Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise and speak to Bill C-10, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts. Bill C-10 comes out of the Yale report that was filed in February of 2020. There were 97 recommendations in it, which deal with communications in Canada, social media, copyright, taxation, web giants and advertising fees to ensure the sustainability of traditional media. However, Bill C-10 is limited to one portion of that, which is the Broadcasting Act.
We have all sat through this debate and we have talked about it time and again. The last time the Broadcasting Act was amended was 28 years ago. In 28 years, a lot of things have changed. I probably had hair way back then, believe it or not. I was not a grandfather yet, but I was a father.
The Internet was just coming through and I can still remember the sound of the dial-up at that time. Did I get through? No, I am still waiting, and uploading took some time. Amazon was not available. Netflix was not available. We could not dial our phones to call for Popeyes chicken, as my office did just the other day to surprise us. There are a lot of things that have changed.
As Conservatives, we believe this act should be changed and amended to bring us into the modern age. Sadly, what we have seen is that there are a lot of flaws in this piece of legislation. It does not go far enough. Just as we have seen time and time again, we are getting the “just trust us” line. They are saying we will get the amendments through and work together.
I mentioned some of the online companies, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Google. There is nothing to force companies like Facebook and Google to pay their fair share. The bill does not address royalty sharing by these companies for content delivered via their digital platform.
Our colleague from the Bloc mentioned local content. I live in a rural area, and I remember we could turn on CBC Radio and there would be messages from one community to the next about road closures and to families about somebody being sick. Giving a heads-up is what local content is for when one lives in a rural area. That is what our national broadcaster served us in those days.
I remember fondly locally produced movies and television shows, such as The Beachcombers and The Littlest Hobo. Does anybody remember The Littlest Hobo? We are getting away from our roots, and we all believe and know there should be more Canadian content. Bill C-10 just scratches the surface as to what we should be looking at more.
The minister will no doubt argue it is difficult to amend legislation quickly, which I will agree is a tough job to do. As legislators, as the 338 members of this House, we are sent here to do a job. We are sent here to be the voices of those who do not have a voice. We are sent here to ask hard questions of the government, and we are sent here to work collaboratively with the government on issues that matter most to Canadians.
Over the last while in working on the mental health file as the special adviser on mental health and wellness to our official opposition leader, I have been looking at the CRTC closely for the last little while. One of the things Bill C-10 does in this latest iteration is that it would give the CRTC a lot of powers.
I bring members back to 2006. In 2006, the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention went to the CRTC and asked for changes to the Telecommunications Act to allow Canada to have a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. I ask members to imagine all the lives we could have saved in the last 14 years. When minutes count, help should be only a simple three-digit number away.
Suicide is a non-partisan issue for me. I have spoken to it in this House a number of times, whether it is related to mental health, mental illness or mental injury. I believe that as parliamentarians, we can do more. We can leave a legacy of action. Legislatures and Parliaments from across the world are filled with shelves of books and studies that just collect dust.
I remember prior to coming to the House in 2015, my predecessor, the former MP for Cariboo—Prince George Dick Harris, told me that we never know how long we are going to be in this role, so we should make it count and leave a legacy of action. I hope people see that that is what we do every time we are here, and every time we speak. We speak with sincerity, and we speak with the passion of those who do not have a voice. We bring their voices to this House.
Now, more than ever, the mental health of Canadians is being tested. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen higher rates of anxiety, depression, domestic violence, substance abuse and alcohol abuse. We are seeing higher rates of suicide and suicidal ideation.
The suicide crisis within our first nations communities is getting close to epidemic levels. I remember my very first emergency debate in this House. It was on the Attawapiskat first nation suicide epidemic. There was a member across the way who said he had been in this House for about 10 years, and sadly, the very first emergency debate that he participated in was on the suicide epidemic in our first nations. His comment was that not much had changed in the 10 years that he had been in the House.
I believe we can leave a legacy of action. I do not believe in doing things in half measures. Bill C-10 is a half measure. The Conservatives believe that there are things we should look at and changes that need to be in place. Ten Canadians will die by suicide today alone. That number is rising. We know the statistics are likely higher. When there is an emergency, dialing 911 is instinctual. We know that. When someone is in need of help, in times of a crisis, they do not want to dial a number and be put on hold, or get a recording.
The same could be said for someone who may not want to end their lives. They may be seeking help. When they are ready to seek help, they should be able to access it immediately. Let us clear up the confusion and give Canadians a simple, easy-to-remember, three-digit number to turn to. That is real, concrete action that will save Canadian lives. Help should only be three digits away.
Now, getting back to Bill C-10, if the CRTC had said yes to the original request to have a three-digit suicide prevention hotline back in 2006, we would have been miles ahead of the United States, our counterparts. They have managed, in the crazy partisan way they have down in the U.S. with their politics, to come to an agreement in a bipartisan way to secure and launch a national suicide prevention hotline, a 988 suicide prevention hotline. However, as I stand here today, 14 years after the very first time it was presented to the CRTC in 2006, the U.S. is ahead of us. I think we can do better.
One of the issues that we have in terms in Bill C-10 is that it does nothing to get social media sites, such as Facebook and Google, to pay their fair share. There is nothing to address the issue of royalties, sharing to media content and sharing digital media. It does nothing to actually provide guidelines to how we are going to increase our French content.
It just skims the surface. As I said before, in 2015 I came here not to do things in half measures, but to do things in full measures. I also believe that we should continue to examine this bill. I hope the minister will accept the various amendments that will be brought forward by all opposition parties. Let us bring 988 to Canada, and let us do better with Bill C-10.