Liberal Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault has flip-flopped on comments he made during a disastrous Sunday evening CTV News interview.
During the CTV Question Period interview, Guilbeault said content by Canadians who reach “millions of viewers” would be regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) like other major broadcasters.
“What we want to do, this law should apply to people who are broadcasters, or act like broadcasters. So if you have a YouTube channel with millions of viewers, and you’re deriving revenues from that, then at some point the CRTC will be asked to put a threshold,” said Guilbeault.
“But we’re talking about broadcasters here, we’re not talking about everyday citizens posting stuff on their YouTube channel.”
On Monday, Guilbeault’s office issued a followup statement to CTV saying that he had used “unclear” language when talking about Bill C-10.
“All regulations or financial obligations will only apply to the platforms… Accounts run by individuals still fall under the category of people,” Guilbeault’s office told CTV News.
“The minister could have been more careful using his words in order to reflect what the bill does.”
According to supporters of the legislation, Bill C-10 will help Canadian content creators receive fairer treatment from big tech platforms like Facebook and Google. The bill also has provisions to deal with cracking down on online child sexual exploitation.
Since the Liberals voted to remove an amendment which sought to protect ordinary Canadians from being included in the bill’s regulatory scope, the federal government has been scrambling to defend the legislation.
In response to outrage over the decision, Guilbeault sought to introduce a separate motion that would clarify the bill.
Conservative members of the House of Commons heritage committee have since pushed for a revised Charter statement from Liberal Justice Minister David Lametti and for Minister Guilbeault to testify on the matter once again.
“We can see that the minister of heritage himself is struggling to answer some really basic questions about this bill. And so, if he himself doesn’t have a full understanding of what this legislation does and does not do, and is not able to clearly communicate on that point, then I’m confused as to why this committee would be expected to have a clear understanding of this piece of legislation,” said Conservative MP Rachael Harder.
“I think it’s incumbent upon all of us then, to seek the input from those who would be able to give us better insight, and help us come to a place of clearly understanding the parameters of this bill, and what it does.”