, the House order obliged you not to allow them to be moved after the fact. That was your ruling. That ruling was challenged and overturned.
Now you are making a ruling again that is substantively the same as your last ruling, which is that the House order does not allow further amendment. Those earlier amendments had not been moved, and it's clear in the way you're talking about this. Every time an amendment is moved, you're saying, “This amendment has now been moved.”
In fact, you said earlier in the meeting to Mr. Rayes that an amendment can be withdrawn before it is moved, but it is deemed moved once you read it.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
You can't not allow a challenge when you allowed a challenge before on this same point.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Méla, I have one question for you.
You've said that they were—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Méla, you said that in your view there is a difference between those two rulings. Is there any basis on which a ruling of the chair cannot be challenged?
You called his second ruling a ruling, which it is, and if it's a ruling, then it might be the correct ruling and it might not be, but my understanding of the powers of members of committees is that they have the power to challenge any ruling of the chair. Is that correct?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Sorry, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't know if I need to raise a point of order for this, but my body needs a few minutes' break.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't know if this is the proper way to ask, but I'm asking for a five-minute break, if possible.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
No...Sorry, I meant yes.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
On a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I don't want to contradict you again, but this is not the first time that there is unanimity in the committee, even since the beginning of this clause-by-clause study of the bill. I would just like to reassure everyone of that.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I just want to warn you that we are going to vote in favour.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Absolutely. It would be wrong not to, now.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you.
We did send out the notice of motion on Wednesday, June 9, and I will read it into the record:
That the Committee invite officials from the Department of Canadian Heritage to testify about the funding for the discovery of the remains of two hundred and fifteen Indigenous children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, and what would be required to extend these efforts to all residential schools where unmarked graves may exist; and that Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation be invited to discuss the process of obtaining funding, how sufficient it was relative to the task, and what remains to be done.
I move my motion. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm just wondering. At the end of this 54 minutes, does anything dramatic happen or do we just go back to what we were doing?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, thank you.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 15:37
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We were in the middle of a debate on an amendment. I appreciated hearing from Mr. Louis—I really did—expressing his opinion and his desires for artists, performers and creators. It's great to hear opinions from committee members about the things that are meaningful to them.
I'm not sure of the reference about big tech. I like all performers, and whatever we can do.... The other side of it is performers, and I'm not one of them. I'm not a creator, but what I am is a person who buys tickets. I'm one of those people who really appreciate artists and creators of all different kinds, and I'm the one out there as a consumer who really supports them by buying tickets and wants to support them because I appreciate what they do. I purchase pieces of art, or admire the statue of David in Florence and line up for hours to do so.
Then there's the other side of it, those people who really want to support and appreciate art by buying the tickets to do it. We need to remember the consumers out there, because without those consumers to appreciate.... If the tree falls down in the forest and there's nobody there to hear it, did the tree make any noise when it fell?
I really do appreciate Mr. Louis bringing his opinions and concerns, though. On big tech, we've all agreed that there's going to be taxation. That hasn't been up for debate for a long time, and there's going to be a support of the culture side of it. We've done reports on how short a lot of that is out there in support, but we have a bill here that at times, I think, doesn't hit the mark. Big tech's money isn't the answer that we're working on with this amendment. It's freedom of speech for creators and performers, but again, I'm not one of those. I'm one of those who will pay the price to see, listen and appreciate those who do create. That's the part we have to remember that they drive, what it is that those people can do, and that's the part that facilitates their moving forward and being able to use their talents and express them in many different ways. Freedom of speech is very important for two sides: One is the consumer and the other is the artist.
Again, thank you, Mr. Louis, for expressing your opinion. I appreciate those people on the committee who will and do express them. We learn a lot more from each other when we take the time to talk about what is meaningful to us in our particular roles outside of this forum we are enclosed in at the moment.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
I want to take a moment to speak to the motion. Obviously, there are a lot of things going on here, but at the heart of it, I think it has to do with artists or creators and discoverability online, and making sure that any regulations that are put in place do not infringe upon their charter rights or the charter rights of those who might view that content.
It's interesting to me that in this committee, when proposed section 4.1 was removed, there wasn't a unanimous call to hear from the artists. I think that's very sad because their voices have been ignored and they are going to be largely impacted by this piece of legislation. There's this whole world of digital first creators whose voices haven't been invited to the table. We are here at the 11th hour before this legislation gets rammed through and we haven't even heard from them.
How sad is it to not hear from this group that is going to be dramatically impacted by this legislation?
That being the case, I mentioned earlier at this committee that I've taken it upon myself to reach out to these individuals and hear their voices. There's one in particular who I would like to bring to this committee's attention as we continue to consider the amendment that is on the table by my colleague Mr. Rayes.
This is from an organization called Skyship Entertainment. This letter was written and submitted to me just within the last couple of days.
It is from someone by the name of Morghan Fortier. This individual is the CEO of Skyship Entertainment, which is an award-winning entertainment company owned and operated in Canada. Of course, they are using non-traditional media platforms.
I'm going to read it into the record, because again, I believe it's very important for this committee to consider the words of this individual. She writes:
As one of Canada’s top two YouTube creators, we are a proud example of how Canadian content can be successfully exported to the rest of the world. Our educational content enriches the lives of over 30 million viewers around the world every single day—
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Excuse me, Mr. Chair.
The last thing I want to do is interrupt my colleague, but I want to make sure I understand the interpretation. Since the interpreters don't have the document in front of them, would it be possible for my colleague to read a little slower?
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
Again, Morghan Fortier writes:
Our educational content enriches the lives of over 30 million viewers around the world every single day on YouTube alone. Additionally, we’re one of the world’s top children’s music artists and our content can be found on streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Roku and Tubi to name a few.
We produce nearly all of our content in-house at our Toronto production studio where we employ over 30 writers, musicians, designers, animators and puppeteers. We operate with no debt, no investors, and to date we have never received any of the government support that traditional Canadian TV broadcasters and producers benefit from.
I am a proud supporter of Canadian content and have seen first-hand the quality that we can produce here. However, I am greatly distressed by Bill C-10.
Despite our prominence we have been given zero opportunity to participate in any discussions regarding this legislation, and neither have any of our digital content contemporaries. This is distressing because Bill C-10 directly affects digital content creators, but it is being written by people who don’t understand how digital platforms work and without any consultation of those it directly impacts. The proposed bill gives no consideration to the long-term growth of the companies that have evolved from the digital landscape.
I worked for close to fifteen years producing series for TV broadcasters - the traditional broadcast industry. Having moved to the digital side of the industry in 2015, I understand how overwhelming this sector can be. But your lack of understanding cannot be an excuse to inhibit our industry's growth. Digital content creators are a vital and growing part of the broadcast industry, and our input should be mandatory.
I do believe that government investment in quality content could lead to a strengthened Canadian Broadcast industry, but Bill C-10 does not do this. Rather than the promotion and elevation, it focuses on restriction and isolation. Rather than introducing Canadian content to a global audience abroad, it focuses on removing choice from our Canadian audience here at home.
You have an opportunity to raise our traditional media companies to the standard of success our digital producers are experiencing. Instead you are choosing to antiquate digital companies. This is a step back, a step inward, and a step in the wrong direction.
Mr. Chair, this letter was written to members of this committee, and I was asked to share it today. It is with pleasure that I do so because this individual and this company raise a really valid point, and it's one that needs to be considered by all members of this committee.
I understand that we've had our squabbles, and I understand that this process might feel frustrated, but I think what needs to be rightly understood and stated here is that there is a legislative process in place within the House of Commons by which a bill is considered, clause by clause, statement by statement, and it is evaluated to see whether or not it makes for good legislation. That standard, of course, is going to be somewhat different for each party, because each individual comes to the table and views this legislation through a different lens. I understand that.
What needs to also, I believe, be carried with due weight is the fact that there are tens of thousands of creators who are going to be impacted by this legislation and their voices have not been considered.
It has been said that this legislation is going to level the playing field. I would propose to the committee that it will indeed level the playing field, but rather than calling traditional broadcasters up to the higher standard where digital first creators exist, it instead insists that those digital first creators be punished for their success and be diminished, that they actually be put down to a lower standard.
I don't think that's what it means to be Canadian. I don't think that is or should be the purpose of putting legislation in place, that we would downgrade people, that we would enforce a standard that lessens their ability to create and access an audience. Instead, why wouldn't we insist on the traditional broadcasters becoming better, coming up and learning from digital first creators.
Doesn't that seem innovative and creative, and doesn't that contribute to the e-commerce world the current government said it's committed to creating and supporting?
Right now, this legislation goes after those individuals who have talent, who have exercised an entrepreneurial spirit, who have been innovative and creative, who have taken risks and who have put themselves out there and found new ways to promote their skill, their talent, their ability and their ideas and to elicit an audience organically.
This legislation will empower the CRTC, or even call upon the CRTC, to put regulations in place that will impose algorithms on these artists. These algorithms will move their content or their creativity up or down in a queue. It will determine whether they get showed favouritism. Do they get to be in first place or do they get to be in 20th place? Maybe they get to be in 200th place. Maybe they appear on the first page when you search something on YouTube, or maybe they just get to be on page 27 where they'll never be found.
For the government to dictate that is extremely detrimental to the industry and to those artists who have so effectively invested their skill, their time, their talent and their money in order to be successful on these new platforms, this new way of being able to promote material, ideas or a skill, talent or ability.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, thank you for being so gracious with Ms. Dabrusin and helping her understand the credibility of my argument.
This has to do with charter rights. This has to do with discoverability. This has to do with algorithms. This has to do with regulations. I'm talking about creators, and I understand that the members of this committee seem to be uncomfortable, for whatever reason, talking about the greatness that exists within the Canadian people who have determined to be creators on these digital first platforms.
I'm unsure as to why that discomfort exists. I'm unsure as to why the members of this committee have refused to hear their voices. I'm unsure as to why the members of the government would like to force this piece of legislation through without first considering those who are going to be impacted by it in negative ways.
I can only assume that there is some alternative agenda at play here, because I don't know why else a government would wish to punish a good section of our population who, again, have invested the time, talent, money and energy into being productive citizens, into being able to promote material that Canadians are accessing freely and enjoying.
I'll also mention that they're creating an income for themselves, many of them a full-time income. More than 25,000 of those individuals who are Canadian are producing an income of over $100,000 a year. It's amazing. I'm just so baffled by the fact that we're not actually celebrating that as a committee. I'm baffled by a government that started out by saying they were all for seeing the expansion of e-commerce, yet this bill is a direct attack on that. It's a mystery to me.
Here we are, with a few minutes left before the five hours are up, before the gag order takes full effect, before my voice and the voices of my Conservative colleagues on this committee are quelched, but most importantly, we have a few minutes left before the voices of these tens of thousands of creators are wiped out, silenced, put into a black hole, before the government implements regulatory measures that are either going to move them up in the queue or down in the queue, show them favouritism or punish them for their success, determine who gets to succeed and who doesn't. It's a sad day. I'll end there.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, thank you for allowing me to speak to my amendment once again.
Let me go back to what my colleague Mr. Champoux from the Bloc Québécois said: all's well with the world as long as there are no problems. I know that Mr. Ripley says that freedom of expression is protected; he's giving us the department's take on it. However, as Mr. Champoux has correctly pointed out, there are many voices in this country, including credible experts, who are expressing an opinion that is completely opposite to the department's vision.
At the heart of this issue is the CRTC, an agency whose approach is, in some respects, challenged by a number of people, including former senior CRTC officials. They are strongly questioning this bill.
I want to make something clear: I am not trying to digress from the subject, but I want to talk about an article that was published this week in La Presse, which is one of the most credible media outlets in the country. The reporter Philippe Mercure wrote this piece about a decision the CRTC made on Internet rates. Some may say that this is not relevant to the topic, but I simply want to illustrate how the CRTC works. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had clearly said in 2015 that he wanted to lower people's Internet bills. Despite clear government directives, the CRTC went back on its 2018 calculation and made a decision that helped the big players, to the detriment of the public.
According to the reporter who is an expert on this issue, the CRTC made “a 180‑degree about‑face, which the federal agency explains... by 'errors' made in 2019” in its own calculations. As a result of this decision, people's future Internet bills will more than double, because of an error that the CRTC apparently made in 2019. The reporter adds: “They ask us to just believe them. Except that the CRTC refuses to present a new calculation to justify its pro‑industry shift.”
Toward the end of the article, he writes: “So the regulator is simply choosing to cancel the rate cuts and keep the current ones in place. In a stunningly casual manner, it states that, in any event, the new calculations would 'probably' arrive at rates that 'might approach' those currently in use.” The CRTC decides of its own accord to say that it will not even do the rigorous, scientific exercise that is required.
When I see such things happening with respect to people's Internet costs, I am led to wonder. What does this have to do with Bill C‑10, you might ask? Well, I'm talking about the organization that will be given all these powers tomorrow morning, when we don't even know how the CRTC will read the bill, as Mr. Champoux pointed out. The CRTC has nine months to tell us how it will read the bill and how it will apply it, because there are no guidelines. All of us on the committee, not just the Conservatives, added guidelines to the bill for francophone content, Canadian content, and so on, because none of those things were there initially.
It is all very well to say that, based on how the bill reads, freedom of expression is protected. However, it seems to me that amendment CPC‑9.5 that I am proposing provides an additional safeguard to ensure that the CRTC respects freedom of expression, which is fundamental and which many experts have called for. I am not just talking about regular Canadians, but also about recognized experts from various universities and the legal field across the country.
My amendment simply requires that the CRTC publish the legal opinion on its website confirming that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is respected, and that this opinion be published in the Canada Gazette.
My colleague Mr. Waugh was saying that he had never read the Canada Gazette, and that's why we want the legal opinion to be published on the CRTC website as well. I understand not wanting to add unnecessary paperwork, but this is not too complicated. It would just take a fairly simple little 101 course. We can all relay the information afterwards on our web pages and social media.
Given the CRTC's track record, this requirement is just one more protective measure we are taking as a country, as Canadians. This will be good for artists, both those in associations and those who are independent and work from home.
Honestly, I do not believe that amendment CPC‑9.5 is asking for anything excessive at all. With respect, even if it required a little more paperwork, as Mr. Ripley said in response to a question from Mr. Champoux, would that be too high a price to pay to protect our freedom of expression? I'm sorry, but freedom of expression is priceless.
I move this amendment with all due respect to my colleagues, to the officials who are here and to all those who have worked on this issue. Regardless of the expertise of each of us, we are all human beings. We have tried as best we can to improve the bill. It was not perfect at the outset, which explains the multitude of amendments that have been introduced. In fact, many of them are going to be squeezed through without our having had a chance to discuss them.
One way or another, the bill will be challenged in court. It is actually not true that things will go smoothly tomorrow morning, despite what people would have us believe. The Conservatives will not be the ones responsible for blocking the bill, the courts will provide us with justice. In this case, law professors or those in this specific area will challenge aspects of Bill C‑10. I think that they too are entitled to have their expertise recognized whenever and wherever they comment.
I don't want to go any further, because I really want to see the vote on amendment CPC‑9.5. I would also like to have the opportunity to introduce amendment CPC‑9.6 afterwards, if we are not yet at the end of the five‑hour period we have.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 16:22
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I appreciate Mr. Champoux's intervention and his opinions.
One of the things that he got from Mr. Ripley was the position that, yes, there are legal opinions. The second level they get, which they contract out, is legal opinions via the CRTC paying these people for those legal opinions.
As we've heard, this will be challenged in court for those people who, as you say and as I believe, are in disastrous need of support for moving on. This particular legislation, however, is going to keep that from happening because legal opinions are legal opinions, and there will be legal opinions on all sides.
I've been in elected positions where we would try with legal opinions to make legislation. At the municipal level, you do that, and you think that you've created the best, legally right legislation. Then you find out quickly that you haven't, but at a municipal level, you can change that legislation very quickly. You can amend it at the next meeting, or you can change the legislation at the municipal level.
I've been on provincial appointed boards—a health board—and we had lots of provincial lawyers, lots of them, but guess what? When somebody wants to challenge it, there are lawyers that they can buy for any legal opinion they want. When you put legislation in like we're going to, without as many safeguards as you can get, it's going to get challenged.
This amendment is attempting to add another layer of that legal opinion protection. That's what this is about, because the lawyers that they have, in house and contracted, are paid for by the government and the CRTC under their mandate, so their voice is for them. The outside legal voices will have differences of opinions. When you make a law federally—it's been 30 years since this one was touched—you don't change it next week, you don't change it next month and you can't fix it for many years, sometimes decades. You can do that at the municipal level. It's harder at the provincial level, and drastically difficult at the federal level.
These are legal opinions, both in house and contracted. With this legislation, they will be challenged because of problems with this legislation. It's going to tie this thing up in court. That's why you try, as with this amendment, to bring as much protection to decisions that are made as possible because those decisions, as we know, are made behind closed doors. There is no transparency, and there are no notes.
That's a field that's wide open for lawyers to get into—it really is. Yes, I wandered through law school one time and then came to my senses and said, no, I don't want to be doing this.
This type of thing makes it just a wide-open door for other legal opinions—it really does. When I say that word, “opinions”, that's what they are. They are in-house and contracted opinions for those who are paying their bills. For those on the outside, they will contract looking for opinions to support them, and that's why this will be tied up in court and delayed longer.
With this amendment, this is on a positive side trying to make it in a better place before it hits those opposition lawyers that will be there. This gives them more due cause to say, “This is grounds to challenge it.” If we see more transparency, if we see more legal opinions there will be fewer lawyers who want to challenge this because it's narrowed the field for more legal opinions to challenge it.
That's what this amendment is about. It's trying to protect this so that the legislation can move on and be enacted and protect those people in it. It protects the CRTC and their decisions. It adds another layer of validity to what they're doing. The more you leave it open, the more you leave it open for challenges, and if you don't understand how the legal field works, this is one that they're going to be able to see is more open to challenge without that extra layer.
Mr. Champoux, you want to get this done. People are waiting for it. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to put something in that more guarantees it is likely they'll get it, even a little slower, than its being challenged, with it more wide open for legal challenges to happen. They're all opinions until a judge makes a final ruling or a panel of judges makes a ruling. This is how the legal practice works. They all have opinions and they are people who are paid for those opinions. That's who they work for, the people who pay them, just like the ones in house work for the CRTC and the contracted ones.
I believe it's a good piece. Yes, it's going to slow the process down a bit, but it narrows the field for legal challenges by doing it, so we can get through this. It's a challenging piece of legislation. It could have been done much more quickly the other way, with fewer problems, if the amendment hadn't been made, but it's going to go forward. However, this is an amendment that could have helped.
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I don't know if this is a valid point of order or if it's just a request for clarification, but it seems to me that the time allocation motion adopted by the House of Commons clearly states that no new amendments can be introduced once the committee has reached the five hours of debate, as we just did.
So I would like a clarification from you, Mr. Chair. I was under the impression that after that time, only those amendments that had already been introduced would be voted on, not the others that were added later.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I'd like some clarification as well then, Mr. Chair.
Based on that, the only remaining amendments that are moved are those Green—
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thanks. I'm sorry. I got ahead of you.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, a point of order.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's right, I'd like some clarification.
Since this is an important decision, could you give us five minutes to consult with our respective party colleagues to decide how we are going to vote?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I have two questions.
First, do we need unanimity to overturn your decision? In other words, does your decision stand as soon as one person says they support you?
Second, does the committee have the power to change a decision of the House of Commons that has been referred to it?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, if we cannot change the decision of the House of Commons, how can we vote to allow the amendments that have not been introduced to be voted on? The motion of the House of Commons is clear: we must vote only on the amendments that have already been introduced.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
I respectfully have to disagree. We've not overturning your ruling if we vote against you. We're trying to overturn a ruling of the House of Commons. I don't think we can do that.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I have a point of clarification, Mr. Chair.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
There's no debate—I understand that—but are we permitted to ask questions of clarification about the amendments or is that considered debate? Can we ask staff to make sure we understand what we're voting on?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
May I challenge your ruling, Mr. Chair?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I still love you, but I challenge your ruling.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Are we at clause 9 or clause 8, Mr. Chair?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would like to have some clarification.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
At the beginning, you were reading the amendments, so that everyone listening to us would know what was being discussed. Now, no one knows what the votes are about. Is it possible to continue as you did before and at least read the amendment? I know we can't debate it, but it would be helpful to read the amendment, if only to allow the people listening to us to understand why we are voting for or against. That's just my suggestion to you.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I would appreciate it, Mr. Chair.
I don't want to have a debate, and I will defer to your decision. However, for the sake of the public interest and transparency, a good option would be to at least hear the heading of the amendment before the members of each party vote.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 17:30
Mr. Chair, I move to adjourn.
View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Do you mean other than that we should get the award of “best committee ever”?
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
I have a point of order here, Mr. Chair.
I did do a notice of motion that went through the clerk yesterday, but I was wondering if I could move it today instead of Friday.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
I was going to get clarification through you.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
Don't worry, Mr. Chair. Let's do it tomorrow. We're fine.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
CPC (SK)
We have a long day ahead of us.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thought it was automatic, so that's why I waited until you recognized me. Now I realize that I am supposed to move each amendment formally. I'll try to be quicker on the draw next time.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I am Alain Rayes, the member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
On my end, I do not hear the French interpretation of what you are saying, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
With amendment CPC‑9.5, I am proposing that Bill C-10, in clause 7, be amended by adding after line 19 on page 8 the following:
9.2 (1) The Commission shall, for each regulation or order made, or condition imposed, under this Act in relation to an online undertaking, obtain an independent legal opinion as to whether any of the provisions of the regulation, order or condition are inconsistent with the protections provided to Canadians by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly those relating to freedom of speech under paragraph 2(b).
(2) The Commission shall publish the independent legal opinion on its website within 10 days after obtaining it and shall cause it to be published in the Canada Gazette.
I want to make clear that subsection 9.2(1), as proposed in the amendment, applies to online undertakings.
I'll explain the rationale behind the amendment.
Actually, before I do that, I want to thank everyone for adopting amendment CPC‑9.3, which the committee debated yesterday and voted on at the beginning of today's meeting. I had forgotten to thank my fellow members for their support.
Amendment CPC‑9.5 isn't very complicated, so everyone should find it quite straightforward. In light of all the concerns raised vis-à-vis the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the amendment would require the CRTC to publish an independent legal opinion relating to the charter when it makes a decision or a new regulation regarding online content. The idea is simply to ensure that the rights guaranteed by the charter are protected.
Under the proposed procedure, the opinion would be published on the CRTC's website and in the Canada Gazette, to let all partners, traditional digital broadcasters and Canadians know that the regulation in question was consistent with the charter.
By adopting amendment CPC‑9.5, the legislator, the Parliament of Canada, would be ensuring that the freedom of speech of all Canadians was protected. We know that freedom of speech is at issue and that the bill will most likely be challenged by lawyers, lobby groups and special interest groups. We sense that many university teachers and lawyers have doubts about the work we are doing and the direction in which the bill is going. Accordingly, this amendment gives us another opportunity to ever so slightly improve the iteration of the bill currently before us.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 11:20
Thank you, Mr. Chair, I appreciate that.
The amendment has been explained and the rationale for it, and I very much appreciate that, but the department is with us today. I was wondering what they believe in terms of how this could work with the CRTC. They're familiar with the CRTC and the regulations they develop and their undertakings regarding the things they do now.
Could the officials explain to me how they believe we could do this in the future, as the CRTC would look at this piece within the work they would do looking at this legislation?
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 11:24
Thank you.
Mr. Chair, could I follow up?
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 11:24
In looking at this when you first mentioned this, I see that would then lead to somebody on the outside, if this wasn't in place, to do that, take it to court and challenge what they haven't seen as a ruling. They would have to challenge it in the legal sense.
As this is new legislation, new ground in the sense of what we're dealing with, would they not want to make sure they are establishing the groundwork? This amendment should cover them in the sense that if they were to do this, because we're moving into new territory, it should provide cover for what we think is going to be challenged by the outside anyway.
Wouldn't this be a safeguard step as we're moving into it?
View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-06-10 11:26
I very much appreciate your explanation and your belief of how this could work. That's what I asked for was your opinion. I appreciate that.
In the sense of the amendment, as we've moved into this area—this legislation could possibly pass—you try to look for all the safeguards you can find. You know that it will probably end up in court and challenged, so you try to find ways to protect as much as possible as you go into new territory, making sure that those things are protected and that there is as much legal advice and judgment ahead of time as possible. I understand what you're saying about confidentiality, client confidentiality.
You know, it's an amendment that maybe protects things from getting tied up in court and this getting tied up in court for years. I thought, maybe, as an amendment, it might help that process along. Nobody wants to have a law put in place and then all that happens is that lawyers make money for years fighting things in courts, and nothing happens. No money moves other than to law offices. That's the last thing you want to do when you pass legislation.
I think it's a protection, and that's why it's there.
Thank you for your opinion. I appreciate it.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
This whole discussion has actually made me wonder about a couple of different things.
Mr. Ripley, I have a couple of questions. Do you know roughly what the legal budget is for the CRTC? I mean, is it frequently in court, or is it engaging lawyers regularly for the decisions that it makes? Is it a problem?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I would understand, then, that in the past CRTC judicial reviews or public hearings would be related to big companies like, for example, Bell, Telus or those kinds of corporations. One can only imagine how many lawyers would be involved in a judicial review for something that Bell Canada was interested in.
I guess I'm wondering about a judicial review process in light of what they will now have access to regulate and make decisions on. We're not talking about big corporations but about individual Canadians and smaller entities that aren't big corporations. I'm just kind of wondering about that process and what that might look like.
Let's say I became some kind of an über-star, which we all know probably would never happen, but let's say I did and actually made a decent living from posting videos of me gardening or something. I'm not a big corporation, obviously. What would the judicial review process look like for individual Canadians who find some success on these social media sites and then become subject to regulation?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
After that fine introduction of Mr. Ripley, I would like to thank him and all the other department officials who have been with us at each meeting. Even when we don't necessarily agree with their position, they provide sound information and guidance that helps us do the best possible job we can, given our respective knowledge and expertise. I want to thank them. I join you, Mr. Chair, in recognizing the contribution of Mr. Ripley and all the other department officials.
I have a question for Mr. Ripley. One of his previous comments might suggest that my amendment is unnecessary, but as the saying goes, you cannot be too careful.
Bill C‑10 gives rise to questions about freedom of expression. Some think that we are going too far or, at least, that freedom of expression is not really at risk, whereas others believe that the bill is flawed when it comes to freedom of expression. People have said that the CRTC will not use all of the powers it has been granted under the bill, but a number of experts worry that it might.
Why not impose certain obligations on the CRTC from the outset? Once the bill is a done deal, the politicians in power will say the same thing. They will say that the CRTC is an arm's-length organization that makes its own decisions. That's what happens whenever questions on the subject arise. That was the case recently when big and small telecoms imposed user fees for their services. The argument will be that the government no longer has the power to do anything once the CRTC has made a decision, because the CRTC supposedly operates at arm's length.
We experienced the same thing here, on the committee. The committee is supposed to be independent, but the government was able to interfere with the committee's work when it wanted to.
That makes me wonder whether my amendment has anything wrong with it, anything that might be detrimental. I may be asking for more protection than necessary, but in this case, it seems warranted. Once the bill comes into force, the CRTC will have nine months to do its homework and come up with a definition. After that, we will no longer be able to influence the guidelines it adopts or the manner in which it applies them.
My first question for you is this. Is there anything counterproductive in my amendment? Does it run counter to good old common sense? It may be overly protective, but if so, good. It puts additional safeguards in place to ensure freedom of expression is protected in every CRTC decision regulating the new space that is the digital world. Lobby groups and university teachers interested in freedom of expression can assuage our concerns by examining every CRTC decision or amendment, since it will be published on the commission's website and in the Canada Gazette.
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