A former vice chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) called the Liberal government’s internet regulation bill, C-10, a “national embarrassment” in a Financial Post op-ed published on Wednesday.
“Last week, Canadians finally realized that Guilbeault, the cable companies, film-makers and musicians were prepared to regulate individuals’ online expression if that meant getting what they wanted. It’s unlikely that’s the outcome Canada’s creative core was looking for when all this began,” wrote Peter Menzies.
“Guibeault could have taxed the web giants without regulating the internet but he got greedy. His reach having exceeded his grasp, Bill C-10 is still — despite his promises of a death bed conversion — a national embarrassment and Canada’s cultural sector needs to do the right thing and step away from it.”
Bill C-10 has recently sparked public outrage after Liberal MPs voted to strip an amendment from the bill which protected user-generated content from CRTC regulation.
Critics of the decision have argued that without protections for user-generated content, the bill effectively threatens the fundamental right to freedom of expression of Canadians.
Liberal Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault has since promised to introduce a separate amendment which would make it clear that content posted by Canadians on platforms like YouTube and TikTok will not be subject to CRTC oversight.
“We also want to make sure that the content that people upload on social media won’t be considered as programming under the Act and that it won’t be regulated by the CRTC,” Guilbeault told Global News.
“And that’s why we will be bringing forward another amendment that will make this crystal clear.”
Prior to the decision to introduce an amendment to clarify the bill’s scope, Guilbeault accused members of the Conservative opposition of fabricating concerns about free speech around the bill and catering to an “extremist element” of the party.
“What we are seeing now is that these are big, powerful and, in fact some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet; clearly, the member opposite and her party are just afraid to stand up to them. Again it seems that the members of the Conservative Party are listening to the most extremist element of their party, as they have on very important issues such as climate change or women’s right to choose,” Guilbeault said in the House of Commons.