The CRTC last week released the first three of at least nine planned consultations on the implementation of Bill C-11 (I was out of the country teaching an intensive course so playing catch-up right now). The consultations focus on the broad structure of the regulatory framework, registration requirements, and transitions from the current system of exemptions to one of regulations. The timeline to participate in this consultation is extremely tight with comments due as early as June 12th for two of the consultations and June 27th for the larger regulatory framework one. As the title of this post suggests, the CRTC is adopting an approach of shoot first, aim later. The consultations suggest that there is little interest in hearing from anyone outside of the legacy groups that have long dominated CRTC hearings. Indeed, by moving forward with incredibly tight timelines, without the government’s promised policy directive, and without support for newer groups to back their participation, the documents leave the distinct impression that the Commission had surrendered its independence and already made up its mind on how to implement Bill C-11.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 167: Inside My Senate Committee Appearance on the Many Risks of Bill C-18
Bill C-18, the Online News Act, has now shifted to the Senate, where the Transportation and Communications committee, is reviewing a bill that has led Meta to say it plans to block news sharing in Canada altogether in the bill passes in its current form. I appeared before the committee earlier this month with discussion that focused on a wide range of issues, including the risks of mandating payments for links, the non-compliance with international copyright obligations, why the CBC should not be included in the payment for links system, and how a fund would be a better approach. This week’s Lawbytes podcast goes inside the committee room for my opening statement and exchanges with half a dozen Senators.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 166: Colin Bennett on How the Government Is the Using the Budget Implementation Act to Weaken the Privacy Rules for Political Parties
For the second consecutive year, the government is using the Budget Implementation Act to quietly pass concerning legislation with minimal oversight or public attention. Last year, the BIA was used to extend the term of copyright in order to comply with the USMCA. This year, it is privacy that is at issue, with provisions related to political parties. Why would the government squeeze in privacy rules on political parties in Bill C-47?
Colin Bennett, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria and a leading privacy expert, has the answer. He’s been focused on Canada’s inadequate privacy rules governing political parties for a decade and is now sounding the alarm on the bill, noting that the provisions appear to be an effort to sideline a case in British Columbia that would apply tougher provincial privacy rules to Canada’s national political parties. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to explain.
This Must Stop: Government and Liberal Party Go All-In On Speech Regulation With Political Truth Oversight Bodies, Mandated Press Source Tracing, and Disclosure of Critics’ Communications
Earlier today, the Liberal party convention approved (subject to a final vote) two stunning policy resolutions with enormous implications for freedom of expression. First, as discussed yesterday, it approved a resolution that seeks 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.” If enacted, the policy would undermine freedom of the press and could even spark widespread censorship on Internet platforms. In addition, it passed a resolution to develop “truth in political advertising” legislation to be administered by an oversight body. There are legitimate concerns about the “truthiness” of all political parties communications, but political truth oversight bodies carries great risk and is unlikely to foster enhanced public trust.