The Liberal government’s internet regulation Bill C-10 has been put on hold after the Senate rose for the summer before voting on the controversial bill.
On Tuesday, the Senate decided to rise for the summer break, immediately halting all outstanding legislation which had not been passed.
If an election is called before Bill C-10 is reintroduced, the bill will die and a future government would have to introduce it again.
Bill C-10 passed its third reading in the House of Commons Tuesday morning by a vote of 196 to 112: only the Conservatives and independents Jody Wilson-Raybould and Derek Sloan opposed it.
If passed, Bill C-10 would have significant implications on internet freedom, as the bill gives the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) unprecedented power to regulate online publishers, including social media users.
Despite the Liberals’ efforts to push C-10 into law, the upper house refused to speed up the process. Both progressive and Conservative senators offered various criticisms of C-10, many saying they would not vote in favour.
On Tuesday, Senator Pamela Wallin pledged to stall C-10 until the summer recess could be called, saying the upper house is not obligated to pass government legislation without proper debate.
“The government has had six years to pass legislation it wants. It is not our job in the Senate to rubber stamp and give up our constitutional responsibilities just because they want fodder for an election- especially if it means killing free speech,” she said.
Conservative Senator Leo Housakos told CBC that the Senate had no interest in rushing through a bill which, in his opinion, gives unlimited power to a government body to control the content Canadians can see online.
“The core problem with this bill is that it takes the regulatory tools designated for a small, fixed number of licensed TV and radio stations in the 1990s and attempts to apply it to the vast universe of the internet in the 2020s,” he said.
“In doing so, it gives the CRTC an unprecedented delegation of power with no clear framework or definitions as to how it will be used. This lack of clear limits on what can be regulated is a fundamental problem with this bill.”