FERNANDO: Trudeau And Guilbeault Can't Be Trusted To Amend Bill C-10

THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED: Under Political Assault From Bill C-10 Backlash, Trudeau & Guilbeault Are Trying To Trick You

By Spencer Fernando, Exclusive to the National Citizens Coalition


The pattern continues.

The Liberals are trying to pull a fast-one on Bill C-10 after immense backlash, and are proposing ‘changes,’ while keeping the main legislation intact.

They’ve done this before, and now they’re doing it again.

It’s an attempt to lie to you, fool you, and trick you, and we cannot allow it.

With a backlash building towards C-10, including from a former head of the CRTC, the Conservative Opposition, free speech advocates, and a growing legion of Canadians outraged about this attack on our free expression, the Liberals are promising ‘amendments’:

Here’s part of what University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist wrote about the changes Guilbeault is planning to Bill C-10:

“The amendment (G-11.1) adds to the list of CRTC conditions that it can impose on Internet companies by stating:

9.1 (1) The Commission may, in furtherance of its objects, make orders imposing conditions on the carrying 30 on of broadcasting undertakings that the Commission considers appropriate for the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1), including conditions respecting:

(i.1) in relation to online undertakings that provide a social media service, the discoverability of Canadian creators of programs”;

The amendments establish some limitations on regulation that restrict what the CRTC can do with regard to user generated content, but the overall approach is indeed “crystal clear.” User generated content is subject to CRTC regulation under Bill C-10 with the result that the content of millions of Canadians’ feeds on TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube will now be CRTC approved as it establishes conditions to mandate discoverability of Canadian content.”

As Geist points out, this makes Canada an outlier, even among heavily regulated jurisdictions like the EU:

“Regulating user generated content in this way will make Canada an outlier with respect to Internet regulation. As I discussed in an earlier post, even the European Union, which has extensive regulations, ensures that video sharing platforms are not subject to regulatory requirements to prioritize some user generated content over others. There is good reason to not regulate user generated content in this manner, as it implicates freedom of expression and raises a host of questions about how companies will identify what constitutes Canadian content, whether Canadians will be required to surrender more personal information to big tech companies as part of the new rules, and what requirements will be established for individual feeds.”

A manipulative game

As you can see, the Liberals are in fact doing exactly the opposite of what they claim.

And this is a cynical and manipulative game.

What they are counting on is that most people will read headlines and see short media snippets about Bill C-10, and will see “amendment to protect user-generated content” and think the problem is solved.

Meanwhile, the actual legislation continues to put user-generated content under the control of the CRTC, an extreme move towards government control and an assault on freedom of expression.

Guilbeault and Trudeau believe the gap between the headlines and the reality will be large enough for them to ram through the legislation before the backlash gets big enough.

Of course, their attempt to do this shows two things:

First, they think you and the Canadian People are weak-minded and easily fooled.

Second, they know what they are doing is extreme and wouldn’t be supported if people actually know what’s going on.

What is the motive?

If a government is unwilling to honestly explain what they’re doing, you can be sure that what they’re doing isn’t meant to benefit you.

After all, governments absolutely love to praise themselves for anything they can claim has even the mildest benefit for the public, so if they seem overtly defensive about something it’s a big signal.

And the Liberals are so defensive that the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons demanded Steven Guilbeault withdraw comments he made demonizing opponents of Bill C-10 in the House of Commons:

Earlier, Guilbeault had tried the go-to trick for the Liberals when they are scared and cornered on an issue – talk about hidden agendas on abortion:

“Steven Guilbeault calls @RachaelHarderMP a hypocrite for supporting free speech on the internet because she's pro-life. I echo @karen_vecchio's interjection: "Unbelievable."”

Guilbeault now visibly looks scared and uncomfortable talking about C-10 in public, as his lies and distractions continue to fall flat as people realize what is really at stake here.

A gift for O’Toole?

Now, I’ll quickly deviate from the discussion on the danger of the legislation itself to address the political aspect, which is that this may be the biggest gift the Liberals could have given Erin O’Toole.

After O’Toole’s carbon tax betrayal – which many Conservatives certainly haven’t forgotten – he was losing any ability to really differentiate himself from the Liberals.

Bill C-10 gives him that ability on a big issue, and represents the Liberals inadvertently throwing him a lifeline among his current dire poll numbers and divided party.

Whether he can make the most of it remains to be seen, but it is worth noting, because it demonstrates how fanatical Trudeau & Guilbeault have become about pushing Bill C-10, even when it hurts them politically.

What this means is they feel the long-term benefit is worth the short-term pain.

Simply looking at the structure of the legislation reveals that it will fundamentally reshape the idea of free expression in Canada, or more accurately, it will do away with free expression on the internet.

To have a centralized federal authority with the ability to regulate (and that means silence or shutdown), social media posts made by regular Canadians, and using that power to force companies to narrow the terms of ‘acceptable online debate’ to be in keeping with the “government’s vision,” is an authoritarian move reminiscent of Communist China.

In a world where that power is rarely used against the left, while repeatedly used against conservatives, Trudeau and Guilbeault see an opportunity to use the power of the state to weaken, silence, and intimidate their ideological opponents.

And after everything we’ve seen in the past year, do you really think they will hesitate to use that power and abuse that power?

Continue to fight

By publicly promising changes while keeping C-10 almost entirely intact, Trudeau & Guilbeault are looking for you to feel catharsis.

They want you think, “I fought, and C-10 was changed, and now I can rest.”

But you can’t.

Bill C-10 hasn’t really changed, and we must continue to push back against it. Relenting now, just when the outrage has built up and the Liberals are under pressure, would be to throw away all our leverage.

Politicians – even those in the Liberal cabinet – are afraid of an outraged public, because they are afraid they won’t get re-elected.

Instead of hoping for our politicians to be principled (which would be great but seems like a tall order at this point), let’s be honest about who they are, and appeal to their self-interest. 

And the best way to do that is to continue calling their offices, continue emailing them, continuing to share your views on social media, continuing to spread the word to everyone you can about how dangerous Bill C-10 is, and making it abundantly clear to the politicians that they will pay a very serious political price if they allow Bill C-10 to go forward.

Spencer Fernando is one of the most popular and prolific political voices in Canada. He is a Campaign Fellow for the National Citizens Coalition. For more from Spencer, visit his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter

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