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Pablo Rodriguez tweet, November 1, 2022, https://twitter.com/pablorodriguez/status/1587500720277815305

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez Tweets Video Suggesting it Shows Creator Support for Bill C-11, But the Video Pre-Dates the Bill By Nearly a Year

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s credibility took another hit yesterday with an exceptionally misleading tweet on Bill C-11. The tweet featured a video of artists encouraging Canadians to seek out Canadian content, which Rodriguez used to tweet “I’m hearing so many stories from artists about how Bill #C11 will make a real difference for artists. This is what it’s all about: supporting diverse Canadian culture, artists, and stories.”  Leaving aside the fact that thousands of digital creators have vocally opposed the bill with warnings that it will result in serious harm to their careers and livelihood, the artists in the video were not speaking about Bill C-11. We know that because the video was launched in April 2021, pre-dating Bill C-11 by nearly a year and created before the government started the ruckus by removing Section 4.1 protections for user content from Bill C-10.  

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November 2, 2022 5 comments News
Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.28.25 AM by Tom Woodward https://flic.kr/p/GeWiE5 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why Bill C-18’s Mandated Payment for Links is a Threat to Freedom of Expression in Canada

The study into the Online News Act continues this week as the government and Bill C-18 supporters continue to insist that the bill does not involve payment for links. These claims are deceptive and plainly wrong from even a cursory reading of the bill. Simply put, there is no bigger concern with this bill. This post explains why link payments are in, why the government knows they are in, and why the approach creates serious risks to the free flow of information online and freedom of expression in Canada.

Payments for Links: “The Whole Purpose of Why We’re Here”

First, the statute and comments related to the bill leave no doubt that payment for links is absolutely part of the legislative plan. Section 2(2) of the bill defines making news content available as follows:

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November 1, 2022 10 comments News
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The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 144: Keldon Bester on the Rogers-Shaw Merger and the Problem with Canadian Competition Law

The proposed Rogers-Shaw merger was back in the news last week as Canadian Industry minister Francois Philippe Champagne held a mid-week press conference to announce that the original deal was dead, but that a reworked deal that brings in Videotron might be a possibility if certain government expectations on restrictions on transferring spectrum licences and consumer pricing outside of Quebec were met. Keldon Bester is a co-founder of the Canadian Anti-Monopoly Project (CAMP), a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and an independent consultant and researcher working on issues of competition and monopoly power in Canada. He’s been one of the most insightful and outspoken experts on the proposed Rogers-Shaw merger and he joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss where things stand and the big picture weaknesses of Canadian competition law and policy.

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October 31, 2022 3 comments Podcasts
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Making Sense of the Indifference to Bill C-18’s Cutting Out Small Media Outlets While Giving Hundreds of Millions to Bell, Rogers and the CBC

Bill C-18, the Online News Act, appeared to be headed to clause-by-clause review this week. But the mounting attention on the bill – notably Facebook’s revelation that it would consider stopping news sharing in Canada if the bill passes in its current form – may have persuaded MPs to add several additional hearings, including one on Friday that will feature both Facebook and OpenMedia. The Facebook issue adds to the growing concerns with the bill, particularly the exclusion of many small media outlets due to restrictive eligibility criteria and a Parliamentary Budget Officer estimate that over 75% of the benefits – hundreds of millions of dollars – will go to broadcast giants such as Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Corus, and the CBC. Newspapers will be left fighting over the remaining scraps, if they’re eligible for anything. Indeed, as many small media outlets have noted, eligibility requirements to have QCJO status or regularly employ at least two journalists means that many small weeklies or digital startups will fall outside the system. 

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October 27, 2022 5 comments News
Evidence based policy after peer review - Melbourne #MarchforScience on #Earthday by John Englart (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/TT27ZY

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s Credibility Problem, Part Two: Misleading and Missing Data on Bill C-18

As noted in yesterday’s post, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last Friday for one hour and walked away with a serious credibility problem. Friday’s hearing focused on two issues – the Laith Marouf/CMAC issue of government funding for an anti-semite and Bill C-18 – and Rodriguez faced credibility questions on both. While yesterday’s post focused on his responses to questions about Canadian Heritage funding for CMAC/Marouf, today’s addresses his misleading statements on the bill.

I’ve written extensively about some of the problems with Bill C-18. These include process concerns involving blocking dozens of witnesses from appearing before committee, benefit concerns based on Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that the big winners are Bell, Rogers and the CBC, as well as substantive concerns that include the risks to the free flow of information online, risks of increased misinformation, and government intervention in an area that could undermine an independent press. But Rodriguez’s appearance last week raised new concerns about the government using misleading data and apparently having given little thought or study to the full implications of the bill.

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October 26, 2022 3 comments News