One Step Closer to Ruin: Bill C-18 Passes Senate 51-23

The entire news sector in Canada is now seemingly one step closer to getting wrecked. Bill C-18 passed the senate.

Canada’s link tax, Bill C-18, is now one step closer to becoming law. Yesterday, the bill passed the final senate stage 51-23. Now it will head back to the House of Commons. At that point, the House of Commons will either accept or veto whatever amendments the senate put into the bill. Early indications suggest that not a lot of amendments made it into the bill. After that, the House of Commons will vote one last time and the senate will do the same. After which, it will go through the process of royal assent and become law.

Throughout this process, Meta, owners of Facebook, has stated very clearly that it would block news links in Canada should this bill become law. While hardcore supporters and the government continue to insist that this is all just one big fancy bluff and they would never dare do that, all signs and evidence point to this being the obvious response. Alphabet, owner of Google, has said that it is actively considering following suit as well.

While Meta has held off on testing, they have openly announced and carried through with the testing to determine how best to block news links on their platforms. Media began asking Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, how he intends on responding. Obviously, the media was seeking a “plan B” in all of this. However, the Minister simply continued to insist that it was all a bluff and the actions are just bullying tactics. In the process, the answers suggested that he had no plan B.

While some may have attributed his non-answer to incompetence, it appears that the idea of there just not being a “plan B” might be prevailing. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was also asked what the next steps are in all of this. In response, Trudeau spoke about how he was very very disappointed. For some in the media, the realization started creeping in that they may be in the process of “finding out”. It’s one thing to believe in magical thinking and pixie dust, but it’s quite another to put billion dollar businesses on the line for it. Meta is gearing up to play their trump card in this and the government was out of answers.

There are still steps to go, so it’s not as though this is the end of the legislative process. Still, it seems unlikely that anything will stop this train wreck from happening at this stage. All it needs now is time now.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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