Former CRTC commissioner Timothy Denton compared Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to censor the internet to authoritarian policies pursued by China and Russia.
Denton, who is the chair of the Internet Society in Canada, called out the Liberal government’s intended crackdown on open internet publishing in a podcast hosted by Canadian Senator Pamela Wallin.
“We’re not living in a very liberal era when it comes to speech. We’re living in an era that has many anxieties verging on hysteria about the dangers of unfettered discussion. There seems to be very little belief on the part of recent college graduates in the ability of society to find for itself reasonable accommodations with dissent,” said Denton.
According to Denton, proposed Liberal laws like Bill C-10 and Bill C-36 are opposed by civil liberties advocates from “every corner of the political spectrum.”
“It is creepily totalitarian, something you might expect out of China or Russia,” said Denton.
“They are going to be unworkable and they are going to be, I think, unconstitutional in the old-fashioned sense of outside the powers of the federal government. I think they are almost certain to be taken down on Charter issues of freedom of speech. But they are really very unpleasant pieces of legislation.”
Prime Minister Trudeau has pledged to re-introduce Bill C-10 and to crackdown on so-called “online hate” prior since being re-elected.
Recently, the federal government sought to consult the public on a proposed plan to regulate online content.
Among the groups that made submissions against the federal plan were the Independent Press Gallery of Canada (IPG), University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and a number of other civil liberties groups.
Since the consultation period ended, the Liberals have refused to reveal the results.
Denton is not the only CRTC official to have spoken out against Trudeau’s plans for censorship. Earlier this year, Denton was joined by former chair of the CRTC Konrad von Finckenstein in signing a petition that described the plan as “reminiscent of actions taken by authoritarian governments.”