Editorial: My Letter to My MP to Stop Bill C-10

Drew Wilson has penned a letter to his own MP urging him to vote against Bill C-10. It’s the latest action we took to stop Bill C-10.

With Bill C-10 being rushed through in a highly anti-democratic manner, I have taken further action in an effort to do my part to stop Bill C-10. If you care about freedom of speech and the future of Canadian innovation, I strongly urge you to do the same. If letter writing isn’t your thing, OpenMedia has a form letter you can use instead.

For me, I have been doing my part for the last few months informing and raising awareness for this dangerous legislation. These acts alone go above and beyond what most people are able to do mainly thanks to the tools I have at my disposal.

However, there is more I could do. Today, I have done what is well within the power of many Internet users in Canada: write my MP. Since form letters aren’t really my style, I chose to do things on a more personal level. What I did was use the Elections Canada lookup tool and typed in my postal code. This told me specifically who my MP was. After that, I did a simple Google search to look up my MPs website. From there, I used the contact form to write my letter. If you are Canadian, I hope this paragraph alone proves useful if you wish to speak out against this unconstitutional legislation.

Below is the letter I wrote (personal information removed, of course. I’ve received enough threats – mostly legal – over my career for publishing inconvenient facts, thank you). I’m under no illusion that one letter can make much of a difference here. However, saying nothing is a sign that I am perfectly fine with what is happening with this. As is absolutely obvious, I am not. So, I opted to do my part as a private citizen to stop this legislation. Maybe this letter will help inspire others to get involved. So, here is the letter I wrote my MP today:

Hello [My MP],

I’ve been watching the debate over Bill C-10 for the better part of a year now. What I’ve been seeing is absolutely horrifying both in what this bill represents and the process.

In recent days, the Liberal government, with the help of the Bloc, has shut down committee debate about this legislation. This as concerns are building about what Bill C-10 will do to freedom of expression online. More disturbingly, I learned today that not only has debate ceased when it is most needed, but the Heritage committee has now taken secret amendments to the legislation to a vote. This through a so-called “gag order” that has not been used in over 20 years. This is one of the most anti-democratic events I have ever seen and, as a result, is reason enough to vote against this legislation.

What this legislation itself will to is regulate user generated content. This despite the denials from the Liberal party and the Heritage Minister. The evidence is seen through the now removed Section 4.1 which explicitly gives an exception to user generated content. Without this section, user generated content will be regulated by the CRTC for their “Canadianness”. If it doesn’t meet these currently unknown requirements, then the government would have the power to order platforms to suppress this content in their algorithms.

What’s more is that what could be regulated is much more than just random cat video’s. It extends to apps, podcasts, video, and even news. This information was only found out through Freedom of Information requests.

While some may think that this is all just thought exercise and what-ifs, I have every reason to believe that this will affect me personally.

For the last 8 years, I have been slowly building up a website at freezenet.ca […]. Over these last few years, I’ve been building up my credibility on my own site after writing for other sites since 2005.

The site isn’t just news articles, it also covers music and video game reviews. I’ve also been developing a Wiki on Freezenet which contains roughly 2,500 pages worth of information to help people discover music from around the world they would likely not otherwise hear about.

Further, the website contains a podcast that has been made available on services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, and several other platforms. It also contains a video podcast documenting different video games I’ve been playing on YouTube. It has been a lot of work, but this is how far I got.

What Bill C-10 will likely target first is my YouTube video’s. Because these are about games likely not made in Canada, I face the very real possibility of being demoted in Canada because the video’s are not Canadian enough despite my commentary over top of them.

Next on this list is my podcast. Because my podcast covers international news to better understand technology policy, I also face the very real possibility that my podcast will also get demoted for not being Canadian enough.

Finally, the website itself could very easily be targeted through Bill C-10. Like the podcast, my website often covers international issues from a digital rights perspective. It also covers non-Canadian music and likely non-Canadian video games. What’s more is the fact that the Wiki I’ve been building covers a large amount of non-Canadian content. Because of this, Google might be asked by the CRTC to demote my website which will reduce traffic – and therefore ad revenue.

The point being here is that Bill C-10 is not just some philosophical debate. For me, it represents an existential threat. I had hopes and dreams of one day hiring staff and creating jobs to cover many angles of digital rights as well as create a platform of content discovery not confined by borders or the tastes of one person or company. It’s been a long road to get here and all these years of hard work could very easily be undone by one, and in my opinion, unconstitutional, bill that purports to be in the name of supporting Canadian creators.

I don’t want to have to rely on someone somewhere litigating the federal government to strike this law down. I urge you to help defeat this legislation before it causes untold amounts of damage to the Canadian Internet and freedom of expression.

Thank you,

– [Drew]

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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