A new poll by Public Square Research and Maru/Blue reveals that an overwhelming majority of Canadians would choose defending their right to freedom of expression over Bill C-10’s goal to promote Canadian content on social media platforms.
According to news outlet The Hub, 73% of Canadians chose free speech when asked to pick between the bill and their rights.
The Liberal government has been recently reeling from a public outcry over the law, which was drafted with the purpose of modernizing Canada’s Broadcasting Act to meet the current digital landscape of media.
Opposition to the bill reached its highest after Liberal members of the House of Commons heritage committee voted to strip an amendment from the legislation which served to protect the content posted by ordinary social media users from regulation by the CRTC.
Experts like University of Ottawa Law Professor and Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law Michael Geist have argued that Bill C-10 is the “most anti-Internet” legislation in Canada’s history.
Further, the former vice-chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission called the government’s internet regulation bill a “national embarrassment.”
Additionally, the poll found that 72% of Canadians had no knowledge of the legislation or were barely aware of it.
Of those who knew about the law, 38% were very unsupportive of it and an additional 15% said they were somewhat unsupportive. On the other hand, 11% were very supportive of Bill C-10 and 20% were somewhat supportive.
The poll surveyed 1,508 Canadians online over the weekend of April 30, 2021.
Conservative members of the heritage committee have pushed for Minister Guilbeault to appear before the committee to answer questions regarding the bill while also requesting a legislative review by the Justice Ministry to ensure that the law complies with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Guilbeault recently claimed that Canada’s cultural community is supportive of the bill. As revealed by True North, Guilbeault cited several organizations which have received government funding as supporters of the law without revealing the conflict of interest.
Among the groups cited by Guilbeault was the League of Canadian Poets, to which his ministry awarded $67,088 between 2016 and 2018.