Response: Office of Jagmeet Singh, M.P. (Burnaby South) Leader, Canada’s New Democrats (June 24, 2021)

Thank you for writing and sharing your views on Bill C-10 (An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts).

We wanted to see the Broadcasting Act updated to ensure that tech giants like Google and Facebook be required to pay their fair share and be on a level playing field with Canadian companies. But, like many, we were disappointed with the initial wording of Bill C-10 and its failure to address the concerns of Canadians about how user-generated content would be affected. Yet, despite lengthy bickering between the Liberals and Conservatives, New Democrats worked to improve the bill and supported amendments to protect individual rights, stand up to the tech giants, and ensure the arts community gets a fairer deal. Ultimately, because these changes exempt individuals from the Act and protect Canadian culture and heritage sector, we supported Bill C-10.

What’s more, the powers of the CRTC are limited to broadcasters only – the legislation specifically excludes individuals from regulation and users who upload content to social media services are not subject to the Act.

NDP MP Charlie Angus offers his update on Bill C-10 below.

Again, we appreciate hearing from you.

Best regards,

Office of Jagmeet Singh, M.P. (Burnaby South)

Leader, Canada’s New Democrats


June 22, 2021

Friends,

Contrary to what the Conservatives are telling you, Justin Trudeau is not creeping your Facebook page, and he is not going to silence your right to free speech. So let’s deconstruct what Bill C-10 is actually about.

The bill was supposed to update legislation to ensure that the tech giants like Google and Facebook finally began to pay their fair share. This is an issue that has become a focus for countries around the world.

The point person for this bill was Minister Steven Guilbeault, who blew it from the get-go. He turned this legislation into a four-alarm dumpster fire. The legislation was poorly constructed, and Guilbeault couldn’t explain to Canadians how “user-generated content” played into the government’s strategy.

The Conservatives jumped on this and claimed this bill was an attack on free speech. But, on the other hand, both the Liberals and Bloc declared they would vote for the bill as it was, and they had the votes to pass this poorly constructed bill into legislation.

The New Democrats took the position that rather than let a problematic bill get rubber-stamped, we would focus on amendments to ensure that people’s rights were not affected. We worked hard at committee to close the Liberals’ loopholes and provided fixes to the problems in this bill.We voted in favour of a second Charter review to ensure that Broadcasting Act does not infringe on personal freedom of expression – and that review was done. In addition, we supported a motion to force the Ministers of Justice and Heritage to appear at committee to address concerns over freedom of expression.

We proposed that the committee meet more often and for longer hours to get the job done. We voted against closing the debate and even put forward a motion to extend debate through the summer months.

The government rejected these proposals.We have fought to protect freedom of expression AND ensure that the web giants are on an even playing field with Canadian companies. Canadian media and content are under extreme pressure, and the web giants have a competitive advantage right now. This unbalanced playing field must end, and it will end with this legislation.

Thanks to the amendments, C-10 is now clear – it protects individual rights to free expression on all platforms. This bill limits the CRTC powers to broadcasters, and the legislation specifically excludes individuals from regulation. Users who upload content to social media services are not subject to the Act.In fact, the bill now contains four sections specifically exempting individuals from the Act. In addition, and vitally, this bill will protect Canadian culture and heritage sector.

With C-10, the Liberals created a political dumpster fire. The Conservatives threw gasoline on the fire. New Democrats stayed focused on three key goals – standing up to the tech giants, protecting individual rights online and ensuring that the Canadian arts community will get a better deal from the massive profits being made by companies like Google and Facebook.

We’re in this together.

Charlie Angus, M.P. (Timmins—James Bay)

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