The Canadian government really wants people to ignore the text of its streaming regulation bill

from fix-the-tongue department

Canada’s Bill C-11, which will give the country’s broadcast regulator new powers to set rules for all kinds of online video and audio content, has been rushed through an undemocratic sham of a “review” so what passed in the House of Commons by the current Liberal government. Now he sits in the Senate where the last hope of preventing him rests with senators sticking to their claim that they won’t be in a hurry by a government that clearly intends to make it law without addressing the myriad of serious concerns about what it would do. Meanwhile, the heritage minister’s office (the engine of C-11) seems determined to continue the pattern it has established since the bill was first introduced as C-10 in 2020: ignoring or rejecting all criticism, and insisting that the actual text of the bill has no importance.

Instead, the government wants everyone to focus on its “political intentions” – the things they say they hope the Bill will achieve and their repeated promises it will do nothing else. Nobody is supposed to care that these “intentions” do not match what the bill actually contains, or that there are countless signals that these promises are false. After a small fight on Twitter with an official from the Heritage Office, Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa compiled a damning list of these contradictions:

My reply to tweet thread notes that the disconnect between the government’s stated intent and the actual text of Bill C-11 is an ongoing problem:

  • the government claims that the intention is not to regulate user content (contradicted by the president of the CRTC),
  • the government claims that the intention is not to include algorithmic manipulation (contradicted by the president of the CRTC)
  • the government claims the intention is to help digital creators (contradicted by the creators themselves),
  • government claims intention is to avoid content regulation (undermined by CRTC participate in content regulation in the case of Radio Canada)
  • government says intent is no Cancon quotas (undermined by ability to post quotas)
  • the government claims the intention is to exclude video games and other similar content (currently included in the bill and will require policy guidance which the government will not release to exclude)
  • the government claims the intention is to leave regulation to an independent CRTC (yet it regularly seems to have predetermined what the outcome will be)
  • the government claims that the intent is to ensure that Bill C-11 complies with its trade obligations (the The United States has now raised concerns with the bill and potential CUSMA violations)
  • the government says its intention is to help the independent production sector (experts concerned the bill will undermine the decades-old policy that supports the sector)

As Geist notes, all of these government promises could have been fulfilled. in the actual invoice with a few clarifying amendments, many of which were among more than 100 that were proposed — but instead the House of Commons rushed clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and voting on the amendments at absurd speed , imposing a completely unnecessary deadline that resulted in an almost total absence of debate and the deputies voted on certain amendments even before the text had been made public.

And so we are faced with a bill that could usher in sweeping changes to the Internet in Canada, affecting not only the big streaming platforms like Netflix which the government constantly insists are the real target, but just about every online media platform and creator that uses them. Who wants this bill? Certainly not Canadian content creatorsand apparently nobody except the government that is so determined to shove it down the country’s throat.

But since the ruling Liberal Party struck a deal that assures them of the near-unconditional support of the left-leaning NDP party in parliament, they seem determined to do whatever they want when it comes to the brazenly undemocratic C-11. So all hope rests with the Senate, which refused to rush the bill as C-10 last year and is known in Canada as the place of “sober second thought”, to block the bill or at least fix its most glaring problems. Advocacy group OpenMedia, which supports an excellent FAQ problems with the bill, asks Canadians to let senators know how important it is.

Filed Under: c-11, canada, content, streaming