A government focus group study of Canadians’ views on incoming internal regulation found that most people are not comfortable with the Trudeau government determining what viewers should be able to view online.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, when asked about Bill C-11, which proposes to amend the Broadcasting Act and regulate digital content providers, “most participants” told pollsters that they want to be in control of their own viewing options. 

“Discussing whether they felt the Government of Canada should play a role in regulating non-user generated content on major digital platforms such as Netflix or Spotify, most participants felt these decisions should primarily be left to the viewer or listener,” read the report Continuous Qualitative Data Collection Of Canadians’ Views

“While a small number were in favour of establishing some regulations, particularly those geared towards ensuring greater fairness for Canadian content creators and promoting and protecting Canadian stories, most felt it was the responsibility of the consumer to determine the type of content they wished to engage with regardless of its country of origin.”

The $2.4 million study conducted by The Strategic Counsel surveyed people in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Critics of Bill C-11 have slammed the legislation as a threat to Canadians’ rights to freedom of expression. Should the law pass through the Senate, it would give the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the ability to regulate content posted online. 

Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez has maintained that the bill would not encroach on such rights or include user-generated content. However, testimonies by CRTC Chair Ian Scott indicate otherwise

“[Section] 4.2 allows the CRTC to prescribe by regulation user uploaded content subject to very explicit criteria. That is also in the Act,” said Scott at a Canadian heritage committee meeting in June. 

Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre has promised that if elected prime minister, he would immediately repeal Liberal censorship laws including Bill C-11 by introducing a Free Speech Act

“The government is trying to control what you see in your social media newsfeed and what you can say online,” said Poilievre in June. 

“And on top of that, they’ve teamed up with elite corporate media gatekeepers to stifle the power of the independent media. When I’m Prime Minister, I’ll protect free speech online and make sure independent media have the right to cover the news.”