May 30th, 2019 - 5:48pm

Consumer Protection, Digital, In the House, Other News

Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Mr. Brian Masse: The reason I have concern about that, Mr. Minister, is that it’s a significant allegation, really, of 100,000 jobs being created. The problem is that we don’t have any of that information and data. I’ll shift to where I’m going with this, which is with regards to Crown copyright. Again, we have an example where we have a minister of the Crown coming here, making—I guess—an argument about a creation of jobs from the materials, but we have no access to any of that information.

In 2017, over 2,000 Canadians independently called for the elimination of Crown copyright. During our copyright submissions here, there were over 200 organizations that called for the elimination of Crown copyright. For more than four decades there have been Parliaments—in 1981, 1985 and 1993 and, as well, another Parliament—calling for the abolishment of Crown copyright. There have been continued delays of public information and Crown materials with the transition to the digital platforms that have taken place, and in fact we’re losing not only just that information but our heritage, because some of this material is being destroyed. This feeds our democratic deficit and our economic disadvantage, because the U.S. does not have Crown copyright. We do have a report coming forth.

Your government decided to go ahead with an Order in Council for Matty Moroun, a private American billionaire, to provide a new border crossing in my riding, without any stipulations to the local community and without any type of public input or even involvement. Now, I’m asking you this. Will you commit to moving on Crown copyright in any form necessary to abolish this procedure that’s blocking Canadian innovation, access to information and…democracy?

The reason I point it out in your materials that you submitted here today is that there is valuable information that could be helpful. I’m not even disregarding that you’re saying that your business plan was not effective, or effective, or whatever. However, none of that is available. Will you, then, do what’s necessary? I have a bill, C-440, that you can steal, which has been done before in the past. Will you commit to abolishing Crown copyright before the next election?

Hon. Navdeep Bains: Thank you for your intervention and your passion on this issue.

You and I have talked about this on several occasions when you proposed the bill. We talked about it in the House of Commons as well, in the lobby as well.

You also mentioned in your remarks that there is a study that the committee is doing. I highlighted that as well, and the Copyright Act and the proposed changes as well, so I’m not going to prejudge the outcome of the work that your committee is doing. I look forward to the recommendations that you put forward, and I look forward to acting on those recommendations. I’m also aware that the heritage committee is also looking at copyright-related issues, so I’ll work very closely with my colleague, Minister Rodriguez, as well to see what appropriate steps we can take to address some of the issues you’ve highlighted.

Mr. Brian Masse: I’ll leave this for you. I hope that you consider…you used it for a private American billionaire to provide him a new bridge. I’m hoping that you can actually look at the government tools available for abolishing Crown copyright because our time is winding down here in Parliament.