Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Conservative Party of having “tinfoil hats” for raising concerns about the Liberal government’s internet censorship bill, C-10.
Trudeau made the comment in response to a question by Conservative Party MP Michael Barrett in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“Mr. Speaker, anytime anyone asks a tough question of the Prime Minister, he says it is a personal attack. That is why when the questions got really tough and heated for the Prime Minister, when he was trying to cover up his conflict of interest in the WE scandal, he shut down Parliament during a pandemic. Now his attacks on democracy have gotten more brazen,” said Barrett.
“That is what the Prime Minister is trying to do by silencing Canadians online with Bill C-10. Will the Prime Minister tell us how long it will be before every aspect of Canadian life must conform to his Liberal vision of Canadian society?”
“Mr. Speaker, the tinfoil hats on the other side of the aisle are really quite spectacular,” responded Trudeau.
“We will continue to stand up to defend freedom of speech and stand up against hatred and discrimination. We will do it while supporting Canadians to both get through this pandemic and come roaring back on the other side. That is our focus. The Conservatives can continue to focus on me. We will continue to focus on Canadians,” he continued.
The prime minister’s comments echo similar name-calling by Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is in charge of drafting the legislation.
Earlier this week, Guilbeault lashed back at criticism of the bill by going so far as targetting Conservative MP Rachael Harder for her pro-life views.
“When he wasn’t able to defend his infringement on people’s Charter rights, he decided to go after my personal values and beliefs. Indeed, freedom is messy and although Mr. Guilbeault’s response was inappropriate, I would never wish for his freedom of speech to be taken from him. He is free to use or misuse his voice. The consequences are his to bear,” Harder told True North.
Guilbeault has also accused critics of the bill, which include prominent politicians, professors and civil liberties advocates, of catering to an “extremist element.”
A decision by the Liberals to remove an amendment from the bill which protected user-generated content from Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications (CRTC) regulation has sparked outrage among the Canadian public.
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.