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View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair.
Chair, I actually want to move a dilatory motion that we would—
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
I understand that, yes. Once G-11 has been dealt with, would you like me to raise my hand again, or would you like to just...?
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate that.
I have a quick question before moving on to the motion that I wish to move.
On Friday, when we were in the midst of debate on the motion that was on the floor at that time, one of the members of the committee, Ms. Dabrusin, raised her hand. She put forward a dilatory motion that brought debate to an end. At that point in time, you said that because it was a dilatory motion, it superseded debate, and all other hands that were raised were not called upon. Just a moment ago I attempted to move another dilatory motion, and I was told the motion at hand needed to be taken care of first.
I'm wondering why on Friday a dilatory motion took precedence, but today it doesn't.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
That's correct. Just a moment ago I indicated to you that I intended to bring forward a dilatory motion.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
You commented that G-11 needed to be taken care of first before you could hear from me. However, on Friday you gave the dilatory motion precedence, so I'm wondering why those two rulings are incongruent.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
You can confer with the clerk, but I'm happy to move forward with my dilatory motion.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay. Thank you.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Chair. I do.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you for seeking clarification. I very much appreciate that.
Mr. Chair, I wish to return to a motion that was brought forward to the committee on Friday, at the last meeting.
The motion that I moved at that point in time was that we would request the Minister of Justice to produce an updated charter statement under section 4.2 of the Department of Justice Act with respect to the potential effects of Bill C-10, as amended to date, on the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This motion further said that we would invite the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Justice to appear before the committee to discuss the implications of Bill C-10, as amended to date, for users of social media services, and that we would suspend clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-10, notwithstanding the committee's decision of March 26, 2021, until it has received the updated charter statement requested under paragraph (a) and has heard from the ministers invited under paragraph (b) of this motion.
The reason I moved this motion on Friday was that the bill we are currently debating, Bill C-10, has undergone significant change since it was first brought forward in the fall, and at that point in time, in November, was provided with a charter statement. Of course, that charter statement was up to date at that time. However, because section 4.1 has been removed, and thereby protections for the content that an individual might post to their social media account is now subject to government scrutiny, I do believe that it is in the best interest of this committee to seek another charter statement in order to make sure that it is in compliance.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
I do.
Chair, I would move that we debate the motion that was originally brought forward on Friday.
View Rachael Harder Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate that very much. I also return my thanks to the committee for hearing me out on this.
Mr. Chair, as stated, this piece of legislation, Bill C-10, has undergone significant change with the removal of proposed section 4.1. As a result, it is questioned whether an individual will actually be allowed to put up content of their choice on their social media platform or use apps on their phone, based on Bill C-10. In other words, it is presumed—not just by me but by other experts—that individuals' rights will actually be brought under attack by this legislation.
It seems, then, very important for the members of this committee to receive an updated charter statement. Of course, what this would do is take the bill in front of us—Bill C-10 as it exists now, in its amended form—and put it up against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This charter statement would be delivered by the justice minister and it would state whether or not this bill holds up.
The reason this is so important is that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the supreme law of the land, and paragraph 2(b) protects freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and freedom of belief. When we are at a point in Canadian history where we are using social media platforms as the public square, it is important to protect the voices of Canadians and how they express themselves in those spaces.
The government has gone too far when it imposes itself—or empowers the CRTC, which of course is directed by the government, to impose itself—on people and their freedom of expression, freedom of belief and freedom of opinion and starts regulating what people are saying or posting.
Of course, I am offering my own take on it, as well as the takes of many other experts who have analyzed this piece of legislation. What I am asking is that this committee also request the take of the justice minister. Again, this would be accomplished by a charter statement.
One of the reasons this is so crucial is notwithstanding the most important one, which is to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians. It's been interesting over the weekend as I watched as the Minister of Heritage responded to the concerns raised around Bill C-10. One of the accusations that was brought out by Minister Guilbeault is that all of the individuals expressing opposition or raising questions or concerns with regard to Bill C-10 are suddenly being called “extremists”. If you disagree with the government, if you have a question about a bill being brought forward by the governing party or are opposed in any way, you are now labelled an “extremist”. If that is happening in this small fraction of time, I can only imagine the types of stipulations that would be put in place by this same minister should the legislation be successful.
If he and his department are responsible for telling Canadians what they can and cannot post, then anything that might be against the ideology of this government would be flagged. Anything that would raise questions with regard to a government decision would be taken down. Any material that an individual posts that would make someone feel uncomfortable or at which someone might choose to take offence would be removed.
It has a silencing effect, and it's wrong. It must be stopped. Canadians must be protected. Their charter rights must be preserved.
I am asking for something that I believe is extremely reasonable, which is that we push the “pause” button on this committee for a very short time and that we seek this statement from the justice department. We would be looking for an opinion as to whether Bill C-10 does, in fact, align itself under the charter. If it does, okay, but if it doesn't, this committee has some work to do in terms of making sure the charter rights of Canadians are indeed protected.
With that, I have put a motion on the table asking for that statement and asking to hear from the Minister of Heritage. I would ask the members of this committee to vote in favour of it.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to my colleagues for bringing forward this conversation.
Obviously, for me as well the charter is one of the most important things to ensure that we are in alignment with and are supporting. The NDP has always fought for freedom of expression. It's very, very important that we protect that and work on that. I think it's also very important that we get this right. This is very important to broadcasters across the country. This is very important to all Canadians.
I agree very much with some of the things I've heard my colleague Mr. Rayes say today. I'd like to propose a subamendment to Ms. Harder's amendment. I think one of the things we need to ensure as a committee is that we are trying to move this bill forward as rapidly as we can, that we are doing our due diligence and that we are doing what we need to do to ensure that we have the best legislation coming forward. This is—
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
I do. Would you like me to send it to the entire committee or just to the clerk, who will then forward it?
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