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Results: 1 - 30 of 444
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House as a father from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. We are grappling with a real crisis. Young women are getting dragged into a process that will destroy them. As a father, I am deeply troubled by that.
I know nothing about this subject, seeing as I am not a lawyer, but the point raised by my Conservative colleague caught my attention. It is true that $5,000 sounds like a paltry fine. I do not know much about this.
The government says that we have been talking about this for however many days and hours, but when it decides to cut our debate time short, it is not respecting the standard regarding the number of hours that should be allocated to debate on a given issue. The Liberals say it is fine, but this is an issue I really care about.
Do they think all bills should be debated for less time? Is the Minister of Justice trying to tell us that the parliamentary process in general is too long?
The debate on this issue does not seem like an appropriate place to save time. This is such a serious issue that we should have enough time to discuss it fully, but the Liberals are saying we have talked enough.
Does my colleague think the parliamentary process is too long? It seems to me that it is shorter in China.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, as part of this exchange, I would like to hear the Liberal government explain why it believes that tripling oil sands production will not triple pollution. It could have decided to support Alberta's economy, which I understand, by requiring the increased production to be offset by a decrease in emissions per barrel. However, there is no mention of that. This is an election ploy designed to obfuscate. The government is talking out of both sides of its mouth. I will ask a very straightforward question.
How can the Liberal government believe that tripling production will not triple pollution?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I wish I could believe that the government will eventually rise above partisanship.
A month ago, the NDP tabled a motion in Parliament declaring a climate emergency, but the Conservatives and the Liberals voted against it. The government chose to adopt its own emergency declaration by moving a motion that will not stop pipelines from being built or stop the flow of subsidies to oil companies. They chose to play political games rather than work with all the parties to tackle the emergency head-on.
Can the government stop making this existential crisis political and work with the rest of us to revise the greenhouse gas reduction targets? Can it stop subsidizing oil companies and embark on the climate transition an entire generation is calling for, yes or no?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, about six months ago, on December 6, on behalf of the NDP, I joined forces with a group of about 50 MPs from the Green Party, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP to call on this government to work with all parties and hold a kind of summit where everyone could agree on the importance of meeting these targets.
Sadly, six months on, I have yet to receive an answer from either the Conservatives or the Liberals.
How can that be, when my colleague just said we all need to work together?
He was perfectly right in saying that, but the government has a responsibility to bring people together to tackle a crisis that is like a major war.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, as members know, frustration associated with the end of the parliamentary session can sometimes lead even the wisest amongst us to behave inappropriately.
I want to apologize for making offensive comments toward the Minister of Transport, for whom I have immense respect, particularly with regard to his previous career.
I do apologize.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Courtenay—Alberni.
This is probably my last chance to express my opinion about this government.
I listened to my colleague from Malpeque, and I know his heart is in the right place. He talked about the new horizons for seniors program, which is a very good program in many of our ridings. It is indeed a success.
However, I listened to my other colleague who spoke before him about the government's social housing initiatives, and I had to work hard to keep from shouting. The truth is that places like Longueuil—Saint-Hubert need social housing. We do not spend enough time talking about that. Sadly, the poverty rate in the City of Longueuil and its two suburbs is incredibly high. Over a third of the children belong to families living below the poverty line. I know for a fact that we need social housing. The Longueuil housing office's waiting list now has over 2,000 names on it. We need this kind of initiative, but the Liberal government has never done more than talk about it.
Once again, we are seeing their obsession with always calculating the very best time to announce some big carrot they want to dangle in front of people right before the election. That is what they did. Even though that was two years ago, they told us they were investing $10 billion in social housing. What they have put on the table so far is really just peanuts. What will we get later? It will be a nice gift. We will see if Canadians are smart, if they have realized that they have to trust the blue bloods in the Liberal Party of Canada. Now we will get small carrots here and there; we will get what is to be expected. It is appalling.
The media industry is now in crisis. How are the Liberals going to support the media? They are offering more carrots. No changes were made to the legislation.
Getting back to the people of Longueuil, what did the government do right away? It eliminated the tax credit for public transit passes. That is fantastic. It is almost as good as pipelines. Let us encourage people to take the bus. Congratulations, that is fantastic. I will not even mention the subway, since we obviously still do not have our subway extension.
Quebec has a lot of needs and a lot of ambition, and we can be proud of that. People in Montreal and the rest of Quebec really want to use public transit. Are we going to get some support from higher up? I sure hope so. I would love to see some big announcements before the election. They had better be good, and the Liberals would do well to keep their word and not lose the election. I hope members on that side can really understand how things are for the people of Longueuil.
Longueuil has had the same metro station since 1967. It is 52 years old. Nothing has been built since. God knows we need more. The bridges in my riding, especially the Jacques Cartier Bridge, are constantly congested. When people need to get to Montreal, they do not even consider taking public transit because it takes two tickets to cross the river and the return trip costs $13, so they drive their cars.
In fact, that is why I am so passionate about electric cars and the electrification of transportation. The people in my community were early adopters because it seemed like we were always stuck in traffic. Many drivers ended up going electric. Again, we got peanuts for the electrification of transportation. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development at least had the vision to support a few good projects, but the Department of Transport has not offered up a penny, for Pete's sake. How pathetic. Electric cars are nothing new. Tesla reinvented the car years ago, but Ottawa is asleep at the wheel.
Being here among the 338 MPs who represent the people of Canada is an incredible opportunity. It is time to wake up. We see a lot of apathy, especially on the other side of the aisle. I have said over and over how ashamed I am that this Parliament cannot stand up and make sure e-commerce is properly taxed, at least at the same rate as our own businesses. Peter Simons has opened a store here on Rideau Street, and what a store it is. It was not that guy from Amazon who did it; it was Peter Simons. He got people involved by investing his own money and hiring employees.
Taxes are to be expected, since they fund our services. Paying a tax is not a shame. Roads and hospitals do not pay for themselves, nor do the boats that keep us safe on the water.
The government is letting web giants into the country. Does Amazon, a competitor to Simons, for example, pay taxes? I am not so sure. People are always surprised to hear that someone who ordered a product on Amazon did not pay tax. This cannot work. We are not in a little village in 1812. This is 2019 in a G7 country. I am trying to refrain from swearing.
This is shameful. Why is the media in a crisis right now? The government thinks it is complicated and that it is a new paradigm. I remember I had an eBay account about 20 years ago. This is not a new paradigm, and that is not an excuse.
It is a fact that the Conservatives ignored this for 10 years. The Liberals are even worse. They have been calling this situation appalling for four years, but they are not doing anything. The truth is that the media sector is in one hell of a mess right now and has lost 16,800 jobs since 2008, and the Liberals are partly at fault, since they had four years to do something.
We do indeed need to amend legislation, but the government should have done it sooner. When the Liberals were elected in 2015, they said that they were going to change this because it is important. They said that they would consult, but they did not manage to get everyone together. A government is meant to be able to unite people. Did this government do so? Absolutely not. I do not want to sound alarmist, but that is the truth. Anyone in the culture industry would tell you that.
Currently, we are talking a lot about the 75th anniversary of the brave heroes who defended our democracy in the Second World War. That is what we call patriotism, correct? The person who made a documentary on the Second World War—I forget the name of the production company, but no matter—sold one million copies of his DVD. Three years later, or around four years ago, they made another documentary, this time on the First World War. I can see how people could have found it a little dated and would not have been as interested, but that is not the point. They sold 100,000 copies of this documentary.
The band Alfa Rococo received $16,000 in public performance royalties for one of their radio hits, which makes sense, given that the radio was playing their song. During the same period, they only got $11 from Spotify. Clearly, this is the kind of thing that influences the decision of whether to go into music or not. That said, we are all happy to have music.
The government is well aware of all the problems. This morning I was asked in an interview whether the Minister of Canadian Heritage is incompetent. I said that I believe he is not incompetent so much as powerless. He is powerless before the will of the Prime Minister and he is powerless before the intellectual dishonesty of the Minister of Finance, who, when asked why the GST is not applied to Netflix subscriptions or ads on Google and Facebook, always says that this is very complicated and it should be taken up with the G7 and the G20.
Most of the U.S. states apply a sales tax on accounts like that. Everyone is asked to pay sales tax. For example, when we go to a small-time garage to buy some washer fluid and the employee says it will cost $4 in cash but he will have to add the tax if we pay by credit card, we raise a disapproving eyebrow, but that is what we are allowing to happen.
I did the math. GST would cost Netflix roughly 75 cents a month per subscription. That is roughly $10 a year per subscription. Ten dollars times roughly ten million subscriptions is $100 million.
Do the Liberals not want that money? Canadians do. We need it. The Liberals have to wake up.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, in my response, I will consider the fact that my colleague is a former journalist and has the utmost respect for that profession, which is very important in our country.
The distribution of government support to the media, electronic or print, must be carried out in the most impartial way. We made several recommendations, such as supporting journalists independently of the platform they use. Naturally, the report was shelved because the Liberals are in the majority and are in charge at committees. I have been an MP for eight years and, unfortunately, most of the time, reports are shelved. That is disgraceful. The report had not even been tabled yet and the Prime Minister dismissed it, as did the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Several suggestions were made, in particular in Mr. Greenspon's report, which was not acted upon. What did the Liberals do? Just before the election, they realized that they needed to do something. They asked themselves who might be involved. They made a choice knowing that that would work to defeat the Conservatives, and told themselves it was not a problem, it would do the trick.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my heartfelt thanks to my colleague. I know she is doing a fantastic job in her riding. If anyone can talk about local media, it is her. I know that she writes for a local newspaper, for instance. These newspapers are often free, like the Pamplemousse in the riding of my colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I will not make a joke about his riding's name.
Local media need support. Unfortunately, the program that was created specified that they needed to have at least two employees, which is often impossible for local media outlets. They did not get any support at all.
Many reports on this issue have recommended supporting local media in the transition to digital platforms. However, that requires Internet access, which is another thing the regions may not get.
The survival of our information and our culture is vital to our democracy.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, what a circus we have around here. Exactly six months ago, the NDP invited all parties of the House of Commons to work together on the climate crisis because the failure to meet our targets is the failure of this entire Parliament. The Liberals and the Conservatives continue refuse this offer.
I have a message for the young people marching in the streets: get involved in the upcoming election and kick out all those who do not want to save the planet or find solutions. It is appalling.
I want to ask the Minister of Environment and Climate Change a question, but, honestly, I feel like there is no point. I do not even want to hear what you have to say. Keep thinking that you are the best and figure it out yourselves. Goodbye.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Google spent $47 million on lobbying to roll back copyright in Europe. Here in Canada, the Liberal government is leaving the door wide open to giants such as Facebook, Google and Netflix. The government says nobody gets a free ride. Give me a break. It has been singing the same tune for four years now.
The consequences are very real. Today, TVA announced it is cutting 68 jobs because of Liberal favouritism and the government's refusal to ensure a level playing field for everyone.
I am ashamed of Parliament for handing our culture, our democracy and our jobs over to Big Brother in the states on a silver platter. The Liberals have not done a thing for four years.
Why not? God dammit!
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I wish my colleague would tell me what I did that she found so disrespectful. I did indeed say the word “dammit”, but I could just as easily have said “thorn” or “lemon”. I do not see how that is disrespectful towards the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, who, truth be told, has not done anything these past four years.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question.
The first point in their motion reads:
(a) take note of the importance of a free and independent press to a healthy democracy;
The Conservatives want a “free and independent” press. Do they also want a sustainable press or do they want a dying one? From what I know, things are not going well.
What are they proposing?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I am beginning to feel like a parrot and it is getting tiresome. Why does another four years have to go by before something gets done?
He is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. His minister's predecessor launched the ecosystem review process four years ago.
It was passed from committee to committee, then there was a committee report, and then it went back to committee. The election will be over and still nothing will have been done.
How is it that the Liberal government has not accomplished anything in this regard in four years?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona.
I am happy that the masks are coming off today, because we are talking about something that the NDP has been concerned about for a long time. For around eight years, we have been standing up for Canadian news media and cultural content, and particularly in Quebec, where there is a great deal of provincial investment in businesses that offer such content. Furthermore, as a result of the changing paradigm, every investment the Government of Quebec makes involves greater risk.
Last night, the Québec Cinéma Gala celebrated the talents of director Ricardo Trogi, actor Debbie Lynch-White, actor Martin Dubreuil and Sara Mishara, who did the cinematography for the movie The Great Darkened Days. The Québec Cinéma team reminded us that Quebec is so good at telling its stories because of giants like Jean Beaudin and Jean-Claude Labrecque, who passed away last week.
A pioneer of filmmaking on nearly 100 Canadian films and keenly attuned to the evolution of Quebec society, Jean-Claude Labrecque, considered the filmmaker who captured the essence of Quebec, used to describe himself simply as the guy holding the camera. He did right by us, as the great man he was.
To pay tribute to Jean-Claude Labrecque is to pay tribute to the architect of what we inherited today. We inherited a system that allows us to tell our stories through fiction and documentaries, but also through the news media. It allows us to talk about our democracy and to monitor what our politicians do. That is precisely what is currently at stake, because of the partisan games and mediocrity we are seeing from Canada's two main parties.
Under the Conservatives we had 10 years of inaction. Ten years of acting like nothing happened. Then the Liberals came to power saying that something had to be done, that we absolutely needed to fix the problem. That was four years ago and they have done absolutely nothing since then. This government has done a poor job because it is afraid of the opposition. I am talking about the official opposition, of course, because the NDP has been fighting for this cause for at least four years, if not eight, since this issue was not as urgent at the time. This situation has truly deteriorated in no time at all.
It is unacceptable that 80% of Internet advertising revenue currently goes to the United States. All legislators in Canada should be ashamed. It is not unusual for a society that lives in the north, like ours, to import pineapples or bananas. However, we are now importing advertising signs. Is it not appalling that we are letting all our advertising investments go elsewhere? That is a pathetic trade record. Time and again I find myself having to face the fact that we have no backbone. We have to wake up and protect our industry. We have to stop being mesmerized by five different colour letters just because they represent the most beloved brand in the United States, by Republicans and Democrats alike. We need to wake up.
It is not Google's fault that we are slackers. It is not Netflix's fault that we have not asked it to collect the GST, our country's basic tax, which is a consumption tax. The Liberals will not do it for utterly embarrassing reasons. They are afraid that those opposite, the Conservatives, who only want to win the next election, will say that a Netflix tax will raise prices. Give me a break. All Canadians pay the GST on goods they purchase. That is normal. We pay for goods and services, but they will not charge the GST.
You should all be ashamed. I, for one, as a citizen of a country like Canada, am ashamed that we are not taking a stand and charging our consumption tax. That is just disgraceful. As we can see, this mainly concerns the GST.
The government has been avoiding the issue and thinking pretty highly of itself for four years. For the past four years, it has been ignoring other people's advice. For four years, it has been afraid of being known as the government that taxed Netflix, but come on, Netflix raised its rate by about 33% a year ago and nobody said boo. The Liberals say they will not charge the GST for that kind of service. They know they do not have a leg to stand on, but they will not do it. There might be questions at the year-end review. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are literally lying to us when they say taxing an intangible online service is complicated. They talk about seeking advice from their G7 and G20 friends. Seriously, though, this is a sales tax. What is the deal here? You are lying to our faces. This kind of situation—
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the fact is, we are here in a Parliament where the opposition is supposed to be able to propose things and take a constructive approach. I have been fighting for the media for eight years now, and the NDP has been working tirelessly to protect our stories and our journalism, to ensure a level playing field for everyone. It is not happening. We are not the only ones. In January 2017, a report entitled “Shattered Mirror” recommended the following:
Recommendation No. 1: Enhance Section 19 and 19.1 of the Income Tax Act
We have talked about this. It is completely unacceptable that, in a wealthy, western democracy like ours, we are incapable of amending a section of an act that online advertisers are shamelessly exploiting. Basically, if a company pays to place an ad in an American magazine, it cannot include it as a deduction for its advertising expenses. It cannot put it in an American or Canadian magazine, because it is not an eligible expense. However, placing an ad on Google or Facebook is an eligible expense. It is completely ridiculous.
The Conservatives were no better. That loophole has been around for a long time but the Liberals let it be because they are afraid of being taxed. They have spent four years doing nothing even though this is such an important issue, an issue so crucial to our identity. Our stories are disappearing along with our journalism and possibly even our democracy. A number of us have pointed out that many of the weekly papers that cover local politics in every one of our ridings are closing. They are closing because advertisers can jump on that kind of outrageous advantage. That recommendation I just quoted was the first one in the January 2017 report. That was two years ago, and it came from an expert. The heritage minister requested the report. Two years have passed, and nothing has been done. The government has not done a thing about it even though that was the first recommendation.
Here is another recommendation from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's June 2017 report:
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage explore the existing structures to create a new funding model that is platform agnostic and would support Canadian journalistic content.
That was two years ago. Let me point out that both the heritage minister and the Prime Minister summarily dismissed the report.
Here is the second recommendation from the other report from January 2017:
Extend GST/HST to all digital news subscription and advertising revenue for companies not qualifying under new Section 19 criteria. Rebate GST/HST for those that do qualify
Nothing was done. That was in the January 2017 report published by Mr. Greenspon, a distinguished journalist and expert. The Liberals did nothing.
Now, a little like the huge boondoggle they made of the SNC-Lavalin affair, the government decided once again to improvise. It slipped a line somewhere in the omnibus bill, thinking no one would noticed, but they were wrong. The government should have consulted everyone. It would have been nice if it had not tried to hide this in a huge bill the size of an Eaton's catalogue. What happened as a result? Many jobs were lost in Quebec. People might be in difficult situations, but it is not the government's problem. It is, however, a serious problem for Quebec.
Once again, a committee was thrown together at the last minute. It smacks of conflict and does not look good on the members opposite. They have always known just how much the unions hate them because they are always saying they do not care about the news or the situation facing our media here in Quebec and Canada.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I will focus on the second part of the member's comment, so that my answer is as constructive as possible.
In the second part of his comment, the member asked me what we would recommend. First, we would recommend that the government take things seriously and acknowledge that information promotes a better democracy. Such a fundamental issue should have been tackled much earlier. It would have been preferable not to wait until the last minute, as the government did with a number of very important bills. It also should have done some research and not thought it was so superior that it was above criticism.
Obviously, it is going to be a bit controversial when the government chooses a union that has very much taken a side in the debate and when it makes the announcement at the last second, right before the election. Nevertheless, the Conservatives should not be surprised. They are hated by almost everyone in the news and communications sector. The Conservatives hung us out to dry for 10, or even 14, years, because they were threatening the government.
As for the first part of your comment, you claim to have done things. The Canada Council for the Arts budget was doubled four years ago. Stop saying that; you have not done a thing since.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
That will not be easy, Madam Speaker.
I thank my colleague. I know he means well, and I appreciate his province taking the lead.
He is absolutely right. This definitely demonstrates how pathetic it is that this government does not to have the guts to do the obvious and just apply the GST to a service like this. He is right that we all need to work together. As a result of the government's inability to show federal leadership and persuade the telecom giants to join the comprehensive review, the stakeholders are left to watch as the system falls to pieces. They are petrified of being swallowed up by Big Brother, Google, GAFA and others.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important speech, particularly since, in his riding, the Franco-Ontarian fact is, of course, very vulnerable and must always be promoted and protected.
I would like to know where small newspapers and local weeklies stand. Did the people who run them feel reassured by the government's announcements? If the member has any time left, I would like him to tell me why the Liberals took so long to present solutions that were looked into two years ago in a number of reports submitted to the government.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her speech and excellent work at committee, where we discussed these issues at length.
I will not ask her why we had to wait until the last minute because I have already asked that question many times today. A lot of people are wondering if they are going to pack up next weekend because the parliamentary session is almost over. It cannot believe that we are tackling this issue today, but the Conservatives wanted to raise it.
Is my colleague surprised by the Conservative belief that choosing a union such as Unifor to represent the views of workers and others is some kind of a game?
I find it appalling that they waited until the last minute, just before the election, to introduce such a highly debatable motion.
Is she surprised by the Conservative belief that unions do not look favourably on the Conservatives and do not believe them to be on their side?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague works with me on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, where we talked about this issue many times.
Does he not find it shameful that the Liberals once again waited until the last minute, when they could have been much more effective in helping our media outlets make more money? For example, the government could have amended the exemption in section 19 of the Income Tax Act so that Internet ads are considered expenses for income tax purposes just as magazine ads are.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I agree with him. There is a lot wrong with this situation. A few days from the end of this Parliament, it is very awkward and negligent of this government to be making so many proposals and appointments that could cause confusion, when we do not have the means to do an analysis. Our news industry and our media are not doing well.
I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about the information I found indicating that Canada subsidizes the media to the tune of $2 per capita. In Quebec, with its current formula, it is about $3 per capita. Compare that to $5.83 in the United States, $18.17 in the United Kingdom and $30 in France. Of course, Sweden, Norway and Finland, which are fantastic countries, provide significantly more help to the media, with support ranging from $57 to $90 per capita. That is a huge amount compared to Canada's $2 per capita.
Does my colleague agree with the idea that the state must provide better support for newspapers, in a non-partisan manner of course?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who serves with me on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Clearly, we cannot oppose a good thing, even if it being proposed late in the game. When a union that represents thousands of workers is disparaged, there may be some comments that people would like to take back.
However, as everyone has said today, it is obvious that this is a temporary measure while we wait for something better. That is the issue. Why did we wait all this time to solve the fundamental problem afflicting our media, namely the loss of advertising revenue? What is the cause of these losses? I wonder if my colleague can answer that. Section 19 is overused with respect to online advertising, as though the ads were being placed in Canadian media.
Why has this loophole not been closed? Why is GST not charged on ads purchased on these platforms? If the reason is that these are U.S. platforms, it is not a good reason.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to hear that. I will ask the member to slow down a bit and to find an answer to my question. Why is the government not closing the section 19 loophole?
Allow me to explain. Under section 19, a Canadian advertiser can advertise in an American magazine, but this expense will not count as an operating expense for advertising come tax time. This expense is not allowed because the advertiser is not advertising in Canadian media. However, section 19 does not currently specify that these ads must be bought on Canadian online media in order to be considered an eligible expense.
Why is the government not doing this?
Everyone knows that this is a big problem. Everyone also knows that if the government closed this loophole, Canadian advertisers would probably spend less on American platforms and more on Canadian ones. It is not complicated. This would obviously bring in more money for the government.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague opposite why the NDP's position is drawing so much ridicule today.
The fact is, the people we are talking about today are the ones who are being unfairly penalized. Our position was that their criminal records should be expunged. The Liberal government told us it wanted to make marijuana legal in Canada. What was the result? The Liberals will never get me to believe they cared about the situation of the people we are talking about today. All they wanted to do was please the general public, which does not face excessive criminalization, and above all pander to their investor friends and help them make lots of money.
Today, it is clear that the offence of simple possession of cannabis will come back to haunt someone if they commit another offence. Was this a simple oversight or do you just not give a damn?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Longueuil is two kilometres away from Montreal. If a person from Longueuil needs to take public transit to Montreal for a job interview or a doctor's appointment, for example, it will cost them $13 to get there and back. It makes no sense to pay $13 to travel two kilometres. If people have to make the trip regularly, they can buy a monthly pass for $138. At these prices, it is not surprising that there is always so much traffic on the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
That is why the NDP opposed the Liberal government's decision to do away with the public transit tax credit. That is why the government should invest in extending the yellow line. Extending that line would attract 70,000 users a day. That is why RTL Longueuil needs a partner to extend the yellow line and money to renovate and expand the garages for its new electric fleet.
We need a government that will stand firm. In Quebec, 43% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, with on-road vehicles accounting for 34%. We are in the midst of a climate crisis, and that is why we need governments to make major investments in efficient, reliable and affordable public transit so that we can build our cities while addressing the climate crisis.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, this morning I heard the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan talk about the importance of caring for the most vulnerable members of our society as well. Unfortunately, disabilities often contribute to this very economic vulnerability.
My colleague was a member of the previous government, which created a disability savings plan. I wonder if he could tell us a little more about that program.
Did that program produce the desired results?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, for four years, the media industry has been floundering. Thousands of journalism jobs have been lost. Our information and democracy are in jeopardy.
Last week, the Conservative leader basically announced that he will do nothing to address the media crisis. Come to think of it, nothing is exactly what the Liberals are doing. After four years of studies and committees, last week, the Liberals came up with the half-baked idea to set up yet another controversial committee that will not release its findings until just after the House rises for the summer.
Why did the government wait four years, a full term in office, before finally coming to its senses about the crisis? Are the Liberals that afraid of the Conservatives?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is not without a certain bitterness that I join the debate on this bill.
Of course, we can tout the merits of Canada's two official languages. I rise in the House with all due respect for francophone minority communities outside Quebec and anglophone minority communities in Quebec. There is no denying, however, that, over the past few years, there has been an effort to relegate the sovereignty issue to the dustbin of history and to downplay the importance of acknowledging Quebeckers' quiet nationalism, which concerns me greatly. I have observed firsthand that the French language is at the heart of culture.
Last week, we debated the bill on indigenous languages. We heard from several people who stated just how important indigenous languages are to the indigenous identity and culture, and how it is very important to preserve them. The situation in Quebec is obviously not the same because Quebeckers have had the opportunity to take strong positions and to implement measures such as Bill 101. It was highly controversial at the time but it ultimately played an important, structural role in Quebec culture, and is a critical part of French's resilience in Quebec.
I am talking about our national question being turned into a bit of folklore, because, I would remind hon. members, Quebec is a distinct nation. I immediately think of simple things like the fact that our parliament is not called a legislature, but a national assembly, like in France, to reflect the fact that we adhere to the Civil Code instead of common law. We have a republican-like way of thinking, a way of seeing society that is more reflective of France, but includes a healthy mix of our status as Canadians and North Americans in the Westminister system.
My general impression when it comes to defending the interests of Quebec is that there are not too many Quebec MPs who want to talk about quiet nationalism, an expression that I quite liked and adopted. It was coined by Alain Dubuc, and economics columnist at La Presse. This is a nod to the Quiet Revolution and a characterization of our nationalism. In Quebec today, in 2019, this is a consensual nationalism, in the vast majority of cases.
Some hon. members represent largely anglophone communities where people are not inclined to be open to this idea. I forgive those members for not rising often enough to stand up for the quiet nationalism we are seeing in Quebec. As for the other MPs, I honestly have to say that I am very frustrated. For four years now, I have been front and centre at all times. My party, the NDP, gives me room to talk about how vital culture is to our television and popular music industries. Quebec's cultural industries are thriving. Every time we talk about a Canadian filmmaker doing well internationally we are proud of that, but often that filmmaker is from Quebec. We are so proud we might as well be talking about an Olympic champion. However, this does not come from nothing.
In the Olympics, there are programs such as own the podium. In Quebec and Canada, Quebec culture was allowed to thrive in television, film and music. How did we do that? By enforcing regulations; not letting ourselves be colonized and stepped on like doormats; and telling industry stakeholders interested in developing international culture that we had a weakness and that we needed to be a part of the story. If there is foreign content, there will have to be local content. This goes for all Canadian content, and everyone knows it, but it takes on a whole new meaning in Quebec. Both Canadian and Quebec content are hugely successful and have exceptional ratings, and ultimately, they also have a positive impact on society.
I will stop there to return to the bill introduced by my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île.
In Quebec, protecting culture means ensuring that the stories we tell reflect peoples' lives. I often give the example of the show Fugueuse, which had great ratings and a profound social impact. Every day after an episode would air, social workers and screenwriters would come to Longueuil station to talk about child prostitution, which is a blight, especially in my constituency. The show is having an impact.
In Quebec, we have invested in this particular way of telling our stories and expressing our love to one another, of greeting the world and welcoming new communities that come here. Last year, at a televised gala, we learned that Fugueuse helped 20 or so young people get out of prostitution after speaking to their parents. How marvellous is that?
Some people might say they are sick of hearing about the bloody Quebec culture and would rather watch Netflix anyway because the content is more relatable and much better. Is it though? I myself obsessively watched 13 Reasons Why, a series about teen suicide, before my daughters watched it, because I wanted to make sure it was appropriate for them. Then I learned that, according to American studies, youth suicide rates rose by 27% after the first few episodes were released. That is a huge increase.
The reason I bring this up is that we need to defend the Quebec nation in a constructive way. That is why we in the NDP strongly objected when this bill was designated as non-votable. Incidentally, I tip my hat to the member for Hamilton Centre, who fought to convince all his colleagues to vote to debate the bill. This bill represents an idea that could be immensely improved by the work of all the legislators in the House. I do not want to hear anyone telling me this bill is silly. If there is one bill that was sloppily cobbled together without constructive input from all members of Parliament, it is the omnibus bill that contained a certain little provision about SNC-Lavalin. We know all about the disastrous consequences for that company, which is Quebec's leading engineering firm, and above all for my dear Liberal colleagues, who really messed up.
The NDP believes this is an important issue because we are acutely conscious of the significant contributions that these new cultures make. They are going to help us build a stronger Quebec. Naturally, teaching French to newcomers is the central issue. We actually adopted a resolution on this topic at the last NDP convention in Trois-Rivières: Whereas immigration is essential to address the labour shortage, which is hurting the economy; whereas the Conservative and now the Liberal governments did nothing to support francophone immigration and make French language classes more accessible—God knows that is true; and whereas francophone immigration is indispensable for ensuring the future of Quebec and francophone communities across Canada outside Quebec; be it resolved that an NDP government will commit to providing adequate funding to increase the required percentage of French-speaking immigrants and will adapt existing immigration programs to Quebec's unique economic, social and labour needs.
That is why the Quebec caucus would surely have voted in favour of this bill at second reading so that it could be sent to committee. We are not getting anywhere by cutting ourselves off and talking past one another. It is shameful and disrespectful for any Quebec MP to ignore the vulnerability and value of Quebeckers' quiet nationalism and to fail to proudly defend Quebec's distinct identity.
In closing, we are very disappointed that we are not able to vote on this bill. This really is a dialogue of the deaf. It seems like members just want to put a lid on this issue and not talk about it. I would urge my dear friends to wake up. There is a quiet nationalism in Quebec, and it is high time we helped it along rather than stand in its way.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, when the government asks regular folks to pay their taxes but gives tax breaks to billion-dollar companies, there is clearly something wrong.
Canada is the only G7 nation that applies sales tax as if the Internet did not exist.
The NDP will shortly be introducing a bill that will finally extend tax compliance to Facebook, Google and Netflix. Multinational web corporations need to follow the same rules as Canadian companies; otherwise, the playing field will not be level.
Will the government finally join the 21st century and support the NDP's bill to adapt our tax laws to the digital economy?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I gather there are many big lakes and waterways in his riding. I am sure this issue hits home for him and his constituents.
I would like to know his thoughts on what a number of members have said about how certain marine protected areas would be excluded from the list under this bill.
Am I mistaken, or does he see that as a good thing?
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