MP Report: More Government Censorship Online

After federal legislation Bill C-11 recently passed, the Canada Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced its plans to bring in a new registry for social media and online podcasts.

Under these new regulations, podcasts and streaming companies would be required to register with the federal government by November 28th, 2023. Warnings were raised about online censorship, government overreach, and individual liberties during C-11 debates in the House of Commons and Senate. The Liberal government continually stated that C-11 wouldn't infringe on individual posts or online content.

It's crucial for Canadians to receive answers and transparency from both the telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, and the Heritage Minister.

Conservatives brought forward two motions recently at the Heritage Committee to scrutinize the impact and implications of the new proposed podcast registry restrictions and regulations. We aimed to provide a platform for concerned Canadians and content creators to voice their concerns and seek clarity on the federal government's intentions. Despite growing unease among Canadians - the federal Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois chose not to study this issue.

Concerns are that these CRTC measures will control what Canadians can access, see and express online. The potential for government interference in the content Canadians can access is a significant concern, as it could compromise the principle of "net neutrality," which includes open access to information for what you search and see online.

The Conservative Official Opposition warned that C-11 will restrict what Canadians may view and listen to and that it will negatively impact digital producers by limiting their success and ability to reach a Canadian and worldwide audience. Canadian talent and creative content will no longer be successful based on what Canadians want to see; instead, viewers will only see it if it meets the criteria set by Ottawa bureaucrats at the CRTC.

Canadians deserve a choice in what they watch and listen to online, free from undue government influence. The Official Opposition's call for a more transparent and consultative process on when this legislation was proposed and debated. Now as we see the implementation of the C-11 through CRTC regulation where the oversights of online podcasts was not something analyzed and has come as a surprise to many.

I will continue opposing federal government overreach that is harming how Canadians access what they search and see online. We only have to see what has already occurred with the removal of Canadian news articles from search results and from the inability to copy links to news articles on social media platforms due to another restrictive piece of legislation, Liberal government Bill C-18. Canadians are now left with having to screenshot headlines rather than attaching full article links that no one can click on and see.

We will continue to press for answers about the regulations being put forth by the CRTC based on legislation from the government. This includes bringing forth concerns and seeking clarity on regulations such as those being proposed for podcast creators.

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