Liberal party policy proposal 2023,

Liberal party policy proposal 2023,


Liberal Party Policy Proposal Would Limit Online Publication to Material “Whose Sources Can Be Traced”

The Liberal Party policy convention is underway in Ottawa with delegates preparing to debate a series of policy proposals that could ultimately make their way into their national election platforms. Party members voted on the top 20 proposals for discussion and included one involving the media and online information that seems obviously unconstitutional and a direct threat to a freedom of the press. The proposal, purportedly aimed at addressing misinformation, calls for more government funding for the media and that the government explore options to “hold on-line information services accountable for the veracity of material published on their platforms and to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.”

The notion that the problem with the media is the lack of government funding to enable a shift to ad-free news misdiagnosis the misinformation challenge as one linked primarily to advertising. Ironically, it would entrench existing media outlets and limit new news outlets and innovation. But even worse is that on the same week that the government celebrated press freedom week, the Liberal party is considering a proposal that would represent a stunning limitation on those freedoms. It is not clear precisely who would be covered by “online information services”, but the outcome is dangerous no matter the scope. Is this all news outlets with a focus on their online presence? Is it online-only news sources? Is this far broader and designed to encompass Internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok (note the reference to “platforms”) with requirements that they be held accountable for posts without traceable sources?

Moreover, what does “traceable sources” mean? Does it mean the media outlet must out the sources and thus be unable to rely on anonymous sources or whistleblowers? Does it mean that there must be a link to original documents or other articles included in the post? Does it mean that sources must be kept on hand and subject to government audits on the posts or articles?

The implications of the government engaging in this form of heavy-handed speech regulation are dangerous in all of these circumstances. Sourcing is an important issue in the media and the government cannot claim to support press freedom and simultaneously back policies that intervene in sourcing. As for the scope of the proposal, interfering with press independence is incredibly dangerous, both for Canadians’ access to information, freedom of expression rights, and for how Canada could be used as model by repressive regimes. Indeed, the inclusion of Internet platforms could lead to widespread content censorship, since platforms cannot possibly be required to verify that billions of user posts can all be sourced and would be left with little alternative but to severely restrict online posting.

The government is already creating significant concerns with press freedoms and access to information online with Bill C-18, which creates a system of mandated payments for links and will ultimately undermine trust in the media in Canada. If adopted, this Liberal policy proposal would further erode trust and place some of the most basic rights of expression and press freedom at risk.


  1. Bobomunga says:

    There is clearly no such thing as an “arm’s-length non-partisan mechanism” of “provid[ing] additional funds to support…Canadian media” when some parties support such funding and other parties oppose such funding. Media companies are smart enough to know which side their bread is buttered on.

    The “traceable sources” thing is just so heinous and asinine that you can guarantee they’ve got it in the pipeline. They’ve totally lost the plot.

    • And frankly, who decides that they are “non-partisan”? Both the Broadbent and Frasier institutes describe themselves as non-partisan.

  2. Sounds like more China-interference. Not only are they interfering in the electoral process, but it sounds like they have a direct line to the Liberal Party of Canada’s policy office and the LPC is listening very closely and implementing all of China’s oppressive policies.

    C-11, C18 and now this. The LPC seems to know no limits on oppressing and suppressing.

  3. I wrote Letters to the Editor of local papers decades before the internet that this was the direction we were heading in. I was repeatedly told to “Take off my tinfoil hat!” The sheep were all willing to go along with it because no one cares in this country unless the topic of conversation is taxes or the economy.
    Sad to say, but I told you all so.

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  5. Are we going to have a Ministry of Truth to decide on the veracity of material published and to hold platforms accountable? Would it differentiate between opinion, items stated as fact, the quality of any studies cited, and cherry-picked data? Would investigations be based on complaints, its own monitoring or self-reporting? How accurate would reports have to be to avoid sanctions and what would the sanctions be? Where would it get the expertise to evaluate the veracity of reports? How would it handle government approved products and groups, like homeopathy, that are pure nonsense?

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  11. Amber Brion says:

    The policy proposal you mentioned appears to raise serious concerns regarding freedom of the press and freedom of expression. While it is understandable that misinformation is a problem, the proposal’s suggested solutions seem misguided and could lead to unintended consequences. By mandating traceable sources for all material published online, the proposal could limit the ability of the press to rely on anonymous sources or whistleblowers, potentially stifling investigative journalism and undermining the free flow of information. It could also place undue burdens on online platforms, leading to censorship and content restrictions. value

  12. By advocating for traceable sources, the party hopes to promote accountability and reliability in online content. However, it is important to consider potential implications on freedom of speech and the challenges associated with implementing such a policy in the digital age.