Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, everyone.
Colleagues and friends, Mr. Chair, members of the committee, I want to begin by thanking you for your work. I know that you have spent more than 20 hours on this study. I'd also like to thank the witnesses.
This is an extremely important bill. It has led to many, often heated debates at the committee, and that makes perfect sense.
It's a debate about the fact that we now live in a digital world and, therefore, that we need policies and legislation that are built for that digital world. Honestly, I think Bill C-11 is the way to do it.
What will Bill C‑11 change, specifically?
First, Bill C‑11 will support our artists and creators. It will foster the creation of good jobs in the cultural sector, make Canadian content more accessible and make it easier for people to find homegrown Canadian music and stories.
Second, online streaming platforms will need to contribute to Canadian culture. I think this is self-evident and extremely important.
It's long past time that the streaming platforms contribute their fair share to our culture, just as traditional broadcasters have done up to now. We have a cultural policy system that has served Canadians for decades here and around the world, but Canada and the world have changed.
The reality right now is that platforms are taking up more and more room in our lives and that an increasing number of Canadians are cancelling their cable subscriptions. In fact, over 70% of Canadians now subscribe to platforms. The industry is here to stay and is likely going to experience further growth.
Bill C‑11 is designed to ensure that our next generation of artists and creators can succeed in the digital age.
While following the debates, I heard a number of interesting ideas, such as redefining Canadian content; adding provisions to support indigenous peoples and racialized Canadians; providing more support to our cultural sector workers; and much more.
We also heard last week from a founding member of The Tragically Hip, one of Canada's most beloved bands, on why we need to do this, and why we need to do this now.
I have also heard concerns and criticism. That's normal. You know what? We need that. It's a normal discussion around a bill.
The government has been extremely clear that we have no intention of regulating what people post online, as some have claimed. While I think we have made this clear in Bill C-11, I have always said that I'm open to improving it.
As a former House leader—and Mr. Julian would know this—I know that we need to work together, particularly in a minority Parliament. I'm committed to doing that. Actually, I would say that I've been doing that since day one. But I'm also committed to passing this bill, because it's what Canada needs. It's what Canadians voted for. To be honest, all of the parties here in this room had something like this in their platform.
As we have said since the beginning, Bill C-11 is about the obligations of platforms, not users. I always say it: platforms in, users out. That's the key point. It's about bringing online broadcasters into our system. It's about creating more space for diverse voices and stories.
Decades ago, we made the choice to defend our culture. We made that choice because our stories matter a great deal to us. These stories bind us, unite us and set us apart from others.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you benefit from the system, you need to contribute to it. It's as simple as that.
This is a debate about fairness and, of course, the debate won't end here. The bill will be further debated in the House and by the Senate.
After royal assent of the bill, I will provide a policy direction to the CRTC. Once the CRTC receives the policy direction, they're going to hold public hearings and develop the regulations, as they've always done as a public interest regulator.
I'm ready to take your questions.