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Bill C-10: Canada’s Internet Censorship Bill

Bill C-10: Canada’s Internet Censorship Bill

Yesterday, a judge ruled that James Coates’ rights and freedoms were not infringed on when the government of Alberta arrested and imprisoned him for over five weeks. The judge said:

“Religious freedom is subject to rule of law”

Around the same time as the judge’s ruling yesterday—at the House of Commons in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa—Justin Trudeau’s federal government passed a gag order to restrict legislative debate over Bill C-10: a law that suggests freedom of expression is subject to the rule of the government.

After all, if religious freedom is subject to the rule of law, then all our fundamental freedoms are also subject to the rule of law. If our provincial and federal governments believe they should violate our freedom of religion to supposedly “ensure the safety and security of Canadians” over COVID-19, then why wouldn’t they believe they should violate our freedom of expression to supposedly “ensure the safety and security of Canadians” from online harm?

Bill C-10 was introduced by the federal government’s minister of Canadian heritage, Steven Guilbeault, last November. The bill is supposedly an attempt by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party to amend or change Canada’s current Broadcasting Act—a bill from 1991 that regulates content by Canadian broadcasters.

The existing bill particularly forces television and radio stations in our nation to make “Canadian” content 50% of their daily broadcast. The federal government implemented this mandate as a reaction to Canada’s long established preference for American content.

This is partly because American television stations existed for nearly a decade before Canada produced its first television station. And since the vast majority of Canadians live near the border—by the time Canada produced its first television station, Canadians already had access and preference for American television and content. That hasn’t changed. Though it’s improving, Canadian television, movies, and music are usually an offspring of American content.

Nevertheless, the Broadcasting Act was partly designed to protect Canadian content. And according to Canada’s minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, Bill C-10 is merely intended to do the same. Guilbeault and the federal government claim Bill C-10 is solely intended to add online content to the existing bill.

They claim Bill C-10 is merely designed to establish a level playing field between streaming platforms—like Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Youtube—and traditional broadcasters. The Bill suggests it’s not fair for traditional media to comply with Canadian regulations when streaming platforms do not. If Bill C-10 passes, streaming platforms would receive a special tax, and they would be forced to produce, broadcast, and promote “Canadian” content to make, supposedly, Canadian content more discoverable for consumers.

Regulating streaming platforms might sound compelling to many Canadians, especially since online platforms are increasingly antagonistic to freedom of expression. However, big government is a significantly bigger problem than Big Tech. 

Traditional broadcasters should be free to compete against streaming platforms without government interference. Canadian consumers should be free to decide for themselves. Bad policies to fix other bad policies is the basis for much of our political problems.

Bill C-10 is one of these bad policies—especially since it threatens to infringe on our freedom of expression online. Under its current version, Bill C-10 wouldn’t merely regulate social media platforms—it would regulate you and me online. Bill C-10 would regulate Canadian content on Youtube, Spotify, and all social and streaming platforms. 

Bill C-10 wouldn’t advance the interests of Canadian content creators or consumers—it would advance the interests of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

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If the bill passes, social media and streaming platforms would be forced to promote what the federal government considers “Canadian”. Which would restrict your access to some Canadian content creators—including politically incorrect bloggers like me. 

Justin Trudeau, Steven Guilbeault, and their Liberal Party claim Bill C-10 isn’t a threat to our freedom of expression. However, the bill is a direct result of a disturbing list of recommendations by the federal government last year. 

One of these disturbing list of recommendations encourages the federal government to regulate the internet to restrict online content they deem as “harmful” and it encourages the government to make what they consider “trusted, accurate, and reliable sources of news” more “discoverable.”

Justin Trudeau, Steven Guilbeault, and the Liberal Party have also consistently suggested they intent on restricting what they label “hate speech” on social media.

The Liberal Party’s platform says:

“We will target online hate speech, exploitation and harassment, and do more to protect victims of hate speech…Social media is a powerful tool…it can also be used to threaten, intimidate, bully and harass people – or used to promote racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist, and homophobic views that target communities, put people’s safety at risk, and undermine Canada’s long-standing commitment to diversity. We believe that when social media platforms are used to spread these harmful views, the platforms themselves must also be held accountable.”

Bill C-10 isn’t about protecting Canadian content online, it’s about restricting content Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party do not approve of—it’s about restricting conservative and Christian content online. Bill C-10 is one of many bills—including Bill C-6, a bill that criminalizes Biblical teachings on homosexuality—from the Liberal party that will infringe on our freedom of expression.

That isn’t surprising, considering Justin Trudeau’s admiration for China’s and Cuba’s communist system. Nevertheless, if our freedom of religion is subject to the rule of law, why shouldn’t our freedom of expression also be subject to the rule of government? If the government is right to arrest James Coates for “endangering” Canadians by pastoring his church, why shouldn’t the government restrict bloggers like me from “endangering” people with hate speech?

Many of you would agree my content isn’t hate speech. But if Bill C-10 passes, Justin Trudeau and the federal government would decide that for you.

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