Post Tagged with: "canadian heritage"

Wrong Direction by Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/2g4TPYt

Wrong Direction: Months After Bill C-10 is Tabled, Canadian Heritage Releases Draft Policy Direction Still Short on Details

Months after its introduction, it is fair to say that Bill C-10, the broadcasting reform bill, has not been the government’s finest performance. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has made claims about the economic benefits that his own department is unable to support, made inaccurate statements about the inclusion of economic thresholds and news in the bill in the House of Commons, and misleadingly compared his plans to the policies in Europe.

From a substantive perspective, even supporters have acknowledged that the bill eliminates the policy objective of Canadian ownership of the broadcasting system (Canadian Heritage officials have offered easily debunked talking points about the issue), drops the prioritization of Canadian performers, fails to address concerns about intellectual property ownership, and punts so many issues to the CRTC that it will take years for any new money to enter the system. If that were not enough, there is the failed process, including fast-tracking the bill to committee before completing second reading and the prospect of a constitutional challenge. Not to be forgotten is the astonishing secrecy: decreased Parliamentary oversight of policy directions and the need for MPs to demand access to basic documents such as costing estimates and draft policy directions that were withheld by Guilbeault and his department.

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March 12, 2021 20 comments News
Warning Sign by Robert Couse-Baker https://flic.kr/p/daYemu (CC BY 2.0)

Beware the Unintended Consequences: Some Warning Signs for Canada from the Australian Government Battle With Facebook

Last year, the Australian government presented Google and Facebook with an ultimatum: if the companies wanted to continue to allow users to link to news articles, they would be required to compensate news organizations. The Australian plan called for the creation of a mandated code that would create a process to determine the price to be paid for the links. Facebook’s response made it clear that if that was the choice – links with mandated payments or no links – it would choose the latter and block Australian news sharing from its service. While some described this as a threat (including Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault) or a bluff, it turns out the company was serious.

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February 19, 2021 25 comments News
Delete by delete (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9czUg1

Conservative MP Files Amendment Calling on the Government to Withdraw Bill C-10

The second reading debate over Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act reform bill, took a notable turn on Friday as Conservative MP Michael Kram called for the bill to be withdrawn, adding that politicians could do Canadians a lot of good by “rewriting it from scratch.” The House of Commons debate over Bill C-10 has run far longer than the government or Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault anticipated with the bill still not passing second reading and receiving a referral for committee study. The Conservatives have become increasingly critical, pointing (as I have done in my series on the many blunders in the bill) to the expansion of powers of the CRTC, the government secrecy on key policy issues, the uncertainty the bill creates, and the increased costs to consumers during a pandemic.

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February 8, 2021 4 comments News
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 76: Higher Consumer Costs and Less Choice – My Appearance Before the Heritage Committee on Broadcasting Act Reform

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 76: Higher Consumer Costs and Less Choice – My Appearance Before the Heritage Committee on Broadcasting Act Reform

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last week started what it is calling a pre-study on Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act reform bill. The hearings raises some significant procedural concerns given that the bill has not yet passed second reading so the committee is technically conducting a study about the bill, rather than studying the bill itself. Moreover, committee members have indicated that they have already been invited to provide potential amendment to a bill that hasn’t even made it out to committee, much less been the subject of any study.

Despite those qualms, I was pleased to be invited to appear before the committee and discuss some of the concerns that I’ve identified with the bill. This week’s podcast features my opening statement and the full exchanges that I had with Conservative MP Keven Waugh and Liberal MP Marcie Ian. The audio isn’t ideal, but I hope that the recordings give a sense of both the policy concerns with the bill and the kinds of questions being asked.

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February 8, 2021 0 comments Podcasts
Monopoly Income Tax Ver1 by Chris Potter http://www.ccpixs.com/ (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dAufY9

Forget Link Licensing and Cross-Subsidies: When it Comes to Tech, Canada Should be Focused on Competition Law and Tax Policy

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was recently asked about his plans to mandate licensing of links to news articles on social-media sites such as Facebook. While the policy is often referred to as a link tax, Mr. Guilbeault insisted that it was not a tax, stating “some people think every time the government acts, it’s a tax. What I’m working on has nothing to do with tax.” Instead of a government tax scheme, Mr. Guilbeault explained that he intends to have the Copyright Board of Canada set a fee for the links to articles, backed by government power to levy fines for non-payment.

Leaving aside the semantic debate over what constitutes a government tax, my Globe and Mail op-ed argues that the comments are notable because when it comes to addressing the concerns associated with the large technology companies, Canada should be working on taxation. Mr. Guilbeault has said his top legislative priority is to “get money from web giants,” yet rather than focusing on conventional tax policy, his preference is to entrench cross-subsidy programs that keep the money out of general tax revenues and instead allow for direct support to pet projects and favoured sectors.

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October 16, 2020 2 comments Columns