Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to join in the debate on Bill C-288, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act.
With regard to this bill, we must think first and foremost about Canadian consumers. The hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton deserves our praises for bringing their concerns to our attention.
When broadcasting started only radio existed. Even then, the Parliament of Canada saw fit to pass legislation in this area to meet the needs of consumers.
Indeed, for over 60 years, as the network has been expanding, successive parliaments have used their powers to ensure that Canadians have access to quality programming produced by Canadians, as well as to the best programs from abroad.
This is a fundamental characteristic of Canadian broadcasting, which has remained the same in spite of the many technical changes we have witnessed regarding radio, and television where programs were initially in black and white, then in colour; first programs were received using a conventional antenna, then came cable TV and other forms of transmission including direct-to-home satellite broadcasting.
There have been changes not only in transmission techniques, but also in programming formulas and choice of packages offered. Traditional television stations and networks are now competing with a broad range of specialized offerings, as well as the pay TV channels and pay-for-view TV.
These changes and improvements have not been without their problems, as this bill shows.
We have, however, always found a way to solve the problems caused by changes in broadcasting, and to attune the Canadian broadcast network to the needs and interests of Canadians.
This will continue to be our main focus and we owe thanks to the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton for having brought to our attention the problems associated with the launching of specialized television services in Canada.
For the past 30 years, Parliament has entrusted the CRTC, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, with the mandate under the Broadcasting Act of regulating and monitoring the Canadian broadcast network so as to implement the policy objectives set out in that act.
Generally speaking, this has worked well and I am convinced the CRTC will continue to take Canadian public opinion into consideration, and to strike a fair balance in its search for the means to realize the policy objectives set for it.
Topic: Private Members' Business
Subtopic: Broadcasting Act