Week 2: Inside the Senate Schedule on Bill C-18 Hearings

We are entering into week two of the Senate Bill C-18 hearings. We look at the witnesses who are due to appear next.

Yes, we are falling a little behind on our analysis of the hearings. This was mostly thanks to the latest podcast episode which we just finished. So, we’ll be focusing on the senate hearings more rigorously with that large job completed.

As always, the schedule can be found here.

For May 2nd, we see the following:

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

Sarah Andrews, Director, Government and Media Relations FRIENDS
Adam Balkovec, Legal counsel, Legal Sector Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Marla Boltman, Executive Director FRIENDS
Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa As an Individual
Peter Menzies, Senior Fellow Macdonald-Laurier Institute
Daniel Pye, Director, News Remuneration Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Scott Shortliffe, Executive Director, Broadcasting Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Right away, we see Sarah Andrews and Marla Boltman of FRIENDS. FRIENDS is, of course, one of the main organizations that spends truckloads of money on lobbyists pushing this bill while crying poverty. Since organizations like them practically wrote the bill, they are obviously going to push this bill.

Second, we see Adam Balkovec, Daniel Pye and Scott Shortliffe of the CRTC. The CRTC is the main regulator that would be carrying out this bill. While it is unclear what direction the CRTC is going to go with the new Chair, the fact that they already have a director for “News Remuneration”, it suggests they are also going to be pushing for this bill.

After that is Michael Geist. Geist, of course, is more or less the designated Canadian hero fighting against this bill. He will definitely be defending Canada and fighting against this bill. Really, someone who needs no introduction.

Peter Menzies is someone I occasionally communicate with. Menzies appeared before the Senate committee on Bill C-11 (specifically, Hearing 12, Segment 1) to fight against Bill C-11. He is also highly critical of Bill C-18, so I fully expect him to be opposed to the bill as well.

On May 3rd, we see the following:

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

Rachel Curran, Head of Public Policy, Meta, Canada Meta Platforms, Inc.
Marc Dinsdale, Head of Media Partnerships, Meta, Canada Meta Platforms, Inc.
Richard Gingras, Vice President, News Google Canada
Jason J. Kee, Government Affairs and Public Policy Counsel Google Canada

This is probably as straight forward as it gets. This hearing is about the main two targeted platforms for the bill. Meta has already said they’d pull out of Canada of Bill C-18 is passed without changes. Google has already experimented with blocking Canadian news links on their Google News service. So, they will no doubt be albe to offer clarity with what changes the bill needs in order for them to decide to stick around.

So, this week’s schedule is probably the most straight forward yet out of all of the hearings. No real mysteries on stances if you’ve been following any of this. In the mean time, we’ll be working on getting caught up with these hearings.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.


  • DB says:

    Here’s a quote from the FRIENDS issues page. It makes their position crystal clear. “With decades of budget cuts to our public broadcaster, foreign streaming platforms getting a free ride, and theft of our news by global tech giants, Canadians want to know: when will Ottawa stand up for our own stories?”

    • Drew Wilson says:

      Indeed. In their view, Bill C-11 is just one component to their grand plans (forcibly drive audiences to their content exclusively). Bill C-18 is just another component (redirect all funds to their organizations members). I wouldn’t be surprised if online harms is, in their mind, the next component as well (permanently kick anyone they want from the internet and force them to refrain from speaking further).

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