Canadian Government Cabinet Shuffle: Pascale St-Onge Replaces Pablo Rodriguez

The Canadian government had a major cabinet shuffle. For the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez is out and Pascale St-Onge is in.

The department of Canadian Heritage under the Trudeau government has been nothing short of a complete and total disaster. Well, if you know the history of the portfolio, that really isn’t anything new. It was a disaster under Prime Minister’s Stephen Harper and Paul Martin, so what else is new? Still, so far, things have not only not improved in that role, but also backslid even.

With Steven Guilbeaut, it was clear he had no clue what he was doing. While introducing then called Bill C-10 and moving forward with the link tax legislation, it was clear that he felt that his job was listen to lobbyists rather than actually assess how the internet works and go from there. During his tenure as Heritage Minister, there were calls for Guilbeaut to be fired because of his poor performance. He was unable to really explain much with his moves to crack down on the internet and just seemed to not understand a thing in the process.

When Guilbeaut was moved out to Environment Minister, Pablo Rodriguez was brought in. While the ministry was a giant mess, there was hope that Rodriguez would clean up the mess and get things back on track. Instead, Rodriguez made matters worse. He reintroduced the social media censorship bill as Bill C-11 and got both Bill C-11 and Bill C-18, Canada’s link tax law, passed into law. As a result, he put digital first creators on the ropes as their entire careers are now in danger. Along the way, the entire news sector has now been put in an extremely precarious position, seeing two of their biggest sources of audience and growth very likely getting cut off between now and Christmas. This while he seemed to be barely aware of his surroundings when answering questions in the media or in government.

In the span of 8 years, the Department of Canadian Heritage has gone from being run totally incompetently to being a direct threat to the country as a whole. Whole businesses are threatened with bankruptcy and investment is already heading for the exits as a result. Probably the only good news in all of this is that Online Harms never really moved forward. So, luckily for Canada, the entire Canadian internet wasn’t threat with a complete shut down, but huge sectors online are now under direct threat by the Canadian government.

That leads us to today with a new Minister of Canadian Heritage. It’s difficult to really see how anyone else will reasonably fill the role well at this stage. The Ministry is now actually dangerous for Canada and there is no going back on the social media censorship law or the link tax law. The only direction left that this ministry is heading in is worse with the nuclear bomb that is the Online Harms proposal. In that, no website in Canada survives and online innovation gets pushed to other countries completely save for services that circumvent such a law.

As for Rodriguez, he is moved to the role of Transport Minister. So, for those who follow that portfolio, my condolences.

As for St-Onge, well, she has a lot to prove just to show that she isn’t going to threaten anyone else’s careers. With the direction not changing with the previous two ministers, there’s little hope on that file as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on record fully backing this terrible direction in the first place. The face may change, but the threats to Canadians will likely remain the same.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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