Chris Bittle Demands “Investigations” Into People Daring to Criticize Bill C-11

Liberal MP, Chris Bittle is pushing for politically motivated “investigations” for anyone who would dare criticize Bill C-11.

Canadian Liberal MP, Chris Bittle, is becoming even more deplorable by pushing for investigations into anyone caught criticizing Bill C-11. The push to turn law enforcement into political tools comes as the Senate hearings are going sideways for Bill C-11 supporters. Bittle, no doubt sensing the debate moving in favour of those who support free speech is now seemingly resorting to desperate tactics in an effort to punish his political foes.

The news surfaced in a paywalled Globe and Mail piece where Bittle called for an investigation into Digital First Canada, an advocacy group fighting for the interests of digital first creators in Canada.

The Heritage Minister’s Parliamentary secretary, Chris Bittle, has asked Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger to launch an investigation into Digital First Canada, an organization that advocates for YouTubers and people posting videos on platforms.

The letter alleges that Digital First’s executive director, Scott Benzie, failed to disclose that his group received funding from YouTube and TikTok. Both platforms have warned that Bill C-11 would lead to the regulation of people posting videos on their platforms and affect their popularity and earnings worldwide.

The letter says that during an appearance at the Commons heritage committee to talk about Bill C-11 in May, Mr. Benzie disclosed that Digital First received around $100,000 in sponsorship from platforms.

“There was no transparency about this relationship and any potential conflicts of interest prior to Digital First Canada’s appearance at the committee,” the letter from Mr. Bittle to the lobbying commissioner says.

At a previous meeting of the Heritage committee where Mr. Benzie discussed C-11, he did not tell MPs Digital First has received money from YouTube and TikTok.

Mr. Bittle also asked the commissioner to probe funding of the Buffer festival – an event for creators on YouTube – which Mr. Benzie runs and which he says is his advocacy group’s main source of funding.

Mr. Benzie told The Globe and Mail the festival receives “under $85,000″ in sponsorship from digital platforms to help it cover costs that include flying YouTube creators to appear at the festival.

The timing in all of this is, of course, highly suspect since this story magically surfaced mere hours before Benzie was set to testify before Senators on Bill C-11. The goal seems to be to both try and discredit witnesses calling for changes to Bill C-11 as well as intimidate anyone with similar opinions into silence.

Benzie, for his part, has responded, saying that he has checked with the Lobbying Commissioner on multiple occasions to ask if there was the problem with the paperwork submitted or if there was investigation against him or his organization. Every time, they came back saying that everything was in order and that there was no investigation against anyone at Digital First Canada.

Just hours before my appearance to the Senate to share my concerns on #BillC11, I was made aware by a reporter that Liberal MPs on the Heritage Committee asked the Lobbying Commissioner to investigate @DigitalFirstCan’s lobbying efforts. [1/5]

Let me be clear: After reaching out to the Lobbying Commissioner, I was told that there is no live investigation. It was confirmed that my lobbying registration is compliant, not that I ever wanted to be one. [2/5]

Through @DigitalFirstCan, thousands of creators and Canadians were able to share their concerns, and they sent letters to these same MPs. But these concerns were ignored. What this is, is yet another attempt to silence and discredit the valid concerns against #BillC11. [3/5]

Digital First Canada was created so that we could give a voice to creators across the country. It’s deeply concerning that, instead of listening to us, the governing is attempting to silence us. [4/5]

I hope that Senators aren’t distracted by these tactics, and remain focused on the real concerns that Canadian creators have and will share this week. These voices matter. These concerns are legitimate. We won’t be dismissed. #FixC11 [5/5]

All of this, of course, raises serious concerns about the actions of Bittle. Did Bittle, or anyone working with him, break any privacy laws? What about conflict of interest laws? Maybe this could be considered political interference? how about witness tampering?

At the very least, this further proves Bill C-11 supporters are running on empty when it comes to trying to make the case for the legislation. With no facts or reasoning to back up their claims, the only way they can respond is through bullying, intimidation, and other efforts to try and silence criticisms of the legislation. The actions are simply unacceptable in a properly functioning democracy. Given Bittle’s previous actions that really pushed things to the point of inviting a legal response, it makes one wonder how this guy even has a job these days under Prime Minister Trudeau.

It makes you wonder if Bittle is attempting to send a message – something along the lines of ‘mess with my bill and I will destroy your life’. Clearly, this tactic didn’t work on me because, as far as I’m concerned, the guy is going to have to throw me in jail before I’ll stop being able to write directly on my website. The problem, however, is whether these intimidation tactics are having an impact on other witnesses. Hopefully it doesn’t, but the risk is there. That would seriously taint the hearings – and I doubt very many would want that.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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