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Results: 1 - 15 of 101
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to speak. I want to comment briefly on some of the language I've heard today.
I will admit that I am not a lawyer like Mr. Housefather or Ms. Dabrusin; I'm just an old small-town mayor. One thing I do know is that language matters. Language counts. The way clauses are worded matters and what people say in committee matters.
I would suggest quite strongly, to what Ms. Dabrusin said about aiming to get this right, that it's not good enough to aim to get it right; we have to get this right. The concern that's been raised, and not by me, because I certainly didn't catch it, but by other people who are far smarter and more knowledgeable on this issue than I am, is that taking proposed section 4.1 out opens a window for the potential to regulate individual users' content by regulating the forums they use or the platforms they use to post their content.
Despite Minister Guilbeault's rather fumbling attempt at trying say he didn't want to do that, the intention to not want to do it isn't enough. We have to make sure that this window is not opened in any way. This has to be airtight. This is a fundamental freedom. The freedom of expression has to be protected.
I think Ms. McPherson has proposed an excellent amendment to our motion by proposing some time frames to this. We agree with that. We're not trying to delay things. We're not trying to filibuster, as we've seen go on in so many other committees. This committee has worked really well. I like all of you. Mr. Housefather and I have been on television together, talking about how we can disagree without being disagreeable. We're not trying to be disagreeable. We're trying to make sure we get what all Canadians want, what I think all members of this committee want, which is to make sure that we get this right so that those protections are there and there's no wiggle room anywhere to affect Canadians' rights online.
I recognize the comments that have been made about waiting until the very end and we've done clause-by-clause study, but my concern is that this is fundamental enough in terms of changing the intent of the bill. What we hear from the minister of Justice, the legal decision and the legal opinion on this change, I think is substantive enough. The charter statement may affect some of our decisions going forward on some of these other amendments, so it's well worth taking 10 days to make sure we get it right, because we're not merely “aiming” to protect Canadians' freedoms of expression; it is an absolute. We must do it.
To my friend Mr. Housefather, who suggests that this is a manufactured crisis, respectfully, it's not manufactured. You, as a former mayor.... This is something we do have in common. When you hear concerns raised by your constituents, you don't just dismiss them as manufactured; you address them. That's what we have heard as Conservatives. I've heard over and over again about this, so it's important for us to address those concerns. That's what we're doing. That's my approach to this issue, and I think it's the approach of every other member. I think Ms. McPherson's amendment is a respectful approach to it as well in that it keeps the ball rolling, because we all recognize the importance of getting this done. We all want to level the playing field. We all want to protect that Canadian cultural industry, and not just protect it but enhance it.
I'd love to see the rhetoric toned down a little bit and see us work together. I love Ms. McPherson's very constructive amendment. I think this is the way committees are supposed to work—constructively, across party lines, to make sure we get this right and that we protect Canadians while also ensuring that there is a level playing field and that Canadian culture is not lost in the mix.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
To that point that Mr. Housefather raised, and I think Ms. Harder actually addressed it a bit as well, the concern has arisen based on the removal of this clause. In regard to asking for an updated charter statement based on the removal of a clause that has caused such consternation among people who are far smarter than I am, I agree fundamentally that it's well worth making sure, before spending any more time going through it clause by clause, that we haven't made some fatal flaw in the legislation. If this is some fatal flaw in the legislation that we're reviewing, we'll waste an awful lot of time going through other amendments if this negates the whole thing.
As well, I fundamentally believe an updated charter statement, an updated analysis from the country's top lawyer, might actually inform many of the discussions on these next clauses. It's well worth taking the time to get it right, as opposed to potentially wasting time that we didn't need to waste.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I take the government and Ms. Dabrusin at their word when they say they want to get this done quickly. If that is in fact true, her motion doesn't really.... It's not required. What guarantees that the committee will get back to the clause-by-clause review and get this done is by keeping part (c) in particular and suspending clause-by-clause consideration. If it's that important to the minister, he'll get here quickly. If we take that part out and just keep going, he can drag his feet and this will become a war of words. This holds the government's feet to the fire, which I think we need to do so that we can get back to getting this work done.
I do not support Ms. Dabrusin's amendment. I might have been able to support parts of it, but not removing part (c), and since she's bunched them all together, I'm stuck with not being able to support it.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think this is a very wise move.
To Ms. Dabrusin's point about a new subsection proposed in this bill that protects users—she's referring, I think, to proposed new subsection 2(2.1), which does protect users specifically—the removal of proposed new section 4.1 refers specifically to the programs that users use to upload their content.
We need to be really careful here. Effectively, I think what this is doing is pushing the regulatory impacts onto users. They're actually shifting them to the programs themselves. I think we need to be careful, and frankly, having a new charter statement—a review of this matter—may have tremendous impacts as we continue the clause-by-clause.
I realize the Liberals really want to rush this through and want to get it done, because they didn't do it in the first five years they had, but I think it behooves us to make sure we do this very carefully and make sure that something as fundamental as freedom of expression for Canadians is not hindered in any way by any moves we make here.
This is fundamental to our democracy and our way of life, and to ask a Liberal justice minister for a review of it is, I think, a very reasonable compromise to make sure, as we proceed and continue to go clause by clause, that we're doing so while ensuring that we're not in any way infringing on Canadians' fundamental freedom of expression—
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
There's none taken, anyhow.
I was summing up my point that making sure we get this right is far more important than getting it done quickly. I have real concerns that shifting the onus onto the programs that individual Canadians use opens up too many questions. It is very concerning that the CRTC, while it maybe wouldn't do so, would have the ability and the authority to start regulating the content that individual Canadians post to social media. This is the fear I have. Freedoms aren't taken away in one fell swoop in societies. They're chipped away bit by bit, all under the cover of some important protection from some fear that we should have.
It is well worth taking a pause and asking for a review by the justice minister to make sure we're not getting this wrong. This is so fundamental to our way of life and to the freedoms Canadians expect. We need to make sure we get it right, and that's the reason I think this is a wise pause. We're asking a Liberal minister of justice as well. This is not a partisan issue, I don't think. This is just good governance and making sure we take the time to get this right. That's all we're asking for.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would actually propose a subamendment to G-10, to add the words “that is not an online undertaking”. In G-10, it reads, “any change in the ownership or control of a broadcasting undertaking”. Insert there the words “that is not an online undertaking”, and then carry on.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm sorry. I was nodding. Yes, that is correct.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
We share a name, Mr. Chair. My goodness, I would think you would be less dismissive of me.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, I'm wondering if the word “online” should maybe not be replaced with the word “broadcasting”, so it would read “foreign broadcasting undertakings”. That would be more in line with the wording throughout the document.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
No worries. Nobody could accuse you of showing favouritism towards the Conservatives. It's a good thing.
What I'm struggling with is that Facebook is a new technology and, much like we've been discussing with the Broadcasting Act, new technologies are overtaking old technologies. That said, I love my local newspaper. I'm actually working on a project right now where I'm doing a lot of research on old editions of The Huntsville Forester, which are all online. They are just a treasure trove of information.
We've talked a lot about Facebook trying to [Technical difficulty—Editor] online. It is like a community square where people get to stand up and say what they want to say. I guess the big difference between Facebook and a community newspaper is that Facebook doesn't actually produce much content.
Can you speak to that? Does Facebook actually produce any content itself, or is it simply a platform for others?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
One of the problems we see too is that people.... We understand that people are just not interested in paying for information on the Internet. It's one of the big problems that news outlets have.
How much of a dramatic shift would it be in the Facebook model if there were a monthly fee or an annual fee to be a member of Facebook?
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Sorry, I'm going to cut you off.
You could have different rates in different parts of the world. Pharmaceutical companies charge different prices for their drugs in different parts of the world, based on the market.
Part of the problem we have here in Canada is that because it's free—and I think, in part, because everyone is trapped at home and bored and frustrated by COVID-19—it's a general dumbing down of society. People post stupid things and then they spread like wildfire. If it were actually a service whereby you had to pay even a nominal fee, maybe it would cut down on that kind of stupidity.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
Thanks.
That's all I have, Monsieur Chair, unless I have lots more time. I can ramble on some more, but you probably don't want that.
View Scott Aitchison Profile
CPC (ON)
I want to continue with what I was talking about earlier, about the concept of a fee for membership. I know that the model right now is based on having lots and lots of users and the advertising revenue that's generated from accessing as many people as humanly possible.
I'm wondering, if you charged a membership fee, would that reduce, potentially, the number of eyes that might be on a particular ad and therefore affect ad revenue? Is that a fair statement?
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