Bill C-18, the online news bill whose foundation is mandated payments for links, has unsurprisingly sparked reaction from Google and Facebook that raises the possibility of stopping linking to Canadian news. In an act of obvious retribution, the government responded to the companies response with a motion from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage Chris Bittle that demanded a wide range of internal and external documents dating back years and even looped in the private correspondence of companies, NGOs, journalists and potentially of thousands of Canadians. At committee, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather introduced a motion that removed some of the most problematic elements, but still left in place what is best described as a fishing expedition.
Perrin Beatty is a former Cabinet Minister under Prime Ministers Clark and Mulroney, was named President of the CBC by Jean Chretien, and is now the President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. His members are split in their views of Bill C-18, but not on the motion at Heritage committee. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the concerns with the motion and the dangerous precedent it sets.