Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault stumbled through an interview with CBC on Friday, April 30, as he tried to explain the elimination of an exclusion from Bill C-10. This legislation would expose Canadians to the most controlled internet in the free world.
— Pundit Class (@punditclass) April 30, 2021
Bill C-10, seen as a means to combat online hate, would “regulate the internet and social media in the same way that it regulates national broadcasting,” reported The Post Millennial.
The bill initially included an exclusion stating that user-generated content would be exempt from Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) control, but that exclusion mysteriously vanished.
Canadians can see more “indigenous storytelling” as well as content from “racialized community-owned media,” shortly, said Guilbeault, adding that “the government’s vision” must be followed while enforcing the internet censorship bill.
CBC’s David Common asked Guilbeault if it had been significant enough to put that exclusion there in the first place, then it had been gone, and why “was it important in the first place to put it there?”
“We came up with what we thought would be the best possible bill,” Guilbeault said, looking flustered. “But a bill can still be perfected; they can be revised, and [content regulation] is not the intent of the bill, so it’s not necessary to be there!”
“This idea that the CRTC would start looking–would start doing content moderation, has no basis in reality,” he continued. “In its 40 years of existence, it has never done that; it doesn’t have the power to do that, Bill C-10 doesn’t grant the CRTC the power to do that.”
Bill C-10 has sparked a lot of political discussion in Canada. The bill has been panned by both the opposition Conservatives and Canadians for attempting to “limit free speech on social media.”
Now that the exclusion has been lifted, resistance is sure to rise.
Former CRTC commissioner Peter Menzies, in a statement provided to the National Post, said that Bill C-10 “doesn’t just infringe on free expression, it constitutes a full-blown assault upon it and, through it, the foundations of democracy.”
Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law, has been a fierce critic of Bill C-10, calling it “dangerous” and “inexcusable.”
In a February blog post, Geist observed that, apart from its free speech violations, C-10 may have far-reaching consequences that go beyond what its drafters expected.
Conservative Heritage Committee members tried to evaluate Bill C-10 in its new modified form to see whether it infringes on Canadians’ charter rights. Still, liberal Heritage Committee members voted to end the discussion on the Conservative motion, according to The Post Millennial.