Guilbeault says internet censorship law looming

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Senator Wallin wary of bill to regulate online content
Author of the article:postmedia News
Publishing date:May 07, 2021 • 19 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
Senator Pamela Wallin attends a luncheon at the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa, Feb. 21, 2013.
Senator Pamela Wallin attends a luncheon at the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa, Feb. 21, 2013. PHOTO BY ANDRE FORGET /Postmedia Network/Files
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Senator Pamela Wallin is encouraging the federal government to seek public opinion across the country on the first of two bills to regulate internet content.

The former broadcaster warned proposed federal controls could censor online content on sites like YouTube.


“The internet is not only the most powerful space for conducting commerce and for sharing news and information, but it is also the most powerful form of personal communication,” Wallin told the Senate, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

“Most governments have taken a hands-off approach to regulating or censoring these exchanges. Speech, dissent, disagreement, criticism, debate are all the basic tenets of a democracy.”

Bill C-10 An Act To Amend The Broadcasting Act would establish YouTube videos as broadcast programs and uploaded content would have to be managed to comply with federal regulations.

Senator Wallin had reservations about the CRTC’s role in monitoring content on the online video platform owned by Google.

“Even musing about any such censorship is anti-democratic,” said Wallin.

“Use your own judgment. If you don’t like what someone has to say, change the channel. Cancel your subscription. You can hit mute if you don’t like my message.”
 
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spaminator

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GOLDSTEIN: Internet censorship only part of Trudeau's vision
Author of the article:Lorrie Goldstein
Publishing date:May 08, 2021 • 3 hours ago • 3 minute read • 57 Comments
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The Trudeau government’s obsession with regulating, censoring and ultimately controlling what Canadians can see on social media is part of a much larger agenda of instructing Canadians on what and how to think.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed this concern as “tinfoil hat” thinking last week when challenged, the great American conservative philosopher Thomas Sowell prophetically described what’s behind Trudeau’s thinking in his 1995 book, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.


In it, Sowell deconstructs the world view behind modern liberalism, to which Trudeau adheres, which he identifies as the vision of the anointed.

(This as opposed to classical liberalism which, ironically, believes in civil liberties and economic freedom.)

In so doing, Sowell eerily anticipates, more than a quarter-century ago, the political vision of Trudeau, his senior aides, cabinet ministers, MPs and government, whether the issue is internet censorship, climate change, gun control, immigration, race relations or equality of outcome versus equality of opportunity.


As Sowell writes:

“What a vision may offer, and what the prevailing vision of our time emphatically does offer, is a special state of grace for those who believe in it. Those who accept this vision are deemed to be not merely factually correct but morally on a higher plane.

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“One reason for the preservation and insulation of a vision is that it has become inextricably intertwined with the egos of those who believe it … the vision of the anointed is not simply a vision of the world and its functioning in a causal sense, but is also a vision of themselves and of their moral role in that world. It is a vision of differential rectitude … Problems exist because others are not as wise or as virtuous as the anointed.”

By contrast, Sowell observes, the anointed constantly demonize those who do not share their vision as, “not merely in error, but in sin … selfish, a sell-out, insensitive, possibly evil.

“For those who have this vision of the world, the anointed and the benighted do not argue on the same moral plane or play by the same cold rules of logic and evidence.

“The benighted are to be made ‘aware,’ to have their ‘consciousness raised,’ and the wistful hope is held out that they will ‘grow.’ Should the benighted prove recalcitrant, however, then their ‘mean-spiritedness’ must be fought and the ‘real reasons’ behind their arguments and actions exposed.”


For the anointed, these are not merely debating tactics, Sowell writes, nor are they being insincere, but only because, “People are never more sincere than when they assume their own moral superiority.”

Apply Sowell’s reasoning about the vision of the anointed to Trudeau and his government and it is easy to understand how a prime minister who, as a 29-year-old adult and a teacher, says he didn’t understand that Blackface was racist, now presumes to lecture Canadians about their racism.

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Or how successive environment ministers in a Liberal government that has never met a single greenhouse gas reduction it has ever set — similar to previous Liberal governments going back almost three decades — now presume to label Canadians who oppose Trudeau’s carbon tax as climate deniers.

Or how a self-described “feminist” prime minister now presumes to lecture Canadians about sexism, when his government ignored longstanding, publicly-identified problems of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault in the Canadian military, which it knew about from the day it was elected in 2015.

lgoldstein@postmedia.com
 

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LILLEY: Trudeau's minister can't defend his own bill
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:May 10, 2021 • 18 hours ago • 2 minute read • 94 Comments
Canada's Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault attends a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 3, 2020. BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS FILE
Canada's Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault attends a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 3, 2020. BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS FILE
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Let’s call it a pause but let’s not call it a win when it comes to Bill C-10, the Trudeau government’s internet censorship bill. Late on Monday, the Trudeau Liberals agreed to allow a review that will see both the heritage minister and the justice minister appear before the committee studying Bill C-10.

MPs will get to quiz Justice Minister David Lametti and Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault on the reasons behind the bill but likely, little will change. Under the bill, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CTRC as it is known, will become the de facto regulator of the internet in Canada.


Right now, the CRTC regulates radio and television stations because they use public airwaves to distribute their own programming and make a profit. The same cannot be said for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who make a living — modest or not — from posting content online.

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Over the weekend Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault made confusing and irrational comments on the issue of Canadians posting on social media. During an appearance on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, Guilbeault said that the law, if C-10 is passed, would apply to those who have large audences.

“What we want to do, this law should apply to people who are broadcasters or act like broadcasters. So if you have a YouTube channel with millions of viewers, and you’re deriving revenues from that, then at some point the CRTC will be asked to put a threshold. But we’re talking about broadcasters here, we’re not talking about everyday citizens posting stuff on their YouTube channel,” Guilbeault said.

Basically, this new law could apply equally to those who are making gardening or exercise videos as compared to those who are full-scale broadcasters. It’s a very confusing and frustrating piece of legislation for everyone involved.

Conservative MP Rachael Harder raised the issue in the House of Commons on Monday.

“There are so many incredible entrepreneurs and artists and creators who have found a way to connect with other individuals and generate a bit of income from it. Why is the minister launching an attack on them?” Harder asked.


Minister Guilbeault said that the purpose of Bill C-10 was to make sure that Canadian artists were fairly compensated.

“It does so by making sure big streaming companies pay their fair share to our culture and ensure Canadian artists are discoverable on these platforms. Our creators cannot afford to wait any longer,” Guilbeault said.

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If that’s the purpose of C-10, if that’s the reason that the government thinks they must completely restructure the way that Canadians access the internet on a daily basis then they should say so.

I don’t think that most Canadians want to have the government curate their music playlists or the videos they view on social media. Yet the way that C-10 is written, both scenarios are equably plausible.

In no free society should government bureaucrats decide what should or should not be published and yet that is where we are today. The Trudeau Liberals think that they should be the ones to decide what should be allowed, what should be banned from the internet.

Let’s hope that saner minds prevail.
 

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LILLEY: Bloc will back Trudeau's internet control bill
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:May 17, 2021 • 3 hours ago • 3 minute read • 151 Comments
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 5, 2021.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 5, 2021. PHOTO BY BLAIR GABLE /REUTERS
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Barring an election or some last-ditch attempt to block it, the controversial Bill C-10 is destined to become law. The bill to regulate the internet using the CRTC now has the backing of the governing Liberals as well as the Bloc Quebecois and NDP.

This means that government regulation of all aspects of the internet, including your social media feeds, is one step closer to reality.


While the NDP has expressed support for passing the bill while also offering up criticisms of some aspects and the government’s handling of it, the Bloc is now all in.

On Sunday night during the popular Quebec TV show Tout le monde en parle, Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said, “This law must pass.”

The bill was introduced in the House of Commons last November and created little controversy at the time, likely because not many people read the text. Titled “An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act,” few realized the far-reaching implications of the bill.

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Once the Liberals on the Heritage committee removed a protection for user-generated social media content, though, things changed. The government was rightly accused of tampering with our freedom of speech in the online world.

After weeks of bad headlines, the Liberals backed down, somewhat, and said they would propose changes to protect users of social media from government regulation. But experts in the field say the protection is still not there.

It’s good enough for the Bloc Quebecois, though. Blanchet said during the show Sunday that the ongoing claims by the Conservatives that freedom of expression is under threat are “delusional.”

If only that were the case.


Bill C-10, and other changes the Liberals have said they want to bring in, will allow for full government control of the internet. In the past, I’ve compared this to the early online services like AOL — they didn’t take you to the world wide web, they took you to their approved content. That’s where the Trudeau Liberals want to take the Canadian internet experience.

Conservative MP Rachael Harder asked Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault last Friday about allowing your social media feeds to be regulated and he didn’t deny it.

“Will the CRTC be given the responsibility under C-10, the power to regulate the algorithms used by social media platforms to decide what type of content people can and cannot see on their Facebook feeds or the information they see on Google or YouTube?” Harder asked.

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“The concept of discoverability is about …” Guilbeault started to answer before Harder cut him off asking for a yes or no answer.

Guilbeault complained to the committee chair that he wasn’t being allowed to answer the question but when offered another attempt, he skipped over the issue again. When Harder said she took his answer as a yes, that the CRTC will have this power, Guilbeault said it was not a yes but he wouldn’t say it was a no.

That’s because the answer is yes, it’s right in the text.

Just like the CRTC regulates which songs are played on the radio, they will soon be telling Spotify to push Nickelback and Celine Dion on you as you try to listen to your playlist.


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This bill is about many things, using the heavy hand of the CRTC is one of them but it is also about trying to shovel money to the existing cultural gatekeepers, the ones left out by the internet revolution. There is more Canadian content, including quality content, created and uploaded to online platforms than the cultural gatekeepers will ever produce in a year.

The Liberals, NDP and Bloc are willing to strangle your freedom online, to diminish your internet experience, to make sure that money is taken from successful online platforms and creators and given to the unsuccessful gatekeepers. These parties value the votes and vocal support of the rent-seeking creative class more than they value your freedom to create, engage, consume and enjoy.

If the government wants to support Canada’s cultural sector, then they should find a different way. The cost of Bill C-10 is simply too high for whatever noble goals they think they will achieve.

blilley@postmedia.com
 

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LILLEY: Trudeau Liberals still want to regulate the internet in a way that should concern you
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Feb 03, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. PHOTO BY FILES /THE CANADIAN PRESS
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The Trudeau government’s latest promise not to censor your grandma’s cat videos doesn’t mean they aren’t trying once again to regulate the internet in a very bad way. The new Bill C-11 is entirely aimed at bringing the same kinds of regulations we have on Canadian TV and radio to the online world.

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That means giving the CRTC the power to regulate podcasts you can access and listen to, which online streaming platforms are available and what you can view or listen to. Even the audio books at your disposal are all up for grabs.

It’s all there in the text of the new legislation which looks remarkably like the old legislation known as Bill C-10. While the numbers have changed, the purpose of the bill has not.

The bill states that the purpose is to “add online undertakings — undertakings for the transmission or retransmission of programs over the Internet — as a distinct class of broadcasting undertakings.” The reason for that is so that the CRTC can determine, “the proportion of programs to be broadcast that shall be Canadian programs.”

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Let’s unpack that bureaucratic language and bring it down to our day-to-day online lives.

If this bill passes, your Netflix, Prime, Apple Music or Stitcher accounts will be required to ensure the “discoverability” of Canadian content. That idea isn’t bad on the face of it but the devil will be in the details.

Radio stations are required to play 30% Canadian content, will the music streaming service you shell out $9.99 a month for now start inserting a Canadian song for every two non-Canadian songs you listen to? The legislation does give the CRTC that power without any need to seek Parliament’s approval.

Same goes for your TV subscriptions which may include buying the online package from Major League Baseball. With just one Canadian team in the major leagues, how will MLB.TV meet any discoverability or Canadian content requirements? What about Britbox the specialty service for people who like shows from across the pond?

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With the legislation also requiring all of these streaming services operating in Canada to also pay into our national production system, some may just pull up stakes. Some, like Netflix, already invest heavily in productions in Canada but what possible benefit could Britbox, MLB.TV or Hayu gain from following these rules.

It will be easier for them to block access from anyone located in Canada.

The requirement for streamers to pay into the creation of Canadian content could see some services leave Canada but it’s also causing tension in the film and TV industry. While unions representing actors and directors welcomed the bill, IATSE, the union representing film production crews is warning that chasing away streaming services could cost jobs.

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In a statement reacting to the new bill, John Lewis, the union’s VP & Director of Canadian Affairs, said that studios and streaming companies already contribute $5.3 billion annually to productions in Canada, more than double domestic productions he said.

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“Should global studios and streamers contribute to the domestic film industry? Absolutely. The jobs that they bring to Canada should be considered in that equation – but even leaving that aside – they already contribute more financing for domestic production than either Telefilm or the Canada Media Fund,” Lewis said.

The Trudeau government is risking a lot with this bill. If passed, Canadians could see fewer services offered, more government regulation of what we can watch or listen to online and a loss of jobs. This bill is being pushed by certain parts of the cultural sector for their benefit — more grants, more jobs for their members — but the losers will be each of us who enjoy the online world as we know it.

Bill C-10 was problematic. Its replacement, C-11, is no better and should be scrapped no matter how often the government assures us those cat videos are safe.
 

Ron in Regina

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Well, might as well dust this off as it’s being pushed hard at this point:
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The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage conducted the one day of debate on Bill C-11 yesterday that Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and the Liberal government – aided and abetted by the NDP – required under a House of Commons motion.

The result was an embarrassment to the government that leaves a stain that will not be easy to remove. Despite the absence of any actual deadline, the government insisted that just three two hour sessions be allocated to full clause-by-clause review of the bill featuring debate and discussion (MPs on the committee were all open to extending each session by 30 minutes for a total of 7 1/2 hours).

With roughly 170 amendments proposed by five parties, there was only time for a fraction of the amendments to be reviewed. Instead, once the government-imposed deadline arrived at 9:00 pm, the committee moved to voting on the remaining proposed amendments without any debate, discussion, questions for department officials, or public disclosure of what was being voted on.

The voting ran past midnight with the public left with little idea of what is in or out of the bill. The updated bill will be posted in the next day or so.

The Liberal government was elected on a platform that emphasized good governance, transparency, and consultation. This hearing was a firm rejection of those principles.

The meeting was chaired by Liberal MP Hedy Fry via video. No serious government would treat its legislation to the review presided over by Ms. Fry in a hybrid format. She was frequently confused, rarely knew who was speaking, often spoke while on mute, and required multiple suspensions to get advice from the committee clerk. Much of this is due to her chairing the committee via video, but that was the government’s choice and the result was entirely predictable to anyone who has watched Ms. Fry struggle through the hearings.

But the betrayal of democratic norms is ultimately about Rodriguez, the government, and the NDP support (in its non-coalition coalition with the Liberal Party of Canada in the spirit of openness and transparency) for the approach that was virtually guaranteed to result in cutting off debate and appropriate review.

While there might have been a case for requiring the committee to set a date for clause-by-clause review, there was no reason to impose draconian limits on that review. That decision was both indefensible and entirely unnecessary given that there is no deadline for passing Bill C-11 and nothing turns on the bill passing through the House of Commons before the summer recess.

Last night was a political decision designed to allow Rodriguez to claim victory in ushering the bill through the House of Commons. Even if the bill passes the House over the next week as is expected, it will require extensive review at the Senate in the fall, now made more urgent by a committee review that is sure to have resulted in mistakes given the lack of opportunity for discussion and which allocated less than 30 minutes discussion to an issue that has sparked widespread concern.

The so-called political victory comes at a high price for Rodriguez, who will forever be associated with the Bill C-11 legislative malpractice and democratic betrayal in the name of personal political ambitions.