They want to Silence US! - Canada to go Dark - Bill C11 will Bring Canada into the Dark Ages

Published on Jul 12, 2022
Timothy Denton: Our government is censoring us, and with Bill C-11 it will get worse
The CRTC’s recent decision regarding Radio-Canada should serve as a wake-up call

The recent contretemps between the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and Radio-Canada about the use of the n-word during a radio segment reminds us that the CRTC is all about the control of speech. Usually, the commission farms out its censorship to a specialized agency, but this time it did the dirty work itself. Two commissioners dissented, arguing that the CRTC was engaging in censorship without regard to the right to freedom of expression set forth in the Constitution.

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As a result of the controversy, more people are becoming aware that they are subject to CRTC censorship.

Back in May 2021, the Canadian chapter of the Internet Society wrote in Le Devoir that Bill C-10, now repackaged as C-11, the Amendments to the Broadcasting Act, vastly expanded the range of “broadcasting” and hence what would need government permission. You can only “broadcast” by virtue of a licence or in conformity to regulation. That is the law: to expand the definition of “broadcasting” is to expand government regulation.

To expand the definition of 'broadcasting' is to expand government regulation

C-11 makes user-generated videos or podcasts — virtually anything involving sound or video — subject to CRTC regulation. Indeed it is a wonder the government stopped there: why not regulate email as well? Nor does the regulation of speech stop at Canada’s borders. Bill C-11 permits the CRTC to exercise global authority over “programs” in any language, from any source.

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Defenders of C-11 have argued that nothing the bill allows for would threaten freedom of speech because a clause in the act says so. Which is like the Holy Office of the Inquisition saying it is guided by respect for diversity of opinion. The commission’s decision on the use of the n-word has just proven that statement to be false. The CRTC is all about control: who gets to speak, within what limits, how often, and to what effect. Usually the control is exercised indirectly, but in this case it was overt.

Defenders of Bill C-11 in the TV production community and elsewhere have tried to claim that its opponents are just anglophone bigots fighting against French language television subsidies, or some such rot. No one is concerned with the subsidization of television shows, whether across conventional broadcasting or by internet streaming platforms. Under certain conditions, increasing the flow of money to Canadian TV production is a good idea — but that is not the issue here.

Journalists question Liberal government's $600M media bailout plan
The federal government's plan to support Canadian journalism is being questioned by some Canadian journalists.

The Liberals have set aside nearly $600 million over the next five years for tax credits and other incentives aimed at propping up struggling news outlets.

Ottawa this week announced an independent panel that will recommend the news operations that will be eligible for assistance under the plan.

As head of the Canadian Association of Journalists, Karyn Pugliese has heard all sorts of opinions about whether news outlets should accept a government handout.

"You have people who are dead set against the government giving any kind of money to media. We've got some people who feel that something is necessary because it's important to keep news going," Pugliese said.

The other seven associations are: News Media Canada, the Association de la presse francophone, the Quebec Community Newspaper Association, the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, Unifor and the Fédération nationale des communications.

Pugliese says the CAJ isn't sure how to respond to Ottawa's invitation.

"We've got a lot of questions that we want to put back to government. But we're taking it as an invitation, right now, not as a done deal that we're going to participate. We want to get some answers to some questions first and find out what we're getting involved with," she said.

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