Senate Hearings on Bill C-11 – A Look at the Fourth Hearing

We continue our special coverage on Bill C-11 with the fourth hearing. This is the last one for the week.

Our special coverage is continuing to take you inside the hearings on Bill C-11 at the Canadian Senate. As it turns out, this isn’t the only week that hearings will take place, so we will continue to closely follow the developments as they come in next week as well.

So far, the first hearing featured the Privacy Commissioner followed up by Global Affairs and the Justice Department. The Privacy Commissioner raised considerable concerns about protecting personal information when determining which users on social media is Canadian or not – both at the platform and CRTC levels.

Meanwhile, Global Affairs provided little substance on why Bill C-11 doesn’t violate Canada’s international trade obligations and dismissed obvious signs that the US was pissed off as simple “engagement”. The Justice Department, likewise, provided little substance as to how C-11 is constitutional and largely refused to answer any questions put forth by Senators.

During the second hearing, we heard from civil rights and digital rights organizations who plainly laid out where the problems are in the bill, why they are problems, the detrimental impacts they would have, and proposed an array of solutions to either mitigate or stop these problems altogether. During the second segment, a number of lobby groups made a number of claims with conflicting information and confusing statements. Senators even had a hard time even getting an answer as to what problem they are trying to solve through the legislation from those witnesses.

That lead to the third hearing which started with a segment from big broadcasting making these Chicken Little claims about the current state of technology. It was difficult to pinpoint why Bill C-11 would solve these problems and conflicting testimony mired those arguments. That led to the other segment which featured representation from large platforms where they pointed out the contributions they make to Canadian content and culture. They effectively countered the claims that the platforms are there to Americanize Canada in the process.

This leads us to the hearing we are covering today. It is the second hearing of day two for the week. The video we are watching is here. Note that our summarizing won’t replace the video or an official transcript, though we are happy to provide out reflections on what we hear. Having said that, let’s take you inside the hearing.

Opening Remarks

Carol Ann Pilon of Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada started off the opening remarks. She generally praised Bill C-11. She mentions foreign streamers in passing while saying how important it is to protect traditional broadcasters. There was an issue for the interpreter trying to keep up with how quickly she was talking. She called for the strengthening of requirements for foreigners for Canadian content. She also calls for the promotion of Canadian content. What’s more is she says that we shouldn’t restrict the role of social media and require the CRTC to regulate (cut off).

The chair asked her to slow down her talking so the interpreters could keep up. She finished her remarks.

Hélène Messier of the Association québécoise de la production médiatique then opened up with her remarks. She notes that she largely agrees with the first speaker and hoped that the interpreter gets a bit of a break because of it. She comments about a decline in her industry. She calls for the re-implementation of one section that talks about minimum expenditure requirements.

From there she called for more recourse for Canadian talent without any difference between domestic and foreign companies. Next, she called for an appeals process to the Governor in Council. Also, she calls for the use of social media to broadcast content for people who don’t get content through traditional means (why would you need legislation for that?). She specifically names TikTok and YouTube for this.

Amélie Hinse of the Fédération des télévisions communautaires autonomes du Québec then opened up her remarks. She spoke about the decline of local television.

Catherine Edwards took over and noted that people can shoot video on their smart phones. She notes that local news is not being represented on social media and there is a growing concern about fake news. She does note that the definition of online undertaking is being questioned. If it were left not amended, it could affect the community element. She notes that online creators could be caught in the act. In response, she said that she wants regulations applied to them. She calls for consultation on this matter so that their local online only creators won’t be left out.

Questions to the Witnesses

Senator Pamela Wallin started with the questions. She notes that there are digital only creators in one of the organizations. So, she asked about what it is that they do.

Messier responded by saying that the online creators are tasked with creating digital content such as web series and digital magazines. She notes that traditional broadcasters want to penetrate digital platforms like TikTok. She says that people who appear in the committee in the name of digital creators are not the only ones who exist. (if anything, so far, digital first creators haven’t really had a chance to speak and their only representation so far have been from digital rights groups who, of course, did a great job at representing their interests).

Senator Wallin notes that it sounds like the concerns are for the traditional broadcasters and the regulatory process surrounding that. She said that she is puzzled as to how it might happen that they are having a relationship with the internet.

Messier responded by saying that, in her view, the Internet is two things. First is broadcast on demand like Netflix or Crave and platforms. She then noted that there were comments from the previous day about how no country in the world attempted to take the traditional broadcasting rules and apply them to the digital world. She said that European countries have applied rules to online digital broadcasting (citation obviously needed on that).

She then says that they have to look at platforms like social media. What she notes is that there is the idea that they need regulations on social media within the current framework of legislation. If they are not included, then it’s going to deprive them of access to information. She says that this is not the case and that she does not want to impose those models in those sectors. Instead, she says that the discoverability and regulations should be applied to the broadcasting that is being done (that’s… the same thing.) She then calls for a better regulatory framework to better understand their practices and introduce legislation to better govern them. (That call makes absolutely no sense to me.)

Senator Wallin asked if anyone else wanted to add to this.

Edwards responded by noting the interpretation of an attempt to intervene to preserve an old structure. She said that her members take advantage of the digital environment to distribute content. In her view, the purpose of the legislation is to note the public service commitment that they have. It’s more about giving the members a voice and give them access to those platforms. It’s about the public service recognition by the CRTC. (So, you use the internet, but you don’t?)

Senator Wallin notes that the issue is that they are already supported by government funds. The question is, how do those independent producers making video’s in their kitchen get access to those funds as well? It was odd for her that lower income groups are calling for the same rules and regulations at the same time and get the legislative punishment as a result.

Edwards responded that it’s not punishment, but about discoverability. For her, in order to have cancon, there has to be more government support.

Senator Wallin said that this is what she is asking about – the funding. How does one do the whole separation of church and state when journalism is getting funding from the government.

Edwards responded by noting the existence of CACTUS and other organizations that act as an organization that separates journalism and government. She responded that this arrangement has been working.

Hinse added that the future isn’t just about getting funding from the government. It is important to maintain journalistic independence, but they want to be a part of this legislation because, if not, then they are not going to be part of the funding coming from the platforms (reference to Bill C-18 in this case?). She says that the platforms are currently what is making the money. She notes the funding being cut off from Videotron.

Senator Wallin commented that she is noting the concerns about Bill C-11 and the control the CRTC has, yet they are supporting Bill C-11 which is going to put the CRTC in charge of everything. It is also noted that there is a very limited ability to appeal any decision in the process.

Edwards responded that the CRTC is extremely cable dominated. She just wants the Brodcasting Act to reflect the roll of community broadcasting.

Senator Wallin notes that a lot of industry groups are calling for reform of the Broadcasting Act. This is something that she doesn’t disagree with. She is just unsure about how regulating the internet is going to accomplish this. As a result, she is seeing two parallel streams here. (Wallin is actually right in that remark. A lot of the actual demands from C-11 supporters up to this point have been seemingly separate from this push to regulate the internet.)

Senator Julie Miville-Dechene asked for clarification on the amendment that is being asked about. Pilon confirmed it. She notes that in the previous version, it was about independent producers, but in the current version, it was about giving the same rights to all producers. Her understanding about Bill C-11 is that it’s about promoting Canadian productions. She then asked how targeting an increasing number of producers would hinder Canadian production.

Pilon responded that it’s about the independent sector that has to share that clause. They are affiliated with broadcasters and online producers.

Messier chimed in saying that the Broadcasting Act strives to promote Canadian production. Now, they are looking at who is making the Canadian products. If we are talking about affiliate producers, you’re talking about those who belong to large broadcasters.

Senator Julie Miville-Dechene responded by saying that she is not sure what they are referring to here. We are still talking about Canadian producers but there are still Canadian producers.

Messier responded, saying that they can belong to in full or in part to broadcasters. There is a questions about producers in Canada and globally. Things just get really confusing from there. I really couldn’t follow the logic in any of that.

Senator Julie Miville-Dechene then asked about what percentage of independent producers there was. (Interpreter might not have caught the answer?)

Senator Julie Miville-Dechene then asked about their place with independent producers.

Messier responded that it is difficult because she is not fully aware of the different agreements the broadcasters have. She notes that production is up, but the number of independent producers are down. She talks about how larger production companies acquire independent producers.

Senator Bernadette Clement comments about the “too cozy silos” and where people get their information and content. She then asked about the importance of Section 5.2.

Pilon responded by talking about a Supreme Court Ruling and various pieces of legislation. The answer was exhaustive about official languages and historical rulings.

Senator Paula Simons asked what section of the legislation is different between the English language version and the French language version.

Messier responded by mentioning Section 5.2 (3) (iv) and that it was the English version that was translated incorrectly.

Senator Simons asked which one she preferred.

Messire responded that she didn’t like either one of them.

There was also a discussion about community television accommodating persons with disabilities.

From there, there was a discussion about editorial decisions in community broadcasting.

Senator Jim Quinn had a discussion about representation from New Brunswick that is part of their organizations. There was a discussion about that.

Pilon chimed in, talking about the awards their members have gotten and how great they are doing. She then took a massive pivot and said that this is the reason we need to regulate the internet. It’s about a framework that everyone must follow. (So, we won awards, therefor, we must regulate the internet? How does this even follow?)

Senator Leo Housakos then commented that, for a long time, he has had a problem with the definition of Canadian content. He’s heard numerous times about how we must protect Canadian culture, but he wants to promote Canadian and Quebec culture. When you protect something, you normally protect something that is weak. When there is a fear that we must protect something that can’t compete internationally, he doesn’t see it that way. He says he is very proud of the cultural community. However, the definition of Canadian content is a restriction on the platforms that exist in 2022.

Senator Housakos offered an example. He, as the government, has $5,000 to invest. However, when the company gets here to Canada, the government says that it’s not Canadian. He wondered if that creates a disadvantage and is discrimination.

Messier responded saying that she disagrees with him. She says that there is an important distinction for Canadian content. When people come to Canada to produce something, for the foreigner, most of the time, there isn’t a Canadian producer or a Canadian writer involved. She cited the example that had a studio in Canada, but had very few Canadian actors and had American producers and scriptwriters. Messier comments that it’s about the IP and says it’s the same thing about a Japanese car. It’s still Japanese even if it’s built in Canada.

For her, just because a foreign company hires Canadians to produce content, then why should we qualify that as “Canadian content”? Foreign companies only come here because it’s good business. This sort of thinking isn’t applied anywhere else and by allowing foreign companies to produce in Canada, you diminish the value of Canadian culture.

Senator Housakos responded that if you have three producers who are making three films in Canada, that’s great. It creates jobs for actors and writers. What is the downside for investors coming into Canada creating even more jobs.

Messier responded, saying that when Disney came here, they filmed X-Men. She said ‘sorry, it’s not Canadian’. She said that it’s not bad. In fact, she says it was good for the Canadian economy. It was audio visual content that was produced in Canada. That content is considered “service content”. We have a choice between providing a service or being a master of our product.

Pilon chimed in saying that you have to have a distinction between Canadian content and what is service content. If there is no distinction, we are going to lose out in end. She refers to this as a slippery slope and there needs to be a standard.

Senator Housakos commented that he wanted to be clear that he wasn’t saying that something filmed here is automatically Canadian content. He used an example of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams going outside of the country to produce an album that the content is no longer considered Canadian. He says that this is where he finds the definition of Canadian content ludicrous. He also raises the example of The Handmaids Tale as well. From there, the meeting adjourned.

Concluding Thoughts on the Segment

One thing that is particularly striking in all of this is that the witnesses all seem to agree that all of these broadcast rules should be thrown at the internet. Yet, when asked why these rules need to apply, the explanations and reasons are, at best, superficial or even unrelated altogether. You have talk about how the sector is going downhill and that subsidies aren’t enough and a whole host of reasons that are, well, not related to putting regulations on the internet.

In fact, when there were specifics about the bill that were raised, none of them had anything, to my knowledge, to do with the internet. Sure, there was plenty of discussion about the importance of community radio and local news. To my knowledge, no one is saying that their roles should be diminished. Further, no one is saying that they should be getting less funding. So, a lot of the reasons behind regulating the internet really have little to nothing to do with the internet at all.

Up to this point, no one has been able to justify Section 4.1 (2) and Section 4.2. In fact, some of the witnesses have come out and plainly said that they have no interest in regulating user generated content up to this point. Yet, at the same time, those who are opposed to this legislation invariable target these section. Really, the move is quite obvious – either strip out both sections of the bill or make it clear that user generated content is not regulated.

Some supporters might argue that those sections are part of “levelling the playing field”, yet whenever specifics are discussed, those same supporters aren’t even talking about user generated content. They are talking about Netflix produced content or Amazon Prime produced content. So, the real question becomes, why are we still demanding that user generated content be captured in the bill? The connection between the justifications and these specific sections have been, at best, extremely tenuous and, at worse, a malicious underhanded attempt to remove any and all competition from the internet.

Another thing worth noting is the discussion about identifying Canadian content. This is basically the follow-up to demanding that user generated content. There has been no justification for why the current model is not only satisfactory, but for why it must apply to user generated content. It almost looks to me that the purpose of applying these regulations to user generated content is to find a legal method to ensure almost no one qualifies regardless of where they reside. The ask comes off as “make it look like an accident that we destroyed everyone’s careers” to me.

At the end of the day, if these supporters want to insert regulations that benefit them and doesn’t affect the internet, by all means. No one is stopping them. The moment these players start intruding into the internet space and start making demands, that is when there are problems. These players had ample opportunity over the last decade plus to adapt to the internet and make themselves successful online. If they can’t utilize their resources to make themselves successful online, that is not the internet or the platforms fault. That is on them.

Opening Remarks on Second Segment

Kevin Desjardins of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters began his opening remarks. He said that the Broadcasting Act continues to fall further out of step with how Canadians consume audio and video content. He said that platforms had a decade to enter the market without hindrance or oversight. From there, he claims that broadcasters had to compete with them for subscribers, audience members, and advertisers. Broadcasters, he claimed, had to bear the burden of supporting the creative sector while platforms only profited.

From there, he further claimed that broadcasters had to play by the rules while platforms played by their rules. He says that Bill c-11 was brought in to ensure that platforms pay for Canada’s broadcasting objectives. He complains that broadcasters are unable to compete because the rules aren’t clear for everyone. Further, he says that it’s important that Canada supports Canadian news rooms and hold government to account.

After that, he claims that digital streamers don’t do this. He says that foreign streamers are skimming money from the system and that will lead to fewer journalists and fewer Canadian voices.

He then says that there is concern about social media, but dismisses these concerns, saying that the legislation is sufficient in this area (it definitely is not).

Reynolds Mastin of the Canadian Media Producers Association then opened with his remarks. He says that the appearance of global markets and the digital economy has brought about huge opportunities. However, in order to take advantage of this, the Broadcasting system must be modernized. He says that he supports Bill C-11’s passage because it better serves Canadians and is more inclusive. He called for provisions to force foreign streamers to contribute to various funds and says that failure to do so represents an existential threat. from there, he proposes three amendments.

Haydn Wazelle stepped in and said that the first amendment is to exclude broadcasters from being forced to make a contribution.

Mastin brought up the second amendment. He called for foreign streamers to make maximum use of Canadian talent.

Wazelle then mentioned the third amendment they are proposing. It involves terms between buyers and producers.

Joel Fortune of the Independent Broadcast Group then opened with his remarks. He just offered an introduction of what his group represents.

Luc Perreault took over and said that they support Bill C-11, but major changes are needed. He says that the CRTC should have terms and conditions for certain programming services. Second, he says, the CRTC should have a dispute settlement process for cable and satellite services. He calls for significant recourse from those offering digital platforms. Further, he calls for regulations to ensure that digital content is distributed fairly among digital services.

Currently, he says that the current bill creates a great deal of uncertainty with regard to the online environment. He references Section 9.1 (1).

Fortune took over, saying that he is concerned that the CRTC does not have the authority to protect the broadcasting policy objectives. Specifically, he says, the bill sets out bold strategies, but doesn’t have specifics to allow the CRTC to do its job properly.

Questions to Witnesses

Senator Paula Simons started off the question and answer segment. She notes that the amendment that was referred to is also the amendment that was previously noted as having a potential translation error. It was confirmed that this is correct.

Senator Simons then commented that when you “level the playing field”, you can do so by either raising people up or lowering people down. From there, a discussion about license fees ensued.

Desjardins then pivoted and said that he is profoundly disappointed that at a moment when big streamers are skimming money from the Canadian system that they should be focused on making a fair and equitable system. He says he is disappointed that the discussion is about maintaining Canadian broadcasters as that backstop. He said that the independent broadcasting sector grew in the decade leading up to COVID-19. Now independent producers are bigger than them and they are all facing foreign streamers that are bigger than everyone. He says he doesn’t understand why energy is being placed in the aforementioned amendment.

Senator Julie Miville-Dechene noted the discussion of who is Canadian and who is less or who is more deserving of being Canadian or should we focus on the foreign players.

Mastin responded saying that the change is needed to ensure that the large vertically integrated broadcasters are not dominating the market and engage in anti-competitive behaviour. For him, it’s about ensuring diversity in the market.

Senator Miville-Dechene commented that she is sure that they will continue to disagree, so she moved on to a different topic. She notes that, on the terms of trade, it looks like what is being asked is taking what is already in Bill C-18 and putting it into Bill C-11. She asked about the IP if 100% of the content is funded.

Mastin commented that, while using Disney as an example, that the IP is retained in Hollywood while Canada is being used as a manufacturing platform for that IP. That is a service, but that is not his focus as it’s a totally different category. What he’s talking about is not a foreign producer, but a Canadian producer working with Canadian creators and they are working on a partnership for working on that show. He says that if a show is successful, all the partners share in that success.

Wazelle adds that producers are often in a take it or leave it position. What is being sought is re-calibrating the balance so that it’s easier to not only retain the IP, but exploit the IP. There was some back and forth on this topic after.

Senator Donna Dasko admits that she’s getting confused with this amendment issue (understandable). She says that the goal of the bill is to create a level playing field, but it does not create a level playing field. What the bill does is just bring the online foreign streamers into a regulatory framework. She asked what specifically in the bill is targeted towards the Canadian broadcasters.

Desjardins responded that he wouldn’t minimize the bringing of foreign players into the Canadian regulatory framework. He said that this is the core of the bill. He notes the question of ‘how’, but that is a regulatory framework question. They can’t deal with the regulatory framework until they move forward with this legislation. He commented that there was a comment from Spotify about having another year to build meta data, but they had 6 years to build market share (that sounds like a comment taken out of context to me).

Desjardins then said that we are leaving so much money to leave the country. This is why he gets frustrated by some of the discussions happening right now. It’s about strengthening Canadian broadcasters to allow them to create Canadian content.

Senator Dasko said that let’s say foreign streamers are being required to pay into a fund. Would Canadian broadcasters benefit from that fund?

Desjardins responded that they don’t have an answer for that. He said that he doesn’t know, but that if a player benefits from the Canadian system, that player has an obligation to sustain that. There was then more discussion about the amendment that was earlier brought up.

Senator Pamela Wallin notes that, based on what was said, the focus is on the funding of Canadian content and forcing the large players to pay and forcing the concept of discoverability by regulating the internet. Her question is whether the CRTC is the appropriate regulatory body to regulate the internet? Does it have the staff, the ability, or range to conduct the task and whether the appeals process is appropriate so we don’t have the CRTC policing themselves?

Fortune responded, saying that it is absolutely the right organization (are you kidding me???). He says that they’ve been doing this for decades and decades and decades (no, they have never regulated the internet in this way so far). Further, he says that they have the expertise (they clearly do not) and they are a Canadian institution.

Senator Wallin then asked to what degree would they have to ramp up their resources?

Fortune responded that they would have to have the proper resources and do the proper work (what an idiot). He says that it’s not the entirety of the internet (it may as well be) and it will be done incrementally (do you have any idea what you are talking about?) in the best Canadian tradition (terribly?). He says he’s not worried about it at all as it’s just going to take work and resources (does he envision hiring half of Canada to do this?) but they are absolutely the right organization. (my response to that)

Desjardins chimed in saying that he would echo that and said that the CRTC is the right organization to do this (did an idiot bomb go off?). He said that we are not talking about regulating the entire internet, we’re talking about a very slim part (so, you don’t have a clue how big YouTube is) which looks like the distribution that the regulator has always dealt with.

Senator Wallin responded that if you are going to impose discoverability rules, you are going to be regulating the internet in its entirety even though that seems like an impossible task. You never know where you are going to discover Canadian content.

Desjardins replied, saying that discoverability is not one of their lead concerns (dude, stop digging). He says that the challenges put forward by others talking about the impossibility of it all is (with VERY good reason), it’s not about managing algorithms (did you even read the bill?), but about making sure Canadian content is findable on home pages (facepalm). He said that the discussions around discoverabiltiy to be a bit of a canard. (so, you admit to being an idiot, got it.)

Perreault jumped in and said that we aren’t even talking about regulating the internet, they are talking about regulating platforms, but broadcasters are putting content into a cable so that platforms can receive it so they can put it into the internet (I think my IQ is dropping having heard that). He says that they are just talking about regulating the platform itself.

Mastin chimed in saying that he wants to be on record not missing the opportunity to express his complete agreement – especially with the comments that the CRTC is well equipped to handle regulating the internet (all aboard the idiot train). He then said that Canadians have long had an ability to appeal a CRTC process to the federal cabinet.

Wazelle also chimed in saying that when they are talking about discoverabilty with regards to policing the entire internet (riiiight). He then did some hand wringing about how if the next generation of consumers log on to the internet and are not easily seeing content that directly reflects their values, then there will be an erosion in what is viewed as Canadian and replaced with another countries values.

Senator Wallin said that it’s not the advertising that they are talking about, but the ability to push content with their algorithms. She notes that the current appeals process is through the courts which is something that big corporations have access to. However, when we are talking about regulating user generated content, it’s different and the issue of appeals should be looked at from a different perspective.

Senator Housakos then took a turn and noted that as they go along in this process and hearing from witnesses, that he is becoming less convinced that this bill is about saving and preserving Canadian culture and more about saving legacy broadcasters from competition and trying to limit the choice of consumers. (BINGO!!!)

He then said that he has a couple of young kids at home and as he’s watching the news, his kids keep walking past him laughing and giving him news faster than he does. He notes that many witnesses have called for the creation of an equal playing field. Would it be amenable to simply have less regulation to do that instead of more? He asks because a lot of young people are telling him that this bill will reduce choice and it will also put into risk future investment into the Canadian culture.

Desjardins responded saying that in terms of protecting Canadian broadcasters from competition, the competition is already here. So, there’s nothing in the bill that protects them from these global competitors. (HAHAHAHAHA!!!) He then said that there needs to be a re-balancing of the regulatory burden. The big streamers have all of the financial capital in the world while broadcasters only have local capital. So, he says, he agrees that a lightening of the regulatory burden is an idea, but at the same time, there is not a stitch of regulator burden on these larger players (that’s a lot of words for “no”).

He then says that if they continue as-is, there will not be a Canadian broadcasting system. As a result, there aren’t Canadian stories like news. (so, the sky is falling. Gotcha.)

After that, he said that in terms of consumer choice, he’s heard about certain services would pick up an leave the country (not the question). He says that there is not a chance that they would take the added 12 million subscribers and turn them overboard. He then says that there is nothing in the bill that he sees that is about protecting Canadian broadcasters. He just wants something that is fair and equitable.

Fortune chimed in saying that there is no way a global streamer is going to reflect Canadian values or indigenous content.

Mastin then chimed in saying that this bill is about, for the first time, making sure that foreign streamers contribute to the long term sustainability of Canadian culture.

Senator Dennis Dawson said that the bill protects Canada and consumers are not being attacked by this bill (yes they are). He also says that the CRTC is the best tool to regulate the internet (anyone who says that is a tool if you ask me). There was a discussion about trade.

Senator Bernadette Clement comments that we are living in a world of increasing misinformation. So, she wanted to know about the threat to reduced programming.

Desjardins replied that no one should assume that their members are bunny ear members (whatever that means). His members are on the other platforms like social media. He then goes into funding. He further notes that there are a lot of stressers in the market such as competing for advertising, cord cutters and cord nevers. He says that news rooms are what’s at stake.

The meeting was then adjourned.

Concluding Thoughts

So, I was especially hard on the comments about the CRTC being able to regulate the internet. It’s about the height of absurdity and ignorance in these hearings so far. I don’t say they are idiots because I disagree with them. I say that they are idiots because it’s very very clear they have no idea what they are talking about. On what planet does any body even have a chance at regulating the internet, let alone the CRTC? The volume levels of content speaks for itself:

While I couldn’t find statistics on the volume of content posted to TikTok, all of this should highlight the point that it’s just not physically possible. The straight up numbers tell the story. It’s not physically possible to “regulate the internet” as these broadcaster types freely say.

Over top of that, there was definitely a lot more fearmongering that these big streamers are coming into Canada and will Americanize the country unless this bill is passed immediately. Frankly, these assertions don’t even pass the laugh test. As some of the witnesses themselves admit, hundreds of millions are poured into the system every year to produce Canadian content. The content will get produced and it will get seen by Canadians. That will always happen.

One of the senators straight up asked if this bill is really about protecting legacy broadcasters. The hilarious response was the straight up denial and response that the legislation totally doesn’t do anything for broadcasters. An Oscar should be awarded for being able to say that with a straight face of you ask me. That is literally the whole point of not only the bill, but the insane lobbying effort behind it. To turn around and say it totally doesn’t benefit those who were twisting every arm they could is completely absurd.

Another point that was hilarious is the fact that they commented that this bill is not about regulating the internet. If that was the case, then they shouldn’t have a problem striking Section 4.1 (2) and 4.2. After all, if this isn’t about regulating the internet, then there clearly isn’t a use for those sections.

The first segment featured lobbyists making many circular arguments. The second segment featured hilariously idiotic comments. I think I heard some silent chuckling on the senate floor when there were remarks about how the CRTC is well equipped to regulate the internet. Perhaps these speakers can sign up with Rick Mercer to further their standup comedy careers. Clearly, that was their calling.

There have been a lot of people remarking how this bill is spearheaded by people who do not understand the internet. A lot of these witnesses happily proved those critics right.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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