Governments of all stripes despise freedom of speech because governments of all stripes despise opposition. What better way to shut down opposition voices than by stripping them of their right to free speech?
The most egregious attack on our (supposedly) Charter-protected right to freedom of speech is Liberal government Bill C-10, gloriously misnamed: “An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.”
While sold as a way of ‘making big tech pay their fair share’, Bill C-10 defines ordinary Canadians as ‘broadcasters’ for the purposes of the proposed legislation.
Did you upload a video to YouTube or Facebook? Then you’re a ‘broadcaster’ according to Bill C-10 – despite Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s repeated claims this is not the case.
Minister Guilbeault’s actions speak far louder than his words on this point. He removed Section 4.1, the section that expressly protected individual users from being subject to this draconian legislation.[i]
When the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage put forward an amendment to restore Section 4.1 and the free speech protections it afforded ordinary Canadians, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois joined forces and voted it down.
Dr. Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, is Canada’s foremost expert on internet privacy and free speech online. His opposition to Bill C-10 was both swift and harsh:[ii]
“There is simply no debating that by removing Section 4.1, the bill now applies to user generated content since all audio-visual content is treated as a program under the Act. The attempts to deflect from that simple reality by pointing to Section 2.1 to argue that users are not regulated, is deceptive and does not speak to the issue of regulating the content of users.”
OpenMedia.org, a registered non-profit that works on behalf of Canadians to keep the Internet open, affordable and surveillance-free, unequivocally opposes Bill C-10:[iii]
“Our government just used a gag order to shut down further debate of Bill C-10. In a shocking move not seen since the 1990s, they’ve cut off review of the Bill, and are rushing it to a Parliament vote as soon as they can.
Make no mistake: Bill C-10 gives the CRTC huge power over every app and platform you use on the Internet. Under C-10, the CRTC will set rules to promote or bury every video, meme, and podcast we upload to the Internet, filling our feeds with their outdated 20th-century vision of what counts as ‘Canadian’ content — whether we want it there or not.”
“The changes to Bill C-10 — made at the behest of Liberal MPs on the heritage committee — would allow the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to regulate user-generated content uploaded to social media platforms, much as it regulates radio and TV content now.”
Google, owner of YouTube, says:[v]
“If Bill-C10 rules were to go into effect as currently written, people would be seeing suggestions not based on their personal preferences or even what is most relevant, but what the government decides is ‘Canadian.’”
Joanna Baron, Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, says:
“It’s important to note that this bill does not target just big tech, i.e. Facebook and Google, but podcast apps, workout apps, audio books, sports websites. As Minister Guibealt said, Bill C-10 affects ‘the entire Internet.’”
Two things are indisputable.
- A federal election is coming soon.
- The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois all want us silenced before that election is called.
Now why do you think that is?
The CSSA supports the Conservative Party of Canada because it is the only party favourable to gun owners that stands a chance of defeating Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to form government.
- Find your local Conservative EDA here: https://www.conservative.ca/team/edas/
- Reach out to your EDA’s board members and ask how you can help. Let them know your strengths and your weaknesses so they can find the right task for you.
By taking this action right now – today – the free speech rights you save will be your own.