New research shows that 37% of Canadians feel that they’ve experienced internet censorship in the past.
The poll, which was conducted in cooperation with VPN provider TunnelBear and 3Gem Global Research, surveyed 5,500 people from across the world, including Canada.
“The survey showed large segments of people in each country do not trust the integrity of information they find online, and many suspect censorship is at play,” wrote TunnelBear.
30% of Canadians were concerned about political censorship and “government control to prevent constituents from speaking against the state/governing body.”
Critics have accused the Liberal government of moving forward with legislative proposals that could threaten internet neutrality.
According to the Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault, new changes to the 1991 Broadcasting Act are imminent.
While the legislation is allegedly intended to force social media giants to pay up for Canadian content, Guilbeault and others have spoken in favour of censoring certain voices online.
During an appearance on CTV’s Question Period, Guilbeault told reporters that the government could potentially require internet content producers to obtain a government license if they wish to operate.
“We would ask that they have a license. Yes,” said Guilbeault at the time.
“If you’re a distributor of content in Canada and obviously if you’re a very small media organization the requirement probably wouldn’t be the same if you’re Facebook, or Google. There would have to be some proportionality embedded into this.”
Guilbeault later retracted his comments after facing public lashback.
As reported exclusively by True North, during a virtual town hall held last week, Guilbeault denied the possibility of censorship and accused “some on the right” for the accusation.
“I’m not sure where you saw in the speech from the throne or some of my comments anything regarding censorship or licensing,” said Guilbeault in response to a question from a town hall participant on Friday.
“I mean, some on the right have claimed that this is what we were doing. It’s not and I read the speech from the throne a couple of times already and I can’t think of anything in the speech from the throne that this is our intention.”
Guilbeault’s denial comes despite the fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s throne speech also made vague reference to “taking action on online hate.”