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View Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Profile
BQ (QC)
I was raising my hand to vote, Madam Chair.
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 Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
No. Yes, in fact, we did understand well, but I want to vote against it.
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 Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 13:29
The chair is in Newfoundland-and-Labrador; the delivery would cost you, Mr. Rayes.
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 Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 14:07
Mr. Chair, I'm challenging your decision.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 14:10
Mr. Chair, I'd like a clarification.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 14:10
Perhaps I misunderstood. If amendment PV‑26 is defeated, will amendment BQ‑32 still hold so that we can vote on it subsequently? Perhaps your explanations weren't quite clear.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 14:10
So if amendment PV‑26 is defeated, amendment BQ‑32 will be voted on. Correct?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 14:10
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
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 Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 14:26
Exactly. Yes, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, I just want to warn you that we are going to vote in favour.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 15:06
That's a very nice way to finish off, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 15:07
You were doing so great.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 15:09
To be perfectly honest, Mr. Chair, I must say that we did in fact hear a “no”.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 15:14
There would also have to be original content in French, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-11 15:15
Mr. Chair, I will leave the last word to you, of course, but I would just like to know if it is possible to find out when you plan to table this valuable document in the House. I suspect that some of my colleagues here will want to adjust their schedules to be here as well. I would like to have some clarification, if you have any to provide, of course.
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 Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 15:44
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 15:44
Mr. Chair, in the same vein, I would invite my colleague Mr. Rayes to wear his headset and use the appropriate equipment to facilitate the interpreters' work.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 15:55
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I will take a few moments to offer my opinion on this amendment. We are indeed discussing an amendment.
I'm going to have a question or two for our friends in the department, particularly Mr. Ripley.
First of all, I want to commend the member for Lethbridge for listening to the artists. We can see that she's sensitive to the artists' cause.
However, when she says that we haven't listened to the artists, that we haven't heard them, I'd like to point out that the artists we're talking to are represented by associations such as the Union des artistes, the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque and the Association des professionnels de l'édition musicale. These are recognized and important associations. They are not lobbies; they are also unions and groups representing artists.
She talks about artists who, in her view, are in niches and stuck in the nineties. Yet the vast majority of these artists are using electronic platforms to distribute their art. So these artists are not so out of touch, these artists are not so far removed from the ones she's talking about, who she feels we should have listened to.
Furthermore, the artists she's talking about who she feels we should have listened to are often YouTubers, people who have platforms or channels on which they post content. Yet, these folks are not subject to the regulation proposed in Bill C‑10. That's one of the questions Mr. Ripley has answered a number of times.
It's easy to build a series of arguments out of falsehoods, to spin it all out of proportion and make a big deal of it. You have to be careful, you have to say real things too, and you have to speak to the real world.
We're talking about 200,000 artists represented by associations like the ones I just mentioned. These 200,000 artists do not have niches and are not stuck in the nineties. These are artists who would have deserved a much more heartfelt apology than what we just heard from the member for Lethbridge, based on the comments.
Having said that, I'd like to once again ask Mr. Ripley about the amendment we're talking about here.
Isn't this request that we would make in adopting CPC‑9.5 simply a way to make the CRTC's job much more cumbersome? Won't this amendment only complicate things, when they are already pretty clear in the bill we're in the process of passing?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:00
May I ask another question, Mr. Chair?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:00
Mr. Ripley, I don't want to make you repeat things you've already said over and over again, but I submit the following. Let's take the example of the CRTC issuing a directive or replacing a regulation, and inadvertently, this could potentially have the effect of violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, namely infringing on the freedom of expression of Canadians. First, is that possible? Second, would the decision be final?
What procedure would need to be followed, starting from the moment a Quebecer or Canadian feels that the decision rendered by the CRTC infringes upon their rights and freedoms or penalizes them in their freedom of expression?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:02
You have raised a good point: if someone feels that the CRTC has misinterpreted the act, they have recourse.
I don't want you to think that I'm making you repeat yourself, Mr. Ripley. In fact, I've been listening to you very carefully over the past few weeks. I'd like you to tell us whether you feel there is any cause for concern that the current wording of Bill C‑10 could allow the CRTC to misinterpret the act and violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its regulations. Based on your interpretation of Bill C‑10 and the Broadcasting Act, do you see any cause for concern?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:05
I want to take advantage of your presence to ask you for some clarifications, Mr. Ripley. There is little time left in the five hours we have to close debate on this bill.
In recent weeks, our Conservative colleagues have repeatedly said that people are earning income from their activities on the Web, such as YouTube channels. They may be influencers or simply artists who use the new platforms to make a living from their art. Indeed, some of them make a very good living, and that's quite admirable.
These individuals are obviously not broadcasting undertakings per se. Is that how you understand the situation as well, Mr. Ripley? Could you be clear on whether a YouTuber, even if they are generating revenue through artistic, creative or other online activities, will be subject to regulation?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:07
I'm glad you said that again, because that's exactly what I have understood from the beginning. I feel like the debate that's been going on for the last six weeks may have been unnecessary and that this committee could have resolved this issue long ago, if only we had taken the time to really listen to what the people we were talking to were saying.
Mr. Ripley, I have a question for you.
Personally, I worked for about 30 years in the media, in radio and television. Like other colleagues who have had a career in the media, I've followed the CRTC's activities and have seen its decisions. I may not have followed it all closely, but I took an interest in it. I've also been aware of the regulations and the changes that have been made to them over the years, even though they didn't always go the way we would have liked, particularly with respect to radio.
When it comes to regulations, the CRTC operates through hearings. When the CRTC puts regulations in place, it's as a result of hearings. The various stakeholders who wish to participate in these hearings send in their briefs or requests to appear. Subsequently, some are invited to appear to make their views known during the process. In the end, it works relatively the same way as a parliamentary committee.
Do you agree that if people who use online platforms to make a living from their art and creations feel challenged by this bill and by the introduction of these new regulations, they are free to participate in the CRTC's public hearings, in this case? Am I wrong in making that interpretation?
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:10
Let me summarize how we interpret Bill C‑10 and the measures we want to put in place. I agree with my colleagues that we should not presume how the CRTC will interpret the act on which it will have to base its regulations. However, the current version of the bill doesn't raise concerns for users of online platforms, contrary to what some experts have suggested. According to several other experts, it doesn't represent an infringement of freedom of expression or of other principles in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in general.
Furthermore, if by any chance people we did not have the opportunity to hear from are concerned and want to give their opinion, they could participate in the CRTC public hearing process.
Ultimately, if a decision made by the CRTC violates the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including freedom of expression, there is recourse to the courts.
So there are several layers of protection, in my view.
Actually, this is not a question for you, Mr. Ripley. Rather, it is the conclusion I draw from the many responses you just gave me, for which I thank you very much.
I will try to stick to the amendment that we're talking about, Mr. Chair. I want to avoid doing what some of my colleagues seem to be doing, as you like to say, venturing off the playing field. We're talking about freedom of expression and adherence to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the tools we put in place to do that.
I believe we have listened carefully to everyone and we haven't muzzled anyone. I don't think we have censored anyone in the last six weeks. We've clearly heard the concerns of our Conservative colleagues. In fact, I think it's very unfortunate that we've come to a process like the one in place. Ultimately, we urgently need regulations to level the playing field in the Canadian broadcasting system.
We have artists in Quebec and in Canada who are anxiously awaiting this bill. It's urgent that it be passed. All these individuals are also eager to take advantage of the digital world, just as much as those who are already there or who have been discovered through digital media.
I very much hope that we will conclude this debate in a cordial and productive manner, and that we will all move forward with the best will in the world. As I said earlier, more than 200,000 artists, creators, craftspeople, technicians and authors, to name but a few, are represented by the handful of associations we've been in contact with over the past few months. They are imploring us to pass this bill before the end of the session.
I'm going to stop there, Mr. Chair. I know those individuals are listening. I just want to tell them that we stand firmly with them and we sincerely hope that we can deliver Bill C‑10, for which they have been waiting far too long.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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 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 Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As always we benefit from your wisdom.
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Because I believe that all of the amendments by all of the parties should indeed be considered and voted on, I challenge the ruling.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:51
Mr. Chair, I'd like some clarification.
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 Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 16:52
I will be brief, Mr. Chair.
If your decision is overturned as a result of the vote of the committee, do we have to vote on all the remaining amendments that we have not debated, or could some of the amendments be removed from the list?
View Anthony Housefather Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, on a point of order, Mr. Champoux is not there.
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 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 Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
I don't want to gum up the works. I have nothing to add, Madam Chair.
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 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.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
No. I will continue afterwards, Mr. Chair, as we had agreed.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's right, Mr. Chair. But first, if I may, I would like to ask you about the motion that we just passed in the House.
My understanding is that with the extension of sitting hours, the committees will have some resources cut off. Does that jeopardize the meeting that we have to have late this afternoon?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Ripley, let me quickly summarize my question.
Does the amendment I am presenting have a negative effect or is it simply, as I would hope, an additional measure that we are taking to ensure that every new regulation put in place by the CRTC respects freedom of expression and that the information is published on the CRTC's website and in the Canada Gazette?
I have another question for you afterwards.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I'm very surprised to hear that asking the agency to provide us with an opinion that it is in compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is doing harm to the agency, when it is the agency's responsibility to ensure that it is in compliance, or at least to confirm that it is in compliance. I am surprised by this, given the nature of this case and the challenges.
I'd like to go back to your earlier comment. You said that the CRTC is going to set up a fund to help interest groups or organizations that would like to participate in public hearings in order to ask questions when necessary. Did I understand you correctly?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I hear what you're saying. The intention to set up a fund is noble. I understand that the fund does not exist yet. The CRTC will set it up with the powers it will have under this bill.
Having said that, you talk about groups or individuals representing interests. To me, that's the problem. What about a YouTuber, a Canadian who is not representing someone else's interests, but who, as an individual, might feel aggrieved and have some questions about it? There are thousands of individuals like that in this country. It might be a teacher, a citizen or a politician who has a large following and posts programs or content online. Ordinary people would not have access to the fund if they feel aggrieved, because they do not represent an interest group, they just represent themselves.
Am I mistaken?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's fine.
Throughout the consultations that we held during the consideration of the bill, we heard from many witnesses, but no one representing individuals who use social networks came to speak. We did not invite them because it was not part of the initial version of Bill C‑10. The bill took a different turn only afterwards, when we started looking at the amendments. So the people who felt aggrieved by the bill along the way have not had an opportunity to speak out on this.
Let me ask you my question. This will be my last question, because I want to give the floor to my colleagues on the committee who would like to speak to this amendment.
Could an ordinary citizen, who is not a representative of an organization, have access to this fund to participate in public hearings?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Ripley, when you say that people can make submissions, do you mean that they can go and testify, or ask to testify, at the hearings, or that they can make submissions in order to have access to the fund to help them in their work so that they can testify at the hearings?
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
So, we agree that, right now, the wording you read to us says that it could be individuals, but those working in an interest other than their own.
The CRTC would have to modify this fund to allow one person alone to apply for funding to prepare for CRTC public hearings. The individual would not have access unless they represent an interest group. It is possible that this could be done in the future, but to date, it has not been allowed.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
That's fine.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
View Martin Champoux Profile
BQ (QC)
View Martin Champoux Profile
2021-06-10 12:46
A point of order, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Waugh's camera is not on. We can't see his sweet face.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
A point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I did want to raise the same point as Mr. Waugh. However, I also wanted to ask that we end the meeting, since we have another meeting this afternoon. We also have oral question period soon, and we'd like to try to eat a little. Yesterday, we all had to skip dinner.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
A point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
I don't know whether Mr. Louis is almost finished, but I see that the meeting has already been extended by more than eight minutes. I know you don't want to interrupt him and you want to let him finish, but there will be another meeting this afternoon.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
We will get the five hours of debate.
View Alain Rayes Profile
CPC (QC)
No worries about that.
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Minister, for being here today for this important meeting on Bill C‑19.
I'm a bit stunned to hear Mr. Nater asking questions that are outside the context of Bill C‑19, while we're all, in good faith, working out solutions for the election, and while Mr. Lukiwski is concerned that you're here for the full hour of the meeting. This committee will be cut short, and your very important presence will be cut short, by the Conservatives who are playing a political game in the House right now that will interrupt this meeting. I find that deplorable.
Let us get straight to the point. You talked about the broad strokes, but you know that I am particularly concerned about seniors. We know that seniors are the people who have been most affected in terms of long-term care during this pandemic.
What would be the consequences for seniors if Bill C‑19 were not passed before the next election?
View Stéphane Lauzon Profile
Lib. (QC)
That shows just how important voting by mail is, Minister. As we have regularly heard, expanding access to voting by mail is essential in a global pandemic, as it would be in the case you just described.
Can you tell us why the measures to facilitate voting by mail in the situations you just described are necessary?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
It's actually Mr. Therrien's turn.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Good morning, Madam Chair. It's nice to see you.
Good morning, Minister.
Back in the fall, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs studied situations related to a possible pandemic election. We met 11 times and heard from 20 witnesses on the issue. Among them were experts, the Chief Electoral Officer, a Canada Post official, provincial chief electoral officers, representatives of various associations, academics, citizens' advocates and public health authorities.
My question is simple. Were you aware that we were studying the issue? It seems that you introduced your bill before we finished our report.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
You are saying you introduced a bill that was essentially in draft form. Without question, we will have amendments, as will even the government. I understand that, but what I have trouble understanding is why you did not wait for the committee to table its report to see what it said.
You alluded to time being a consideration. I can appreciate that the government has a minority and that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Nevertheless, you introduced the bill on December 10, if I recall correctly, and the House didn't discuss it again until March. Why did you not wait until the committee had tabled its report to ensure the bill took into account the committee's findings? That would have shown respect for the work of parliamentarians on the committee and the value you place on that work. Simply out of respect for what the committee was working on, you should have waited until we had tabled our report and you had familiarized yourself with the findings and, then, introduced the bill.
I'm pleased to see you again as well, Mr. LeBlanc. Truly, you are a very nice man, and that is the type of respect I would have expected from you. You are a warm and friendly person. Why, then, did you not show us that respect, so to speak?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
I hear what you're saying, but it would not have taken much to render this conversation unnecessary, out of courtesy.
I admit that I am more familiar with the workings of another legislative assembly, so I don't have a ton of experience in these matters. When I told some of my colleagues about the situation, they said that this was how things worked, that sometimes, the government did not respect the role of committees. I'm not saying that's what you did, but that is the message it sends, the wrong message. I really wanted to tell you that. I understand what you're saying, but the fact remains, this could have been avoided.
I don't know how much time I have left, but I do want to discuss the weekend element.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
In that case, I'll ask you a simple question, and we can come back to this later, if you don't mind.
Right now, the number of COVID‑19 cases is dropping significantly and the vaccine rollout is going well. If that continues and an election is called in the fall, are you still going to move forward with Bill C-19?
I am genuinely curious, because we are really moving in the right direction. Is it possible that you might withdraw Bill C-19?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Since I have a number of questions, I would kindly ask the minister to keep his answers as short as possible, in the spirit of co-operation.
Bill C‑19 contains a slew of measures that would authorize the Chief Electoral Officer to take certain measures and disregard others. That would give returning officers greater power, would it not?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Yes, I would appreciate a more detailed answer.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you for your answer.
I have another question for you. The Bloc Québécois is in favour of holding the election over a period of two days, so Saturday and Sunday, rather than three days. That way, school classrooms could be used as polling places; obviously, schools are available only on the weekend, not during the week. I realize that you have opted to have Saturday, Sunday and Monday as polling days. Frankly, I've often wondered why it was necessary to spread the polling out over three days when the Chief Electoral Officer said that it could be done in two days.
I gather from what you said that the third day, the Monday, was chosen for religious reasons. Is that right?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Good morning, everyone. I now call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 45 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of January 25, 2021. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website. So you are aware, the webcast will always show the person speaking, rather than the entirety of the committee.
The first hour will be spent on clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-253, and then we will move in camera for the second hour to review our report.
To ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules to follow. Members and witnesses may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting; you have the choice at the bottom of your screen of floor, English or French audio. I'll remind you that all comments by members and witnesses should be addressed through the chair. Before speaking, please wait until I recognize you by name. When you are not speaking, your microphone should be on mute.
Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the committee is meeting to begin clause-by-clause of Bill C-253, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
I'd like to now welcome our witnesses. Here to assist us today from the Department of Industry, we have Mr. Mark Schaan, associate assistant deputy minister, strategy and innovation policy sector; and Mr. Paul Morrison, manager, corporate, insolvency and competition directorate.
As this is the first time that INDU is doing clause-by-clause of a bill, I'd like to explain how today will go. I will introduce each clause and ask if any members have any questions or comments. If you do, please raise your hand, and we will keep track of the speaking order. I know that MP Lemire is in the room, so we'll try to make sure we can see him when he has his hand up.
Mr. Lemire, if I don't see your hand raised, please send me a message.
Thank you.
We will take care of the speaking order, and once we've finished any debate on a specific clause, I'll then turn it over to the clerk for the vote.
With that, I wanted to also introduce the legislative clerk who is with us in the room today, Monsieur Jacques Maziade.
Welcome to INDU.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
With that, we're going to start.
(On clause 1)
The Chair: You'll have in front of you your bill. Does anyone have any questions or comments with respect to clause 1?
MP—
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
I have not received it, but the clerk has, and it will be distributed shortly. It's on its way. I'll give you a confirmation when we get it, so that you know it's been received, okay?
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
With that, we'll go to MP Jowhari.
You have the floor.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
Before I go to MP Jaczek, MP Erskine-Smith, MP Généreux, MP Poilievre and then MP Ehsassi, I just wanted to confirm to you, MP Poilievre, that we've received the amendment and it has been circulated. Thank you for that.
MP Jaczek, you have the floor.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much.
Next we have MP Erskine-Smith.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
My apologies. Sorry, MP Erskine-Smith. I hate to cut you off, but the bells are ringing.
In order for us to continue, I would require unanimous consent to continue, so I'd like to know if I have unanimous consent to continue while the bells are ringing. Do I have unanimous consent?
I see Majid Jowhari shaking his head.
MP Jowhari.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Okay, we will suspend for the vote.
If everyone can please make sure they're logged back on as soon as the vote is called, we'll then continue.
MP Erskine-Smith, I'll make a little note that you still have the floor.
With that, I'll suspend.
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