Mr. Speaker, I understand we are talking about the fifth report from the Canadian heritage committee.
An hon. member: Not the third, not the second, not the sixth.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging that the members across the way can actually count. I am somewhat impressed. Maybe they can count the number of meetings that have been lost.
It is my pleasure to talk about the review of the Canadian music industry. It is an industry that is obviously of the greatest importance. What I would like to do is to provide some thoughts and share them with the members of the chamber.
I have been provided a fairly long and interesting letter that deals with a number of recommendations. I think what I should do is acknowledge some of the recommendations that have been brought forward. It is a lengthy document but if members do not mind being somewhat patient with me I will be sure to try to cover as many as I can in the limited amount of time we have.
If I may, I will highlight through some of the correspondence, which was provided from who I believe is the chair of the standing committee, dealing with the funding of programs, in particular recommendations 5 to 9. This is a letter that was provided to members of the committee, and in fact to all of us.
We acknowledge the Committee’s recommendations to examine means by which the Government provides support to the Canadian music industry, including the structure of the CMF and other possible funding tools such as tax credits. In order to develop and promote Canadian music, particularly in a rapidly changing environment, access to upfront capital and financial flexibility of public programs are key concerns of the Canadian independent music sector.
I want to talk about how important it is for us to acknowledge our music sector. A lot of Canada's culture and heritage is shared through music. I believe there is no better example I could provide than Folklorama. I am a proud Winnipegger who enjoys my summers as much as possible. I can say that over the last 20 years every summer I get engaged in what is one of, I believe, the greatest tourist attractions in North America. It is known as Folklorama. If members want to get a sense of music in Canada and the many different heritage groups that participate in Folklorama, they can go from one pavilion to another where they will be enriched by the different types of music and entertainment being provided. I must say that it is a great experience. If members have never had the opportunity, I would suggest that this is something they should get involved in.
With respect to this report, we talk about funding and supporting our music industry both directly and indirectly. I would suggest that is money that is well invested and it is done in many different ways.
Going back to my example of Folklorama, the public will not only see the amateurs in the industry but also professionals. As much as possible, I make a point of going to a number of different pavilions during Folklorama every summer. Some of the pavilions that have enriched my experience over the years have been the Philippine pavilion, where members can see musical instruments that are not necessarily customary in a traditional music class in our elementary, secondary or post-secondary schools, as well as the Punjabi pavilion, where they will get that same sense and where they will hear a different type of music, and accompanying that music is often dance.
I have cited two pavilions. I believe there are about 51 pavilions in Folklorama. It fluctuates to a certain degree every year. However, every pavilion gets engaged in music and, in part, dance at the same time, but music plays a very important role.
When we talk about how important the music industry as a whole is to Canada, all we need to do is look at some of the festivals that take place.
I make reference one, where there is close to a quarter of a million of people. The vast majority will be from the Province of Manitoba, but there is a huge appetite from the public to get engaged and be in tune and share the types of heritage that we are building upon through our music industry as a whole. It is really important for us to acknowledge that.
Page 1 of the report states:
According to testimony by Jean-François Bernier, Director General of Cultural Industries at the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canadian music sector contributes nearly $3 billion annually to the Canadian economy. Over 10,000 people are employed in the sound recording and concert sectors, and there are 30,000 professional songwriters. In addition, music contributes to other economic sectors, such as tourism and advertising.
Folklorama is all about that. When we hear statements like this, not only do we see the thousands of people directly employed, but 95%-plus of the people in Folklorama are volunteers. This is one reason why I believe it is important that when we concur in these reports, as much as possible we provide some feedback. At committee stage, it provides many different stakeholders the opportunity to come forward and share their thoughts and appreciation.
Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I was unable to attend during the preparation of this report. Had I had the opportunity to participate, when Jean-François made reference to the number of people who were directly employed, I would have also added to that the tremendous value of those who volunteered. Quite often it is through volunteering that many of those artists are born. Many of the songwriters who we often talk about today come out of many of our different community events.
I have spent a lot of time talking about Folklorama, but I could talk about the many other types of festivals that take place in my home province. At the end of the day, those individuals often start in some form of volunteer capacity. It may be at a local festival or it could be at a local community church, but they often start off as volunteers. By doing that, they will ultimately hone their skills, maybe feel much more confident of their ability, and then move on. Hopefully they do it because they enjoy sharing their talents. Many of them are accorded the opportunity to earn a living by it.
It is a very important issue for me personally. I have long been an advocate for young people to get engaged and show their talents.
When I was elected in the 2011 general election, one of the things I came up with was the Winnipeg North's Got Talent event. We just had our last event. I was talking to my executive assistant just last night about how we could incorporate some of the winners of our talent contest into our next 10 percenters. It is truly amazing, the type—
Mr. Jeff Watson: They need to know.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. As a member of Parliament, I like to stay in touch with my constituents and keep them aware of the type of the things we do.
We have done this. This is not just a one-off. We now have held our third annual Winnipeg North's Got Talent event. I have gone to other events throughout the year where I have met many of the young people who have gone through the event, which I host. They are actually singing the song that they performed and possibly even received an award for, or at the very least a certificate from my office. We also give some cash prizes.
It is important for us to recognize that there are so many benefits. In committee, we talked a lot about the direct benefits. I want to spend some of my time talking about the indirect benefits.
When we hold our Winnipeg North's Got Talent contest, dozens of young people take an interest in it and want to participate. It is a competition. We will have community-minded individuals who play the role of judges. We build a platform and provide great sound. Members of this chamber would be so impressed with the amount of talent in our communities. I have been a judge. I have been a member of the audience. I get engaged. We have had run-offs in which dozens of people meet prior to the event because of the demand to perform in it.
For many of the individuals who show up at this event, it is not their first time. Most often, they will have practised expanding their talents or honing their skills throughout the year. I have grown very fond of one particular young lady because of her abilities to share her dance routine of Indian heritage.
Even though 90% or more of the performances are musical, some participants will share a heritage dance. The musical background and the amount of discipline involved in learning, whether a dance, or performing art or a musical instrument, is quite impressive. This is not something that someone learns overnight. Usually, it involves a parent, or a guardian or maybe a grandparent, someone within the family who has also has the interest and wants to share that with that child. In sharing that interest, they will encourage and often have that child attend a special event. Quite often, those individuals are the number one supporters and the ones who clap the loudest.
How many events do we all go to where we see an outstanding young person? In my experience, in most cases it is usually someone under the age of 22. Those individuals will astound the audience because of their abilities. The parents, or family members or guardians will be applauding them and encouraging them.
On a micro scale, we might say “Isn't that nice; it's a wonderful story”. It might be just one or two, here and there, but if we look at the cumulative effect across Canada, we have literally thousands. In the report it says, as quoted by one, that there are over 10,000 people employed, or 30,000 professional songwriters in the music industry. Imagine tens of thousands of people from every region of the country getting engaged, in one way or another, in an industry that is so very important to Canada.
We need to highlight that. One of the reasons is that it is a wonderful, creative, positive activity in which our young people are engaged. When I have the opportunity to talk about the music industry through this report, it would be a mistake for us not to recognize the valuable contributions that the tens of thousands of people make in their life by encouraging and supporting young people to get involved.
Then there are the thousands of volunteers. I made reference to Folklorama. I am biased. It is one of the greatest tourist attractions that Canada has to offer. It is good quality entertainment every summer. I think it has now been taking place for 35-plus years. This is where we get a lot of the semi-pro individuals who are quite often looking at making a career commitment in the music industry. It is wonderful to see.
The report talks about the economic sectors, such as tourism and advertising. It even goes beyond that. It helps shape our social and heritage foundation. If we really looked at the many different festivities that take place throughout our country, it is not just in big cities. Small communities of a dozen homes to communities of 5,000 plus homes are all engaged, in some way, in supporting our music industry.
We cannot underestimate the importance of the music industry and how it contributes to who we are as Canadians. My leader often talks about diversity. It is our diversity that makes Canada so great. Whenever we are afforded the opportunity to stand and promote Canada's great diversity, which gives us our strength, and reflect on our heritage, we should do so.
Music is one of the driving forces in appreciating who we are as a society today. Recognizing that rich heritage puts us ahead of any other country in the world.
I did not get a chance to go through any of the recommendations in the report. It appears that my time is up, but maybe I will have another opportunity to add some more comments.
I would like to thank my New Democratic colleagues for bringing forward this concurrence motion. I anxiously await the Standing Orders from the procedure and house affairs committee, hopefully to be debated at some time. I have many opinions in this area as well.