Liberal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says the government’s proposed Bill C-10 may regulate social media accounts with large followings, despite previously claiming that user-generated content will not be affected.

Speaking on CTV’s Question Period, Guilbeault said that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) may have the power to regulate accounts run by individuals if they have large followings or are “acting like 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,” he said.

“But we’re talking about broadcasters here, we’re not talking about everyday citizens posting stuff on their YouTube channel.” 

Bill C-10 sparked national controversy after the Liberals passed an amendment which would broaden the scope of the bill to include regulating the content ordinary Canadians post on social media. 

Guilbeault has since promised a new amendment which clarifies what kind of content is subject to CTRC regulation but does not guarantee all user-generated content is protected.

When pressed on what criteria will be used to determine if user-generated content is subject to regulation, Guilbeault says Canadians can trust “experts” in the bureaucracy like the CRTC to make rulings.

“This is why we have a body of experts like the CRTC to make those determinations, it’s not up to politicians to decide that,” he said on CTV’s Question Period. 

“Governments come and go, but these experts are there and they will be making this determination, after having consultations with organizations of different opinions on the subject matter.”

Guilbeault and the Liberals have attacked opponents of C-10 viciously, calling opponents “extremists” and labelling the Conservatives as conspiracy theorists for noting the potential risks C-10 poses to free speech.

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