The Liberal government has rejected amendments to Bill C-11 “Online Streaming Act” also commonly know as the Trudeau government’s censorship law. Amendments made by the Senate would add protection to social media content posted by Canadians preventing them from falling under government regulations.
University of Ottawa Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law Michael Geist who has been highly critical of the proposed law said the governments refusal to scope out user content revealed “the government’s true Bill C-11 intent” and the the power to regulate what Canadians post online.
“In doing so, he has left no doubt about the government’s true intent with Bill C-11: retain power and flexibility to regulate user content.” wrote Geist in a blog post about Heritage Minister Pabloe Rodriguez.
Senators Julie Miville-Dechene and Paula Simons proposed amendments that would in a greater degree exclude user content on social media from the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission’s regulatory oversight.
Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez admitted the government wants to apply regulations to user content by disagreeing with the amendment “because this would affect the Governor in Council’s ability to publicly consult on, and issue, a policy direction to the CRTC to appropriately scope the regulation of social media services.”
“Rather than citing misleading lobbying claims opposed to the change, it calls it like it is: the government wants the power to direct the CRTC on user content today and the power to exert further regulation tomorrow,” explained Geist.
According to Geist if passed in the House of Commons, the law would make “Canada the only country in the democratic world to engage in this form of user content regulation,”
“On its way to rejecting the concerns of thousands of Canadian creators and dismissing the fears of authors such as Margaret Atwood and Senator David Adams Richards, its real mantra is platforms are in and user content regulation is in.”
Canadian authors Atwood and Richards warned against the proposed law in February, even likening it to the thought-control that renowned author George Orwell had warned against.
“That what George Orwell says we must resist is a prison of self-censorship,” said Richards. “This bill goes a long way to construct such a prison.”
Former CRTC commissioner Denton warned the Senate in September 2022 that Bill C-11 is a ‘power grab over human communications’
“It’s a kind of reverse takeover of the internet. The tiny Canadian broadcasting system can take on the world of the internet by the mere trick of redefining ‘broadcasting.’ C-11 is that bold and that absurd.” said Denton.