Transcript: The High Cost of Lumber and Other Agenda Stories | May 14, 2021

Nam sits in a room with gray walls and a bookcase in the background. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length straight brown hair. She's wearing glasses, a black blazer over a striped white shirt, and a silver pendant necklace.

Nam says THE AGENDA THIS WEEK LOOKED AT: WHETHER IT'S BETTER TO RENT OR BUY A HOME TODAY; IF COVID-19 VACCINE PATENTS SHOULD BE TEMPORARILY WAIVED; AND ASKED IF TAMING BIG TECH WOULD HURT DEMOCRACY. WE BEGIN WITH WHY LUMBER PRICES HAVE RISEN DURING THIS PANDEMIC.

Music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

In a clip, a guest speaks on screen.
A caption on screen reads "What's behind soaring lumber prices?"

The caption changes to "Paul Jannke. Forest Economic Advisors."

Paul is in his fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing a blue shirt.

He says MILLS WERE PREPARING AND DEALERS WERE PREPARING FOR VERY, VERY WEAK CONSUMPTION, AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE PANDEMIC HIT, WELL, EVERYONE WAS FORCED TO STAY HOME WITH THESE STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS, SO THEY WERE FORCED TO WORK FROM HOME. AND THEY COULDN'T SPEND THEIR TIME OR MONEY ANYWHERE ELSE YOU COULDN'T GO TO SPORTING EVENTS. FOR TORONTO, THAT PROBABLY WAS GOOD.

Steve Paikin says I THINK THAT WAS A SHOT.

[Laughter]

The caption changes to "Paul Jannke, @GetFEA."
Then, it changes again to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Paul says SORRY ABOUT THAT. SO NO SPORTING EVENTS, NO CULTURAL EVENTS. YOU COULDN'T GO TO RESTAURANTS. YOU COULDN'T GO ON VACATION. YOU HAD NOWHERE TO SPEND YOUR TIME OR MONEY AND YOU WERE STUCK AT HOME. YOU WERE LOOKING AROUND YOUR HOME AND SEEING ALL THE THINGS THAT NEEDED TO BE FIXED. BY THE WAY YOUR KIDS WERE DOING THEIR SCHOOL WORK FROM HOME AND YOU WERE DOING YOUR WORK FROM HOME. IF YOU WANTED TO ADD ON, THIS WAS THE TIME TO DO IT BECAUSE YOU NEEDED THAT EXTRA SPACE. SO IN PART FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR ADDITIONS, ALTERATIONS, IMPROVEMENTS, THIS WAS REALLY THE TIME WHEN THEY REALLY WANTED TO DO THAT. ON TOP OF THAT, INTEREST RATES PLUNGED. THEY GOT VERY, VERY LOW. SO IT BECAME AFFORDABLE TO DO THAT. AND THEN A FINAL COMPONENT WOULD BE ON THE NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION SIDE, PEOPLE WANTED TO GET OUT OF THE CITY. THEY WANTED TO LEAVE HIGH DENSITY LIVING AND GET INTO MORE LOWER DENSITY LIVING SITUATION. SO THE NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION SIDE JUST REALLY SURGED. SO WE HAD A SITUATION WHERE THE SUPPLY SIDE WAS DECLINES AND THE DEMAND SIDE WAS IMPROVING. YOU FLASH FORWARD A COUPLE MONTHS AND MILLS, ONCE THEY REALIZED THAT THE DEMAND WAS REAL AND WAS SUSTAINABLE, THEY TRIED TO INCREASE PRODUCTION, BUT THEN YOU RAN INTO COVID QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS ON HOW THEY COULD INCREASE THAT PRODUCTION. SO YOU HAVE ONE PERSON WHO CATCHES COVID AT A MILL AND THEN THAT PERSON HAS TO ISOLATE. YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE WHO CAME IN CONTACT WITH THAT PERSON HAS TO QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS AND A SAWMILL ISN'T WHAT IT WAS 20 OR 30 YEARS AGO. THEY'RE HIGH-TECH PIECES OF EQUIPMENT AND THEY NEED HIGHLY SKILLED LABOUR TO RUN THOSE MILLS. IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE WHO IS OUT OF WORK FOR 14 DAYS, YOU CAN'T JUST HIRE SOMEBODY TO COME IN AND REPLACE THAT PERSON. SO THE MILLS JUST SIMPLY WEREN'T ABLE TO KEEP UP, THEIR PRODUCTION WASN'T ABLE TO KEEP UP WITH DEMAND, AND THAT CAME AT A TIME AFTER TWO MONTHS OF INVENTORY DRAW-DOWNS, SO THE INVENTORY WASN'T THERE. THAT'S REALLY IN A NUTSHELL DESCRIBES WHY PRICES GOT SO HIGH.

Steve appears on screen. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair.

He says IT SOUNDS LIKE A PERFECT STORM TO BE SURE. SUE, LET ME DO A REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE WITH YOU ON THIS NOW. I PRESUME YOUR COMPANY IS IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING HOMES IN AND AROUND THE LONDON AREA RIGHT NOW; IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

Sue says YES, THAT'S TRUE.

Steve says OKAY. ARE THERE TIMES WHEN YOU'RE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU ACTUALLY HAVE ENOUGH WOOD LEFT OR CAN GET ACCESS TO IT TO COMPLETE THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW HOME?

The caption changes to "Sue Wastell. Wastell Homes. @wastell_sue."

Sue is in her forties, with long wavy blond hair. She's wearing a blue shirt.

She says YES, WE HAVE RUN INTO THAT, AND CERTAINLY IN PARTICULAR CERTAIN PRODUCTS, LIKE ENGINEERED FLOOR SYSTEMS ARE VERY CHALLENGING, IF YOU'RE ABLE TO GET THEM AT ALL RIGHT NOW. SO WE ARE HAVING TO SORT OF DO A LOT OF ON-THE-FLY CHANGES TO OUR HOMES. IF WE HAVE TO CHANGE A FLOOR SYSTEM PARTWAY THROUGH WHERE WE WERE EXPECTING TO BE ABLE TO GET THAT MATERIAL AND THEN NOW WE CAN'T, WE'RE HAVING TO REENGINEER HOUSES, EVEN SOMETIMES AFTER THEY'VE STARTED TO BE CONSTRUCTED. WE SUBMIT THOSE PLANS TO THE CITY FOR REVIEW AND WAIT UNTIL THAT REVIEW CAN COME BACK OUT OF CITY TO CONTINUE THAT CONSTRUCTION OF THAT HOME. SO IT'S CERTAINLY ADDING DELAYS TO OUR TIMING, DELAYS TO HOME OWNERS BEING ABLE TO MOVE INTO THEIR HOMES, AND A LOT OF FRUSTRATION.

Steve says DO YOU SEE CUSTOMERS SORT OF KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD AND DECIDING THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO PURCHASE THAT NEW HOME OR THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT RENOVATION OR BUILD THAT DECK OR A GAZEBO IN THE BACK YARD BECAUSE THEY WANT TO WAIT FOR LUMBER PRICES TO COME DOWN?

The caption changes to "Chris Black. Century Mill Lumber."

Chris is in his thirties, with short brown hair and a stubble. He's wearing a patterned white polo shirt.

He says I'VE HEARD IT A LITTLE BIT, YOU KNOW. KIND OF ONE THING WE HEAR... WE GET A LOT OF CALLS. TO PAUL'S POINT EARLIER, WHEN YOU'RE ASKING WHO'S MAKING ALL THE MONEY, I CAN SAY IT'S NOT US NECESSARILY, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I'M NOT SITTING HERE EVERY DAY DIVING INTO MONEY LIKE SCROOGE McDUCK, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, DOING BACKSTROKES INTO 20 dollar BILLS OR LIGHTING CIGARS WITH 100 dollar BILLS. THAT'S NOT WHAT'S GOING ON HERE. PEOPLE WILL ONLY PAY SO MUCH. SO WE ON THE RETAIL END ARE HAVING TO EAT INTO MARGINS BECAUSE I THINK WHEN YOU'RE WORKING WITH CUSTOMERS EVERY DAY, YOU KNOW WHAT PEOPLE WILL PAY AND WHAT THEY CAN KIND OF STOMACH, AND I THINK WE'RE STARTING TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE'RE GETTING VERY CLOSE TO, YOU KNOW, THAT TEETERING POINT WHERE BASICALLY PEOPLE WILL JUST START SAYING NO.

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Chris continues I THINK, UNFORTUNATELY, IT'S GETTING CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THAT POINT.

Now music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

Steve and a guest appear on split screens.
A caption on screen reads "To rent or to buy a home?"

Steve says IF YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK, IF FINANCIALLY YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK, IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE SPENDING 90 percent OF YOUR INCOME ON HOUSING AND THAT YOU CAN DO IT REASONABLY SO, IS IT STILL THE PHILOSOPHY THAT YOU URGE PEOPLE TO BUY IF THEY CAN?

The caption changes to "Shannon Lee Simmons. New School of Finance."

Shannon is in her thirties, with shoulder-length straight red hair. She's wearing a black sweater.

She says I DO. BUT THERE'S SO MUCH THAT GOES INTO THAT. SO JUST LISTENING TO WHAT YOU EVEN SAID. AS LONG AS YOU CAN AFFORD TO... WHICH MEANS YOU ARE NOT OVERSPENDING ON YOUR FIXED EXPENSES... THERE'S STILL AMPLE ROOM IN YOUR BUDGET EVERY SINGLE MONTH FOR A REGULAR LIFE AND TO SAVE MONEY FOR RETIREMENT OUTSIDE OF JUST RELYING ON YOUR HOUSE. IF YOU'RE IN THAT SITUATION, THEN HOME OWNERSHIP CAN BE GREAT BECAUSE, NUMBER ONE, YOUR FORCED EQUITY EVERY SINGLE MONTH BY PAYING DOWN YOUR MORTGAGE AND IF HOUSING PRICES DO CONTINUE TO RISE, YOU'RE GOING TO PARTAKE IN THAT GROWTH AS WELL OVER TIME. SECOND OF ALL, YOU COULD USE IT AS COLLATERAL, AS LEVERAGE LATER ON. YOU CAN DOWNSIZE. THERE ARE MORE OPTIONS. BUT IT'S NOT THE ONLY OPTION. WHEN I'M TALKING TO PEOPLE I USUALLY SAY, IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, I DO THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, BUYING SOMETHING CAN BE A BIG PART OF THAT WEALTH PIE. BUT THE REAL EDUCATION COMES ROUND THE REAL CHOICE MATRIX I SEE IS BEING HOUSE POOR AND BUYING VERSUS RENTING SMART. AND THAT'S WHERE I CHANGE MY TUNE. BECAUSE THAT'S REALLY THE CHOICE WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES. BECAUSE IF WE CAN ALL AFFORD TO BUY AND STILL DO ALL THE THINGS, THEN WHY NOT? BUT IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO BEING HOUSE POOR VERSUS RENTING SMART, AND RENTING SMART IS, I COMPLETELY AGREE, IS CRITICAL BUT THERE ARE LOTS OF ISSUES THAT PEOPLE COME TO ME WITH THEIR FEARS ABOUT RENTING FOR THE LONG TERM THAT WE CAN TALK ABOUT LATER WITH POLICY THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP ON THAT.

Steve says SURE. BUT LET ME... I WANT TO BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT HOUSE POOR MEANS SO LET ME DO A QUICK FOLLOW-UP WITH YOU ON THAT.

Shannon says YEAH.

Steve says I KNOW ONCE UPON A TIME YOU AIMED TO SPEND ABOUT A THIRD OF YOUR INCOME ON YOUR MORTGAGE. THAT WAS SORT OF THE BENCHMARK YOU WANTED TO HIT.

Shannon says RIGHT.

Steve says SO TODAY, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE HOUSE POOR, WHAT'S THE SORT OF REASONABLE MAXIMUM YOU OUGHT TO BE AIMING TO SPEND ON A MORTGAGE AS A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR INCOME?

The caption changes to "Shannon Lee Simmons, @shanleesimmons."
Then, it changes again to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Shannon says SO I THINK THAT THAT STILL HOLDS AS A LIKE, ROUGH, YOU KNOW, IF IT'S COMING IN AROUND 30, 35 percent OF YOUR TAKE-HOME PAY, IT'S LIKELY THAT YOU CAN PROBABLY FLOAT THE REST OF IT. BUT THERE'S SO MUCH MORE THAT GOES INTO THAT. SO I FIND THAT THAT'S JUST LIKE A JUMPING-OFF POINT. SO WHEN I'M WRITING DOWN THOSE NUMBERS WITH CLIENTS, I'M LOOKING AT ALL OF YOUR FIXED EXPENSES. NOT JUST THE HOUSING, THE INSURANCE, THE PROPERTY TAX, THE UTILITIES. WHAT ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE? WHAT ABOUT DISABILITY INSURANCE OR HEALTH INSURANCE THAT YOU'RE PAYING? YOU MIGHT HAVE CAR PAYMENTS. WHAT ABOUT IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE FUTURE CHILDREN AND THEY'RE GOING TO BE IN DAY CARE AND THERE'S A THOUSAND BUCKS A MONTH TO $2,000 A MONTH GOING OUT? SO THERE'S LOTS OF OTHER FIXED EXPENSES IN OUR LIFE THAT DOESN'T GET PUT INTO THE TOTAL DEBT SERVICE RATIO CALCULATION THAT, YOU KNOW, A LENDER IS GOING TO USE TO GIVE YOU A MORTGAGE. SO WHEN I'M LOOKING AT SOMEONE TO SAY, ARE YOU HOUSE POOR, (a) I'M LOOKING AT WHAT ARE THOSE FIXED COSTS OF YOUR LIFE THAT MAKE YOU FEEL SAFE AND SECURE AND HAPPY? SO WHETHER OR NOT THAT'S EVEN A GYM MEMBERSHIP, THAT MATTERS. IF YOU CAN'T DO THAT AND THAT WAS A HUGE HIT TO YOUR LIFESTYLE, YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL THAT IF YOU CAN'T DO IT. YOU MIGHT DO IT ANYWAYS AND THEN WE'RE LOOKING AT CREDIT CARD DEBT. SO LOOKING AT THOSE FIXED EXPENSES. THEN ALSO MAKING SURE THAT THERE'S ENOUGH DISPOSABLE INCOME THAT YOU CAN FEEL LIKE YOU CAN LIVE A NORMAL LIFE FOR YOURSELF. SO FOR SOME PEOPLE THAT'S MUCH MORE THAN OTHERS.

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Shannon continues BUT A MORTGAGE OF 25 TO 30 YEARS, YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO BE ON YOUR BEST FINANCIAL BEHAVIOUR FOR DECADES. BECAUSE EVENTUALLY WHAT I'VE SEEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN IS THAT OVERSTRETCHED, THE ASSUMPTION YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE MORE MONEY LATER ON, BUT THE AMOUNT OF INCOME THAT'S COMING IN DOESN'T GO UP BY ENOUGH TO KIND OF COMBAT THE COST OF LIVING AND LIFESTYLE INFLATION THAT CAN HAPPEN, AND THEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE GOING INTO CREDIT CARD DEBT. SO LONG AND SHORT OF IT IS, HOUSE POOR MEANS THERE'S NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO PUT ASIDE MONEY FOR RETIREMENT IN ADDITION TO PAYING YOUR MORTGAGE AND THAT YOU'RE SO TIGHT EVERY MONTH THAT YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE CONSTANTLY IN A STATE OF CREDIT CARD DEBT, IT GOES UP BY 3,000, YOU HAMMER IT DOWN, IT GOES UP BY A THOUSAND AND YOU HAMMER IT DOWN. YOU CAN NEVER GET AHEAD IN THAT EMERGENCY ACCOUNT. THAT'S HOUSE POOR.

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve and a guest appear on split screens.

A caption on screen reads "Are patents key to ending the pandemic?"

Steve says DOES THIS SUGGEST THAT IF IT GOES FORWARD, SUPPLY IS GOING TO BOOM OVERNIGHT AND THAT THESE COUNTRIES THAT [transmission difficulties] ALMOST IMMEDIATELY GET IT?

The caption changes to "Rohinton Medhora. Centre for International Governance Innovation."

Rohinton is in his late fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing a black suit and a blue shirt.

He says NOT AT ALL. ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS THAT PROBABLY WENT WRONG EARLY ON IS THE SENSE THAT THIS WAS A SILVER BULLET AND THAT IF ONLY IP WERE FREED UP, SUPPLY WOULD FOLLOW. WE KNOW FOR A FACT THAT VACCINE PRODUCTION IS A HIGHLY COMPLEX PROCESS. THERE ARE ABOUT 280 STEPS IN CREATING THE mRNA VACCINE AND THEN THERE'S THE QUESTION OF TRANSPORTATION, STORAGE, AND LOGISTICS. SO LET'S BE CLEAR THAT THIS IS A DAUNTING TASK. BUT A NECESSARY FIRST STEP IS TO HAVE THE IP AVAILABLE. WE KNOW THAT SOME COUNTRIES MIGHT NOT BE VACCINATED UNTIL '23-'24 SO WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE GLOBAL HERD IMMUNITY FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW. THAT WAS THE SAME FOR ERADICATION OF SMALLPOX, IT TOOK TWO DECADES. IF WE'RE IN IT FOR A LONG TIME, THE FACT THAT A TRIPS WAIVER WOULDN'T IMMEDIATELY UNLOCK SUPPLY I DON'T THINK IS THAT CONCERNING. SO LONG AS WE HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLY IN THE NEXT TWO OR THREE YEARS AND THERE IS CAPACITY IN MANY ADVANCED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, THEN I THINK WE'D STILL BE IN A GOOD SPACE.

Steve says ALL RIGHT, JASON, IF THE TRIPS WAIVER IS NOT GOING TO INCREASE VACCINE AVAILABILITY IN THE IMMEDIATE RUN, TO THOSE COUNTRIES THAT NEED IT MOST URGENTLY, WHAT'S THE POINT?

The caption changes to "Jason Nickerson. Doctors Without Borders."
Then, it changes again to "The Week in Review. @theagenda. Tvo.org."

Jason is in his early thirties, with tousled curly brown hair and a stubble. He's wearing glasses, a blue blazer and a spotted blue shirt.

He says WELL, I THINK WE NEED TO COME BACK TO A FEW THINGS. THE FIRST IS THAT THE TRIPS WAIVER IS NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE RESTRICTED TO COVID-19 VACCINE. SO I AGREE. THERE ARE NO MAGIC BULLET SOLUTIONS HERE FOR COVID VACCINES OR REALLY FOR ANY HEALTH TECHNOLOGY, AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT WE NEED TO BE CLEAR THAT THAT'S NOT WHAT ANYBODY IS SUGGESTING. YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF STEPS RANGING FROM REMOVING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY BARRIERS THROUGH TO TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, SCALING UP OF MANUFACTURING SUPPLIES AND FILL AND FINISH CAPACITY AND SO ON THAT GOES INTO INCREASING THE AVAILABLE SUPPLY OF COVID VACCINES AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS NEED TO BE HAPPENING. WE CAN'T LOOK AT ANY ONE OF THESE AS BEING, YOU KNOW, A MAGIC BULLET SOLUTION THAT IS GOING TO SOLVE THIS SUPPLY-DEMAND IMBALANCE IN ISOLATION. WE NEED A FULL SUITE OF INTERVENTIONS TO EFFECTIVELY INCREASE MANUFACTURING CAPACITY AROUND THE WORLD. AND I THINK THERE'S A FEW THINGS THAT FLOW FROM THAT. ONE IS THAT THIS IS NOT A CONVERSATION FOR COVID VACCINES THAT SHOULD BE RESTRICTED TO JUST, HOW DO WE INCREASE MANUFACTURING CAPACITY. THAT CAPACITY IS INCREASING. BUT WHAT HASN'T CHANGED IS WHERE VACCINES ARE BEING PRODUCED. SO WE ALSO NEED A DIVERSIFICATION OF VACCINE MANUFACTURING CAPACITY INTO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD TO TRY AND ADDRESS SOME OF THESE ACCESS CONSTRAINTS.

Steve says BECAUSE YOU'RE AN ECONOMIST, ROHINTON, I WANT TO COME BACK AT YOU WITH THIS ONE. FOR THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE WAIVER, AND THERE ARE HONOURABLE PEOPLE WHO DO OPPOSE THE WAIVER BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO ECONOMIES IN THE COUNTRIES WHERE THESE DRUGS ORIGINATE, THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON COMPANIES, THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON ABILITY TO INNOVATE... ALL OF THAT KIND OF STUFF. ARE THOSE REASONABLE CONCERNS, IN YOUR VIEW?

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Rohinton says THEY ARE REASONABLE CONCERNS, BUT THERE ARE ALSO REASONABLE RESPONSES. TO BEGIN, VACCINE DEVELOPMENT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOES ON ITS OWN, TAKING ON ALL THE HUGE RISKS AND THEREFORE DESERVEDLY RECEIVING ALL THE HUGE PROFITS. A LOT OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND SUBSIDIZATION OF VACCINE HAS COME FROM GOVERNMENTS, ESPECIALLY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, AND PHILANTHROPY, NOTABLY THE GATES FOUNDATION. SO THE COST-BENEFIT CALCULUS IS QUITE DIFFERENT IN LIGHT OF THOSE INVESTMENTS THAT ARE PUBLIC. SECOND, THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RELEASED A STUDY A FEW MONTHS AGO, EARLIER THIS YEAR, ACTUALLY, THAT FOUND THAT THE TOTAL COST TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY OF NOT FIGHTING THE VIRUS EVERYWHERE WILL BE ABOUT 9.2 TRILLION dollars. AND THIS IS GOING TO BE FELT AROUND THE WORLD, JUST AS WE IN CANADA CONTINUE TO BE IN VARIOUS VERSIONS OF LOCKDOWN BECAUSE OF VARIANTS COMING IN AND INADEQUATE VACCINATION. SO, YES, THERE MIGHT BE SOME LOSERS, BUT I THINK THAT'S OVERSTATING IT.

Now music plays as an animated slate reads "The week in review."

A caption on screen reads "Would taming big tech curtail democracy?"

Steve says LET'S SHARE SOME PUBLIC OPINION THAT WE HAVE ON THIS ISSUE AND FIND OUT WHERE CANADIANS ARE ROUGHLY ON IT. THE FRIENDS OF CANADIAN BROADCASTING, WHICH IS OF COURSE DANIEL'S OUTFIT, THEY HAD NANOS RESEARCH DO SOME POLLING ON THIS TO FIND OUT CANADIANS' ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE SO-CALLED BEHEMOTHS, AS MINISTER GUILBEAULT REFERRED TO THEM AS.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Make them pay."

Steve reads data from the slate and says 83 percent OF CANADIANS SUPPORT HOLDING COMPANIES LIKE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER LIABLE FOR ILLEGAL USER-GENERATED CONTENT. WE AT THE AGENDA ASKED A DIFFERENTLY WORDED QUESTION ABOUT ONLINE SPEECH AND GOT THIS ANSWER...

The slate changes to one titled "Free speech? Not so much."

Steve reads data from the slate and says 76 percent OF CANADIANS STRONGLY OR SOMEWHAT AGREE THAT THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO REGULATE HATE SPEECH ON SOCIAL MEDIA. OKAY. I THINK, DANIEL, WE CAN INFER FROM THAT THAT CANADIANS ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE MOST LIBERTARIAN GROUP IN THE WORLD. BEYOND THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU READ INTO THOSE NUMBERS?

The caption changes to "Daniel Bernhard. Friends of Public Broadcasting. @sendinthewolf."

Daniel is in his late thirties, bald and clean-shaven. He's wearing a black blazer and a blue shirt.

He says I WOULD READ A COUPLE THINGS INTO THOSE NUMBERS. THE FIRST IS THAT THE KIND OF COTTAGE INDUSTRY OF OVERNIGHT BROADCASTING EXPERTS THAT HAS EXPLODED ON TWITTER AND IN THE COLUMNS OF NEWSPAPERS IN RESPONSE TO BILL C-10, I THINK REPRESENT ACTUALLY A VERY SMALL, ALMOST FRINGE VIEW, RELATIVE TO THE CANADIAN PUBLIC, WHICH ACTUALLY TAKES A MUCH MORE REASONABLE, MEASURED APPROACH, AND RECOGNIZES THAT SOMETHING LIKE THE CHRISTCHURCH MASSACRE WHERE, YOU KNOW, A GUY IN NEW ZEALAND WENT INTO A MOSQUE AND FILMED HIMSELF MURDERING 51 PEOPLE AND THAT WAS LIVE-STREAMED IN CANADA ON FACEBOOK, THAT HAS NO PLACE ON TV AND THAT HAS NO PLACE IN OUR LIVES ON THE INTERNET, AND I DON'T THINK ANYONE BELIEVES THAT PUNISHING A COMPANY LIKE FACEBOOK FOR BROADCASTING SOMETHING LIKE THAT IS AN INFRINGEMENT OF FREE EXPRESSION. BUT I WANT TO COME BACK TO ONE POINT THAT CAROLINE MADE WHICH I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT ABOUT HER ASSERTION THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS IS AN EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT'S CONTROL ON SPEECH. AND I THINK THAT, AGAIN, COMING BACK TO THE KIND OF OVERNIGHT GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE TAKEN AN INTEREST IN THIS AND FOLLOWING ON THAT... ANXIETY OR UNCERTAINTY AROUND THIS IS VERY UNDERSTANDABLE, BILL C-10 ACTUALLY RESTRICTS THE CRTC'S POWERS OVER INDIVIDUALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. THE CURRENT BROADCASTING ACT IS COMPLETELY INDISCRIMINATE. IT DOESN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN USER-GENERATED AND PROFESSIONAL CONTENT. IT DOESN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TELEVISION OR INTERNET. AND SO THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN US AND THE CRTC REGULATING ALL DIGITAL MEDIA RIGHT NOW IS THE CRTC ITSELF, AND BILL C-10, FOR ALL OF ITS PROBLEMS AND IT HAS MANY PROBLEMS ACTUALLY INTRODUCES PROTECTIONS SAYING INDIVIDUALS WHO UPLOAD CONTENT TO SOCIAL MEDIA WILL NOT BE REGULATED BY BROADCASTERS AND THAT PART OF THE BILL WAS UPHELD, IT STAYS. ACTUALLY, THIS IS A RESTRICTION OF THE CRTC'S AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNING THESE SERVICES AND ACTUALLY INTRODUCES PROTECTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT DON'T EXIST TODAY AND WILL NOT EXIST IF BILL C-10 IS DEFEATED AS MANY PEOPLE ARE CALLING FOR IT TO BE.

The caption changes to "The Democracy Agenda. A TVO and Toronto Star partnership."

Steve says CAROLINE, DO YOU WANT TO COME BACK ON THAT?

The caption changes to "Caroline Elliott. Simon Fraser University. @NVanCaroline."

Caroline is in her thirties, with straight brown hair pulled back. She's wearing a black blazer.

She says YEAH, I MEAN, THE LIBERALS HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT THIS IS ABOUT APPLYING CANADIAN CONTENT RULES TO STREAMING SERVICES AND SOCIAL NETWORKING PLATFORMS. THE PROBLEM IS MOST SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT IS GENERATED BY INDIVIDUALS, AND WHILE BILL C-10 USED TO INCLUDE A CLAUSE THAT USER GENERATED CONTENT SO THAT'S THE SUBJECT OF MY CONCERN. AND FURTHERMORE WHEN OPPOSITION PARTIES PRESSURED THE GOVERNMENT TO PUT THIS BILL BEFORE, YOU KNOW, AGAINST THE CHARTER, TO ENSURE THAT IT WAS COMPLIANT WITH THE CHARTER, THAT MOTION WAS REALLY... IT WAS DENIED AND ULTIMATELY UNDER SERIOUS PRESSURE DID THEY FINALLY GO AHEAD AND DO SO. SO MY QUESTION IS, IF THIS IS ABOUT REGULATING CANADIAN CONTENT, WHY GO THERE? WHY CAPTURE USER-GENERATED CONTENT IN THE LEGISLATION AND WHY NOT ENSURE THAT IT IS COMPLIANT WITH THE CHARTER? THAT SHOULD BE ONE OF GOVERNMENT'S FIRST PRIORITIES. THEY SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT ENSURING THAT RIGHT IS PROTECTED.

Daniel says THERE IS NO ARGUMENT ABOUT WHETHER THE CHARTER SHOULD BE APPLIED AND, YOU KNOW, SENDING THE BILL BACK TO THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FOR A CHARTER REVIEW IS COMPLETELY FINE. BUT THERE ARE A COUPLE OF MISTAKES, I THINK, IN ERRORS IN WHAT YOU JUST SAID. FIRST OF ALL, THE LIBERALS DON'T CONTROL THE HERITAGE COMMITTEE. IT'S A MINORITY PARLIAMENT. THE OPPOSITION CONTROLS THE HERITAGE COMMITTEE. SECOND, I WOULD ADD THAT PROTECTION FOR INDIVIDUALS UPLOADING CONTENT STAYS. WHAT WAS REMOVED WAS A PROVISION THAT SAID ANY COMPANY WHOSE CONTENT IS USER-GENERATED CANNOT BE REGULATED. SO IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO SEPARATE. WE CAN PROTECT INDIVIDUALS FROM REGULATION WITHOUT PROTECTING MARK ZUCKERBERG FROM REGULATION, AND THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION.

The caption changes to "For more on this story visit: tvo.org/theagenda."

Daniel continues AND YOU'RE RIGHT WHEN YOU SAID THAT THE BILL WAS SLOPPY AT THE INTRODUCTION BECAUSE THIS PROVISION SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN THERE. WE SHOULD HAVE PROTECTED INDIVIDUALS WHILE STILL ALLOWING THE BROADCASTING ACT TO APPLY TO CANADA'S LARGEST BROADCASTING COMPANIES. THAT DISTINCTION IS VERY IMPORTANT, AND PEOPLE ARE FORGETTING THERE IS A PROTECTION FOR INDIVIDUALS. AND BY THE WAY, THE OPPOSITION... NOT THE GOVERNMENT... CONTROLS THE COMMITTEE RIGHT NOW.

The clips end and Nam reappears on screen.

She says THAT'S JUST SOME OF WHAT WE COVERED THIS WEEK ON THE AGENDA. FOR MORE, INCLUDING THE FULL CONVERSATIONS, YOU CAN VISIT OUR WEBSITE, tvo.org, OUR YouTube CHANNEL AT youtube.com/theagenda OR OUR TWITTER FEED: twitter.com/TheAgenda.

Watch: The High Cost of Lumber and Other Agenda Stories