Week 3: Inside the Senate Schedule on Bill C-18 Hearings

Week 3 of the Bill C-18 hearings is now upon us. Already, we’ve heard from big names, so we decided to see who is on deck next.

We are now into week 3 of the Bill C-18 senate hearings. So far, there have been a number of interesting moments throughout these hearings and we have heard from a lot of big names already. This includes former and current CRTC staff, Heritage Canada officials, tech experts, and lobbyists. If anything, it feels like the big names have been loaded at the first part of these hearings. While we don’t know how long these hearings will go on, we are now getting a clearer picture of what to expect coming up.

For May 9th, we see the following:

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

Kim Coles, Member of Magazines Canada Coalition of Canadian Magazines
Karine Devost, Senior Legal Counsel The National Council of Canadian Muslims
Nicole Doucet, Consultant Coalition of Canadian Magazines
Derek Fildebrandt, Publisher, President, CEO The Western Standard
Evan Jamison, President Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association
Nicolas Lapierre, Member of the Association des éditeurs de magazines québécois Coalition of Canadian Magazines
Linda Lauzon, Executive Director, Réseau-Presse Consortium of Official Language Minority
Dennis Merrell, Executive Director Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association
Rizwan Mohammad, Advocacy Officer The National Council of Canadian Muslims
Thomas S. Saras, President and Chief Executive Officer National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada

So, certainly not a list that is as huge as the other hearings, but let’s see what we can dig up.

First up is Kim Coles, Nicole Doucet, and Nicolas Lapierre from the Coalition of Canadian Magazines. What first jumps out to me is, “people still read magazines?” More seriously, though, a quick search on Google doesn’t really reveal anything about the people or the organization. My suspicion is that they are going to be supportive of the bill, but that is just a guess on my part.

Next is Karine Devost and Rizwan Mohammad of The National Council of Canadian Muslims. We did manage to find this article which doesn’t necessarily make clear the stance of either individual or the organizations stance on Bill C-18. Mohammad said that Muslims did oppose the forthcoming online harms bill, but it’s hard to say if that is an indication of which direction him and his organization leans on this bill. Mohammad did say that that Muslims had no voice and were not consulted on these bills, though.

Derek Fildebrandt of the Western Standard is on this list. Western Standard has posted articles that feature criticisms of Bill C-18, so it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise that he might raise concerns about the legislation.

Evan Jamison and Dennis Merrell of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association appear. Some searching turned up this article which shows him mentioning the concern that smaller news outlets would get less which is a very valid concern to have given everything we know so far. This opens up two possibilities: one that the organization would be opposed to the bill or the organization would support the bill, but are urging major reforms.

Linda Lauzon of the Réseau-Presse Consortium of Official Language Minority appears on this list. We didn’t immediately see anything turn up indicating anything about the person or organizations stand on the bill.

Finally, that leaves Thomas S. Saras of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada. The organization is known for supporting the bill.

Moving forward to May 10th, we see this:

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

Benoit Chartier, Chairman of the Board of Directors Hebdos Québec
Kevin Desjardins, President Canadian Association of Broadcasters
Catherine Edwards, Executive Director Canadian Association for Community Television Users and Stations
Sophie Gaulin, Director General La Liberté
Amélie Hinse, Director General, Fédération des télévisions communautaires autonomes du Québec Canadian Association for Community Television Users and Stations
Sylvain Poisson, Director General Hebdos Québec
Amy St. Amand, Vice-President Canadian University Press
Hannah Theodore, Director of Operations Canadian University Press

Benoit Chartier and Sylvain Poisson of the Hebdos Québec appear. That organization is on record as supporting Bill C-18, so there’s going to be no mystery there.

Likewise, Kevin Desjardins of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters is also no mystery. That organization has been a known major lobbyist for the legislation.

Catherine Edwards and Amélie Hinse of the Canadian Association for Community Television Users and Stations appear as well. This organization appears to be supportive of the legislation, though did push for broader inclusion of smaller organizations into the bill.

Sophie Gaulin of La Liberté. Judging by a translated page, the organization supports Bill C-18.

Finally, there is Amy St. Amand and Hannah Theodore of the Canadian University Press. Nothing really turned up for anything here that we could find through quick searching.

Overall, that hearing looks to be heavily lobbyist driven, so there’s little surprise it would devolve into cheer-leading and a disinformation party.

So, that appears to be it. That’s what we are going to see in this coming week. In the mean time, we’ll continue working on our analysis of these hearings and bring them to you as soon as they are complete.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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