Speak up, make your voice heard by Howard Lake (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9rAjRN

Speak up, make your voice heard by Howard Lake (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9rAjRN


Thousands Slam Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Proposal in Submissions to the CRTC

If the Bell coalition’s website blocking proposal was designed to garner attention, it achieved its goal as the proposal attracted thousands of individual submissions to the CRTC within days of it being posted online. The massive response is overwhelmingly negative, however, with thousands of Canadians registering their objections to the proposal. I wrote about the site blocking plan in a Globe and Mail op-ed and discussed it in an interview with CBC’s As It Happens. I will have many more posts on why the radical proposal should be rejected in the days ahead.

As of this morning, there are over 4,200 interventions on the CRTC site. To put these numbers in perspective, there were more objections to website blocking in less than a week than interventions to the CRTC’s much-promoted Let’s Talk TV consultation over several months. What makes the public response particularly noteworthy is that the submissions are not the result of an organized campaign. OpenMedia is inviting Canadians to comment through its website, but these are not its submissions (which will presumably come later in a group response). In fact, in skimming through the responses (JF Mezei helpfully pulled the first 3,800 together), it is striking how while the sentiment remains the same for the vast majority of submissions (do not approve website blocking), the individual responses are largely unique. Indeed, some submissions identify many technical, legal, and policy concerns with the proposal (for example, here, here, here, here, here).

This can be contrasted with the only organized write-in campaign that I have seen thus far, which is maintained by ACTRA. ACTRA is encouraging its members to write-in support of the plan (there are a few among the current submissions), providing full instructions in how to complete the CRTC form, including text than can be copied and pasted into the submission form. ACTRA goes so far as to tell its members to say they do not wish to appear before the commission. Interestingly, there are submissions from ACTRA members directly opposing the proposal and expressing disappointment with their organization’s position (here, here).

The current deadline for submission is March 1st, though there is an application to extend the deadline. In the meantime, Canadians concerned with the website blocking proposal can ensure that their voices are heard at the CRTC site. They can also take the time to forward their comments to their Member of Parliament and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.


  1. To be honest, if it weren’t for your articles explaining what is going on, I wouldn’t have even known about this. I am one of the many people who have written in to have my voice heard. Thank you for covering it and helping these issues get more exposure!

  2. Eric Lemieux says:

    we thank YOU for your continued efforts, Mr. Geist!

  3. There has been a number of threads and discussions on Reddit, particularly /r/Canada informing people of the petition from Bell et al and offering numerous arguments against this scheme.

  4. So people who benefit from piracy write in to protest that someone may try to put a stop to piracy. This is news?

    And congratulations, Dr Geist. You now have the Globe and Mail writing a big article about discontent with the proposed plan, discontent which consists of comments on the CRTC site and your own Globe and Mail article. The left hand quoting the right.

    The proposal is entirely just and justified. An independent body will review evidence and pull off-line sites which are deemed to be primarily pirate sites in nature. Stop playing the fool, we all know that these sites exist and what they look like, and if you think brazen theft is a freedom of expression issue, I guess you’re in favour of cigarette ads (in the USA these survive thanks to Republican insistence that corporations are entitled to “freedom of speech”) and hate speech.

    • Hey, George. Assuming you’re not just an industry lackey, please explain why Google – which most if not all “pirates” use to find their infringing content is exempt from the takedown demands of Bell et al, when small search sites that don’t have the multi-million dollar legal departments get knocked off the internet for the same behaviour?

      • eh? you want to take down google because you can use it to find pirate sites? that’s like saying there’s sodium in explosives, so ban salt.

        Now, if you’d care to address the issue, are you for or against piracy?

    • Nice opinion you’ve got there, how much were you paid for it?

      • If you’re referring to me, I was paid nothing for it, because piracy has bankrupted me. I’m a creator. You’re a thief.

  5. I think it is all about power, what do the people want.
    Canadians pay to high for everything of entertainment.
    The doors should be open to more services, not only Bell, Telus or Shaw.
    Let Canadians be free to have many choices and the prices will go down, then there would not be this other stuff.

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  7. controling control
    well, as far as the con part goes, eh?
    I STILL get CRTC mail; and have LOST several identies/pswords.

    onward. protest Bell selective censorship
    putting the con in connect;

    (how bout the anti-telsa fake news ad by big auto yesterday?)

    hurph. stompp bell anyway. haven’t trusted them much since nortel.

    packrat (oh, it’s filthy joke day on MY website. There MIGHT be a tie in here somewhere)

  8. If you’re referring to me, I was paid nothing for it, because piracy has bankrupted me. I’m a creator. You’re a thief.

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