Protect Charter Rights by Moon Angel https://flic.kr/p/8hRLeA (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Protect Charter Rights by Moon Angel https://flic.kr/p/8hRLeA (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Liberals and NDP Block Debate On Updated Charter of Rights and Freedoms Review of Bill C-10

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage continued its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-10 on Friday. As reported in the National Post and iPolitics, the meeting featured a motion brought by Conservative MP Rachael Harder calling on the committee to suspend review of the bill until an updated review of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms implications can be conducted by the Minister of Justice in light of the removal of Section 4.1, that provided safeguards against regulating user generated content under the Broadcasting Act. The motion also calls on the Ministers of Justice and Canadian Heritage to appear before committee to discuss the issue.

The initial Charter statement, which is a requirement under the Department of Justice Act, specifically referenced the safeguards for user generated content in justifying potential limitations on freedom of expression. By removing one of those safeguards, the Conservatives reasonably argued that the bill had been fundamentally altered and that an updated analysis is needed. The full text of the motion stated:

That, given that the deletion of section 4.1. Clause 3 of Bill C-10 would extend the application of the Broadcasting Act to programs uploaded by users of social media services which, in turn, could violate paragraph 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

and given that the current “Charter statement” required under section 4.2 of the Department of Justice Act with respect to the potential effects of Bill C-10 directly states that “Users of social media who upload programs for sharing with other users and are not affiliated with the service provider will not be subject to regulation” as part of its argument that Bill C-10 respects section 2(b) of the Charter; the Committee   

(a) request that the Minister of Justice produce an updated “Charter Statement”, under section 4.2 of the Department of Justice Act, with respect to the potential effects of Bill C-10, as amended to date, on the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

(b) invite the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Justice to appear before the Committee to discuss the implications of Bill C-10, as amended to date, for users of social media services; and

(c) suspend clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-10, notwithstanding the Committee’s decision of March 26, 2021, until it has received the updated “Charter Statement”, requested under paragraph (a), and has heard from the ministers, invited under paragraph (b).

The Liberal government was the one that established requirements for Charter statements to “ensure the rights and freedoms of Canadians are respected throughout the law-making process.” While the Liberals argue that the statements are not updated, given their emphasis on Charter compliance, it is discouraging to see its Members of Parliament – supported by the NDP – move to stop debate on the critical issue of freedom of expression and the Charter at committee.

10 Comments

  1. I’m genuinely surprised the NDP is going along with this. Normally, they defend freedom of expression and Internet rights. This especially given their roots as being part of the labor movement along with the many years they fought against warrantless wiretapping and terrible copyright reforms. That supportive effort to shut down debate over something so critical is simply an out of the blue reversal on that history.

    • Jason Riddell says:

      the NDP has bean a “lap dog” to the in power Liberals hoping for some sort of “favour” for some bill / clause down the line

    • The NDP is so woke that is now sleep deprived. Basically its hatred of giant tech companies has made it forget its roots.

  2. Disturbing. Deeply disturbing.

  3. Pens vs Swords says:

    Can’t see anything going wrong with the state deciding what can or cannot be posted. No chance of abuse to shut down opposing opinions to the governments’ narrative. The fact they are shutting down debate points to the hypocrisy of the government. Eerie parallels to how China handles Hong Kong. Maybe this is why Trudeau refuses to call out Xi Jinping. A little policy envy perhaps.

  4. Should have known the NDP was the other party backing this nonsense. They’ve become a shell of what they used to be under Layton. It’s so obsessed now with hatred being spewed online they no longer care about the ramifications of passing a bill that can be used to hurt the small/medium sites out there. I don’t believe they intend to restrict speech right now but if it’s passed, it’s definitely going to eventually go down that road.

  5. Pingback: ● NEWS ● #MichaelGeist #canada ☞ Liberals and #NDP Block Debate On … | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊)

  6. Paul MacLeod says:

    It was a pathetic interview that clearly revealed a not-so-hidden agenda of a party determined to eliminate all thought but its own, presumably to “purify” the nation. Dictators the world over must be proud of them. Shame on M. Guilbault, the P.M. and the entire Liberal establishment that support the removal of a necessary clause to protect ordinary social media discourse. It’s a relief to see Mr. Singh walk back the support the NDP appeared to be giving to the Liberal’s removal of the clause. Perhaps he was prompted by a deluge of the type of social media response that could potentially be banned if the clause is removed. Even these observations may be considered “extremist” by M. Ghilbault and his ilk. So be it. These are dangerous people determined to proscribe anyone that dares to disagree with their ideologies. Poor Canada is in a bad way with this type of “leadership” which is neither “liberal” nor progressive.
    Thank you Mr. Geist for your efforts related to this crucial issue.

  7. I hope this issue gets dealt with properly.

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