from fix-the-tongue department
Canada’s Bill C-11, which will give the country’s broadcast regulator new powers to make rules for all kinds of online video and audio content, has been rushed through an undemocratic simulation of a “review” then adopted in the House of Commons by the government in power. liberal government. Now it is in the Senate that the last hope of preventing it rests with senators sticking to their assertion that they will not be pressured by a government that clearly intends to make law without addressing the myriad of serious concerns about what it would do. Meanwhile, the heritage minister’s office (the engine behind C-11) seems determined to continue the pattern it has set since the bill was first introduced as C-10 in 2020: ignoring or rejecting all criticism, and insisting that the actual text of the bill has no importance.
Instead, the government wants everyone to focus on its “political intentions” – the things it says it hopes the Bill will achieve and its repeated promises it will do nothing else. No one is supposed to care that these “intentions” do not match what the bill actually contains, or that there are countless signals that these promises are false. After a small fight on Twitter with an official from the Heritage Office, Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa put together a damning list of these contradictions:
My reply to tweet thread notes that the disconnect between the government’s stated intent and the actual text of Bill C-11 is an ongoing problem:
- the government claims that the intention is not to regulate user content (contradicted by the CRTC Chairman),
- the government claims that the intention is not to include algorithmic manipulation (contradicted by the chairman of the CRTC)
- the government claims the intent is to help digital creators (contradicted by the creators themselves),
- government claims intent is to avoid content regulation (undermined by CRTC’s involvement in content regulation in Radio Canada case)
- government claims intent is not Cancon quotas (undermined by ability to post quotas)
- the government claims the intention is to exclude video games and other similar content (currently included in the bill and will require policy guidance which the government will not release to exclude)
- the government claims the intention is to leave regulation to an independent CRTC (yet it regularly seems to have predetermined what the outcome will be)
- the government claims the intent is to ensure that Bill C-11 complies with its trade obligations (the United States has now raised concerns about the bill and potential violations of CUSMA)
- the government claims the intention is to help the independent production sector (experts now fear the bill will undermine decades-old policy that supports the sector)
As Geist notes, all of these government promises could have been fulfilled. in the actual invoice with a few clarifying amendments, many of which were among more than 100 that were proposed — but instead the House of Commons rushed clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and voting on the amendments at absurd speed , imposing a completely unnecessary deadline that resulted in an almost total absence of debate and the deputies voted on certain amendments even before the text had been made public.
And so we are faced with a bill that could usher in sweeping changes to the Internet in Canada, affecting not only the big streaming platforms like Netflix which the government constantly insists are the real target, but just about every online media platform and creator that uses them. Who wants this bill? Certainly not Canadian content creators, and apparently nobody except the government which is so determined to shove it down the throat of the country.
But since the ruling Liberal party struck a deal that assures them of the near-unconditional support of the left-leaning NPD party in parliament, they seem determined to do whatever they want with the brazenly undemocratic C-11. So all hope rests with the Senate, which refused to rush the bill as C-10 last year and is known in Canada as the place of “sober second thought”, to block the bill or at least fix its most glaring problems. Advocacy group OpenMedia, which maintains an excellent FAQ on issues with the bill, is asking Canadians to let senators know how important it is.
Filed Under: c-11, canada, content, streaming