The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage continues its hearing into Bill C-11 today with hours of scheduled testimony and witnesses that include Netflix, Youtube, and CRTC Chair Ian Scott. The witness list is becoming notable both for who is not included (a bill called the Internet Streaming Act without TikTok or Amazon or Apple or Roku?!) and who is back for another appearance (Scott will surely face pressure to soften his earlier comment that the user content is included in the bill). For those Canadians that haven’t been paying close attention, I’ve compiled a short video on the hearing thus far, which has featured multiple witnesses confirm their concerns that the bill includes the regulation of user content and Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez pretending that he isn’t paying attention.
Archive for May, 2022
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 128: Morghan Fortier on Why Canada’s Most Successful Youtube Streaming Company is Worried About Bill C-11
Last week, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage started its hearings on the Online Streaming Act with the first of four day-long sessions it has planned for witnesses. Morghan Fortier, the co-founder and CEO of Skyship Entertainment, stole the show that day with insights that demand to be heard. Her company may not be a household name, but it is Canada’s leading Youtube streaming service with millions of subscribers worldwide and billions of views. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about her company, the challenges and opportunities for Canadians in online streaming, and her sector’s concerns with the government’s Bill C-11 legislative plans.
Why the Government’s New Telecom Policy Directive Means More of the Same for Canada’s Communications Competition Woes
Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne unveiled the government’s proposed new telecom policy directive yesterday, hailing it as a “historic step.” However, a closer look at the policy suggests that the only thing that is history are any immediate hopes for a more competitive communications marketplace in Canada. Once again, the government has shown itself unwilling to take a strong stand in favour of consumers and competition, instead releasing a directive that largely retains the status quo and sends the message to CRTC Chair Ian Scott to stay the course. Indeed, the primary purpose behind the announcement would appear to be an attempt to shield the government from criticism over its decision to leave the controversial CRTC decision on wholesale Internet access intact, thereby denying consumers the prospect of lower costs for Internet services.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage yesterday held the first of four planned day-long hearings on Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act. Over the course of five hours, the committee heard from about a dozen witnesses. I was included on the opening panel and used my opening remarks to focus on two key issues: Bill C-11’s regulation of user content and its overbroad regulatory approach and the need for greater certainty. A full transcript of the opening remarks are posted at the end of this post.
No Comment: Government Moves to End Debate on Online News Bill Despite a No-Show from Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez
Since its introduction in the House of Commons last month, the Online News Act (Bill C-18) has been debated or discussed just once. The bill was tabled without comment by Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez on April 5th. Thus far, Friday, May 13th was the only one day devoted debate on the bill at second reading, a day when so many MPs were not present that there was a question on whether there was sufficient quorum to proceed. Rodriguez did not deliver a speech or answer questions that day, leaving it to his Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bittle, who I pointed out inaccurately characterized the requirement for payments by Internet platforms as “use” of content and implausibly argued that the bill involved “minimal government intervention.” There has been a total of less than two hours of speeches and debate with just 10 MPs speaking to the bill or asking questions (Bittle and Mark Gerretsen being the only Liberal MPs).