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darwin Bell from San Francisco, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Government Funding For an Anti-Semite: They Knew For a Month. And Did Nothing.

The Laith Marouf/CMAC incident took another turn today as Globe and Mail has a report that the Prime Minister’s Office knew for a month that the government was funding an anti-semite as part of its anti-hate program. And it did nothing.

I have written previously about how calling out government ministerial silence on this issue led Liberal MP Chris Bittle to suggest I am racist and a bully. I have written about the shameful silence from virtually all but Jewish MPs, leading MP Anthony Housefather to call on all to speak out (I also discussed this with Housefather on a Law Bytes podcast). I have written about the embarrassing solitary Canadian Heritage hearing, in which Minister Ahmed Hussen was evasive in answering questions and the time for discussion with department officials was lost over an unnecessary hour-long debate over whether to call Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez to committee. 

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October 18, 2022 5 comments News
Holi message from Minister Mendicino by Citizenship and Immigration Canada / Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3sGbuHsJck

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 142: CCLA’s Brenda McPhail on the Privacy and Surveillance Risks in Bill C-26

Earlier this year, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino introduced Bill C-26, new cyber-security legislation. The bill may address an issue that is widely regarded as essential, but once Canadian privacy and civil liberties had the opportunity to review the fine print in the bill, many came away concerned. Indeed, by September a coalition of groups and experts wrote to the Minister and party leaders, stating “Bill C-26 is deeply problematic and needs fixing”, warning that it risks undermining privacy rights. 

Brenda McPhail, the Director of the Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, led the effort to place Bill C-26 in the spotlight. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the bill and the myriad of concerns that it raises.

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October 17, 2022 2 comments Podcasts
Customer satisfaction survey by Kecko https://flic.kr/p/tDwS6A (CC BY 2.0)

Survey Says: Why the Government Reacted With Alarm to a Critical Opinion Poll on the Online News Act

On the very first day of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s hearings on the Online News Act last month, News Media Canada, the lead lobbyist for Bill C-18, was asked about a poll it commissioned this year which found 79% support requiring Google and Facebook to share revenue with Canadian news outlets. When Bloc MP Martin Champoux asked whether respondents were well informed, President and CEO Paul Deegen assured him “they were very well informed”. Deegan had a different response yesterday to another poll – this one commissioned by Google – as he took issue with the poll and warned that Google must provide “an honest presentation of the facts.” I have never thought any of these corporate-commissioned polls were of significant value and I’m not going to start now, whether it is News Media Canada or Google that is doing the commissioning. However, I think what makes the Google poll notable is the response to it, rather than the actual data.

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October 15, 2022 5 comments News
Netflix_Netflix_regarder en streaming sur playstation by downloadsource.fr https://flic.kr/p/rDqKvP (CC BY 2.0)

Why the Canadian Film and TV Production Sector’s Bill C-11 Expectations Are Wildly Out of Touch With Global Standards

Last week, the ongoing Senate hearings into Bill C-11 featured an appearance from the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters, who spelled out its expectations for Bill C-11, particularly the contributions from streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. While much of the Bill C-11 debate has focused on the regulation of user content, the bill’s supposed intent is to bring large streaming services into the Canadian broadcasting system. Fuelled by the government’s dubious claim that the bill could generated a billion dollars per year (even government officials now admit that the number is an estimate based not based on actual data), the Canadian sector came sporting demands wildly out of touch with international standards. Indeed, when compared to European regulation, which is often touted as the global leader, Canada would strongly discourage market entry for streaming services and likely result in reduced libraries of content in order to meet the government and CRTC’s regulatory requirements.

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October 12, 2022 8 comments News
OUT OF ORDER by Martin Deutsch https://flic.kr/p/d53Et (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The House of Commons Committee Process is Broken

Over the past year, I have watched an unhealthy amount of House of Commons and Senate committee hearings. In fact, in recent months I may have watched more of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage than Netflix, given hearings on Bill C-11, C-18, and the Laith Marouf issue. Having watched many hours – and appeared multiple times before that committee and others – it is time to declare the system broken. I’m not sure I have answers, but the starting point may be recognizing that Canadians are not being well served and there is plenty of blame to go around.

The impetus for this post is Friday’s hearing on the Laith Marouf incident. The problems started even before the hearing as the committee voted against asking Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez to appear as part of the study, with some MPs saying they would take a wait-and-see approach. But if government is to be accountable for the disastrous failure for using an anti-hate program to fund an anti-semite, committee testimony should not be something to avoid. 

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October 7, 2022 6 comments News