The NDP Boilerplate Response to Bill C-11 Letters is an Indictment on the NDP

Freezenet has obtained a copy of the boilerplate letter the NDP is sending to creators concerned about Bill c-11. It is damning.

The concerns about Bill C-11 have remained unchanged since the legislation’s introduction. As our analysis points out, the legislation is a massive threat to digital first creators livelihoods. Like the predecessor, Bill c-10, Bill C-11 only considers the Internet as just another cable TV channel. As such, the government is ordering platforms to air a percentage of Canadian content. What is that percentage? The government refuses to say. How does the Canadian government intend on carrying that out? Sorry, that’s secret too.

While many have pointed out for the last several months that the legislation is going to effectively get Canadian creators content scrubbed off people’s recommendations, we’ve been pointing this out for over a year now. Why is this? Well, when the Canadian government says that it is focused on making “Canadian content” more “visible”, they are not talking about anything produced by Canadians. What they really mean is “Canadian content” produced by the largest players in the publishing and broadcasting sectors, legally pushing anything that would compete (very effectively) against that content to the ghetto’s of social media where no one has a hope of ever seeing that content ever again.

This is not just some random conspiracy theory that this would happen. In fact, the whole “cancon” concept was modelled off of traditional broadcasting channels such as radio and television. As the Canadian government made abundantly clear, the “cancon” system will simply be applied to the Internet. So, back in March, we investigated those rules ourselves with one simple question: if these rules applied to us, would we be classified as Canadian. The stark answer is “no”. The CRTC (Canada’s regulator for these things) has a specific points system. You need 6 points to simply qualify as being Canadian. We put our vidcast and podcast through the jungle of rules and, despite warping and bending the rules to their most extreme, Freezenet does not qualify despite being 100% staffed by Canadians (now, just me).

Practically speaking, we are far from alone in being in this position. There are countless YouTubers, TikTokers, and other production operations out there that would wind up in the exact same boat as Freezenet. So, it’s little wonder why Canadian Digital First Creators are losing their collective minds over this whole process. They are bearing witness to a Canadian government that is hell bent on ending their careers and destroying their livelihoods. To add insult to injury, the government not only doesn’t seem to care, but has been outright hostile towards those same taxpayers as well.

In response to the hostile environment created by the Liberal government, a number of Canadian creators have become cynical about the whole process. It’s easy to see why: they are expressing their concerns to a government that hates the Internet with a burning fury. Still, many did sign an open letter to the Canadian government, expressing their concerns that their livelihoods are now in the process of being lined up for the governments regulatory firing squad. At the very least, it was worth a shot before having to consider moving to another country just so they can continue what they love doing.

The letter, which we signed, can be read on Digital First Canada. Here is the letter in full:

Dear [recipient name will go here],

As a digital creator, I’m writing to you to express my concerns about Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act passed by the House of Commons and now under review by the Senate. As it’s currently written, Bill C-11 gives the CRTC the authority to regulate content from digital creators, like me, on open platforms, as it does for television and radio.

In its current form, Bill C-11 puts my livelihood at risk. It also means Canadians will no longer be in control of their viewing experience.

The Government has repeatedly said it doesn’t intend to target user-generated content. If that’s the case, why won’t they fix Bill C-11 with specific language that excludes user-generated content from CRTC regulation?

Some representatives in Government believe that the concerns being shared by creators are a result of misinformation – this is disappointing. Ian Scott, the Chair of the CRTC, confirmed publicly ( that the CRTC would have the authority to regulate user-generated content, and wants platforms ( to manipulate algorithms to produce a particular outcome. My concerns around C-11 are valid and based on my experience building my business online as a Canadian digital creator.

Open platforms remove traditional media gatekeepers, which allows for the democratization of content and provides an opportunity for creators from diverse communities, walks of life, and passions to express themselves, share their talent, and build a business. Open platforms also allow Canadian creators the unique opportunity to capture global attention and audiences.

As a digital creator, my content is my livelihood. And as one of your constituents, I’m counting on you to make my voice heard. Please help protect the digital creators in your community and tell Minister Rodriguez to remove Section 4.2 from C-11 to ensure that the Bill does not apply to user generated content.

Thank you for reading,
[your name will go here]
[your email address will go here] [your location will go here]

It’s quite straight forward and a reasonable letter. Well, as it turns out, the NDP (a once respectable party that has devolved into little more than a husk that stands for nothing) is sending boilerplate responses to these letters. Digital First Creators have noted for some time that they are receiving such letters that completely failed to address any of their concerns. Recently, Freezenet has obtained a copy of such a letter. We have decided to post this in full with our thoughts.

Full letter:

I appreciate you taking the time to write to me about Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. I hope that you and your family are healthy and safe as we come through the pandemic.

Since the Broadcasting Act originally came into effect, the CRTC has never regulated online platforms that compete unfairly with our local businesses. We know that people are increasingly concerned about the power of the web giants, who do not pay their fair share and do not play by the same rules as Canadian companies. Despite the Liberals promising to act by taxing the profits of these digital media companies, these companies continue to make billions of dollars and huge profits. For many years, the federal government protected the profits of web giants instead of ensuring that our cultural workers get their fair share.

For one, that is not the concern about Bill C-11. Bill C-11 does not move a single dollar from one source to another. It may, as Senators have already pointed out, provide the framework for a future law saying that large platforms might need to pay into a fund, but the legislation itself does not do so. Further, the legislation doesn’t even have anything to do with large “tech giants” like Amazon and Netflix paying a new tax. That is a separate issue entirely.

As a result of this unfair competition, Canada’s cultural businesses have had less revenue, media and cultural workers, artists and musicians have been losing even more revenue and work opportunities. We needed to fix that.

This is where the NDP is conflating two completely different issues: taxing large tech giants and revenues in the culture sector. Taxing “web giants” is actually about. from the supporters perspective, levelling the playing field to ensure that these companies pay the same taxes as small businesses (think a cupcake shop or a local bike shop). It is, obviously, a lot more complex then that because the US has already threatened trade tariffs should Canada move forward with the Digital Services Tax. So, there is complexities in that area that do need to be addressed.

Note that this is not only a completely separate issue, but also a completely separate bill. Revenues for the culture sector is a complex one. Already, large publishers and broadcasters receive significant revenue from tax breaks and what some describe as “media bailouts” from the Federal government. There is, of course, debate over whether the Canadian government should continue to subsidize these large corporations, keep subsidizing them at the current level, or reduce the subsidies to direct those subsidies to other sectors.

There is a side issue about whether Google Adsense pays publishers adequately. That came into sharp focus back in January when Project Bernanke was revealed by US prosecutors. We have to note that the accusations haven’t been proven in court, but the accusations were, nevertheless, levied against Google. The Canadian government really didn’t do anything to react to those revelations back then to our knowledge.

Publishers have long contended that the likes of Google and Facebook have been effectively “hoarding” ad revenue. This is how both platforms utilize their market strength to somehow slurp up all the ad revenue in the industry and leave media outlets with scraps. The accusations have never really been backed up by much in the way of solid proof. What’s more is that there is good evidence that newspapers have shut down thanks to ignoring the changing markets and hoping that the Internet would just “go away on its own” – a strategy that has utterly failed. So, if that is the concern, what has the government done about this? Nothing. Link taxes do nothing about this and Bill C-11 does nothing about this.

So, the question is, what does this have to do with Bill C-11? Absolutely nothing at all. Bill C-11 doesn’t add GST to Amazon or Netflix. Bill C-11 does nothing to balance out any perceived market imbalances in the advertising sector. What’s more is the fact that Bill C-11 does nothing to ensure ad networks pay publishers and charge advertisers fairly or whether publishers get more advertising dollars. Why is the NDP bringing all of this up? They probably want to make themselves look smart when, in fact, they look like blithering idiots trying to pitch this to online creators who never even brought these subjects up in the first place.

The letter continues:

That’s why, the NDP called on the federal government to create a level playing field between Canadian broadcasters, our media and cultural workers in that sector and the web giants. In this way, a web giant like Netflix will be required to pay a share of its profits to cultural workers, through funds such as the Canada Media Fund, as traditional broadcasters are called upon to do.

This is almost a hilarious admission that Bill C-11 has left digital first creators out in the cold. They admit this has everything to do with large broadcasters and the platforms. As for digital first creators, you get a giant middle finger from the NDP.

The letter continues:

As the NDP Spokesperson on Canadian Heritage, I’ve analyzed C-11, discussed it with the NDP caucus. We collaborated with experts and affected workers to ensure that its measures level the playing field as it is supposed to do.

IN THE HOUSE – on C-11 online streaming act

The problem is, the NDP did no such thing. In fact, the record speaks for itself in that the party did exactly the opposite of what they said here. Digital first creators, people affected by this legislation, showed up in droves to the hearings to speak out about how they would be negatively impacted. In response, creators were not only ignored, but also openly attacked and subject to massive defamation campaigns on top of it all.

In short, the Canadian government declared war on creators and they will stop at nothing until their careers have been stamped out of existence. The NDP, meanwhile, is all too happy to cheer on the destruction of these careers, joining in on this anti-Canadian campaign.

The letter continues:

We wanted to make sure C-11 was stronger. We brought forward a series of amendments to this bill. We fought for and got several amendments approved at the Committee in many important areas. I want to compliment the members of the heritage committee who voted for those far-reaching amendments.

The NDP wanted to make sure we broke down barriers for marginalized peoples in Canada. We tabled a series of amendments, and successfully got those through the committee. There are now substantial improvements that break down barriers for Black and racialized Canadians in broadcasting, for Indigenous Peoples, indigenous culture, indigenous voices and indigenous languages.

Once again, the NDP brings up a subject that has nothing to do with the initial concerns expressed in the above letter. Whats more is that because of the high barrier to enter being set by Bill C-11, those “marginalized” communities will end up being excluded anyway thanks to being bumped down the recommendation pages simply because (for instance) CTV is required to be higher up on the recommendations system.

Canadians with disabilities had been excluded from the broadcasting system and from online streaming for far too long. We helped to ensure more access for persons living with disabilities. Those are important barriers that the New Democrats broke down, and we are proud of our accomplishments.

First of all, what part of YouTube is somehow a barrier to people with disabilities? Further, how was this solved with the NDP amendment to Bill C-11. The NDP doesn’t elaborate. If anything, thanks to not citing specific examples, the NDP appears to be simply lumping the Internet with traditional broadcasting not knowing the differences.

Bill C-11 will update the Canadian broadcasting policy by providing that the Canadian broadcasting system meets the needs of all Canadians and provide opportunities for indigenous communities, including programming in indigenous languages that reflects indigenous cultures and programming that is accessible to persons living with disabilities and free of barriers.

The programming provided by the community element should reflect Canada’s communities, regions, Indigenous and multicultural nature, including through third-language programming support new and emerging Canadian creative talent, as a cost-effective venue for learning new skills, taking risks and exchanging ideas.

Does YouTube, as a platform, somehow discriminate against indigenous and multicultural content? Not to our knowledge. Does TikTok suppress those some voices? Not to our knowledge. What, in the NDP’s minds, do they think YouTube and TikTok do to suppress these voices in the first place? We really don’t know. If anything, the overwhelming messages we’ve heard from Canadian creators online is that such platforms circumvent the gatekeepers of traditional broadcasters and allows people to tell their stories in ways they want to tell it. Those same voices have begged the Canadian government to not take all of that away – something the government ignored. That is what we’ve heard during the hearings, so where was the NDP in all of that?

Through our amendments, it was critical to renew community broadcasting and the opportunity for them to develop their own content and voices. This will help build more solidarity and knowledge of community stories and lead to more local news and diversity in Canadian media, according to Canada’s community radio and TV stations.

Congratulations. Has nothing to do with the Internet.

We wanted to make sure that Canadian jobs and Canadian broadcasting were enhanced, particularly with respect to employment in Canada and Canadian programming. We are talking about $1 billion in investments according to estimates. That means tens of thousands of jobs right across the country. This will mean a significant renaissance of the Canadian creative and cultural industries.

That $1 billion in investments was actually proven to be fictional. When the Canadian government was pressed on where the $1 billion would come from with respect to Bill c-11, government officials responded by saying that the numbers are “illustrative” (meaning, they completely made that number up). Ever since that lie went down in flames, the Canadian government has taken the stance that they never said $1 billion would come out of the bill. In short, they got caught out in that lie and they wanted to back out and pretend that messaging never happened (yeah, it’s all on record and the above further proves that).

The NDP will always stand up for freedom of expression and we proposed that and ensured that freedom of expression is enhanced as the bill was moving forward through the Parliamentary process. Unanimously, members of the heritage committee agreed, and that means freedom of expression is now paramount in the direction given to the CRTC in this legislation, because of NDP amendments the CRTC is now more accountable to Canadians.

Nice talking point, but that lie also went down in flames earlier this month. The CRTC, in their N-word ruling, overruled the Canadian Charter and ordered the CBC to apologize, basing their entire decision on the Broadcasting Act. The ruling meant that they do not follow the Canadian Charter and they aren’t really basing their decisions over what is constitutionally protected. The delicious part about the ruling is the fact that the CBC themselves fully backed the legislation up to that point. Their blind support for the legislation stung them and they are now attempting to appeal the ruling.

Whether or not the CBC is successful in their appeal remains to be seen. For the time being, however, the ruling proved that the CRTC is not any more accountable just because a few words of “pretty please follow the Charter” was thrown in.

Further, Bill C-11, as it stands, still regulates user generated content. Section 4.1(2) and Section 4.2 is still in the bill. Apart from a few clerical changes that ultimately doesn’t really change the meaning of these two sections, these sections of the bill still regulates user generated content.

Further still, the NDP actually had the opportunity to remove user generated content in the process. The party voted that down along with the Liberals and the Bloc. Unsurprisingly, the little factoid didn’t make it into the letter. I wonder why.

C-11 draws a distinction between amateur content and professional content that generates revenue. And the regulation would not apply to social media services themselves with respect to amateur programming uploaded by their users, or even to creators and influencers.

First of all, if there is an ad next to or is part of the content, that content generates revenue. Whether that user receives that money depends on the situation. In the eyes of the bill, that does not matter. The NDP here is not only demonstrating they do not have an understanding about how social media works these days, but also demonstrating a lack of understanding about how Bill C-11 works.

For example, when a YouTuber uploads a video, sometimes, music gets into the background of that video. A video game is a prime example of this. On YouTube, ContentID can flag that part of the video. From there, the rights holder often decides what they do with the video after. Sometimes, the video gets restricted in some countries. Other times, the video might be forced to mute a section. In a number of cases, the rightsholder will demand that advertisements get placed on that video – meaning the rightsholder places ads on someone elses video and keeps all money generated from it to themselves. It is clearly fair dealing, but YouTube does not recognize exceptions to copyright law.

For Canadian creators in this situation, the legislation would become a double whammy. First of all, they are seeing any potential ad revenue stolen from them even though the use of said work is clearly legal. Second of all, their content, and potentially, their whole channel, would get flagged by the CRTC as “commercial” and get regulated accordingly. This despite the fact that the video creator is not even making a single cent off of the video.

Bill C-11 doesn’t address that at all. Instead, it sees content that has revenue tied to it as content that should be regulated – end of story. Sometimes, an advertisement might appear next to a video for the platform to generate revenue. Sometimes, it’s for a rights holder. This means that creators can very easily be subject to regulation long before they meet any threshold needed to start generating revenue.

The government could have chosen to hold hearings to understand how these networks operated. They chose not to. The government could have brought people in to explain how these networks work. They chose not to. The government could have brought in people who work for the industry to explain how they generate revenue. They chose to let the Conservative Party smuggle in a creator or two and ultimately screamed at them for “spreading misinformation” instead. Instead, the government, and the NDP, adopted an approach of inventing an idea about how the Internet works and chose to operate on assumptions – no matter how false or wrong those assumptions were.

The letter continues:

There had been a lot of misinformation about this bill from the Conservative Party talking about things that are not in the bill. This Official Opposition has been actively spreading a lot of disinformation about C-11. This Bill is simply establishing a level playing field for Canadian artists, which the vast majority of Canadians support.

This fundamentally misunderstands the debate surrounding Bill C-11 and Bill C-10. The reality is that opposition has been going on long before the Conservatives were on board with this. In the early days of Bill C-10, tech experts and journalists like myself have been raising the alarm about what the reform to the Broadcasting Act. At the time, we were largely ignored on all fronts because we were all supposedly too “niche” to be of concern to any Canadian.

It wasn’t until Bill C-10 started getting more press coverage (after Bill C-10 was tabled) that the Conservative party took interest. Up until that point, the Conservative Party had been muddling their way through the Liberal government, trying to find something, anything, to stick on the Liberals. Time and time again, the Conservatives came up empty handed and nothing to show for their efforts. The overwhelming consensus is how the Conservatives don’t really stand for anything. Further, the consensus was that it is one thing to criticize the government, but it’s quite another to show how you, as an official opposition, would do things different – something the Conservatives hadn’t done up to that point.

It’s thanks to how badly botched Bill C-10 was that Conservatives finally had something to peg on the Liberals. Bill C-10 would infringe on free speech in Canada and it represented a massive overreach by the Canadian government. As a result, Bill C-10 represented a golden opportunity for the Conservative Party to finally hold the Liberals to account on something – something that had been sorely lacking until then.

Ever since, and with Bill C-10 ultimately becoming Bill C-11, there has been a sort of uncomfortable alliance between tech experts and the Conservatives simply because us tech experts remember the warrantless wiretapping (Lawful Access) push and the multiple bungled Copyright reform laws of the Harper years. We had to basically plug our noses and accept the alliance because it is either accept the awkward alliance (many of us suspect this is just political opportunism on the Conservatives part) or have zero representation in government. Yeah, we all held our noses and accepted the former.

It isn’t just us tech experts holding our noses on this one, either.

A number of Liberal and NDP supporters are also looking at their own parties by throwing up our hands and giving a collective “WTF?” For many in this position, it became a truly bizarre moment where they have no choice but to support Conservative Party positions on this specific bill. Politically, at least for NDP supporters, it is beyond weird to side with Conservatives (which is very politically opposite to what they believe in politics).

Finally, a lot of digital first creators, many of whom are simply apolitical, are finding themselves with little choice but to side with the Conservative party on this. A lot of them don’t like it, thanks in part to what they remember of the Harper years, but it’s basically a shotgun wedding for some because the Conservatives are fighting against a bill that could wipe out their whole careers. What choice do they have other than take positions that resemble the Conservatives position on this bill? That is the real nature of the opposition to Bill C-11 – not that it’s just a bill the Conservative Party opposed.

As for another chunk of the excerpt, it is beyond ironic that the NDP, who clearly spread a lot of misinformation in this boilerplate, is accusing the Conservatives of spreading misinformation. Also, there is no evidence to suggest that a “vast majority of Canadians support” Bill C-11. Bill C-11 also does the exact opposite of creating a “level playing field”. It aims to tilt the marketplace into the favour of traditional broadcasters (many of whom long ignored the Internet outright in the first place) and eradicates all their competition online. It grants a monopoly of the audience to a small handful of large corporate interests in Canada.

It was disappointing that the Conservative MPs at the Committee refused to take the opportunity for a proper legislative review of the bill in order to improve it. For weeks and weeks, the Conservatives filibustered the committee, blocked witnesses from appearing and stopped amendments from being discussed and debated.

Actually, it was the Liberals who refused to have a proper legislative review of the bill. This thanks to bringing in only witnesses that have pushed for the bill in the first place. This was well documented by Canadian creators who ended up feeling disillusioned about the process afterwards. In this case, the Conservatives are actively fighting against a bad (and unconstitutional) bill here. The NDP is actively choosing to bury their heads in the sand.

Even though all the other parties including the NDP, had submitted amendments, the Conservatives refused to move to have amendments discussed to improve the bill. The NDP got almost a dozen amendments through because we believed in working hard to improve the bill.

Actually, the amendments were voted on in a secret rushed process where they were voted on by number and party affiliation only and kept out of the public eye. It was an anti-democratic process and simply not transparent at all. Further, the Conservatives did table amendments despite all of this.

Bill C-11 passed in the House of Commons and has advanced to the Senate of Canada, where it will once again be reviewed and voted on.

The NDP is proud to have been able to use our effective opposition voice not to destroy, block or stop any consideration. We played a constructive role at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to improve this important bill. We wanted to make sure that this bill was stronger. That is our role as an effective opposition party in Parliament.

For further information, about the content of C-11, I certainly encourage you to check it out here.

  • IN THE HOUSE – Questions and Comments – Bill C-11 Online Streaming Act
  • You can also find more information about the work undertaken by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on C-11, including studies, activities and reports here: CHPC – Home – House of Commons of Canada (

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.

Stay healthy and safe in these challenging times,

Peter Julian, MP (New Westminster-Burnaby)
NDP Spokesperson on Canadian Heritage
NDP House Leader

This boilerplate response is a terrible indictment on the NDP party. This is supposed to be directed at Canadian creators concerned about how their livelihoods are now in jeopardy because of Bill C-11. The NDPs response to these concerns is a giant middle finger. What’s more is the fact that the letter also tries to insult the intelligence of creators who have researched the bill and realized that their careers are at risk. The NDP seems to think that they can just make some broad generalizations and expect their respondents to simply accept it at face value. It fails to address the concerns of creators and even flat out spews falsehoods about the process and even what is in the bill itself. It also pushes obviously debunked misinformation as well.

The comically bad response wouldn’t be so bad if the consequences weren’t so serious. This whole debate is not a joke. This whole debate is not some pet project or something to be brushed off as if it will go away on its own. Bill C-11 threatens the livelihoods of a lot of people out there. If the NDP truly thinks that simply ignoring those voices and flipping them the bird while voting for this bill is without consequences, they will have another thing coming.

As someone who has been a very vocal supporter of the NDP, I can tell you from personal experience that this effort to support Bill C-11 will end that enthusiastic support. I’d rather stay home and let the Conservative party win then to vote for a party that ended my right to free speech online. At least if the Conservatives ruing the economy and turns Canada into a fascist state, I can, at least, still complain about it because I’m white. With my free speech being eroded with Bill C-11, I stand to not have a voice at all.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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