The second reading debate over Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act reform bill, took a notable turn on Friday as Conservative MP Michael Kram called for the bill to be withdrawn, adding that politicians could do Canadians a lot of good by “rewriting it from scratch.” The House of Commons debate over Bill C-10 has run far longer than the government or Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault anticipated with the bill still not passing second reading and receiving a referral for committee study. The Conservatives have become increasingly critical, pointing (as I have done in my series on the many blunders in the bill) to the expansion of powers of the CRTC, the government secrecy on key policy issues, the uncertainty the bill creates, and the increased costs to consumers during a pandemic.
On Friday, Kram rose in the House of Commons stating:
I think we could do Canadians a lot of good by withdrawing this bill and rewriting it from scratch to ensure that everyone is included in it and to ensure we have the best legislation we can for Canadians.Therefore, I would like to move the following amendment. I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That'”and substituting the following: “Bill C-10, An act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, be not now read a second time but that the order be discharged, the bill withdrawn and the subject matter thereof referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.”
The government will obviously not support the amendment. Indeed, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has already started down the questionable path of conducting a hearing “about” the bill rather than a hearing on the bill itself as would normally occur once a bill receives second reading approval. I appeared before the committee on Friday – see this week’s Law Bytes podcast – but the rush to judgment outside conventional Parliamentary processes is disturbing. The latest motion to withdraw the bill entirely provides an important reminder that there are significant flaws in the proposed legislative reforms that demand careful study and consultation, not the fast track process the government is trying to pursue.