On Monday, Liberal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino pledged to rush through internet censorship legislation once parliament returns this fall.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Mendicino said his government would “lean in” on the incoming “online safety” bill.
“I assure you that Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and others within our government are leaning in on this and will bring forward the legislation as quickly as possible,” said Mendicino.
Prior to the last federal election, the Liberals attempted to introduce Bill C-36 which would amend the Criminal Code to charge people with up to $70,000 in fines or house arrest for being “likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group.”
The bill would also revive the controversial Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which was shut down by the Stephen Harper government for violating fundamental rights to freedom of expression.
“I know that Minister Rodriguez is very eager to bring forward this legislation,” said Mendicino. “Others within our government are very eager to take the feedback they have received.”
Civil liberties and constitutional rights groups have called Ottawa’s plan to censor the internet by appointing a “Digital Safety Commissioner” an affront to fundamental rights and democracy.
Last year, the federal government opened up consultations on how best to deal with harmful online content.
Among the groups opposed to the proposed legislation was the Independent Press Gallery (IPG).
“The Proposal is overly broad and unworkable. It encroaches on free expression and fails to provide adequate protection to ensure that the Executive or regulator exercise their authority reasonably,” wrote IPG President Candice Malcolm.
“The mechanisms and results proposed will stifle communication, infringe on basic freedoms, and suppress diversity of perspectives.”
True North journalists are certified members of the IPG.
In total, the federal government received 9,218 submissions on the law, a vast majority of which were opposed to internet regulation.
In a Feb. 3 report titled What We Heard: The Government’s Proposed Approach To Address Harmful Online Content officials wrote that “only a small number of submissions from stakeholders were supportive” of the measures.