Invoice C-10 modification that will exempt social media content material from regulation voted down

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Conservative MP Rachael Harder argued the change would protect content posted by individuals from being classified according to its Canadian classification

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Anja Karadeglija

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06/01/20211 hour agoRead for 4 minutes 66 Comments Conservative MP Rachael Harder has argued that Bill C-10 in its current form is a violation of Charter rights. Conservative MP Rachael Harder has argued that Bill C-10 in its current form is a violation of Charter rights. Photo by Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

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Liberals, NDP and bloc MPs have rejected an attempt by the Conservatives to ensure that social media content is exempt from regulation in the controversial Broadcasting Act C-10.

Conservative MPs proposed the change, which would essentially have brought back a section of the bill that excluded social media content. That exception was lifted by the Heritage Committee in April, causing outrage among critics who said placing user-generated content under the authority of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission was an attack on freedom of expression.

After a month of controversy on the issue, the committee halted its clause-by-clause review process to send the draft Charter Review Bill to the Minister of Justice and the Liberals set new limits on the CRTC’s powers over social Propose media, tries to reintroduce the social media exception.

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Conservative MP Rachael Harder said the change would ensure that when Canadians go online, “we have the freedom to explore based on our preferences as viewers rather than being dictated by a government-developed algorithm”. Harder argued that it would protect content posted by individuals from being “superseded or dumped” or from being classified according to its Canadian classification.

Following a change proposed by the Liberals, the current version of the bill states that the CRTC’s only power over social media content is to force platforms to implement post-findability – that is, to force platforms like YouTube , Canadian content recommended to users. Critics have said this is still a violation of freedom of expression, and Harder argued in committee Monday that it was a violation of charter rights.

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But the Liberals and other opposition parties disagreed and voted against the change on Monday. Bloc Québécois MP Martin Champoux said he was satisfied that the changes tabled to restrict the CRTC’s powers after the social media exemption was lifted are sufficient to ensure freedom of expression.

  1. Canadian Heritage Secretary Steven Guilbeault is seen during a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, April 17, 2020.

    Is C-10 a calculation too far?

  2. The intent of Bill C-10 is to ensure that the CRTC can establish the same rules for Canadian content on digital platforms as it does for traditional broadcasters.  CRTC chairman Ian Scott is pictured.

    Heritage Committee votes in favor of proposed opposition change to controversial Law C-10

The committee is now going back to reviewing the bill by sentence and will then return to parliament for another vote before moving on to the Senate. The Conservatives plan to make further changes to the bill to address freedom of expression concerns, a party source said.

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On Tuesday, Block Leader Yves-François Blanchet issued a statement calling on the Liberal government to ensure that the bill is passed before Parliament’s summer recess and reiterated his earlier offer to help the government limit the time for debate to support the bill.

The goal of C-10 was to set up the CRTC to regulate online platforms like traditional broadcasters, but the legislation doesn’t give any details – instead it leaves the details to the CRTC to work out. Once the bill goes into effect, the Liberal government plans to give the CRTC an ordinance on the implementation of C-10, including a nine-month deadline for a new regulatory framework.

Last week, the CRTC was the target of criticism over a decision on wholesale Internet prices that critics say will raise Internet service prices. Small ISPs are urging the Liberal government to overturn this decision, and some are calling for the chairman of the CRTC, Ian Scott, to lose his job due to the surprise verdict in which the CRTC decided to cancel the lower wholesale tariffs it set two years ago had not to implement.

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One of C-10’s biggest critics, University of Ottawa Law Professor Michael Geist, said the CRTC results last week that the wholesale tariffs set after years of consultation process were wrong and that it would take too long to complete the entire process is “notable for his incompetence. He argued that Scott had “led a dismantling of a consumer-friendly, innovative policy approach” at the CRTC.

“The CRTC’s lack of competence and the rejection of competition concerns coupled with the government’s willingness to put the future of Internet regulation in its hands is possibly the greatest threat posed by Bill C-10,” Geist wrote in his Blog.

Following the publication of the wholesale tariff decision, Scott informed the National Post that the CRTC would follow government directions in implementing C-10.

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Scott would not comment on the controversy over how Bill C-10 affects freedom of expression or whether the CRTC consultation will address issues such as freedom of expression. “It is not up to us to make the law. I’m not going to get into the middle of an argument between parliamentarians about what the law should look like, ”he said.

There are a variety of stakeholders, from traditional broadcasters to new platforms, and all have views, he said, noting that the CRTC will treat the C-10 implementation process like any other regulatory process.

“We will identify the problem and then seek all input to create a framework that fulfills the legal mandate and policy direction,” he said. “I can’t predict what it will look like because then I wouldn’t be open-minded.”

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The way the government has structured the bill and draft policy means it will be up to the CRTC to develop a new framework to ensure that all stakeholders contribute financially, Scott said.

“It, by definition, requires some analysis and consideration of the Canadian content. Is there a new definition? And how do you guarantee findability? ”Are among the questions the CRTC would examine.

Scott said discoverability is a fundamental part of broadcasting regulation and the CRTC will look into it. When asked if this includes findability on social media, Scott replied that this is dictated by law, but added that the CRTC already has the power to regulate social media – it just chose not to to do.

“Everyone seems to forget that the current definition of programming in the Broadcasting Act is exceptionally broad,” said Scott.

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