Newly-appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez promised on Tuesday to rush the controversial anti-internet freedom law Bill C-10 back into parliament at the soonest opportunity.
Earlier this year, the bill died in the Senate before the end of the last parliamentary session. Now that the Liberals have a minority government, they want to make regulating the internet a top priority.
“We promised to bring in some bills very quickly. C-10 is one of them,” said Rodriguez after being sworn in.
“We made many promises to table important bills in the first 100 days and that includes the broadcasting bill. We need that bill. We have to modernize it.”
The law, which proposes to update Canada’s Broadcasting Act to meet the current digital media landscape, has been cited by many experts as a threat to Canadians’ right to freedom of expression.
When debating the law, the Liberals removed an amendment to the bill which effectively served to protect user-generated content from Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) oversight.
Some critics of the bill argued that removing the amendment effectively placed the content ordinary Canadians posted online under government control.
Several former CRTC commissioners have already strongly come out against the bill. In May, both CRTC ex-chair Konrad von Finckenstein and former CRTC commissioner Timothy Denton signed a petition which labelled the bill as “authoritarian.”
“It appears Canada is not immune to the growing trend of government intervention to curtail freedom and seek to control parts of the internet’s infrastructure in ways reminiscent of actions taken by authoritarian governments,” wrote the petition.
“We are Canadian internet policy and technical professionals writing as concerned experts and on behalf of all those who care about the future of a free and open internet.”
In response to criticism, former Canadian Heritage minister Steven Guilbeault referred to those who opposed the law as “extremists”.