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View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
I call the meeting to order. Hello, everyone. Welcome to what we legendarily call “clause-by-clause” on Bill C-10.
I'm going to go through a few instructions. For those of you who are listening in the virtual world, I'm going to describe how clause-by-clause study is going to operate, in case you're not familiar with it. This is a brief explanation.
We will, for the next three hours, be going through this bill. As the name indicates, this is an examination of all the clauses in the order in which they appear in the bill, each clause successively, and each clause is subject to a debate and a vote. If there are amendments to the clause in question, I will recognize the member who is proposing the amendment, who will explain it. Debate will follow, if there is a debate. When no members wish to further intervene, at that point, when the debate has settled, we will proceed to a vote.
The amendments will be considered in the order in which they appear in the bill package that you all have as members, and they will be numbered as such. If there are amendments that are consequential to each other, they will be voted on together. I'll inform the members when that situation occurs, or the legislative clerk will when need be. Given that we're all in a virtual world, that may happen more often than not. I'll be pleased to accept that interruption should we go awry. Pursuant to the House order of September 23, all questions shall be decided by a recorded vote, except for those decided unanimously or on division. Let me explain this for a moment.
We have three options here. When I say, “Shall the clause carry?” or “Shall the amendment carry?”, if I am greeted with silence, it will be accepted and carried. If you have issues with the clause or the amendment but you don't wish to go to a vote, you can say, “On division”, and it will be carried on division. Just make sure that someone says, “On division” if you wish it to be passed that way. Finally, if we have someone saying, “No”, or if people have big issues, we will go to a recorded vote. I'll ask our clerk to proceed with a recorded vote when necessary.
That said, you have your package of amendments. For those who are listening in the virtual world through the webcast, I will explain how it works.
We have amendments from six different streams, and they will be labelled as such. For example, the first one we will deal with is PV-1. PV is Parti vert. It is the Green Party amendment. The Green Party members are not full-time members of the committee, but they are allowed by law to introduce amendments to this bill. They do not have the ability to vote, but they certainly have the ability to introduce amendments and to debate them. One note about this is that all motions by the Green Party will be deemed moved because of the situation of not being on the committee. All the other amendments have to be moved by the mover when need be. I'll notify that person when their number comes up.
I'll use the example of the first amendments. We have PV-1. We also have LIB-1. These amendments will be coming from the Liberal members on the committee. We have CPC-1, which will be coming from the Conservative members on the committee. We have BQ-1 coming from the Bloc Québécois. We also have NDP-1. These amendments will be coming from the New Democrats. The final category is G, as in amendment G-1. These amendments will be moved by our members from the government, because the government may amend its own bill. Such is the democracy that we have.
Moving on, the other item I would like to bring to everyone's attention is about subamendments. Members are permitted to move subamendments. The subamendments must be submitted in writing, or by email for members participating virtually, as we are, in this world. They do not require the approval of the mover of the original amendment. If you're subamending, the subamendment is voted on first. Another subamendment may be moved, or the committee may consider the main amendment and vote on it. Only one subamendment at a time may be considered. We can't do two subamendments based on the original amendment. We'd have to vote on that and then move another one. I hope I made that somewhat clear.
Once every clause has been voted on, the committee will vote on the title and then on the bill itself. An order to reprint the bill may be required if any amendments are adopted, of course. We send that back to the House for report stage. In fact, the committee orders the chair to report the bill to the House. The report contains only the text of any adopted amendments, as well as an indication of any deleted clauses.
I thank the members for their attention.
Here are a couple of other items.
Yes, folks, I've seen some of your input, and we will be having a health break. Accordingly, some tine between one hour and an hour and a half from now, we'll do so. If I see people fidgeting in their seats, I'll do it right away—forthwith, if need be.
Nevertheless, I also want to say welcome. As we normally do in clause-by-clause examination, we also bring in guests from the department—in this case, of course, the Department of Canadian Heritage. They will be available to us—virtually, of course—for questions, if we have any regarding an amendment, subamendment or the bill itself.
I want to welcome to our virtual world and our world of small squares on the screen Thomas Owen Ripley, the director general, broadcasting, copyright and creative marketplace at the Department of Canadian Heritage. We also have Drew Olsen, senior director, marketplace and legislative policy; and Kathy Tsui, manager, industry and social policy, broadcasting, copyright and creative marketplace. As I've said to her before, that's probably the largest business card I've ever witnessed. We also have Patrick Smith, a senior analyst, marketplace and legislative policy.
Thank you to our guests for being here today.
I need to recognize one member at the very beginning.
Ms. Dabrusin, are you there?
Happy birthday, Ms. Dabrusin.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you. This is a great way to spend my birthday.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
We're honoured to have you, in that case.
That being said, we're going to move ahead now with clause-by-clause study.
Buckle up, folks. This is the fundamental core of parliamentary democracy at its best. It's going to be an exciting time—so exciting that we'll probably sell the story rights to Netflix.
I'm kidding, just kidding; we're not going to do that. I don't think we can do that to any broadcast undertaking.
Let's get moving, pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, February 16, 2021, we are examining Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.
Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of the title is postponed to the end. It's normally the first thing you see in the bill, but we will deal with the title at the end of this clause-by-clause session.
(On clause 1)
We're going to proceed in the first place, as you may have guessed, to clause 1. Since it has already been deemed moved, we will start with amendment PV-1.
I am looking to the side of my screen, where I see all the names. I want you to raise your hand if you want to move or wish to speak to a particular amendment.
That being said, right on cue, Mr. Manly, we welcome you. You, sir, have the honour of going first, with amendment PV-1.
View Paul Manly Profile
Thank you, Chair.
First of all, I thank Ms. Dabrusin and wish her a happy birthday. It's actually my sister Heather's birthday as well, so I wish my sister a happy birthday along with that.
As you mentioned, I'm not an official member of this committee. Despite the fact that the Green Party got 1.2 million votes in the last election, clearly one-fifth of what the Liberals and the Conservatives got but 50 times fewer seats than the Liberals and 40 times fewer seats than Conservatives, because we don't have official party status, I do not have a voice or a vote on committee. However, I have been studying this bill. I've followed the witness testimony in committee and I've had my own meetings with a number of organizations so that I could question them myself.
This amendment adds a definition of “community element” to the act. The broadcasting policy for Canada in the act states that the Canadian broadcasting system comprises “public, private and community elements” and that each element “shall contribute in an appropriate manner to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming”. However, there is no definition of “community element”, nor is there a description of what an “appropriate manner” means.
Community element is needed now more than ever. It's the voice of smaller communities and minority voices. It's a platform for democratic discourse. It's a way for media literacy, a training ground for people in communities who want to learn about broadcasting and television and radio, and it's an incubator for Canadian talent.
I've had some discussion with members of the committee and the word “non-profit” stuck out to them, because the definition in the amendment as written says:
“community element” means the participation of members of the community in the non-profit content production of community media in the language of their choice, as well as in the day-to-day operations and administration of community media;
Many of these community television organizations are connected to major cable companies: Shaw, Rogers, Cogeco, and so on, which are for-profit companies. However, when the cable companies got their monopoly to provide cable in a community, part of that was to provide community television. The intent of community television was for it to be non-commercial. That might be a better word than “non-profit”, but rather than trying to cram a program into 22 minutes so that you could get eight minutes of commercials, there were no constraints on that. There are no commercials on community radio or community television. There are sponsorships from businesses for programming, but it is not the same as the commercial radio or commercial television.
Therefore, I'm hoping that the members of the committee will support this definition and that they see the need for changing the word “non-profit” to “non-commercial”. This might need to be done, but I think it's important to define what the community element is in the act.
Thank you.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Mr. Manly.
Once again, just before we go to Ms. Dabrusin, I want to remind everybody that once you put your hand up to speak, can you please help us out by lowering your hand when you're done? Otherwise, there will be a lot of legacy hands in the room and I can't figure who wants in and who wants out—pardon the expression.
Ms. Dabrusin.
View Julie Dabrusin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank Mr. Manly, because it's clear he put a lot of thought into the amendments that he has put forward and I appreciate that he's taken the time to highlight the community aspect of programming and of the Broadcasting Act.
I have had conversations with Mr. Manly and I would like to propose a subamendment that would amend his amendment by removing the word “non-profit”. I agree absolutely with the intent and think it's a great thing, but the problem is that including those words could actually have an impact on funding available for community programming, community broadcasting, in a negative way. I want to make to sure that we maintain that open field and that we do not negatively impact community broadcasting. Therefore, I suggest that we remove the words “non-profit”, please.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Ms. Dabrusin.
If everybody can look at their package, you'll see PV-1 starts with the paragraph, “community element”, and so on and so forth. What we are now debating as a subamendment is simply removing “non-profit”.
Do I see any comment on the subamendment for this discussion on PV-1?
Seeing none, I'll call a vote.
I'm greeted with silence; therefore, it is accepted.
(Subamendment agreed to)
Now that it has been amended, we'll go to the main amendment.
Mr. Shields, go ahead.
View Martin Shields Profile
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-04-16 12:50
Are we back on the main amendment?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Martin Shields Profile
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-04-16 12:50
In reference to what Mr. Manly is talking about with this amendment, could he give us some examples?
Definitions are tough. I understand that. It's referred to in the sense of the community elements. Could he give us some examples of how this definition would clarify, such as specifics of what would happen?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
I don't see your hand up, Mr. Manly. Obviously, you don't have to respond, but there's a question out there if you wish to.
View Paul Manly Profile
The community element is really about community cable and community radio. It's a non-commercial element to broadcasting. Here in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith, we have CHLY Radio, which is a community college radio station. It's a non-commercial radio station. Students and community members can use it for a learning process. They can pitch shows to the programming committee and then they put together radio shows. They can be talk shows. They can be music shows. There are a series of rules they have to follow in terms of Canadian content for music. With television it's the same thing.
There was a time when you learned about community television through shows like Wayne's World. I started in community television in 1986 at Skyline Cable in Ottawa, before going to school to study broadcasting. That was where I learned about all the different processes for broadcasting. It's what inspired me to go into television.
It's also a place for organizations and community members to be able to have a public discourse to bring their ideas forward. Because it's non-commercial, it's not driven by the element of money and trying to sell eyeballs to advertisers. The purpose is really to bring the community voice into the broadcasting system. It's really important in terms of things like democratic debates. On our community television station here and on community radio, we get debates for city council elections, provincial elections and federal elections. It gives another opportunity for people to hear what's happening in their community.
There are many different ways that community television and community radio are used. The key thing is that it's not a commercial entity, so there isn't an impetus to have to sell eyeball time for commercials. That's a really important element for our democratic system, for open discourse, and as a training ground for people who want to learn about broadcasting and who want to bring their talents forward.
We've seen lots of people who've worked in community television go on to have careers as actors. Tom Green, from Ottawa, is one example. There are lots of examples of people who started their career fooling around on community TV.
View Martin Shields Profile
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-04-16 12:54
We've changed the definition from non-profit, so in terms of the funding mechanism, where will they go to get the funding? Where have they gone? How does this continue on in the sense of funding now that you've changed it from non-profit?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Manly, you may answer if you wish.
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