Bloc Quebecois Releases Platform – Our Rough Analysis

Another party has released their party platform. This time, it is the Bloc Quebecois. We offer our rather rough analysis of it.

We’ve been covering the federal election with our deep analysis of the various parties platforms. While some sources seemed to have only covered one party, we have covered three parties and an organization so far. We first covered the Conservative Party platform (Part 1, Part 2), then the NDP. After that, we noted the absence of the Pirate Party of Canada and covered the platform from OpenMedia.

Now, we are learning that the Bloc Quebecois have also released their platform. Now, this offers a couple of problems here. The first problem is the fact that they are only running in Quebec, so only a small part of the country can even vote for them in the first place. A second problem is that they only care about one province which makes it difficult to speak to the broader issues. The third problem, and a big one at that, is the fact that their platform is only available in French. So, we are having to rely on machine translations to get a rough idea of what is being said. At this stage, it’s either that or nothing. We prefer to have something to work with, so, we’ll have to do the best we can under the circumstances.

If you have a better translation of the text, you are definitely welcome to offer them in the comments.

Now, as some might recall, the Bloc was one of the parties that voted for Bill C-10 and against freedom of expression. So, their actions suggest that when they are in power, they are against online freedom of expression. Like the NDP, this party has this cloud hanging over their head.

The platform can be found on their official website. Alternatively, you can download that platform here (PDF).

Freedom of Expression

On page 14 under “Liberté d’expression”, we see the following:

Les Québécois ne sont pas chicaniers de nature, mais notre nation mène à terme ses débats de société, aussi houleux peuvent-ils être, grâce à la liberté d’expression de tous et chacun. Le Bloc Québécois s’oppose à la censure, à la mise au ban de débats de société et à la restriction des sujets pouvant être abordés sur la place publique, notamment en milieu universitaire, dans les médias et dans les assemblées législatives. Le Bloc Québécois continue sans réserve de condamner la haine en ligne, l’intimidation, tous les types de propos haineux, diffamatoires, incitant à la violence, ou toutes autres formes de discours qui constituent des infractions à la loi et méritent d’être sanctionnés en bonne et due forme. Le Bloc Québécois est fier de promouvoir le respect, l’écoute, l’empathie, le civisme et l’intelligence dans l’usage de la liberté d’expression.

So, a rough translation would be that the party opposes censorship of speech that can be openly discussed in the public. While there isn’t a direct mention to the Internet, it is rather ironic that they say they are against censorship, yet they support Bill C-10 and voted down section 4.1. Still, this comment does appear to be focused on the media, government, and in the academic setting.

What’s more is the fact that this comment says that they condemn online hate, incitement of violence, and other forms of speech that violates the law. In response, the party wants to promote empathy, respect, and civility. So, a bit of a lead by example situation. The snippet doesn’t appear to mention anything about enforcement necessarily. The question is, is simply providing an example to the public enough to combat some of the more illegal forms of communicating online? It’s hard to really say it is. Either way, it looks like they are taking a much more hands off approach and simply saying that they don’t like it.

What’s more is the fact that it’s rather telling that there is no direct reference to Bill C-10 in the first place.

Arts and Culture

On the same page under “Arts et culture”, we see the following:

Les Québécois sont attachés à leur culture et tiennent à sa promotion ainsi qu’à sa protection. Les Canadiens, un peu moins. Cette différence a joué un rôle fondamental dans le sabordage de la loi C-10 visant à mieux encadrer la culture à l’ère du numérique et à forcer les géants du Web à faire leur part pour l’essor de l’art et des médias québécois.

So, basically, the party is saying that Quebec cares more about their culture than the rest of Canada. They make the bizarre comment that a sign of this is through Bill C-10. With Bill C-10 dying on the order paper, they took that as a sign that Quebec cares more about culture than the rest of Canada. Obviously, this completely misses the point of Bill C-10 where the goal was to clamp down on freedom of expression and tilt the online market in the favour of legacy corporations at the expense of smaller online creators. They also ran with the false talking point that the bill was just about making large web giants contribute more to arts and the media. That assertion, as anyone who actually examined the legislation knows, is false.

The section then continues with this:

Le Bloc Québécois s’engage à améliorer et redéposer cette réforme incontournable pour l’avenir de la création de langue française, notamment les amendements essentiels du Bloc qui assuraient la protection du contenu canadien et québécois, la « découvrabilité » et la mise en valeur des arts québécois et la production de contenu francophone. Le Bloc Québécois insistera jusqu’à gain de cause pour l’imposition des revenus des géants du numérique à un taux de 3 %, comme le fait déjà la France. Le Bloc Québécois imposera aux multinationales du Web des négociations avec les créateurs de contenu québécois et canadiens afin d’établir un partage équitable des revenus.

Essentially, they are saying that they want to re-table Bill C-10 and pass it.

The snippet also calls for a 3% tax on large tech giants, so a call that is in line with some of the other parties in this election.

The section concludes with this:

De plus, nous nous assurerons que les médias écrits et régionaux fassent partie de cette réforme. Le Bloc Québécois exigera, de plus, que les sommes perçues en taxes et impôts des géants du numérique soient redirigées vers un fonds dédié aux arts et à la culture du Québec ainsi qu’à nos médias

Generally, that is saying that they want the money collected from web giants in various funds to be directed towards Quebec cultural organizations and their media.

Conclusions

This rather short analysis does show that we didn’t find much in this platform. We did catch a few points, however. From what we could discern, we found that the party stands for the following:

  • Opposition to freedom of expression via Bill C-10
  • A dislike to online incitement of violence and hatred, though no details on how they propose to combat such content online
  • Call for a 3% tax on web giants
  • Money collected from various funds to be redirected to Quebec

While it isn’t much, we hope you find this analysis, at least, informative. Again, if you find anything else or have a better translation of some of the text, feel free to offer them in the comments below. Otherwise, another party platform analyzed through the lens of digital rights.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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