Many Canadians would not normally take interest in a federal bill that would amend aspects of the Broadcasting Act to better reflect the fast-changing nature of the internet and social media and the impact they have had on our society.
However, I have heard from many constituents expressing concerns about Bill C-10 in recent weeks.
Conservatives raised concerns last year with this Bill when it was first introduced as its empowered the CRTC to take greater control over Canadian content on the internet.
The concerns we raised were about censorship to free expression, burdensome regulations that could suppress certain content, and concerns about the centralization of power in Ottawa.
The Bill, at the time, did have some clear exemptions that the Government pointed to and said our concerns were “unfounded.”
Fast forward to a number of weeks ago, to when Bill C-10 was studied by Committee.
The Liberal members voted to remove the exemptions, paving the way for government to censor free expression for anyone who might post something on the internet.
The Minister responsible for this Bill is Minister of Heritage, Steven Guilbeault has a history of making statements about censorship, then retracting those statements.
That has been the case with C-10 when the Minister has appeared on television. He says one thing, then his office or the Prime Minister is forced to clarify what he actually meant.
It would be one thing if this was a one-time occurrence, but this Minister has continued to add confusion on this matter, refuses to answer questions, and seems to only defend his Bill by quoting groups that are funded by, or connected to, the Liberal Government.
This, while many experts, and even a former CRTC commissioner, say the Bill is an assault on free speech.
The interconnectivity fostered by social media has provided many with the ability to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, or even just to be entertained by the many talented internet-entrepreneurs who produce online content.
This has been especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media has enabled Canadians to exercise their freedom of expression and view information from a vast array of sources free from censorship or government interference.
However, content on social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook is in serious jeopardy of being censored, restricted, or altered by the Government because of Bill C-10.
Conservatives have called on the Government to withdraw C-10, as it has become clear that this piece of legislation will infringe on the rights of Canadians.
Our ability to communicate is critical to maintaining a fair and just society. We will continue to stand up for the right for all Canadians to exercise their freedom of expression.
Battle River-Crowfoot MP