February 13, 2004


The House resumed from February 9 consideration of the motion.


LIB

Mauril Bélanger

Liberal

Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank all my colleagues for their cooperation today. As expected, the House leaders of all parties came to an agreement on Tuesday.

Discussions have taken place between the parties concerning the taking of the division on the motion to refer Bill C-2 to committee before second reading, which is scheduled for right now. I believe that if you were to seek it you would find unanimous consent for the following:

That at the conclusion of today's debate on Bill C-2, if a recorded division is requested on the motion of referral to committee before second reading, the said vote shall be deferred until 5:30 p.m on Tuesday, February 17, 2004.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Does the House give its consent to the motion?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today to address Bill C-2, an act to amend the Radiocommunication Act.

I had an opportunity to review some of the debate in which I took part earlier in the week and I want to make a few points.

First, I want to focus on and at least highlight the bill in terms of what it does for consumers and the telecommunications industry. The government rationale behind the bill is to protect investments made by the broadcasting industry and the integrity of the broadcasting system as a whole by fighting satellite piracy. To do so, the bill will target unauthorized dealers and the pirating of signals.

In particular, the government wants current changes it deems necessary to stop the sale and distribution of devices used to decode encrypted direct to home satellite signals without authorization. It is an excellent example of the government not taking the proper steps on an issue that is going to lead to confrontation in Canadian society and is the reason I do not support the bill being moved to committee at this time.

To be specific, the problem is that the bill is coming forward without dealing with the issue of satellite access to many cultural and other programs that are currently available abroad to different communities out there, providing those opportunities for people to purchase into the systems. They will now be further criminalized by the bill if they are accessing products and services that are not available legally in this country. I think the government should have been honest and should have actually worked on producing those access points for Canadians, be it for cultural or other types of programming for which people have been clamouring and which keeps them in connection with the community.

A report that came out of the Canadian heritage committee identified this issue. It was a report about the black and grey satellite market: “Maintaining a Single System”. In chapter 16 the committee recommended:

--that the CRTC permit Canadian broadcasting distribution undertakings to offer a wider range of international programming, while being respectful of Canadian content regulations.

Now the government has come forward with this bill, which will further criminalize people for keeping in touch with their cultural communities.

I noticed in Hansard that previous supporters of the bill seem to be falling back on the whole issue of protecting artists and broadcasting integrity in Canada to ensure that those individuals receive funds and the proper recognition they deserve for their products, and to encourage our Canadian culture to flourish. That is very suspect, with the government's past.

I want to be very clear about this. If a person is in the black market system and is stealing a signal that is legally available in Canada, we should stop that. We should have punishment for those individuals. Whether it is Bell ExpressVu, Shaw or whatever is currently available in Canada, it should not be an option for people to steal the signal and they should be punished accordingly for that. The problem is in that grey market where the services are not available. This also provides a good connection for individuals and communities to reach back to their former homelands, to have education and entertainment and that connection. Those individuals will now be further criminalized into that black market. I cannot support the bill for that reason.

The government is falling back on the whole notion that the bill will improve the access for artists to be able to receive funds and to make sure Canadian content prospers, but it is not really an improvement on its past practices. We recently had a motion put forward by the member for Dartmouth from our party which called for a tax deduction for artists. That would have been far better for those artists. The government voted against that and stopped the motion from going forward.

One of the main issues that we have to identify is how to provide people with the actual access to those cultural programs. In my community of Windsor, we have many people accessing programs which they would access in a legal way if they were provided the opportunity to do so. They could do so and pay into a system that supports Canadian culture. They would all be happy to do that and would support it.

We have to wonder where this issue is going. We look at the fact that Bell ExpressVu Canada and Shaw Communications have contributed over $320,000 to the Liberal Party and Paul Martin's leadership campaign--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria

That is out of order.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse

The Speaker has not ruled on that. You are no longer the House leader, thank you.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Hon. members cannot refer to other hon. members this way. In particular, they cannot use their names on the floor of the House of Commons. I will leave the rest of the insults aside for a moment, but members are to refer to each other by name of riding.

I know perfectly well that I am not the House leader. That has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the unparliamentary language used by the hon. member across.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

Let me see if I can be of assistance here. Certainly with regard to the practice of the House in terms of referring to one another, it is either by the portfolio one might carry or at the very least by naming each other's ridings respectfully. In terms of the contents, I will not engage in a debate, but certainly the practice as stated by the hon. member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell is correct. I failed in paying close enough attention and I do regret that.

With the little time the hon. member for Windsor West has left, I know he will want to make sure that we complete this intervention without any further mishaps.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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NDP

Brian Masse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brian Masse

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for that. I was reading off my notes and made an honest mistake. I took offence because I was being shouted down by another member of the House. I apologize for naming an individual. I should have said the former minister of finance, the member for LaSalle--Émard. I apologize for that.

To wrap up, I do want to impress upon members that before Bill C-2 moves forward we need to clear up the issue of access to grey market products. That is very important. That should be the very first step because it is important to build Canada through our cultural diversity. That is what connects many people to information abroad, whether it is English language programming, whether it is Christian programming, or whether it is Middle Eastern programming like Al Jazeera. All these things have been asked for at the CRTC but there has been no response.

The government needs to solve that first as opposed to further criminalizing people for making sure that they have those elements that are so important to their lifestyles. Quite frankly, it could be accessed through other mediums we already have, such as the Internet or as in other communities by putting up regular airwaves. This needs to be resolved right away before the government moves forward. Nothing else will do.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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Some hon. members

No.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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Some hon. members

Yea.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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Some hon. members

Nay.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to order made earlier today, the division stands deferred until Tuesday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Bill C-18. On the order: Government Orders

February 12, 2004—The Minister of Finance—Second reading and reference to the Standing Committee on Finance of Bill C-18, an act respecting equalization and authorizing the Minister of Finance to make certain payments related to health.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Act to amend the Radiocommunication Act
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LIB

Aileen Carroll

Liberal

Hon. Aileen Carroll (for the Minister of Finance)

moved:

That Bill C-18, an act respecting equalization and authorizing the Minister of Finance to make certain payments related to health be immediately referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
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February 13, 2004