Senate Hearings on Bill C-11 – A Look at Hearing 17 (Second Segment)

The special coverage of the Bill C-11 senate hearings is continuing. This time, we are covering segment 2 of the 17th hearing.

We are continuing our special coverage of the Bill C-11 senate hearings. This time, we are covering the second segment of hearing 17. Surprisingly, it is continuing to add new insights into the debate even after all of this time.

For those who are curious, here is the coverage of the previous hearings:

Hearing 1 – Privacy Commissioner and Global Affairs/Justice Department
Hearing 2 – Digital rights organizations and lobby groups (1)
Hearing 3 – Lobby groups (2) and platforms (1)
Hearing 4 – Lobby groups (3) and lobby groups (4)
Hearing 5 – Lobby groups (5) and lobby groups (6)
Hearing 6 – Music Canada / platforms (2) and lobby groups (7)
Hearing 7 – Scholars/researchers (1) and digital first creators (1)
Hearing 8 – Digital first creators (2) / lobby groups (8)
Hearing 9 – Digital first creator (3) / lobby group (9) / platform (3) / Lobby group (10)
Hearing 10 – Record Label / Lobby Groups (11) and Scholars/Researchers (2)
Hearing 11 – Scholars/Researchers (3) and Lobby Groups (12)
Hearing 12 – Scholars/Researchers (3) / Digital First Creators (4)
Hearing 13 – Statistician / Lobbyist (13) / Canada Media Fund / Lobby Groups (14)
Hearing 14 – CNIB / H264 / Lobbyist (15) and Lobby Groups (16)
Hearing 15 – Lobby Groups (17) / Lobby Groups (18)
Hearing 16 – Canadian Taxpayers Federation / Lobbyists (19) / Lobby Groups (20)

In the first segment of this hearing, we heard from indigenous broadcaster organizations and indigenous content creation groups. The hearing was quite interesting in that it added a couple of perspectives from indigenous people standpoints on the legislation. One perspective is that indigenous voices have repeatedly been told “no” by traditional broadcasters, so they void a ray of sunlight with social media and even made breakthroughs on streaming sites like Netflix – breakthroughs that would not otherwise be possible. As such, there were words of warning surrounding Section 4.2 and curbing some of those voices and success stories as a result of that section.

As always, the video we will be following can be found on the government website that hosts these videos. In terms of thoroughness, nothing will beat the original video or an official transcript. Still, we’ll be happy to offer a summary of what we heard as well as some analysis on what was said. So, with that, let’s take you inside this part of the hearing.

Opening Statements

Vanessa Brousseau started with her opening statement. She said that she started a TikTok two years ago because she noticed a lack of channels talking about missing and murdered indigenous people. She wanted to use her voice also to heal from direct personal experience. She also says that, in the process, she shares her art online among other things. In 2021, she said that she graduated from the TikTok accelerator program. This program drastically changed how she creates content. Having the tools and expertise truly boosted the quality of her videos and gave her the confidence she needed.

Before the program, she had 43,000 followers. Since graduating, she increased that following to 118,000 followers and she has 2.6 million likes on her videos. It’s not just Canadians who are following her. 43% of her followers are from the United States and 41% are from Canada. She also has followers in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Philippians. The TikTok accelerator program is currently running their second program with 40 new indigenous participants. She’s had some amazing experiences and opportunities because of TikTok that she is forever grateful for. She is able to create awareness and create extra income while doing something she is passionate about.

Her concerns about Bill C-11 is that it will create more barriers for indigenous peoples who create user generated content and make it harder for other indigenous creators to achieve the success that she’s been lucky to have. With seldom barriers, she’s been able to get verified on TikTok, create partnerships with big brands, and most importantly, feel that she is being heard in her own voice her own way.

With Bill C-11, she explains, she is particularly concerned about whether if platforms like TikTok are required to promote content that has been approved as Canadian. Will indigenous UGC (User Generated Content) creators be able to obtain qualification to be considered a Canadian content creator? What will the application process look like for indigenous peoples to prove that they are Canadian enough? Will there be paperwork and fees with the CRTC or requirements which may lead to possibly financial barriers? What about language barriers? What will the effects be on indigenous youth? We shouldn’t have to apply to prove that we are Canadian enough and shes worried that many indigenous people either won’t qualify, won’t want to prove again that they are Canadian enough, or will face barriers that will prevent from from even trying. What then will happen to indigenous UGC creators? How will they be seen or found on platforms compared to someone who has been deemed an approved Canadian content creator?

She continues by saying that she is not an expert on the broadcasting system and she does not have all the answers to fix this bill, rather, she is here as an indigenous TikTok creator to offer her perspective on how she creates and share content. The opportunities that she has reached an audience outside of Canada and what impact that would be on what is being proposed.

She adds, she said that she likes to thank this committee for inviting her to be heard. Indigenous creators like herself – digital first creators – who use UGC platforms like TikTok and YouTube until now have not been consulted or asked for their views on Bill C-11. While she was glad to see the previous panel of experts and that she understands the indigenous cultural organizations representing traditional artists may have been consulted, independent digital creators like herself are not represented by these organizations and they have unique goals and needs unique from their members.

She explains that they are already doing well based on their own hard work and she doesn’t see how Bill C-11 is going to help them. Rather, she is concerned about the barriers it would create for indigenous peoples. She hopes that they can understand the perspective she brings and the concerns that will directly impact user generated content creators like herself.

Margaret McGuffin of Music Publishers Canada then opened with her statement. She says that 79% of revenue flow to their members by foreign sources. She said that she supports the legislation and welcomes the idea of ensuring Canadian’s find Canadian content. She says that while their members are digital producers, the platforms they work with don’t always contribute to the environment that help Canadian producers grow. That stands in contrast to traditional broadcasters who supported Canadian songwriters for decades.

She also says that digital platforms are constantly evolving with new services, so Bill C-11 must pass with wording that looks to the future and places strong language and technologically neutral wording at the heart of the act. The CRTC must have flexible tools to ensure that the regulatory rules to ensure that the objectives of the Broadcasting Act are achieved. It is especially dangerous to Quebec songwriters if things are left as-is. We risk seeing an entire generation of songwriters who’s work may not be discovered (Yeah, if Bill C-11 is passed without fixing 4.2). Bill C-11 supports content creator jobs and supporting content in English, French, and indigenous languages.

she says that she hopes that passage of Bill C-11 is prioritized before the Spring sitting is over so that Canadian creators can thrive in a digital world (minus those not part of the establishment. The establishment wants those careers dead and gone by the end of 2024).

Questioning the Witnesses

Senator Leo Housakos started the segment by turning to Brousseau. He noted that he heard in Brousseau’s testimony that she felt a little bit betrayed by this governments lack of commitment to UNDRIP and having enough broad consultation on this bill and indigenous voices. At the end of the day, it seems that they did consult with indigenous voices as long as they agreed with their perspective on the Broadcasting Act which, in itself is disappointing. His question was initiated by Jesse Wente of the Indigenous Screen Office who testified earlier with his testimony. He mentioned how Netflix has set historic records on carrying indigenous voices to a degree that we have never seen before. That is, of course, impressive. So, his question is that we have seen for a long time that the government is doing C-11 to protect minority voices like the indigenous voices and their communities. Protect them from what? When we have platforms like TikTok and YouTube and Netflix that are giving us the opportunity to promote indigenous voices – he thinks that we need to find platforms that will propel us to the world. Not create protectionism. So, if she could talk to them about that.

Housakos second question is why isn’t the government preoccupied with the biggest problem facing indigenous communities which is connectivity in rural and northern communities?

Brousseau responded that she feels the same way about UNDRIP and the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action. The Canadian government has been working so hard on ensuring that our voices are being heard that they are being included in these discussions – that they are being involved and thought of though the whole process. When something like this happens, it’s really detrimental to the indigenous peoples as ‘we believe you’, then this happens where they are not even consulted. She thinks this is a reminder though and its something that is not right at reflex to speak with indigenous peoples on issues. It’s something that is going to take time in order for that to happen. She is very grateful and honoured to be there and to be able to use her voice. To her, that is a great move forward as well.

As for connectivity, she adds, she agrees 100%. It’s heartbreaking to know that their people don’t have the same resources or opportunities that could easily be done for their communities – not just connectivity, but stable connectivity. Someone like her, if she doesn’t post something every couple of days, it’ll affect her viewers and her following. If you do not having that connectivity, how are you supposed to build? So, there are a lot of unfair resources and that also needs to be addressed and she is very glad that Housakos pointed those out.

Senator Housakos then asked if Brousseau could share with senators what have been her experiences with the ministry or the Minister’s office as an independent content provider to indigenous communities vis-a-vis taking her concerns.

Brousseau responded that she was able to come to Ottawa and speak with some senators, parliamentary leadership, MPs, ministries, and people like that. For the majority of her visits, it was wonderful. She was able to meet with so many hard working Canadians and she was very thankful for having the opportunities. However, there was one ministry that they met with who did have a different perspective and felt that they really needed to intimidate her with their perspective when she was really just there to share her perspective as she doesn’t know all about the bill and she understands it needs to be passed on certain levels. However, this one ministry, as an indigenous woman, basically gaslit her and told her that they did speak with indigenous peoples and consulted with them. As someone who is very connected with indigenous people, she didn’t feel that was true and she felt that the approach that they took with her was very intimidating and disrespectful.

Senator Housakos responded that he is very sorry to hear that experience. He hopes that she feels very comfortable here at the senate committee regardless if members are for or against the bill. Disappointing that she had that experience.

Senator Fabian Manning said that he wanted to follow up on that because he has heard for the past number of weeks that there is a fair amount of concerns raised in relationship to production of Canadian content and the definition of content being Canadian. His question for Brousseau is as an digital creator, C-11, as she touched on, would ask her or require her to prove that her content is Canadian. They are not exactly sure how that process is going to take place. The Privacy Commissioner has already expressed concerns about this and others have expressed concerns about the onerous nature of this requirement whether it is with forms or whatever the process is. He just like to elaborate the fact of proving that she is Canadian and proving what she produced is Canadian content. He was wondering about how she feels about that and how she believes that C-11 could accept an amendment or whatever process, she wouldn’t have to go through that process once C-11 is passes as it is today.

Brousseau responded that it is very insulting to have to, as an indigenous person from Canada to continuously have to apply for Canadian status for things whether its passports or birth certificates or status cards – things like that. As an indigenous person, being asked again to prove that she is Canadian repeatedly over and over is not a way towards reconciliation in her perspective. She also feels that putting these kind of barriers is another step that will block indigenous peoples from even wanting to apply. If she got an application that said ‘what kind of Canadian do you display?’, she would be very confused thinking that, first of all, she’s indigenous, so anything that she produces is Canadian. So, that would cause some confusion. Also, it would make her feel that ‘am I not authentic enough?’ Is she not, as an original person, as a first person, is her content not authentic enough for Canada? So, there is a lot of questions and qualifications that are going to come into play and she is not even sure if indigenous peoples are even going to want to do those steps.

She continues by saying that if they told her that, every year, fill out this form for TikTok in order to put her content up, and every video, they need to ensure that- she probably would say that she doesn’t want to do this any more. This isn’t fun because this isn’t something that she does to produce income. This is something that she is passionate about. She believes in creating change in Canada by sharing awareness – not just in Canada, but all over the world. She agrees, maybe there should be some sort of amendment for indigenous peoples so that those forms are not required by them. She’s not sure, she doesn’t have all of the answers to that, but she just knows that it is insulting to her to have to repeatedly prove that she is Canadian.

Senator Manning commented that, today, she is creating her own TikTok video’s and putting them up. She is receiving a large and growing audience. Does she believe that C-11 will be detrimental to her experience on the platforms? What does she see for her presence on the platforms with the passage of C-11? He hears the concern in her voice, so what does she see as the concern for future opportunities for her – and not only for her, but for many many other people in the aboriginal community?

Brousseau responded that if Bill C-11 passed just the way it is, her fear is that her content won’t be seen because it is either not deemed “Canadian content” by the CRTC or she is not an official qualified content creator. So, her concern is, first of all, she’ll lose views because she is not in that pool any more. Secondly, she’s worried about reaching the world. She’s not just worried about Canada. She’s worried that she won’t be able to reach Australia with what she is doing or even the United States. 44% of her followers are from the United States. She is also worried that it is going affect that.

She further explains that, for one, as a content creator, is not here to boost Canada or anything like that. Her content is more about creating awareness, change, sharing truth, sharing stories. This isn’t something just for Canadians. This is for people all over the world that she wants to share with. Those are her two biggest concerns: that one, she won’t get the views and two, she’ll less scoped out into the world.

Senator Marty Klyne commented that he is always engaged and enlightened by indigenous content creators sharing culture, ceremony, culture, talent, and experiences – be it true stories or otherwise – especially the UGC that comes out of his territories. He’s very enlightened by that stuff. Also, he wanted to congratulate Brousseau on the size and reach of her audiences. In Brousseau’s opening remarks, she cited a number of questions in search of answers, and they just discussed two of those with his colleague. He was wondering if there are any other concerns she would like to review with this committee and offer any considerations with how those concerns might be overcome.

Brousseau responded by saying that what she really feels like that needs to be looked at is user generated content. So, she agrees that Netflix, the bigger companies, OK, Bill C-11, 100%. However, she is worried about people like her who don’t have those resources. People who are just every day content creator that just doesn’t have a manager, doesn’t have media production, doesn’t have a budget for- these are the people she is concerned about because it’s not just with indigenous, it’s with all of our youth.

She continues by saying that this is where creativity starts. This is somewhere where, whether it’s TikTok or Facebook or any platform like that, this is where it starts. She sees 14, 15 year old’s all of the time starting their platforms and looking at creators like herself and saying, ‘OK, I should do this or I could do this. I could show my talents this way.’ Things like that. It’s not just about being famous. It’s about building those leadership skills for yourself, building that self-confidence when you speak. All of those little details. She’s really concerned with user generated content because this is where you start and where you flourish and where you learn. She likes acting. She want’s to be a voiceover person. There is a lot of opportunities that come from doing something like this. Her biggest concern would be with user generated content to really think about how that could affect us. Not just indigenous, non-indigenous as well and try to remember that there is little people involved as well. It’s hard because we see all the money and the bigger companies, however, there are smaller people like her who really bring value. she just doesn’t want to see us lose that.

Senator Paula Simons commented that digital disruption has caused so many issues around publishing and copyright. She wanted McGuffin to talk about the challenges of digital disruption for music publishers.

McGuffin responded that there’s opportunity and there are problems too. Their members are on the platforms and they are growing their international strategies. The problem is that some of their creators are being left behind. There is evidence that if people are referred to their work, then those people will listen to their songs.

Senator Simons then turned to Brousseau and said that as somebody who has invested a lot of time and energy on Twitter, a platform that is really dissolving before her eyes, she is a little bit concerned. When she meets someone like Brousseau and some of the other witnesses who come before them, who’s success is on one platform, a platform over which they have no control, she is wondering what do they need to put in place to help people like Brousseau who are finding success on one platform to be able to do something that is longer than 30 seconds. Brousseau talked about wanting to act, wanting to do voice over. Presumably, what they are hoping for is indigenous people and digital first creators have success on social media platforms that they’ll be able to leverage that for something beyond. What do they need to put in place to make sure people are not just sort of ghettoized, if she could use that term, on one particular platform where they would get that career lift into something larger.

Brousseau responded that this is a very scary question for sure because Senator Simons is absolutely right because if TikTok disappears, does she disappear or does she work harder on other platforms? She is guilty of that as well because TikTok is her chosen platform. She does have Twitter and Instagram, but she doesn’t really use them. She is right, there needs to be something, especially for our younger generation. If there is somebody that’s 19 years old, indigenous male youth, and they’re taking off and doing well and they have goals and inspirations, there should be somebody that’s an indigenous media organization or, she’s not sure what program, but there should be somebody there to say ‘hey, we see something in you, let’s do this with you or would you like to try that.’ There should be more opportunities at that level, she agrees 100%. She’s just not sure on who’s responsible for that. In her case, for example, her hope is that maybe somebody will find her and be able to use her for something else or approach her. She thinks that a lot of user generated content people are doing is that they are really trying to highlight what they are qualified for and what they are good at and then start recruiting in those directions. It needs to come and reciprocate as well. So, she agrees with Senator Simons 100% that there needs to be more reciprocation when it comes to that.

Senator Julie Miville-Dechene turned to McGuffin and commented that the vocabulary can be a little bit confusing. As she knows, Brousseau is a digital content creator, so for listeners who are listening today, things can be a little confusing. This is the preamble to her question on the distinction to be made between the two. Two of the central points raising controversy in the bill is Article 4.2 on the exception to the exception on social media. Since McGuffin is involved in being a digital content creators, has she reflected in some way of amending 4.2 to make it clearer and to make sure that it specifically targets professional musical content creators and not amateur, if she could put it that way, content creators.

McGuffin responded that she is very clear that songwriters and composers and music publishers are digital creators. Their members are often helping their roster of songwriters to create and get verified on these platforms and make sure they are being heard and seen as part of the overall plan for that creator. Those individual songwriters and performers are performing as digital creators like Brousseau. They are doing that as part of their work as a songwriter and often as an artist. So, they often fall into both categories as a professional content creator.

She continues that she thinks it’s very clear in the act already that to target individual users. Everything needs to be done at the CRTC to make sure that is very clear. That is what the government has said. She would like to make sure that is very clear that individual users are not targeted in this (this is false) and maybe will even benefit from whatever it is the services can come forward with to the CRTC (that is unlikely). That is to say that they are here to help Canadian songwriters, music publishers, labels, and artists. Her hope would be that they come forward together with those services who are a partner to the CRTC to find common language of what they can do to promote Canadian songwriters and to contribute to the system (digital first creators will never see the benefits of that). Many of the companies that they work with in Canada do a lot in terms of coming forward and supporting Canadian creators (not my experience), but we need to future proof this.

Senator Rene Cormier commented that he is particularly concerned about the discoverability of Canadian works and the issue of protecting copyright and intellectual property. He asked about whether the bill protects that intellectual property (has he tried looking at the Copyright Act?) and if the CRTC should be playing an additional role.

McGuffin responded that she is very clear that this bill is not about copyright, but there is a connection. If you are a creator and you are not played, then you won’t receive royalties (what am I listening to right now?). Right now, this is a huge concern with their francophone friends because there is not a space for them on these international platforms for their community (pretty sure Frédéric Bastien Forrest would disagree) and we need to ensure that this system is preserved so they can grow, but that needs to start at home (not really in most cases). Many artists are not finding the support they need from these international companies and that is what she’s most concerned about is emerging creators and emerging companies and where we will be in 10 or 20 years (by stamping them all out? That’s what the bill does.)

Senator Cormier said that she talks about francophone music, but the French and English music industries are really composed of two different systems. He asked about the distinction.

McGuffin responded that this will be up to the CRTC in the hearings following the passage of this bill.

Senator Donna Dasko turned to Brousseau and commented that she said in response to Senator Manning that Brousseau was concerned with how the CRTC is going to categorize Brousseau as Canadian or not Canadian. The way the bill actually works is that the CRTC will not be categorizing Brousseau in any way at all (section 4.2 disagrees with that). It’s going to be the platform that Brousseau uses (where do you even begin with how false that assertion is?). It’s going to be TikTok that they are going to be dealing with (this is straight up gaslighting at this point). So, she wonders how Brousseau feels about how that’s going to work. Does Brousseau have confidence or have a sense about how TikTok might be dealing with Brousseau? Does Brousseau have confidence that TikTok will take Brousseau’s concerns into consideration and that TikTok will find a way to deal with this issue in terms of classification of Canadian (The CRTC is the ultimate arbiter in all of this, not TikTok). Perhaps Brousseau doesn’t want to be classified as Canadian and perhaps that is a better way to achieve success than to be in the category of being Canadian. She is wondering how she feels about that and be able to have a conversation with TikTok and that the platform will be responsive to Brousseau’s concerns (TikTok would have very little say in any of this.)

Brousseau responded that she honestly doesn’t know how TikTok will have to deal with it. She doesn’t understand the whole bill. Let’s say, for example, TikTok will have to identify their audiences as well. What she does know is that out of every platform, and shes on every platform. She’s on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Nobody has developed the relationship she has besides TikTok. That’s probably why she gives so much time to TikTok. It’s a give and take for both of them. So, she really does believe that if this bill is passed and there are concerns with indigenous content creators or user generated content creators, she’s sure that TikTok would speak with the indigenous community as well on working with them to ensure that they have a voice still and obviously use their platform in a way they want them to be using their platform. She’s not an expert when it comes to that (you shouldn’t be expected to be an expert on this stuff either. That’s an unfair expectation.). That’s why she is putting her faith in telling Senators her truth and what she sees how it affects her in hopes that Senators could figure out the answers for them and make it better for them and other content creators. So, she’s sorry she could give a full answer to that. (I’m annoyed at Dasko for pulling that stunt. That was mean on Dasko’s part.)

Senator Dasko responded that this is just great. TikTok has come to them and if the bill is passed, they will be faced with the issue of user generated content and artists such as Brousseau and others in the indigenous community. She just wanted to see if she had confidence that things will work out in the end for Brousseau (From the side of the Senate, I wouldn’t. From the court side of things when lawyers rightfully sue this bill into oblivion, I do.)

Senator Housakos said that his concern at the end of the day is TikTok because when it is all said and done. Listening to Brousseau and listening to the testimony of many independent content producers in this country, his concern is the CRTC. His concern is this piece of legislation. TikTok. YouTube, and all of these other streaming platforms. Take Brousseau, an indigenous woman that has been given a platform where you can build tremendous content, got tremendous following, and Brousseau has turned it into a self-sufficient business. So he, as a legislature, share Brousseau’s concern. When the chair of the CRTC has come before this committee and has said that this bill gives him the power in order to force platforms like TikTok to manipulate what we are watching, what you’re posting. It concerns him. So, the question he has for them is the following: if these platforms start going from a free platforms and don’t judge you on how Canadian you are – you are based on some box you are ticking or some form that the Privacy Commissioner has come before them and expressed privacy concerns – does Brousseau feel that her business could be hurt. If, for example, a platform that you are on, TikTok is given guidelines for whatever reason – that is well intentioned as they might be – might have unforeseen consequences to a content provider.

Brousseau responded, saying that, absolutely, even for just her views for example because not everything is about monetary, but having view, having her voice heard, being seen. This is something that many might not understand, but as an indigenous woman, she has been silenced her whole life. She has literally been silenced her whole life and she finally built something, worked so hard, to be able to have a voice, to have representation, to share truth, and if this was all taken away from her, one, she would try to find another platform or something that is more free wheeling to use, and she’s even read an article about Canadians moving to the States about this.

She asks, is that how far we are going to go to treat Canadians? We make them move countries because we don’t support what they are doing? That doesn’t make sense. She doesn’t think that the bill wants to affect people like her. She doesn’t think that the bill is protecting people like her either. So, that is her concern is that we really need to not just put this on the CRTC. We actually have to be clearer in what we are talking about and not take short cuts or just leave it to certain organizations. Yes, Housakos is absolutely right. She’s just one person. There’s thousands of indigenous creators all over on all sorts of different platforms. To be silencing them in this form is really a step backwards in reconciliation. That’s what she is there for, to make sure everyone is clear: we’ve been doing so well in the steps towards reconciliation and the UNDRIP. To have their voices silenced is not working towards reconciliation. That’s what she feels would happen is that people like her wouldn’t have a voice any more.

Senator Housakos then turned to McGuffin, noting that they’ve had testimony before this committee – they’ve had the Motion Picture Association come before them with stats highlighting the increase in investment over the last decade for Canadian artists. He thinks that they all agree, for a variety of reasons, that artists today in Canada are busier, have opportunities than ever before in large part to the streaming opportunities – Netflix, Disney+, and all the rest of them have invested big dollars in Canada. Of course, the debate goes on for who owns the content and, of course, in his humble opinion, we are still in an archaic definition of what is Canadian content. He has a question that is different than the questions they’ve been posing for most of their witnesses. Is in McGuffin’s opinion, as she has a lot of experience, have the legacy broadcasters done enough in her opinion to generate income for Canadian artists? We keep talking about the need to get the streamers and new platforms to pay their fair share in order to continue to grow our Canadian arts and culture. Have the traditional legacy broadcasters been generating enough into the marketplace to help Canadian artists, content producers, actors, writers, songwriters, etc.?

McGuffin responded by saying that she’ll address the first part of Senator Housakos’ question. They are very interested in working with production companies from around the world. Their members travel around the world. Many members are hired by the CMPA. While the global players are also very important and they pay a lot of attention and see them as partners, a strong Canadian production company is more likely to hire a Canadian composer. There is a strong star system in Quebec. They are on the next phase. They want to work with their digital partners and they want every company that comes into Canada to make an investment in Canada and not just extract value. So, this is about going to the CRTC to find solutions that may be individual to each service. They may not be able to do things all the same, and that’s fine. So, they need an act that is open to incentivize future players who enter the territory to engage with the creators and the businesses in her industry and in the broader creative industries to make sure they are stronger overall.

Senator Housakos asked who pays more royalties to Canadian songwriters? Is it radio broadcasting platforms or is it streaming platforms?

McGuffin responded that it really depends on what creator you are. As Senators heard from (didn’t catch the name), they are not getting a return in the same way they are getting in radio and television. In other cases, they have companies that have a global platform and they are building up their businesses and their creative projects around global plans. So, it really depends on the individual company. The most important thing is to make sure their emerging creators and their regional creator companies are kept strong so they too can move on to build up to global success. Many of her members have.

With that, the hearing was adjourned.

Concluding Thoughts

Brousseau’s comments, I found, actually followed on some of the themes I picked up from the first segment of this hearing. For me, it continued the themes put forward by Jesse Wente about how indigenous creators have a huge presence on various platforms. Specifically, you name the platform, they are there. Another theme that has similarities to Wente’s testimony is how Brousseau was able to express herself and find her voice on platforms. That really corroborated with Wente’s testimony where he talked about how traditional broadcasters continually tell indigenous voices “no”.

Where Brousseau really was able to dive deeper into is the subject of truth and reconciliation. Making the connection between truth and reconciliation and Bill C-11 may not be obvious from the perspective of someone like me who is deep into discussing digital rights and technology. However, when I heard Brousseau testimony, it was a kind of a moment where I ended up telling myself, ‘well, duh, of course that connection is there!’ That connection is plain as day. If we are using bureaucracy to suppress indigenous voices online, that is a step in the opposite direction of truth and reconciliation.

What’s more is that Brousseau testimony really helped drive home the fact that so many creators from different backgrounds and perspective all end up pointing to the same set of problems with the bill. It’s that online creators stand to get hurt by this bill. Their voices are very easily going to get silenced thanks to this legislation. Additionally, there is that almost universal feeling among creators where they know they are going to get hurt, but there is also a worry for the future creator as well. It seems to be a universally disturbing thought that we could be the last generation of Canadian creators to enjoy a borderless inclusive global village where your voice can reach anywhere without the tampering of government regulation. This seems to be regardless of what angle you come from in the perspective of being an online digital creator.

Now, with respect to why I got irritated by Senator Dasko, I decided to go back and review Section 4.2 and it confirmed what I suspected while listening. It isn’t the platform that determines who is Canadian and who isn’t, but rather, it is the CRTC. Here’s the section in question (boldface highlighting is mine):

Regulations — programs to which this Act applies

4.‍2 (1) For the purposes of paragraph 4.‍1(2)‍(b), the Commission may make regulations prescribing programs in respect of which this Act applies, in a manner that is consistent with freedom of expression.

(2) In making regulations under subsection (1), the Commission shall consider the following matters:

(a) the extent to which a program, uploaded to an online undertaking that provides a social media service, directly or indirectly generates revenues;

(b) the fact that such a program has been broadcast, in whole or in part, by a broadcasting undertaking that

(i) is required to be carried on under a licence, or

(ii) is required to be registered with the Commission but does not provide a social media service; and

(c) the fact that such a program has been assigned a unique identifier under an international standards system.

Brousseau expressed frustration about being gaslighted and Dasko was seemingly gaslighting Brousseau later on in the hearing by saying that it’s the platforms that decide these sorts of things. So, that is why I grew frustrated with the framing of those questions because it seemed like a dirty move that only someone who has memorized the bill would have been able to identify. You can’t expect someone like Brousseau to be able to point out something that subtle in the language of the bill.

Frustration aside, though, it was a rather interesting hearing. I felt like my knowledge expanded even further having listened to this hearing which is always a cool thing for me.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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