Canadian Internet Crackdown Legislation Appears on Notice Paper (Likely Bill C-10)

The Liberals are wasting no time in putting forth legislation that would crack down on the Internet. C-10 appears to be back.

The Internet helped put a stop to Bill C-10. The legislation died on the orderpaper after an outpouring of opposition towards the regulation of user generated content. The inability to pass Bill C-10 before the election stung the Liberal Party. Now, the Liberal Party is not going to let that stand and they are wasting no time in preparing their revenge.

In what appears to be Bill C-10’s return, the legislation recently appeared on the notice paper dated February 1, 2022.

Introduction of Government Bills
January 31, 2022 — The Minister of Canadian Heritage — Bill entitled “An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts”.

Bill C-10 was a content regulation bill. It was initially controversial because it viewed the entire Internet as little more than another cable TV channel. While the backwards thinking was very obvious, it didn’t spark too much outrage initially. This was thanks to Section 4.1 which explicitly exempted user generated content. Unfortunately, that section was deleted during the committee process. This meant that all user generated content would be subject to heavy government regulation.

Large media outlets and supporters, no doubt seeing the building outrage, tried to push the disinformation that user generated content was still exempt because of Section 2.1. That was, of course, false because Section 2.1 did no such thing. As we explained, Section 2.1 simply exempted the users themselves, not the content they post.

Despite repeated calls to re-implement Section 4.1 and end the controversy, the Canadian government basically gave Canadian creators a giant middle finger and, with the help of the Bloc and NDP, repeatedly voted against this. It was clear that regulating user generated content is the intention of this legislation and they were steadfastly blocking attempts to exempt such content.

It’s that nasty fight between Internet and supporters that really helped define the intensity of the debate last time. Unless something fundamentally changes this time around with the legislation (all signs point to “no” on that), then we will see this rough ride once again. This time, unfortunately, we won’t see the benefit of time running out because there is loads of that now.

What’s more is that this is only one of three prongs in this war on the Internet. We still have online harms (which would subject all websites to 24 hour takedown requirements of content deemed “harmful” – whatever the heck that means) and link taxes (which is well known for benefiting large publishers and putting the squeeze on smaller players) still waiting in the wings.

While there is plenty of writing campaigns that can take place, the prospects for the free and open Internet is looking really bad right now. With the Bloc likely to support it, chances are, Canadians will have to eventually rely on the courts to have this struck down later on down the road.

(First spotted by @Mgeist)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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