June 15, 2021
-The Western Standard
The race against time continues for the Liberals as they burnt the midnight oil to get their Internet censorship bill through Parliament, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
The Commons debated Bill C-10 until 12:42 (EST) with Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault mistakenly claiming regulators cannot cancel programming, though the CRTC has repeatedly suspended radio broadcasters’ licenses for ignoring its program orders.
“This bill is not about content moderation,” said Guilbeault.
“The CRTC in its decades of existence has never said to Shaw or the CBC or TVA, oh, you can do this program but you can’t do that program. The CRTC has never had that power.”
In fact, federal law allows the Canadian Radio and Television Telecommunications Commission to pull licenses.
The Commission last revoked a radio license in 2011 when it closed CKLN, a campus station at Ryerson University in Toronto, for breach of content requirements. CHOI-FM of Québec City was similarly closed in 2004 for “failures to meet the objective of high standard programming.”
“The CRTC is not above Canadian laws. The CRTC must comply with our laws and regulations. They are a regulator. We have many regulators,” said Guilbeault.
Bill C-10 would similarly regulate YouTube videos as public broadcasts.
Guilbeault said cabinet had no choice but to cut short debate on the bill and force last night’s Third Reading vote.
“This bill hinges on consultation. That’s ended,” he said.
Bloc Québécois MPs voted with cabinet in passing the bill.
“Call it a gag order, call it what you will,” said Bloc MP Martin Champoux (Drummond, Que.).
“I hope it won’t happen again, but it was necessary.”
Conservative MPs opposed the bill as an infringement on free expression.
“We always have and always will stand up for free speech,” said MP Warren Steinley (Regina-Lewvan).
“We believe citizens across the country shouldn’t be censored on what they put on social media and Facebook and YouTube. We believe they have a right to their own personal thoughts and opinions.”