Bill C-11 Receives Royal Assent – Freedom of Expression Abolished!

Bill C-11 has now received Royal Assent. As a result, freedom of expression has now been effectively abolished.

It’s an incredibly dark day in Canadian history. The Canadian Senate, today, has passed Bill C-11, opting to throw Canadian creators under the bus in the process. Reportedly, the bill received Royal Assent an hour later.

The passage happened after the Senates legislatative fix was stripped from the bill for no other apparent reason than to send a message that regulating user generated content is the entire point of the bill. Afterwards, the bill was sent back to the Senate for final approval. A resigned Canadian senate debated the bill some more before government backing senators ordered debate shut down, ordering lawmakers to shut the fuck up and do as they say. The senate responded by surrendering and rubberstamped the bill.

Now that the legislation is now law, what does that mean for freedom of expression? Well, Canada really doesn’t have freedom of expression in the technical sense. Now, it depends on what medium you wish to express yourself. If it’s on large video sharing websites that the government seeks to regulate to death, then Canadian’s will have to beg for permission before they can reach their audience. Otherwise, their content will largely get demoted as per the government mandate, robbing Canadians of their right to freedom of expression in that manner. By any basic level of logic, freedom of expression is no longer a right, but a privilege.

Canadian creators have been actively contemplating leaving Canada so they can continue their careers with little interruption. Of course, as we earlier pointed out, the changes won’t be happening overnight.

For one, we are waiting for the policy direction. The policy direction has been kept under wraps and away from the public eye like nuclear launch codes. Only the government knows whats in them. Supposedly, there is going to be some direction as to how to classify what is and isn’t Canadian content. The government could have revealed what is in them long ago, but chose not to. This has led some to speculate that the policy direction is very bad news because why keep them under wraps if it was going to temper fears of what the bill could mean for creators?

For another, there is going to be some debates at the CRTC of how to implement this bill. It’s possible that this will be held behind closed doors and favour the traditional media, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Third, there is the obvious fallout of litigation. We don’t know when that is going to happen, but what we do know is that it is seemingly only a matter of time. After all, this is a blatantly unconstitutional bill in the first place, so lawsuits are an obvious outcome in all of this.

Either way, the bills passage is terrible news. Now, Canadian’s face the prospect of being force fed content they don’t want to watch. Canadian creators are also now seeing their livelihoods vanish before their eyes. Also, the debate is not out of the hands of the public domain with the worst possible outcome being fully realized. It’s a very bad day for Canada no matter how you slice it.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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