Third reading of Bill C-11, Online Streaming Act—Amendment proposed by Senator Downe

By: The Hon. Dennis Dawson

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Ceremonial Guard drum, Ottawa

Hon. Dennis Dawson: Thank you, Your Honour.

First of all, I’ve known Senator Downe for many years in his previous life, so his defence of P.E.I. and P.E.I.’s interests is renowned. I knew him when he was chief of staff for the premier of P.E.I. I’ve known him when he arrived in Ottawa and as a senator for 18 years. That being said, I understand that all politics are local, even for senators.

That being said, the pertinence of this amendment as it relates to Bill C-11 — I understand that even the president of my caucus agrees with him — is not obvious. That being said, I won’t get to debate on it.

The government understands the concerns underlying the proposal to ensure CBC/Radio-Canada offers programming and broadcasting services that all Canadians receive elsewhere in the country. I agree it should not have happened.

It is the government’s view that these issues are best addressed by the CRTC through its own proceedings rather than through legislation. More broadly, this bill does not make significant changes to Part III of the Broadcasting Act, which covers the mandate and operations of the CBC.

As confirmed by the department officials at committee, it falls to the CRTC to engage in matters where the corporation has not respected its licence. I would remind that under Bill C-11, the CRTC can levy administrative penalties against a corporation, just like the private sector.

I further remind senators that the government intends to address the modernization of the CBC in a more holistic manner, not in a piecemeal fashion. The modernization of the CBC remains a key mandate of Minister Rodriguez. Thank you, senator.

Obviously, as far as the salaries are concerned, you did not go through the person who was chairing the committee at that time, but Senator Plett and I remember that I was involved. You were polite not to mention my name. I obviously agree with the comments that I made. They were pertinent then, and they are pertinent today. But you were polite enough not to mention me.

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