Post Tagged with: "free speech"

Out of Time [206/366] by Tim Sackton https://flic.kr/p/cEkpgG (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Guilbeault’s Gag Order, the Sequel: Time Running Out as Government Seeks to End Debate on Bill C-10 in the House of Commons

Fresh off imposing a five-hour gag order on committee debate on Bill C-10 and rushing through a secretive process in which dozens of amendments were passed without any debate, discussion or even disclosure of the amendments, the government is back for a gag order sequel. Yesterday, the Liberal government introduced another motion, this one designed to limit debate even further: one hour for debate at the report back stage and 75 minutes at third reading. In other words, less than 2 1/2 hours total for debate on the bill in the House of Commons. The motion was introduced before the updated Bill C-10 was even posted online, though it is now available.

The move led to hours of discussion on the motion last night, leading to a consistent drumbeat from Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs, who kept asking what was in the bill that presented a concern for a freedom of expression. Left unsaid, is that at least part of the answer is what is not the bill:

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June 15, 2021 7 comments News
A Flashmob for Free Speech - 1 by Jasn https://flic.kr/p/77LERz (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Broadcasting Act Betrayal: The Long Term Consequences of the Guilbeault Gag Order

Several weeks after Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault introduced Bill C-10, I started a 20 part blog post series called the Broadcasting Act Blunder (podcast edition here). The series examined many of concerns with the bill, including issues such as over-broad regulation and discoverability requirements that would only garner public attention many months later. I thought about that series yesterday as I watched Guilbeault try in the House of Commons to defend the indefensible: a gag order on committee review of the bill, the first such order in two decades. While the bill is in dire need of fixing, what occurred yesterday was far worse than a blunder. It was a betrayal. A betrayal of the government’s commitment to “strengthen Parliamentary committees so that they can better scrutinize legislation.” A betrayal of the promise to do things differently from previous governments. A betrayal of Canada’s values as a Parliamentary democracy.

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June 8, 2021 9 comments News
FAIL! by John Pasden (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7w4eB3

The Bill C-10 Effect: Why Canadian Consumers Face a Future of Cancon Surcharges and Blocked Services

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has frequently claimed that his legislative goal in Bill C-10 is to “get money from web giants”. As last week’s post on a Canadian Heritage departmental memo highlighted, Bill C-10 targets far more than just “web giants” as the bill adopts a far broader regulatory approach that targets podcast apps such as Stitcher and Pocket Casts, audiobook services such as Audible, home workout apps, pornographic sites, sports streaming services such as MLB.TV and DAZN, niche video services such as Britbox, and even broadcaster websites such as the BBC.

The effect of significant new regulatory costs on these services is likely to spark one of two responses: some services will simply pass along the costs to consumers in the form of new Cancon surcharges, while others will likely block the Canadian market altogether. The Cancon surcharges, when combined with the new sales taxes on digital services that take effect later this year, could lead to the costs of digital services skyrocketing by nearly 50 per cent in Canada. If that happens, Guilbeault will be getting money from consumers, not the web giants.

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May 25, 2021 28 comments News
freedom of expression by Jason Taellious (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/5kTNEG

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 89: Debating Bill C-10 at the Canadian Heritage Committee, Part Two: A Special Law Bytes Podcast

With yesterday’s Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting with experts on Bill C-10 and its implications for freedom of expression, this is a special Law Bytes episode featuring my opening statement and engagement with Members of Parliament. The discussion canvassed a wide range of issues including how regulating user generated content makes Canada an outlier worldwide, the impact on net neutrality, and why discoverability requirements constitute speech regulation. There is a second post that features my opening statement to the committee.

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May 18, 2021 2 comments Podcasts
freedom of expression is your right by Rachel Hinman https://flic.kr/p/6J5ATQ (CC BY 2.0)

Debating Bill C-10 at the Canadian Heritage Committee, Part One: My Opening Statement

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage yesterday held a special hearing with experts to discuss Bill C-10 and concerns about the freedom of expression implications of regulating user generated content. I was pleased to appear before the committee and took questions from MPs from four of the five parties (only the Liberals did not ask me any questions). I have two posts on the appearance: this post features my opening statement and a second post links to a special edition of the Law Bytes podcast with the audio of my appearance.

The full text is posted below. There are at least three points emphasizing. First, no other country in the world uses broadcast regulation in this way, making Canada a true global outlier. Second, there is no evidence of a discoverability problem for user generated content. Third, the issue of excluding Youtube from the scope of the bill is open to considerable debate and was not even raised by CIMA in its written submission to the committee.

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May 18, 2021 12 comments Committees, News