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View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-05-30 14:15 [p.15014]
Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP talks a big game when it comes to the Liberal government. He loves to criticize the Liberals on Twitter, but in the House, he supports the Liberals every time. The motion today is a good example.
Conservatives have been calling for an independent public inquiry for months. All the while, the NDP has supported the Liberal’s fake rapporteur. Now, all of a sudden, NDP members are making it look like they support our idea of a public inquiry. However, we know that, when push comes to shove, they will protect their Liberal coalition partners and allow them to continue with their cover-up. How do I know? The House already passed a motion, months ago, asking for a public inquiry, which was supported by the NDP. However, the Liberals have ignored this request, and the NDP has done nothing.
If NDP members really want to prove that they support a public inquiry, they must tell their Liberal bosses that they will pull out of their coalition agreement if they do not call one. I challenge the NDP to do the right thing for Canadians and stand up to its Liberal masters.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-05-16 10:04 [p.14571]
Mr. Speaker, as vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, it is my honour to table, in both official languages, a supplementary report to the 16th report, on the situation at Roxham Road border crossing.
Conservative members wish to reiterate what our leader, the hon. leader of the official opposition, has said, which is that the government could have acted much sooner to close Roxham Road. This inaction was highlighted by the fact that the government signed a secret protocol well over a year ago to close the safe third country agreement, but set an effective date of March 26, 2023. Conservative MPs did ask the Minister of Immigration, in November 2022, if the government had any intention of closing this loophole, but he kept answering that negotiations were ongoing, claiming that it could not be done easily. This was a statement we now know is false, as the signature had already been dry for half a year on the agreement to close Roxham Road.
We tried to call the minister before the committee on this, but the NDP-Liberals indicated they had no desire to allow transparency on this issue. This, once again, shows how the NDP-Liberal coalition is more concerned about making a media splash than solving problems.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-05-01 14:45 [p.13729]
Mr. Speaker, how can benefits be delayed if they do not even know about them? The incompetent Prime Minister spent 50% more on bureaucracy and still ended up with the biggest federal public service strike in history.
Today is the tax-filing deadline, and Canada Revenue Agency employees are still on the picket line without a deal. Taxpayers and small business owners in Saskatoon are calling the CRA with questions, but their calls are not answered. Canadians are going to miss out on benefits, be penalized or miss the tax-filing deadline altogether.
Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and extend the tax-filing deadline?
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-27 13:30 [p.13555]
Madam Speaker, it is a great opportunity to stand up and speak in the House today.
If members will indulge me for a moment, I want to briefly mention two people who are very important in my life, my mother and father, Alvin and Irene Redekopp. They have been there for my whole life, a great life growing up, and are probably the most ardent watchers of the House out of all of us. They watch question period, they watch, of course, when I speak, and they probably watch random debates just for fun. They have been married 63 years, and it is my privilege and honour to still have a great relationship with them even though they are a few years older than me. I thank my mom and dad for all they have done.
One month ago, we listened to the budget in this place, and here we are now a month later. I think I would summarize the budget with the word “underwhelming”. There was a Global News story the following day in which Pamela George, a financial literacy counsellor who works with women, said that the 2023 spending plan was subpar. She said:
It’s nothing to write home about. I’m not shouting and celebrating anything...When I hear things like, “we’re going to do this,” or “we’re looking into this,” I just feel it’s stalling....
I think that summarizes my thoughts on the budget; it really was quite underwhelming. So, of course, the questions from the residents of Saskatoon West are: How does this budget affect me? What is going to change because of this budget? How is it is going to impact my life?
Of course, they are struggling, like all Canadians are, with pressures on meeting their monthly costs, whether it is to put groceries on the table, fuelling their cars, heating their homes or even their cost to own a home. Saskatoon is one of the cheaper places in the country to own a home, yet it is still very difficult. Many people in my riding struggle with paying their rent and paying their mortgage payments, especially as mortgage payments increase. So, many of them were looking for solutions.
It is fair to say that there were no long-term solutions in this budget at all. There were some band-aids, yes, but there were really no long-term solutions. Getting a few hundred dollars extra on a GST rebate might help in the very short term, but it does not help in the long term. We have heard the proverb, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” I think that is what we are seeing here with a few hundred dollars to a family. Okay, fine, they can buy groceries for a week, maybe two, but then the problem is there again.
We need permanent, long-term solutions that actually solve the problems that are out there, and I acknowledge that this is a hard thing. A master's level skill is required to achieve this. Unfortunately, what we have seen in so many things, and this budget is a good example of it, is a master's level of incompetence. We just cannot get the competence that we require out of this government. Of course, right now, we are in the middle of this strike and, as has been mentioned many times, this government has managed to spend 50% more on its workforce and still have the workforce go on strike. That takes a master's level of incompetence.
Conservatives had some very positive suggestions for this budget, and I just want to review those very quickly.
The first one was that we had suggested the government pursue an area of lower taxes for workers. People need to keep more of their paycheques so that they can spend the money they need to survive. The second thing we suggested was that the government end inflationary deficits that are driving up the cost of goods. This is fairly straightforward and was a very good suggestion that should not have been very difficult for this government. The third was to remove gatekeepers to increase home building for Canadians. This is something we hear of constantly in our ridings and across the country on the availability of affordable housing.
Did the government take us up on our constructive advice? Well, let us talk about taxes.
Several days after the budget was released, what happened to taxes? They went up. Why is that? It is because of the carbon tax. This is part of the plan to increase the carbon tax over the next months to ultimately triple it to where it is going to cost 40¢ a litre for fuel, for gasoline, and, of course, it adds a cost to everything else, whether it is fuel for homes, which, by the way, there is GST on top of the carbon tax, or whether it is for groceries. Basically, anything that moves on a truck is impacted by this. Of course, food is greatly impacted by this, because farmers end up bearing a huge cost of GST on their farms. So, did taxes go down? No, they went up.
What about the inflationary deficits? Did they go down? No, actually.
I would like to read a quote, which says, “Our deficits must continue to be reduced. The pandemic debt we incurred to keep Canadians safe and solvent must...be paid down. This is our fiscal anchor. ...a line we shall not cross.” Who said that? Of course, it was the illustrious finance minister, and it was said less than a year ago. Here we are, just months after making that statement, and what do we see in this budget? We see deficits forever. The idea of deficits being reduced and eliminated is just not there. The crazy thing is that in 2026, it would just take a 3% reduction to achieve a balanced budget, yet that is not something that this master's level of incompetence government was able to achieve, which I think is quite simple.
What about the third thing: home building? What I see in the budget are some things that are going to increase the supply. Let me take a moment and talk about supply and demand, because that is the most basic principle of everything that affects money in our country. When there is a lot of supply, there are low prices; when there is a lot of demand, prices go up. What we see in this budget are measures that would increase demand. What is the effect of that? It means there are more people chasing fewer things, which means the prices will go up. The master's level of competence approach to this budget would be to increase the supply of houses, and that is not something I see in here. We need to incentivize companies and cities to build houses and require cities to build more houses. They are the gatekeepers that are holding back the supply of houses that could be built in this country.
Another way to look at this is what is missing in this budget. One thing that struck me quite obviously was foreign credential recognition. As I have spoken with newcomers to Canada all across the country, this comes up inevitably as one of the first or second things they mention. They will say things like they are doctors and not able to work in this country or they are lawyers, engineers or in a certain profession and they cannot work in this country because it is too difficult for them to be licensed to practise in this country.
Health care is a huge problem. Canadians will say that in surveys, but yet, after eight years of the Liberal government, only 41% of foreign-trained doctors are able to work as doctors in our country. Only 37% of nurses are able to work as nurses in our country, and there countless others. That leaves us with the typical doctor driving a taxi. I am sure many of us in this room have been driven in taxis by doctors, and the reason is because they are unable to be licensed and work as doctors. This is a huge issue for our country because we need doctors.
That is why I introduced my private member's bill, Bill C-286, to help address this issue and allow foreign-trained professionals to have their credentials recognized more easily, and that is why the Conservative leader has introduced his system, which is the Blue Seal system. The Blue Seal is modelled after the Red Seal program. The Red Seal program is for professions like electricians and plumbers. It has been adopted for 50 years and is used in all of the provinces. The idea is that we would have a similar system where doctors or nurses could make sure they qualify by showing they have the knowledge through passing a national competence exam. They would then be given a Blue Seal and be able to work in the country, in provinces that choose to join the program. Why would they join the program? Because it would allow access to more staff, and that is what we need to do.
One other thing that surprised me that was not in this bill was the student direct stream. Bangladesh has been asking for the student direct stream for a long time. This allows students from other countries, which are part of the program, an easier and quicker way to come to Canada to get their post-secondary education in the country. It is good for our country because our post-secondary institutions benefit from having them. They are a great asset to our country in terms of their knowledge and skills. They create businesses and increase trade between the countries. Bangladesh has been trying to become part of the program. India and its neighbour Pakistan are part of this program. I have spoken about it many times with the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. There are many things we can gain in our country by having this done. We do not have it yet. It is something I wish had been in the budget and I am sad to see it was not. On behalf of Bangladeshi students who are trying to get to Canada, I am sad we did not see that.
We are seeing a budget from a tired and worn out NDP-Liberal coalition, a government that is full of scandals and cover-ups. Conservatives will bring relief. We will lower taxes, we will end inflationary deficits and we will remove the gatekeepers so that we can build more houses in this country.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-27 13:40 [p.13557]
Madam Speaker, I will note a couple of things. First, neither of my parents were politicians, so that might be part of it. I can think of a trip in Florida when I was young where I was not sure they were going to make it. My dad was driving and my mom was navigating. Members can imagine how that went, but they did survive. Obviously, it is love and dealing with issues that come up. That is something that we could all take to heart in this place. We are never going to agree on everything and we have to work together for the betterment of Canadians.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-27 13:42 [p.13557]
Madam Speaker, of course, as I mentioned quite strongly in my speech, we have a master's level of incompetence on one side of the House and, I believe, a master's level of competence on this side.
One of the ideas that we have been pushing forward is that we need to force municipalities, through funding and through different arrangements that we have with them, to actually increase the amount of housing that is available. One easy way to do that is to provide infrastructure spending for transportation. We need to make cities create housing around the transportation hubs that we are funding. When we have a large transportation hub, we would need to have housing and apartments around that. That increases the availability of housing, which, as I said in my speech, increases the supply. When they increase supply, they decrease the cost.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-27 13:43 [p.13558]
Madam Speaker, there are many things that come to mind. The very first thing that is top of mind and top of mind for many people in Saskatchewan is the carbon tax. The member spoke about providing for the country and of course he is referring to food and the way that hard-working farmers in Saskatchewan and other prairie provinces produce food not only for Canada but for the world. What we are seeing here is a tremendous amount of money that is being spent by each farmer to cover the cost of the carbon tax. That cost is only going up from this point. It is going to triple from where it is now. A typical farmer pays more than $150,000 a year in carbon tax.
What happens to that carbon tax? It ends up getting built in to the cost of the products that the farmers produce, which then shows up at the grocery store. When people go to the grocery store and wonder why prices are so high and why they are seeing 10% and 6% inflation on grocery prices in the grocery store, part of the answer to that is the carbon tax. The carbon tax is built into the cost of everything that is in the grocery store. That is a huge element of what we are seeing. People in Saskatchewan would like to see this carbon tax reduced because they are not getting the benefit. They are paying more than they are receiving back.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-24 17:58 [p.13330]
Madam Speaker, I want to start by letting you know that I am going to be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.
I am here to talk about Bill S-245. It is not something I planned to do today, and I am sure most members in the House had not planned on doing this, but here we are, and I want to make sure that people are clear on what it is we are talking about.
This is a private member's bill that has come from the other place, the Senate. Senators, just like members of Parliament, are able to produce legislation called private members' bills, so this is the legislation that has come from Senator Yonah Martin from the other place. It is her intention and her idea. It is something that she wants to see done. That is what we are talking about here. It is now in the House and we are working with it.
The subject of this is the “lost Canadians”. We have heard many different explanations of this, but many people may not quite understand what that is. Essentially, our Citizenship Act has some flaws in it that cause certain people to either lose their citizenship or to not get it in the first place. They create these little categories of people who, through no fault of their own, do not have access to Canadian citizenship.
There have been attempts over the years to fix some of these problems. Many of them have been fixed over the years, but there are still some groups of people who are still considered lost Canadians and are not being treated the way they should be, as they are unable to receive Canadian citizenship status. Over the years, there have been bills brought attempting to plug those holes and fix those gaps to ensure that those people who deserve to be Canadian citizens are, and this bill is one of them. There is a particular group of people, a fairly clearly defined group of people, that it seeks to remedy. It is not trying to fix everybody, and that was part of the point initially.
I also want to mention that often times when we think about people who are not citizens of Canada, we immediately think of immigrants. This does not necessarily mean immigrants. There are in fact many people who would not consider themselves immigrants who fit into these categories of lost Canadians. They are just Canadians who do not have their citizenship. There are different categories of these. Part of the point here is that trying to catch them all, and fix all of the holes in the legislation in one shot, is very difficult. It has been attempted over the years and, so far, it has been unsuccessful. We believe that a better approach is to target a very specific area, a specific group of people who are lost, and at least fix those, and then if there are more holes, we would fix those holes, rather than trying to do everything at once. This is a simple bill to fix one of those groups.
This is the same as Bill S-230. In a previous Parliament, the bill was studied in the Senate. It went to committee, was looked at carefully, and was sent here to the House to be worked on. Then an election happened, so that legislation never saw the light of day. Therefore, the attempt to rectify the citizenship situation of those lost Canadians failed. It failed because it did not get through the process in time before an election was called. That is very significant because right now we are in another minority Parliament, which means an election can happen at any time, so we do not have a lot of time. Time is not our friend in this case; we need to move to pass these bills quickly.
The same senator, Yonah Martin, has now put forward the same bill, Bill S-245, which has also gone through the Senate. This time in the other place it was not reviewed or studied because it was exactly the same as the previous legislation. Therefore, the Senate decided to fast-track it, move it through the other place and then to the House here so that we could deal with it. That is where it is now. It is here in the House and we are dealing with it now.
I just want to mention this with respect to the sponsor of the bill, Senator Yonah Martin. She was able to get it through the last Parliament. It took a lot of work and effort to bring everybody together to agree on things, but she was able to get it as far as it got. Unfortunately, it was not far enough. However, she was able to get it here quicker, which is a testament to her ability to work across party lines and with other people in the Senate, because she knew that time was the enemy and the biggest problem that the bill faced. The assumption that went along with that, as she got it to this House, was that it was the same bill as last time. From the Senate's perspective, this bill is the same one that it studied before and therefore it did not need to study it again. That is important and we should remember that.
Why are we here today? We are studying this bill at committee. We are getting very close to the end. There has been a lot of debate and talk about it. We have heard many witnesses speak to this bill. Indeed, there are many groups of people who represent these groups of lost Canadians, because there are numerous groups of lost Canadians. Everybody wants to solve this problem. The Conservatives want to fix this problem, as do the Liberals and all of the other parties. However, we want to fix it; we do not just want to talk about it. We do not want to study it to death, but fix it. We were able to get a lot of testimony and hear a lot of things to understand what the scope is and how it is going to work.
So people understand, what happened toward the end of this process is this. With respect to private members' bills, we have to stay within the scope of the bill. We cannot add things that go beyond the original intent of what, in this case, Yonah Martin had. There must be some ideas out there to do that, to go beyond the scope of this bill, because the government and the NDP teamed up together to bring this to the House now so that it can authorize the committee to go beyond the scope of the bill. That is what we are here talking about today.
This is really significant, because the originator of the bill, in this case Yonah Martin, had an intent for this bill. She came to committee and spoke about the bill and what her intent was. She was specifically asked if she would allow for amendments to the bill that would expand its scope. She was very clear on that. She said that she was willing to accept amendments that would clarify the bill, but she was not willing to accept amendments that would expand it. The reason she said that was very simple and makes a lot of sense.
Why would she accept amendments to clarify the bill? She wants the bill to be successful. She wants to plug that hole for this group of lost Canadians once and for all, so in her mind, if her words were not quite correct and somebody had a better idea to make those words a bit better, she was all ears and willing to do that. It only makes sense, because we want to get the wording correct. We have an army of lawyers in this place who are able to interpret our laws and statutes who I am sure had ideas and suggestions to clarify those things.
Why did she not want to expand its scope? It is very clear. She knows that if the scope gets expanded it creates a whole new pathway for this bill. First, it goes beyond what she had intended, which makes it more complicated, which means more work and more understanding is required. It goes from a simple one-page bill to a multi-page bill that has implications on all kinds of things. Most significantly, should it come through the House and be amended and expanded in scope, then it ends up back in the other place. Why did it pass through the other place very quickly? Because it was the same bill that had been studied in the previous Parliament. It had been looked at and studied in the Senate. The senators had their chance to talk about it and tweak it. That had all been done. The only reason they expedited it through this time was because it was exactly the same as the last time.
If we put two and two together, if it goes back to the other place having been changed, what is going to happen? The senators would say that it is not the same bill and would want to know what happened. Senator Martin would have to explain that it has changed and grown in scope and they would say that they need to study the bill and that it is going to committee to be studied.
With the way timelines work around here, we would be adding months to the process. The enemy of this bill is time, so we would clearly be doing exactly the opposite of what we should be doing, which is adding time to this bill. We would be adding complexity to it, which means it would have to be studied at committee and looked at again. At the end of the day, there could be an election. We all know that an election could happen at any time. It could happen over this issue today. I heard members saying that might happen, so we never know what could happen. We never know what the day is going to bring. Time is the enemy of this bill, and this process would be adding a lot of time to it. That is the whole point of why Senator Martin wanted this to be done.
As I close, I want to highlight two things. First, we are all in support of fixing these problems for lost Canadians. There are no members on either side of the House who do not want to fix this law and correct the problem there. That is a given.
Second, we oppose the idea of the government taking a private member's bill, expanding it and putting things in there that were never intended to be there by the member who raised the bill. That is something we are very concerned about. We do not want to set a precedent. We do not want to allow the government to come in and pull up someone's bill and do that.
It was great to speak in the House today.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-24 18:09 [p.13332]
Madam Speaker, the member and I have a good relationship at the immigration committee and I enjoy working with her. I agree with her, but the problem in what she is saying right now is that I do not believe it is possible. I do not believe it is possible to achieve what she is talking about. We do not have enough time to deal with this. What she is talking about is wishful thinking.
I have wishes and hopes and dreams too. I wish Canadians could afford groceries and I wish we did not have a strike going on right now, but these are not the realities of our life today. We want to be the most pragmatic we can be. We have the opportunity to at least solve this problem for a group, for a subset of these lost Canadians, so we see the opportunity to push it forward and solve that part of the problem.
I would also like to mention that the government and this member have had many opportunities to present legislation on this subject before, so there is no reason we could not see other legislation on this. There is no reason the government could not put forward legislation to plug the rest of the holes that are here.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-24 18:11 [p.13332]
Madam Speaker, as I said before, Conservatives are committed to solving this problem and fixing these gaps. This was actually a very good explanation, and I appreciate it. The member was giving one example, so let us just assume that this is the one we are trying to fix with this legislation. We want to get it through and pass it, and then that person would be a Canadian and the problem would be solved.
Imagine that example, and now add family number two, with a slightly different situation, then family number three with a slightly different situation, family number four, etc. It complicates everything and all of a sudden this simplistic solution becomes a very complex solution.
We are trying exactly that, which is to solve this problem for a group of lost Canadians. We are fully willing to work with the government, the NDP or whoever else wants to put forward legislation to try to fix the rest of them.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-24 18:13 [p.13333]
Madam Speaker, I believe that question is better suited for the next debate.
Let me take this moment to reiterate one more thing. The government has had many opportunities to solve the problem of lost Canadians. The government has been here eight years. Canadians are tired, in fact, of the government. It has had many opportunities. It has heard of this many times. It has heard lots of speeches and heard about lots of situations and examples. It has had ample opportunity to solve this problem, yet it has not. Now the government wants to take over a private member's bill, hijack it and put its legislation into that member's private bill. That is simply not right.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-04-19 14:16 [p.13123]
Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the NDP really earned its keep in the coalition government. Conservative MPs put forward a common-sense motion to have a parliamentary committee investigate allegations of interference at the Trudeau Foundation. This is a foundation that received $125 million in taxpayer money, and the government appoints much of the board. Beijing’s influence in the Trudeau Foundation is an issue Canadians are talking about, yet the NDP refused to let people know the truth.
What happened? Well, its Liberal masters told the NDP to jump, and the subservient NDP asked, “How high?” The Liberals said, “Do not let Canadians know the truth.” The NDP said, “Yes, sir!”
The NDP is not even pretending to be separate from the Prime Minister. It is happy be his lapdog. Who is the NDP really protecting, the Trudeau Foundation or the Prime Minister, or is there something more sinister at play?
The NDP had a choice between standing for principles or selling its soul. Now Canadians know which choice the NDP made.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-03-31 11:02 [p.12928]
Madam Speaker, soon Christians around the world will be celebrating Easter. Good Friday marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the hands of the Romans. The resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday fulfills his promise to the people of the world that he is indeed the son and living embodiment of God on earth. All Christians, Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox will come together over Easter weekend to celebrate the most important days in the Christian calendar. For some of us, this means attending church services; for others, it means attending a big family party.
For some, like the Ukrainians fleeing the war crimes of Vladimir Putin, it will be the first Easter not in their home country, but here in Canada instead. Regardless of how we celebrate, Easter is a reminder of how Christ sacrificed his life for us and made a way for each of us to know God personally.
I look forward to Easter Sunday when Christians around the world will say in Ukrainian:
[Member spoke in Ukrainian and provided the following translation:]
He is risen. He is risen indeed.
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-03-30 15:39 [p.12873]
Mr. Speaker, therein lies the exact issue we are facing here. The member just said “my understanding is” and went on to give his understanding. This is why we continue to debate this. This is why it has been at the Senate for so much time. This is why we want to talk about this more: There is not agreement.
The member talked about the group of people who must be under the dome, which I think were his words. It is an interesting group, because not only does it include Conservatives, but it also includes Margaret Atwood and it includes the current chair of the CRTC, who also said it would affect user content. It is an interesting group of people who are raising objections and concerns about this legislation. How does the member explain all who, in this interesting group of people, are also raising objections to this legislation?
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2023-03-30 15:43 [p.12874]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Abbotsford.
Today I am speaking, along with many others, about an issue fundamental to the future of our country.
Do we as Canadians live in a country that believes in the principles of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and supports free speech on the Internet, or do we deviate and support the principles of censorship and the pursuit of wokeness and conformity? What do we value as Canadians?
The fact is that the Conservative Party is the only political party in Canada that stands for freedom of speech and the rights of Canadians to express themselves freely on the Internet. Margaret Atwood called Bill C-11 “creeping totalitarianism”.
We have, and we will, fight this legislation to the bitter end. Is it a losing fight? Probably. We have heard many times, when the Prime Minister asked the leader of the NDP to jump, that the only question he gets in response is “How high?” That does not mean that Conservatives would not fight. However, it does mean that, when Conservatives form the next government under our new leader, we would repeal this horrible attack on free speech.
Much has been said about the obvious move toward censorship and government control over what we see and post. However, I want to come at this from a different angle, which is that of The Littlest Hobo. I grew up in the 1970s in rural Saskatchewan. We had colour TV, I am not that old, but our house only had two channels: CBC and CTV. It was the golden age of government censorship of what we could watch on TV.
Back then, the CRTC was not as concerned about political censorship as we would see with the result of Bill C-11, but it was very concerned that we watch Canadian programming, instead of that evil, awful American programming. Every day, after school, I had to endure a half-hour of the The Littlest Hobo, because it was literally the only thing I could watch on TV. Now some may have enjoyed the show. I did not.
This was the result of the government dictating to Canadians what it felt we needed to watch on TV. Thankfully, we eventually got U.S. TV channels in our house, and we were able to finally watch what we chose to watch and not what the CRTC told us we could watch.
Everyone who has grown up in the Internet generation has always had full control to watch whatever they want to watch on the Internet. The government has so far been unable to censor them and force them to watch the content it deems important.
With Bill C-11, the government would be throttling the Internet and forcing Canadians to watch things it deems important: The Littlest Hobo of this decade. Do not get me wrong. I am not against Canadian content in any way. I just want good content, wherever it comes from.
Canada produces some amazingly good content. For example, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood was written by a Canadian author and is being filmed on Canadian soil. It stars Canadian actors and it employs Canadian producers, but it fails to make the cut. It is not considered Canadian by the CRTC.
This just demonstrates the silliness of the government trying to dictate and control our creative industries. The last thing our creative industries in Canada need is more government control.
Canada has amazing content producers, from big-name actors, producers and artists down to small content creators on YouTube, Instagram and other platforms. We must keep them free to compete in a global world, rather have the government pick who are the winners and who are the losers.
How does Bill C-11 work? How does the legislation actually strangle the freedom of individual Canadians on the Internet?
At the heritage committee, one witness, J.J. McCullough, used a metaphor that I believe captures this law in a nutshell. He said, “It's like promising not to regulate books while [simultaneously] regulating...bookstores.”
The approach of the NDP-Liberal coalition is to regulate everyday social media platforms that Canadians use: Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and others.
This would directly affect every Canadian, as the platforms would be told by the government which of the content created is allowed or not. It is as if someone walked into a bookstore but would only be allowed to see the books on certain racks. They would not be allowed to see the books on other racks in the rest of the store.
The government agency overseeing this is called the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, CRTC. These are the same people who forced me to watch The Littlest Hobo as a kid. The CRTC has been around for a long time, and, in theory, it is responsible for ensuring Canadian content on radio and TV. They are the reason cable is so expensive and why many of us are cord-cutting.
Basically, the CRTC is a bunch of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa elites, appointed by the Prime Minister, whose jobs would be to decide what we consume and what we post.
This law would effectively give the CRTC the authority to set out conditions, requirements and exemptions for what is to be restricted or to be allowed. For example, the law would give the commission the authority to make orders imposing conditions affecting such things as “the proportion of programs to be broadcast” being “devoted to specific genres” and “the presentation of programs and programming”.
Despite its vague language, it is clear that the government plans to give the friends of the Prime Minister the power to decide what the people see, quite literally policing content.
They do this under the guise of promoting Canadian content, but that is just an excuse to grab more power and to limit the freedoms we enjoy. That is exactly what Bill C-11 does.
It gives the CRTC the authority over platforms like YouTube. These platforms would be forced to comply with regulations that prioritize content to be displayed to individuals over others, depending on what the CRTC deems to be the priority. That is exactly the problem.
This law would “encourage the development of Canadian expression by providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity”.
Who will decide what content is reflective of Canadian opinions, ideas and values and exactly what those are? Of course it is the friends of the Prime Minister.
This one phrase would reprogram the algorithms of your platforms to show you what the government wants you to see, rather than having your preferences deciding what appears in your feed.
The NDP-Liberals do this under the banner of diversity and inclusivity. The truth is that, right now, open platforms allow for, and facilitate the exchange of, diverse and inclusive content better than a government with a political agenda ever could.
The party that prides itself on multiculturalism is now putting a rubber stamp on what is Canadian and what is not. Canadian culture and interests are always expanding and are being influenced by many different artists, genres, languages and the trends of the day. The government is the last organization I would want creating Canadian culture.
Ultimately this is the difference between the Conservative approach on this issue and the approach of the NDP-Liberals. They are concerned about government control and how to have power over Canadians. Conservatives are devoted to freedom. We want Canadians to be able to live their everyday normal lives on the internet. It is simple as that.
Let us talk about how this legislation would affect Canadians. As Neal Mohan, the Chief Product Officer for YouTube, has explained in countless interviews, Bill C-11 would harm Canadian content creators.
Some may argue that YouTube is a massive corporation simply looking after its own interests. Of course, on one level that is true, but YouTube contributes over a billion dollars to the Canadian economy and creates roughly 35,000 jobs in this country, so it does have a stake beyond the confines of Silicon Valley.
Bill C-11 would essentially decide who the winners and losers of this market are, based on the qualities and conditions set out by the CRTC. Rather than helping the little guy, this government plans on putting barriers that impede them from success.
By creating more red tape, we would not just harm the economy but, more importantly, we would harm each Canadian who depends upon the internet to generate income. Nowadays, that is a lot of people from all age groups and all walks of life. This law would cover any content individually generated that touches a user trying to make even the smallest dollar.
The Liberals will say that this bill would not touch personal content like cat videos but that is simply not true. Even the current Liberal-appointed chair of the CRTC told the truth by mistake and admitted that Bill C-11 would regulate content generated by individual users.
According to YouTube and others in this field, forcing content to be displayed in one’s feed may have a negative impact on content creators within Canada and would harm the very people the government claims that it wants to protect.
We all know what happens when the government tries to force-feed us content that we don’t want, like The Littlest Hobo.
We do not want to watch it, yet the government shoves it down our throats anyway. At least CBC TV shows are voluntary right now. Just wait until the algorithms are required by law to put these in our YouTube searches, then in our Facebook videos and then in our Insta stories.
There will be no escaping the government-approved content, so we will shut it off. One does not see what one wants, and the so-called Canadian content shoved down one’s throat will go unwatched. It is a lose-lose situation, like most things that this current NDP-Liberal government does.
Bill C-11 is a threat to our fundamental rights and is setting up the foundation for censorship. Whether one is a YouTube content creator, a social media influencer or even just a viewer, Bill C-11 would limit Canadians from seeing and watching the content they choose.
People in Saskatoon West are worried about what is to come if this legislation passes, and that is why we must kill Bill C-11.
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