The Trudeau government has already drafted legislation aimed at regulating online content but refuses to make it public, according to a Blacklock’s Reporter story.
“The department has prepared a discussion paper to advance policy development,” said spokesman Daniel Savoie in the Blacklock’s report.
“The Canadian Heritage discussion paper in question is an internal government document. It has not been shared publicly, including to any advocacy groups.”
Savoie added that anyone who wanted to see the document would have to file an Access To Information request.
The Trudeau government has promised to combat offensive content and misinformation online since first being elected in 2015. No legislation has yet been introduced.
In January, a Legislative Review Panel recommended that all internet media be licensed through the federal government and forced to obey codes of conduct in order to continue operations.
Last week, it was revealed that Heritage Canada was asking advocacy groups for input on possible ways to combat “hate speech” online. In a consultation paper sent to various groups, the government said they are looking for “legal remedies” to fight offensive content.
Which groups the government consulted has not been made public.
Heritage Canada has been strongly condemned by the opposition Conservatives, with Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner saying that regulating the internet would be an unnecessary infringement of Canadians’ rights.
“The role of the state is not to interfere in people’s right to free speech or freedom of the press. “There’s an underlying assumption there that Canadians don’t have the capacity to think for themselves,” she said.
“When the minister says, ‘Well, we might not license here, but we might license in this space’, why do we need to license anything at all? We think Canadians have the capacity to do this, and this is where we fundamentally reject the recommendations of the report.”