Bill C-10 amendment that would exempt social media content from regulation voted down
Conservative MP Rachael Harder argued the amendment would protect content posted by individuals from being classified according to how Canadian it is
Following a month of controversy over the issue, which saw the committee halt its clause-by-clause review process to send the bill to the justice minister for a charter review and the Liberals propose new limits to the CRTC’s powers over social media, the Conservatives attempted to reintroduce the social media exemption.
AdvertisementThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentConservative MP Rachael Harder said the amendment would ensure that when Canadians go online, “we’re going to have the freedom to explore based on our desires as audience members rather than being dictated to by a government-designed algorithm.” Harder argued it would protect content posted by individuals from getting “bumped up or bumped down” or being classified according to how Canadian it is.
Following an amendment proposed by the Liberals, the current version of the bill says the only power the CRTC has over social media content is to force platforms to implement discoverability of posts from Canadian creators – that is, to force platforms like YouTube to recommend Canadian content to users. Critics have said that is still a violation of free expression, and Harder argued at committee Monday that it is a violation of charter rights. headtopics.com
AdvertisementThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentBut the Liberals and other opposition parties didn’t agree, voting against the amendment Monday. Bloc Québécois MP Martin Champoux said he was satisfied the amendments that have been put forward after the social media exemption was removed to limit the CRTC’s powers are enough to ensure freedom of expression.
More On This TopicHeritage committee votes in favour of proposed opposition amendment to controversial Bill C-10The committee now goes back to clause-by-clause review of the bill, and after that will head back to Parliament for another vote, before moving on to the Senate. The Conservatives plan to introduce further amendments to the bill to address freedom of expression concerns, a party source said.
AdvertisementThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentOn Tuesday, Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet issued a statement urging the Liberal government to ensure the bill passes before Parliament goes on summer break, repeating his earlier offer to support the government in limiting the time allocated for debate on the bill.
The aim of C-10 was to set up the CRTC to regulate online platforms the way it does traditional broadcasters, but the legislation is light on details – instead, it leaves the specifics to the CRTC to work out. Once the bill becomes law, the Liberal government plans to issue an order-in-council to the CRTC directing it how to implement C-10, including giving a nine-month deadline for a new regulatory framework. headtopics.com
Over the past week, the CRTC has been the target of criticism over a decision involving internet wholesale rates that critics say will increase internet service prices. Small internet service providers are asking the Liberal government to overturn that decision, and some are calling for CRTC chairman Ian Scott to lose his job over the surprise ruling, in which the CRTC chose not to implement the lower wholesale rates it set two years ago.
AdvertisementThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentOne of C-10’s biggest critics, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, said the CRTC finding last week that the wholesale rates it set after a years-long consultation process were wrong, and that it would take too long to re-start the whole process, is “remarkable for its incompetence. “ He argued Scott has “presided over a dismantling of a pro-consumer, pro-innovative policy approach” at the CRTC.
“The CRTC’s lack of competence and dismissal of competitive concerns combined with the government’s willingness to vest the future of Internet regulation in its hands creates perhaps the greatest threat arising from Bill C-10,” Geist wrote on his blog.
Following the release of the wholesale rates decision, Scott told the National Post the CRTC would follow the directions of the government on implementing C-10.AdvertisementThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article content headtopics.com
Scott would not comment on the controversy over how Bill C-10 affects free expression, or whether the CRTC consultation will take issues such as freedom of expression into account. “It’s not for us to make the law. I’m not going to get in the midst of an argument among parliamentarians about what the law should be,” he said.
There’s a wide range of parties involved, from traditional broadcasters to new platforms, and they all have views, he said, noting the CRTC will treat the process of implementing C-10 like it does every other regulatory proceeding.“We’ll identify the issue and then we’ll get everyone’s submissions, to come out with a framework that fulfills the legislative mandate and the policy direction,” he said. “I can’t predict what it will look like because then I wouldn’t have an open mind.”
AdvertisementThis advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Article contentThe way the government has structured the bill and draft policy direction means it will be up to the CRTC to develop a new framework to ensure all players contribute financially, Scott said.
“It will by definition require some analysis and consideration of what is Canadian content. Is there a new definition? And how do you guarantee discoverability?” are among the questions the CRTC would consider.Scott said discoverability is a fundamental part of broadcasting regulation and the CRTC will be addressing it. When asked whether that includes discoverability on social media, Scott responded that will be determined by the legislation, but added that the CRTC already has the authority to regulate social media – it has just chosen not to.
“Everyone seems to be forgetting that the current definition of programming in the Broadcasting Act is extraordinarily broad,” Scott said.Share this article in your social network Read more: National Post »
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