Ms. Carole-Marie Allard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the fathers of Confederation, once said that there was a duty which especially belonged to Canada: to originate a history which the world would not willingly let die.
Today, 135 years later, I think that my colleagues in this House will agree with me that the people of Canada have fulfilled this duty magnificently. While our country is still quite young, we have numerous feats and accomplishments to celebrate in every conceivable sphere of activity.
Over time, our scientists, doctors, researchers, leaders and many other Canadians have distinguished themselves in various ways. They have enabled our country to make its voice heard among the community of nations.
It is with great pride that I rise today in this House to speak on a bill to preserve and further celebrate our rich history and unique heritage.
If passed, the Act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain Acts in consequence, will give birth to a new agency, the Library and Archives of Canada, from the merging of the National Library and the National Archives of Canada.
Our government is amalgamating these two entities for one reason, and only one: to ensure the new agency will be a centre for information and knowledge management that will provide us, today and in the future, with unprecedented access to our documentary heritage.
In the throne speech of September 2002, our government made a commitment to ensuring that we would have access to our history by creating a new institution that brings together the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada. As this bill demonstrates, our government fulfills its commitments.
With this bill, we want to amalgamate two institutions that are already playing a crucial role in the conservation and dissemination of our heritage and our history. We want to bring together the knowledge, the vision and the creativity of more than 1,000 employees to create a new dynamic and modern entity that will disseminate our stories, our images, our testimonies and our legends.
This new unified agency will be in a better position to manage the millions of documents and to respond to the various requests from experts and Canadians, in both our official languages.
The mandate of the Library and Archives of Canada will be based on the foundations of the current mandates of the two separate entities. Of course, its mandate will also be extended to allow it to work more easily in the interpretation and programming sectors and to make greater use of new technologies.
Over the years, the National Archives and the National Library of Canada have provided us with valuable services and have just about done the impossible to preserve Canada's impressive documentary heritage. Thanks to them, Canadians can now access more than 20 million books, government documents and publications, 340,000 hours of films, videos and sound recordings, 2.3 million maps and more than 20 million photographs.
The Library and Archives of Canada are nothing less than our collective memory and they constitute a real treasure for humankind.
People need to have seen an exhibition such as Reflections of Canada at the Canadian Postal Museum, which features all the stamps issued since the beginnings of our country, to understand the role played by the national archives of a country. The 12,000 stamps in this collection are a unique and original history book that summarizes the most glorious phases of the Canadian epic.
None of this would have been possible without the cooperation of the National Archives and other public institutions such as Canada Post. There are many examples such as these, both for the Archives and for the National Library.
Today, we want to see more of these types of initiatives so that Canadians from all walks of life, as well as people all over the world, can have access to valuable information on our country, Canada, its people, its culture, its society and its values.
As has already been mentioned by the National Archivist of Canada, Ian Wilson, and by the National Librarian, Roch Carrier, there is no doubt that these two institutions have converging roles and similar responsibilities. Their respective administrations already share the same building and perform four similar activities, namely, identifying, selecting and acquiring; describing and promoting; preserving; and making accessible collections.
Until now, it was mainly the type of documents that determined which of the two institutions would have responsibility. The National Library was responsible for the preservation of printed material, such as books and magazines, whereas the National Archives handled prints, microfiches, manuscripts and various other important documents.
In this area as in many others, new technologies have brought down the barriers that delineated responsibilities. Until microchips replaced microfiches, we had no other choice but to go with the flow and modernize our laws and the structure of our organizations to be able to meet the needs of Canadians. We must also make the widest use possible of the enormous potential provided to us by cyberspace to help us access information regarding our heritage. That is what we are proposing with this bill today.
In 2001 and 2002, the number of visitors to the National Archives website exceeded 2.5 million, a 30% increase from the previous year. As for the National Library website, it was accessed by 4.3 million Internet users, which represents a 20% increase.
The demand is there. It is strong and growing. We must meet this demand as best we can to bring our history to Canadians wherever they live in this vast country of ours. After all, the Library and Archives of Canada are not meant to be used exclusively by those who live in the national capital region.
This bill also provides that the new agency will concentrate more on programs which are designed for the public. For example, thanks to its many collections, this new institution will provide material for the Portrait Gallery of Canada which will open in the next few years.
The proposed legislation also provides that the Canadian heritage minister may establish an advisorycouncil to advise the librarian and archivistwith regard to new exposition and interpretation activities and the collection of non-governmental information.
The new agency will continue to develop its collections through the same mechanisms, that is legal deposit, recording, sampling, transfer of government documents, donations, acquisitions and administrative arrangements. But a new mechanism will be added. The new institution will be allowed to take from time to time a representativesample of the documentary material that is accessible to the publicwithout restriction through the Internet.
The Internet has become a true reflection of our society, and we are going to make use of it so that, 10, 50 or 100 years from now, historians will be able to get, thanks to these samplings, an accurate picture of the concerns, issues and culture in Canada at a given moment in history.
Obviously, to make this possible, we have to amend the Copyright Act to allow the agency to take from time to time representative samples of our documentary heritage for preservation purposes.
We have worked hard on this file with all parties concerned, so as to define a specific exemption to copyright for librarians and the National Archivist.
I wish to reassure the members of this House that we have not overlooked any details. We have taken our inspiration from the legislation of a number of countries. We also propose other changes in the Copyright Act in order to strike a fair balance between the needs of those holding copyright on unpublished works and the needs of the Library and Archives of Canada.
Since we made the last series of amendments to the Copyright Act in 1997, some Canadian authors' heirs have expressed their concern about the new criteria covering copyright duration for unpublished works.
After consultations with the Canadian Historical Association, the Bureau of Canadian Archivists, the National Archives of Canada, and The Writers' Union of Canada, we have reached a consensus by which there will be transitional periods depending on when authors died.
We also want the Library and Archives of Canada to become a centre of expertise within the Government of Canada for the management of government documents. At present, the National Archivist plays an important role in this field, advising government institutions concerning standards and procedures for the management of records.
The bill provides that the head of the new agency will retain this responsibility. But the government wants to go farther in order to ensure that all valuable historical documents are preserved for future generations. The Librarian and Archivist of Canada will thus have the power to require the transfer of any documents considered to be at risk.
In the private sector, the word “merge” often implies budget cuts, major organizational restructuring, and staff cuts. But in this operation, such is not the case. The budget and staff of these two institutions will remain unchanged. However, we should remember that certain valuable collections have been threatened by the decrepitude of the buildings housing them.
In the last budget we allocated $15 million to respond to certain specific, short-term needs and to conduct studies to give us a better overall view of our long-term needs and priorities. The new entity we want to create should also make it possible to have a clearer vision of the way forward.
Of course, we as parliamentarians have great respect for libraries and archives. The Library of Parliament, now undergoing renovations of extreme urgency, is a resource of inestimable value. It provides a wide range of services without which our work would be much more difficult.
The National Library of Canada provides the same type of services, but to a much broader clientele. After all, this library serves all Canadians from coast to coast.
As a parliamentarian, I have been on many committees, and I have put together many personal files. So it is easy for me to understand that the archives represent a wealth of information. They are a veritable gold mine for students and academics hoping to understand the debate on, for example, the Canadian flag or the second world war. And they are a rich source of institutional memory for those developing policy or seeking information on the Spicer commission or the Pépin-Robarts commission.
Given the value and the potential of the collections, I am sure that the House will agree when I say that it is important for a large number of Canadians to have access to them. Our institutions must keep up with the times and reflect the introduction of new technologies.
That is why I am pleased to take part in this debate. It is clear, when I consider this legislation, that it will ensure we can rely on a new, improved, modern cultural institution better able to protect and promote the documentary heritage of this country.
By merging the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada to create the Library and Archives of Canada, this government is recognizing a situation that has evolved over the past few years. However, we are doing much more than that. We are also creating a new agency with modern tools to meet our informational needs in the 21st century.
Everyone familiar with these two institutions knows that they have been collaborating closely for many years. Already, these two entities share various administrative services such as finance, human resources, some facilities, security and information and preservation services.
Merging libraries and archives is popular in universities. Increasingly, university courses relate to both disciplines. Therefore, it is not surprising that the National Library and the National Archives of Canada initiated this merger.
In addition to the close collaboration between the National Library and the National Archives, there are other reasons to believe that the merger of these two venerable organization into one new and modern institution will be a good thing.
There is a constantly increasing requirement for Canadians to have simpler access to knowledge and information, particularly in the areas of heritage and culture. The explanation for this is the constant evolution of information technologies, which has whetted their appetite for rapid access to information in all of its forms. The new technologies also have a huge potential for storage, organization and consultation of documents.
We now have the capacity to digitalize books, newspapers, photographs, pictures, sound recordings and films. What is more, we can also create a single access point for all this material. The magic of the Internet can also facilitate the sharing of all these records with people here and elsewhere.
Technological progress has also redefined the conservation field. Better climate control, a better understanding of the composition of materials, more sensitive sensors and other new developments help us to preserve the most precious artifacts of our heritage for future generations.
This will put life back into our documentary heritage and will provide us Canadians with enhanced access to a vast quantity of information about ourselves and our country.
For this and a number of other reasons, I am proud to add my voice to those who support Bill C-36. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the House to follow my example, so that we may meet the needs of Canadians wishing to learn more about their country.
I might add that Bill C-36 includes some other amendments to the Copyright Act, which are absolutely vital to the proper operation of the new agency.
As you know, copyright is a controversial issue and has been for some time. In the 19th century, Charles Dickens was annoyed because the Americans were getting around the British copyright legislation by copying his works and trying to make money off them. Today, the situation is somewhat reversed.
One of the key issues in today's debate on copyright is the need for governments to strike a balance between the needs of artists and the needs of consumers. In other words, how can they provide artists with protection so they are the only ones to profit from their efforts, while at the same time providing users with reasonable access to their works?
This challenge is even greater when it comes to artists who have died or whose works will never be or never were published. Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of situation that can arise for libraries or archives. Imagine if a collection of documents was donated by a Canadian, and a researcher discovered a short text that was never published in a collection of short stories or in a book. Does this discovery belong to the author's estate or to his or her descendants? That is the type of confusion this legislation seeks to avoid.
In 1997, during the last review of the Copyright Act, the Government of Canada ended the permanent protection of unpublished works by submitting them to the same general rules that govern copyright protection in Canada.
Now, unpublished works are protected for 50 years after the death of the author. A five-year transition period was established in 1997, for heirs of authors, to prevent the works from entering the public domain immediately. These amendments came into force December 31, 1998 and the unpublished works of authors who died 50 years prior to that date, 1948 in other words, will enter the public domain on January 1, 2004.
However, while certain authors' heirs have expressed concern regarding copyright protection, there are a number of people, including historians, archivists, genealogists and other stakeholders who have been calling for unpublished works to enter the public domain. The concerned parties undertook negotiations and arrived at a reasonable compromise. They then presented it to the government so that it could consider implementing it in this bill.
Accordingly, the legislation being debated here will make the following changes. First, unpublished works from authors deceased before January 1, 1930 will remain copyright protected until December 31 of this year.
Unpublished works of authors who died after December 31, 1929 and before January 1, 1949 will be copyright protected until December 31, 2017.
In both cases, all unpublished works that are published before the protection expires will be granted an additional 20 years of copyright protection from their date of publishing.
The changes I have just described extend copyright protection for unpublished works. However, we are also make an amendment to help historians, archivists, genealogists and other stakeholders.
Bill C-36 will also amend section 30.21 of the Copyright Act to remove certain conditions that the archives must abide by to make a single copy of an unpublished work. This type of copy is used for research or private studies.
Currently, under section 30.21 a copy of an unpublished work deposited before September 1, 1999 may be made only when the archives are unable to locate the owner of the copyright. The bill also provides that a record be kept of all the copies made under this section. As members can imagine, these conditions represent an extra burden for our archives.
The amendments proposed to the Library and Archives of Canada Act that we are debating today would eliminate these two conditions. I am very pleased to point out that this change has been supported by all the stakeholders who took part in the negotiations on this issue.
This is further evidence that the Library and Archives of Canada will have the mandate, the powers and the tools required to reach its objectives.
Our documentary heritage belongs to us all and it must be more readily accessible. The proposed amendments and the other changes mentioned by my colleagues will create an institution which will be highly appreciated and which will make us proud.
This is what is being proposed in this legislation. By recognizing the complementarity of the mandates and collections of the National Library and the National Archives of Canada and by building on that fact to create a new and more effective institution, the government is providing the citizens of this magnificent country with a new cultural institution which will reflect, stimulate, interpret and celebrate our national identity; an institution that will help Canada become a real knowledge-based society.
The proposal being debated today will herald a new era for Canada. With 130 years of experience in the collection, preservation and diffusion of the Canadian documentary heritage, the Library and Archives of Canada is the institution we need in the coming century.
We cannot change the course of history. However, we will be in a better position to face the challenges of the future if we know our past.
Thanks to the bill before the House today, the Library and Archives of Canada will be prepared to take up the challenges of the 21st century and will be able to preserve the many records of our collective history.
Therefore, I urge all members to support this bill, which will equip our country with the necessary tools to bring together in wonderful collections our books, prints and drawings, musical recordings, films, maps and digital documents of yesterday, today and tomorrow and make them more accessible to Canadians.
We Canadians will thus be in a position to carry out our duty as set out by D'Arcy McGee a century ago: to originate a rich history, in the knowledge that it will be preserved, celebrated and accessible to all.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Library and Archives of Canada Act
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance)
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure today to speak to the bill, an act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain acts in consequence.
The primary purpose of the bill is to create a new federal agency that would combine the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada. In a moment I will outline the positives of this new convergence, but I first want to state for the record the Canadian Alliance position with regard to this initiative and the legislation. We do have a policy, which people are welcome to look at on our website or elsewhere. The policy states: “The Canadian Alliance affirms the federal government's role in the preservation of Canada's natural and historical heritage, such as national parks, museums, archives and so on, and historic sites, for the benefit and enjoyment of all and as an enduring reminder to all Canadians of our common inheritance”.
As such, by the end of my speech I will be advising my Canadian Alliance colleagues to support Bill C-36. There will be many questions that will need to be answered in committee and I am sure we will have a full complement of witnesses before the committee. In general, the drift of the legislation is in the right direction. As to the specifics, of course the devil may be in the details but we do think that it is supportable.
There is a definition of the role of National Archives of Canada:
To preserve the collective memory of the nation and the government of Canada and contribute to the protection of rights and the enhancement of a sense of national identity: by acquiring, conserving and facilitating access to private and public records of national significance, and serving as the permanent repository of records of federal government institutions and ministerial records; by facilitating the management of records of federal government, institutions and ministerial records; and by encouraging archival activities and the archival community.
There are some things I will be saying about the preservation of records and of archiving important government documents, including documents of the cabinet, a little further on in my speech.
Right now the national archives are accessible to all Canadians and that will continue under the amalgamation of the Library of Canada and the archives.
The main role of the National Library of Canada is as follows: “...to preserve and promote...the published heritage of Canada”. The library is recognized as “one of the nation's foremost centres for research in Canadian Studies and as a showcase for Canadian literature and music”. The library is also accessible to all Canadians.
Bill C-36 will merge these two entities. We think that potentially there could be, and should be, some positive results for Canada's recorded and published history and heritage.
On a personal note, I remember that when my brother was doing research for a book he wrote about our family history he came to Ottawa and spent time at the National Archives. He eventually wrote a book and I am sure the National Library has a copy of it. The folks at the archives were most helpful. It is always amazing to me and to amateur historians like my brother how accessible the archives are, how helpful the folks are and how useful the information is when we are writing a book. In that case it was a family history, but it is certainly true for all Canadian history and studies.
The preservation of archival information of course is important. Clause 8 of the bill states, “The Librarian and Archivist may do anything that is conducive to the attainment of the objectives of the Library and Archives of Canada”. The list includes a lot of things: acquire publications; take measures to catalogue, of course; compile and maintain information; provide information, consultation and other lending services to any Canadian; establish programs and organize or encourage any activities, including exhibitions, publications and performances; enter into agreements with other libraries, archives or institutions, inside and outside Canada, to help preserve and encourage the understanding of our historical information; advise government institutions, including on ways to use the Internet to promote and provide information; and provide leadership and direction for library services for all government institutions. It goes on. There is much to do and of course they do a good job, even today under difficult circumstances. In other words, there is a very powerful mandate to assist the preservation of Canadian heritage.
For the purposes of preservation, Bill C-36 also allows the librarian and archivist to take a representative sample of the documentary material of interest to Canada that is accessible to the public without restriction through the Internet or any other similar medium. That also is in clause 8.
Again, increasing numbers of Canadians will take advantage of this service. Even those who cannot get to Ottawa will have new and improved access to documents through the Internet. The hope is that by providing this invaluable information to future historians, both amateur and professional, we will not only preserve but will better understand our past and apply it to today's concerns and issues and our culture.
The management of the combined archive and library should be more efficient by bringing the two organizations together. The collections will be combined and will be comprehensive, thereby increasing the efficiency and feasibility of information management. The convergence of human expertise and knowledge should increase the proficiency of information management. In other words, by bringing them together under one command and control we should be able to benefit from the immense amount of expertise in the two organizations right now.
The merging of these two institutions should provide synergy and efficiency in the delivery of internal human resources, financial, marketing and technology systems and so on. I say it should because it is not entirely clear from the briefing notes that we received from the department whether this will actually take place. In fact, the notes say there may actually be no cost savings from this merger. This should be investigated at committee.
It seems to me that by bringing together management systems under one aegis should provide some financial savings on everything from human resource management to technology systems. We will be looking at ways to do that. We encourage the committee to make sure that is done to the best of its ability.
There are some clauses in the bill on the access provisions. By unifying the two entities we hopefully will increase the visibility of Canada's heritage and history. We believe that the library and archives of Canada will provide integrated access to its collections by offering one stop access.
Again I will use the example of my brother's research. It would have been handy for him to go to one spot and ask for historical information for example on the original ships that brought over our ancestors and at the same time any other books on that subject. Many other people would be looking for different heritage information. In my case it is the Mennonite background and the Swedish background, or the “Swennonite” background, that I cherish. It could be one stop.
The library and archives of Canada would use the latest technology to collect and provide access to its collections. The library and archives of Canada would use web services for some of the following: the Canadian Genealogy Centre; Virtual Reference Canada; the Portrait Gallery of Canada; initiatives to preserve Canada's multicultural documentary heritage; services such as the interlibrary loan of publications and microfilms; programs to promote literacy; support for Canadians with print disabilities; and so on. It would improve access for all Canadians, even those who are unable to get to Ottawa to go through the documents on site.
We have some concerns about Bill C-36. There are things that need to be looked at in committee.
The documents I received from Heritage Canada indicate that the transition will cost $7.5 million over three years. There was also $15 million awarded in the 2003 budget for better short term protection of documents and artifacts. I am not sure if that $7.5 million is part of the $15 million, but regardless, preservation is necessary. We will try to figure out exactly what those costs are and whether there will be potential cost savings down the road. The bill was dropped on us late last week and we have yet to receive a briefing from the department. We are not sure what the $7.5 million includes. Is it just the accounting costs? Is it labour time costs? We are not sure but that will be looked into.
Again I emphasize that the documents from Heritage Canada admit that it is not a cost cutting exercise. While it may not be cost cutting, it does seem to me that there should be savings realized. We will be asking the department heads to explain why that does not take place. I certainly think it should.
There are also greater opportunities to involve more fully the private sector, people who can make use of this in a positive way. Perhaps there are revenue generating opportunities in this as well. Perhaps that will take place under the coalitions built among other libraries, both nationally and internationally.
For anyone who has looked at this file at all, there is a concern not so much with the bill but with the general preservation of our national archives. In the last couple of years taxpayers have spent approximately $4.5 million just to repair items damaged by water leaks and maintenance problems in the current archive buildings. It seems to me that the Department of Public Works and Government Services along with the archives and library when they get their act together have to quit the squabbling and find a solution to the accommodation and preservation of Canada's national archives.
There is no sense saving a copy of everything and putting it in a room where the water leaks into the cardboard box. If we are going to preserve this stuff, go through the expense of cataloguing it, accounting for it, preserving it and so on, then let us make sure it is preserved and not stuck in one of the leakiest buildings in Ottawa. I urge Public Works and Government Services and the archives and library to put the turf wars behind them and get at actually preserving the stuff we are talking about today. It is important information that needs to be preserved. Let us find a way of doing that quickly.
This next point is part of the work of any committee and any bill that comes before it. I would urge the committee, and again I am part of that, to make sure that we are getting value for the dollar under this proposal. At face value everything looks fine, and it always looks fine in a government briefing document. I have never seen one yet that looks as if we are about to waste a pile of money, but on the other hand there are enough examples of cost overruns. The Canadian War Museum is a prime example. Everyone is in favour of the war museum. We think it should go ahead and we are all in favour of it, but we have not even gotten the walls up and it is tens of millions of dollars over budget already.
Understandably there is going to be scrutiny at the committee level, as there should be. It is part of our job on all sides of the House to scrutinize that spending. I would urge all members to do that carefully because these sorts of bills have little surprises hidden in them if we do not do that properly.
It is also important to note that clause 8(g) of the bill says that the combined national archives and library is to “advise government institutions concerning the management of information produced or used by them and provide services for that purpose”. In other words, if there are ways to better manage it--and in the briefing notes it sounds good and the bill reads fine at first blush--we are going to want to know exactly how that management system is going to improve it.
Clause 12(1) of the bill, another important clause which I would urge interested archivists to browse, states:
No government or ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be disposed of, including by being destroyed, without the written consent of the Librarian and Archivist or of a person to whom the Librarian and Archivist has, in writing, delegated the power to give such consents.
It is tremendously important that people understand what is involved, that government bureaucrats understand what this actually means. It means there is an obligation among departmental employees to make sure that proper record keeping takes place and that archives are preserved not just when it is convenient, not just when they look good or when they have a glowing report, but that all records are to be preserved. In fact it says properly under clause 12 that no government or ministerial record shall be disposed of including by being destroyed.
In other words, just because it is a negative report or it is something someone does not like or hopes does not come up for his or her grandchildren to read, it is too bad. In the government, archives are archives. We preserve the good, the bad and the ugly. We take it all, preserve it all, so future historians will be able to learn from it and hopefully steer clear of some of the problems we have had, and even have currently, by making sure that record keeping is done properly.
I point out that we are once again embroiled in a controversy here in Parliament, in this case with the records kept by the business development bank, a semi arm's length corporation mandated by this House. What is interesting is the lack of proper record keeping and missing documents. Key documents that may or may not implicate the Prime Minister or others in business dealings or loan approvals, or whatever it might be, are suddenly missing from its archives.
The government is involved. It is getting and giving advice and doing studies and all the things that governments are involved in. Again, clause 12 says to keep the records, the good and the bad and understand that it is the law that they be maintained and given to the archives. Increasingly it will be electronic records and they too need to be preserved.
The Government of Canada needs to improve its information and record keeping practices. I am afraid the way the government will avoid this clause is it will just not create a record at all in the first place. That is one way around it.
On March 24 of this year, Canada's Information Commissioner said the following as reported in the Ottawa Citizen :
The most significant threat to open, accountable government is a crisis in information management in the federal Government of Canada.
The article went on to say:
Despite warnings to public servants that they must improve in such areas, federal officials are avoiding creating records, Mr. Reid said. Under the spectre of financial penalty or imprisonment for destroying or falsifying records, he added, officials are encouraged to make oral briefings or exchange information by e-mail to avoid creating permanent written records.
That is not the intent of clause 12 as I understand it. The clause says that the records are not to be destroyed. They are to be kept intact. They are to be passed along and archived so that all of us will have a chance to see them one day. In essence, although it is not in the bill, as a tangent of this, it is important to know that whistle-blowing legislation will be critical to solving this problem, where people actually have the gumption to stand up and be counted, make written proposals and written briefings for ministers, instead of just an oral chat around the coffee machine knowing that that cannot be archived, but on the other hand neither can we learn from mistakes.
There are many acts that are amended in consequence to this bill. Each one of them in and of itself is also important. For example, there are changes to the Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act, to which the member for Yukon will no doubt want to pay attention. There are changes to the National Archives Act. There are also changes to the Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act, the War Veterans Allowance Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the proceeds of crime act, and the Public Sector Compensation Act. There is an important consequential change to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. The Financial Administration Act is another one. All of these will have to be looked at.
There is an important consequential change to the Copyright Act. This has been somewhat controversial. The issue of copyright protection is an important one and Canada has been less aggressive than most of its international competitors in linking information innovation to intellectual property or in protecting and promoting intellectual property rights. In fact, the Canadian Alliance member for Yorkton—Melville presented a private member's motion requesting the House of Commons to create a parliamentary committee to examine property rights, including copyright. Copyright is a section of property rights. It is important to do that.
The tricky issue raised by the bill concerning copyright is the need to balance the incentives created by copyright and patent protection with the public nature of the work of the authors and the artists. Since the government has recently undertaken quite an extensive review of copyright issues, I will look forward to the testimony of witnesses in committee on this issue.
I believe the industry committee as well will want to look at this, if not to study the entire bill, at least to look at the consequential amendments to the Copyright Act. We need to strike the balance between the rights of artists and the rights of their heirs to preserve their creations for the purposes of the heirs and the right of the public to have access after a certain amount of time to unpublished works.
It seems to me we have to balance that. This bill extends that by 15 years, which is a goodly length of time, considering we only reviewed this and made changes to the Copyright Act only four years ago. The expiration of that copyright protection is supposed to come up this following year. For unpublished works this extends it considerably. It has been quite controversial and that too will have to be looked at in committee, whether the 15 years is necessary or whether there is something in between next year and 15 that would be more appropriate.
It seems to me that eventually there will come a time when unpublished works of deceased artists will no longer be protected under this copyright legislation. We need to delve into that and the industry committee will have its part in ensuring it is of the right balance.
Overall, I will be encouraging my colleagues to support this at second reading in principle. It is sound management to bring the archives and the library together. I have the concerns, as I mentioned earlier, about cost savings and some of the other issues, and consequential amendments. It should be an easy bill to approve in committee, although once we are in there and the witnesses start telling us what those consequential amendments are, perhaps something will come up.
At this stage, we will be supporting the bill and look forward to the committee work to get into the nitty-gritty.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Library and Archives of Canada Act
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on this bill.
Before getting into the various issues raised by Bill C-36, I would like to point out that, since the Liberals took office, all programs and bills from the Department of Canadian Heritage look alike and their main objective is to instill into the people of Quebec and the rest of Canada a strong sense of belonging to Canada.
It is a terrible shame that amendments to the Copyright Act were included in this bill. While these amendments seem to be good, in principle, they are not when we consider the direction this bill, an act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain acts in consequence, was intended to take.
My point is that, because of many issues, we are against the principle of this bill. In the minutes to come, I will try to explain why we oppose it.
In a nutshell, the enactment creates the Library and Archives of Canada as the successor to the National Library and the National Archives of Canada. It provides for the appointment of this new agency's head, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
The mission of the new agency will be based on those of the National Library and the National Archives of Canada, and expand them to include the interpretation of Canadian history and the display of collections. The regime for legal deposit of publications has also been updated to provide for the deposit of electronic publications. A new power to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada as found on the Internet has also been introduced. These are essentially the objectives of the bill.
In addition, the bill amends the Copyright Act by providing for a longer term of protection for unpublished or posthumously published works of authors who died before 1949. The new terms of protection are extended for varying periods, depending on the date of the author's death and whether or not the work is published during the particular periods in question. Requirements for archives holding unpublished works in their collections that were deposited before 1999 to obtain consents from copyright holders for the making of certain copies of those works and related recordkeeping or owner-tracing requirements will be removed.
This enactment also makes consequential amendments to relevant legislation and contains transitional provisions and coordinating amendments.
So, when we analyze the bill, we find that it contains many important measures. The National Library and the National Archives of Canada will be replaced by the Library and Archives of Canada, and it is hard to oppose the renaming of these institutions.
We are not against this change. However, there are other measures that we do oppose. The library community, particularly the Association pour l'avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation, is not in favour of amalgamating the National Library and the National Archives of Canada. Why? It is because it believes that the two organizations have very distinct missions and approaches. The National Library is more at the service of libraries and, occasionally, of individuals, while the National Archives' mission is the conservation of Canada's heritage.
The Bloc Quebecois also believes that it is very difficult to reconcile both missions, since they pursue different objectives. We have the support of the Association pour l'avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation.
Furthermore, several libraries in Quebec sent me their thoughts on this amalgamation, indicating that they were against it. They believe, as we do, that being a librarian is quite different from being an archivist. Consequently, the amalgamation of both entities could create some problems. The Bloc Quebecois believes that a full analysis of the project should be conducted.
There is also the matter of the mandate of the head of Library and Archives of Canada. The public administration will be placed under the authority of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, but managed by a general administrator known as the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, who will be appointed by the governor in council.
The Bloc has some questions. The general administrator will have additional powers. He or she will have the power to ask for the transfer of documents from the Government of Canada or from other libraries, if he thinks that those documents might be damaged or destroyed.
Again, the government could have looked at what has been done at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec as far as responsibilities are concerned. The Government of Quebec appointed trustworthy people, who are accountable to the Quebec minister of culture and communications. It also determined that other people from the library community, the publishing community, writers' associations and the universities would sit on the board. Three of these members have to be librarians. One of them has to be a conservation expert and another an exhibitions expert. These people also have to be appointed by the City of Montreal.
Two users are also members of the board. The Government of Quebec sought out citizens. One must reside in Montreal and be elected by his peers, in accordance with the library's regulations.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Library and Archives of Canada Act
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Canadian Shipowners Association on its 100th anniversary.
Formed in 1903 as the Dominion Marine Association, the CSA represents the interests of Canadian companies that own and operate Canadian flagged vessels on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway, the east coast and the Arctic.
It has proven, through established partnerships between its member companies and the government, that the marine industry is a reliable, safe, environmentally sound and competitive sector of the Canadian economy.
The CSA is a leader in technological and environmental innovation. Its leadership in technology has consistently improved safety and efficiency. The CSA believes that the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence waterways are a national treasure, which is why it uses vessel technology and training techniques that are geared toward safety and environmental protection.
The future will bring many challenges to Canada's marine infrastructure. The ships, ports and locks that form the seaway require new investments to meet the needs of increasing volumes and competitive realities. We welcome the CSA's input and participation.
I congratulate the Canadian Shipowners Association for 100 years of quality transport. May it continue with many more years of success.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Canadian Shipowners Association
Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance)
Madam Speaker, terrorism has struck at the heart of the Middle East once again. This time al-Qaeda is responsible for bombing four separate housing and commercial complexes in Saudi Arabia.
This is the type of event that distresses my brothers and sisters in the Islamic Canadian community to the core.
Just this morning I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Arab community concerned about the government's overreaction to these type of events here at home.
Since 9/11 Canadian Muslims have felt that they have been unfairly targeted by initiatives such as the Anti-terrorism Act and now Bill C-18.
The Canadian Alliance has tried to be responsive to those people in the Islamic community who have had their lives turned upside down by efforts to improve security. We recognize the problems that Arab Canadians have faced when travelling outside of Canada and we condemn all discrimination based upon country of origin.
We must all work together to ensure that all Canadians, regardless of race or country of origin, are treated equally and fairly under the law.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Middle East
Madam Speaker, to mark this year's Canada Book Day and Book Week, I hosted my annual Canada Book Day celebrations in my riding on April 19.
I give special thanks to Greg Gatenby, artistic director of the International Festival of Authors, for organizing the day.
At the event my constituents had the pleasure to meet the following renowned Canadian authors: Rosemary Aubert, Catherine Bush, Stephen Finucan, Joe Fiorito, Greg Gatenby, Lesley Krueger; Hal Niedzviecki, Christine Pountney and Jason Sherman.
Book Day, which is spearheaded by the Writer's Trust of Canada, founded in 1976, is a unique national charitable organization providing a level of support to writers unmatched by any other non-governmental organization or foundation.
The Writer's Trust of Canada is committed to exploring and introducing to future generations the traditions that will enrich our common literary heritage and strengthen Canada's cultural foundations.
Canada Book Day provides us with the opportunity to recognize the contribution writers make to the cultural richness of Canada.
This day also provides us with the opportunity to--
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Canada Book Day
Mr. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to congratulate our federal government.
On April 22, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, on behalf of the Minister of Industry, announced the creation of the Industrial Research Chair in Hydrogen Storage. A $1 million contribution has been made toward the funding of this chair at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
Most Canadian companies working to develop this technology are small companies with limited financial resources and personnel. This chair will therefore be of great benefit to companies and will help them develop their products in Trois-Rivières and market them across Canada.
This is another example among many of the federal government's financial support for projects that benefit the people of Canada, Quebec and Trois-Rivières.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Hydrogen Storage
Madam Speaker, today is the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Portuguese immigrants officially recognized as such by the Government of Canada.
On this occasion, I would like to highlight the long and rich history of Portuguese Canadians and their contribution to Canada's development.
This is the ideal moment to celebrate the first immigrants who landed at Pier 21 in Halifax and settled here in Canada. Although many people had immigrated from Portugal before that time, they came on ships registered in Greece, Italy, Dominica, the U.S. or the Caribbean. Because there was no official agreement on immigration between Portugal and Canada, these first immigrants were recorded as nationals of those countries.
I salute the Portuguese Canadians in my riding of Laval West, and I invite all Canadians to take part in the festivities celebrating their heritage and contributions. They have enabled Canada to become the multicultural and diversified nation it is today.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Portuguese Canadians
Madam Speaker, today I would like to recognize the Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association based in Vancouver for the work that it has done in support of Canadian families and social justice.
Yesterday, on its behalf, I tabled in Parliament over 12,000 petitions, half of them expressing support of the traditional definition of marriage. The other 6,000 petitions expressed opposition to Bill C-250, a bill that raises significant concerns over the ability of religious leaders and institutions to communicate and adhere to essential matters of faith.
The organization is a non-denominational, non-partisan grassroots association. Its principal purposes are to redress social injustice, to advocate and protect constitutional charter and social rights, traditional family values and parental rights. Canadians across the country are grateful for its efforts.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Canadian Alliance for Social Justice and Family Values Association
Madam Speaker, I am proud to rise in recognition of a literacy project called “Books for Children and Families”. This limited edition collection of eight books was developed by the University of New Brunswick Early Childhood Centre in collaboration with New Brunswick Early Interventionalists and Family Resource Centres and the National Literacy Secretariat.
The collection strives to honour diverse family circumstances and is intended for pre-school children and their parents as they share and learn together.
The books were written and illustrated by accomplished New Brunswick authors and artists. This collection makes a great gift for young constituents and for the schools, day cares and hospitals that I visit in my riding.
I encourage each and every member of Parliament to purchase several copies of “Books for Children and Families”.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: Books for Children and Families
Mr. Speaker, as the Bloc Quebecois' mining critic, and given that it is national mining week, I am pleased to talk about the effect of mining on our economy and our lives.
Mining is extremely important to keeping our economy strong. The construction, shipping and aviation industries, for example, would not have flourished to the same extent without the numerous resources our mines produce.
It is important to recognize the wealth and the majorimpact of the mining industry and ensure that this industry receives the tax measures and investments it needs for its development, for exploration, mining or research, and thus guarantee years of prosperity to miners.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, the rest of Toronto, Mississauga, Markham and Durham are mere suburbs of Scarborough and once again Scarborough was called upon to save the citizens of Toronto and the country.
On Sunday we witnessed the magnificent performance of Anson Carter, who learned all of his hockey in Scarborough, as he scored that lovely wrap around goal to bring Canada gold at the World Hockey Championships. Then on Monday night Mike Myers, who learned all his comedy routines in a recreation room in his parents' basement in Scarborough, told millions of Americans on the Tonight Show that Toronto was safe, fun and a great place to visit. He then proceeded to hand out “I Love Toronto” T-shirts.
Once again Scarborough saves a city and its nation.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: City of Scarborough
Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize our Canadian Alliance candidate, Marion Meinen, and her team of volunteers.
In the Perth—Middlesex byelection they spent countless hours putting forward issues that are very important to Canadians and I want to thank each one of them for their hard work and effort.
I also want to congratulate Canada's newest member of Parliament, Gary Schellenberger, who won the election with 32% of the voters supporting he and his party.
The biggest loser in this election was the former finance minister. Despite winning this seat in the previous three elections, the Liberal vote dropped by over 10% of the popular vote with his impending coronation. Voters wanted a change, so they left the Liberal Party and went to the NDP.
There is a lesson here. Witness a new trend. That trend: vote splitting on the left.
Topic: Statements By Members
Mr. Speaker, today my home province of Nova Scotia is a little darker, having this morning lost one of its truly bright lights.
Dr. John Savage, Officer of the Order or Canada, former mayor of the City of Dartmouth, former leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia, former premier of Nova Scotia and a global humanitarian, died this morning after a heroic battle with cancer.
Dr. Savage dedicated his life to improving the lot of his fellow human beings. He led Nova Scotians into a radically different way of thinking about government. Fiscal prudence replaced patronage, planning replaced expediency and when it was time to leave politics he put his party's fortunes ahead of his own and turned his energy to the plight of Africa's poorest people.
To his many friends and family I offer my condolences and ask that they take some relief from the knowledge that John Savage was a truly great Canadian who left the world a better place than he found it. I say God speed to him.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: John Savage
Mr. Speaker, in learning today of Dr. John Savage's death, fellow Nova Scotian and family friend, Sine MacKinnon, invoked the words of Hilaire Belloc, “He does not die that can bequeath some influence to the land he loves”.
John Savage was such a person. He was a loving husband of Margaret, proud father of seven and grandfather of eight.
This remarkable man was fiercely devoted to his own family and with their support he devoted his life to creating healthy lives and healthy communities for the entire human family through his political career as Dartmouth's mayor and Nova Scotia's premier and through his visionary medical contribution locally and globally.
Of his battle with cancer, Dr. Savage stated, “I accept what happens to everybody sooner or later”, and promptly focused public attention on the virtues of home based palliative care.
To his loving family we extend deepest sympathy. Nova Scotians, Canadians and John Savage's global family will miss his presence but remain forever grateful and indebted for his lasting contribution.
Topic: Statements By Members
Subtopic: John Savage
Mr. Michel Guimond (Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans, BQ)
Mr. Speaker, once again, extremely deplorable attacks are being perpetrated. We can only feel consternation at such violence and its impact.
The Bloc Quebecois sends its sincerest condolences to the families of people of every nation who lost their lives in the attacks last night in Riyadh. We hope that the wounded will make a speedy recovery. Our thoughts are with the families of Canadians who were over there.
Terrorism is never a legitimate option. It strikes blindly. Its goals are, as the term suggests, to sow terror. Such utterly reprehensible acts must not affect efforts for peace in the Middle East.
We invite the Government of Canada to continue to collaborate with the appropriate international agencies to combat such violence.