Week 1: Other Half of Senate Bill C-18 Schedule Unveiled

We are now learning who else will be appearing as witnesses for the Bill C-18 senate hearings. We bring you the latest.

Over the weekend, we took a look at the senate schedule and discussed the witness list to the best of our abilities. It’s a tradition we carried over from the Bill C-11 Senate hearings. Weirdly enough, though, when we did the look ahead, we found that the second hearing was blank. While we don’t know the reason, we presumed that witnesses would eventually appear in that hearing.

As it turns out, we were correct and now we are learning who else will appear. According to the Senate schedule, we see this for April 26th:

Bill C-18, An Act respecting online communications platforms that make news content available to persons in Canada

Sue Gardner, Member, Policy Committee Internet Society Canada Chapter
Lawrence Gibbons, Group Publisher Star Observer
Chris Gogos, Publisher of Neos Kosmos and Director of the Independent Multicultural Media Association Star Observer
Matthew Hatfield, Campaigns Director OpenMedia
Randy Kitt, Media Sector Director Unifor
Emma McDonald, Senior Policy Adviser Minderoo Foundation
Philip Palmer, President Internet Society Canada Chapter
Rod Sims, Professor, Australian National University As an Individual

Right off the bat, we see Sue Gardner of the Internet Society Canada Chapter. That organization is well known to be opposed to Bill C-18. So, we’ll likely see additional opposition to the legislation. Garner isn’t alone from that organization. We also see Philip Palmer of the Internet Society Canada Chapter. If that name rings a bell to you, then it’s probably because we actually covered some of his work last month when he jointly wrote a paper explaining why Bill C-18 has no constitutional mooring.

In addition to that, another name that jumps out at us is Matthew Hatfield of OpenMedia. Hatfield advocated for users during the Bill C-11 hearings. OpenMedia has been very vocal in opposing Bill C-18 as well as it attacks a core foundation of the world wide web – linking.

From there, we see Randy Kitt of Unifor. Unifor has been a major cheerleader to cracking down on the internet. During the Bill C-11 hearings, they went so far as to say that Bill C-18 is the next critical step in this plan. So, a major opponent to the internet and civil rights and, as such, will no doubt be cheer leading the passage of Bill C-18.

Lawrence Gibbons is another long running opponent to the internet. He has penned articles pushing Bill C-18, so you can expect more of the same from him in these hearings. There’s not a lot about Chris Gogos, but he is also from the Star Observer, so he is probably backing Gibbons here.

We then see Emma Mcdonald. We did do some digging and found this article. It sounds like the Australian organization is trying to negotiate deals with the smaller publishers who are struggling to get deals so they can get on square one with their larger counterparts. So, it’ll be interesting to see where she will lean on this debate as she’s seen the problems of the Australian Bargaining Code.

That leaves Rod Sims. We did some digging and found testimony that suggests he is a big foreign backer of Bill C-18 form Australia, so we can expect more of the same here.

While it is unusual to split the witness list into two separate articles, this was exclusively a problem of availability. Nevertheless, we now have a complete picture of what we can expect in the first week of hearings. We look forward to analyzing what was heard in the days ahead.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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