The Canadian Heritage committee moved ahead yesterday with a Bill C-18 motion that should strike fear in any group that participates in the political process. In a chaotic few minutes toward the end of the meeting, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather introduced a new motion that removed some of the worst of the authoritarian-style provisions previously proposed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage that demanded the private communications of potentially thousands of Canadians. However, it still retained mandated document disclosures that should send a chill into companies, NGOs, and anyone else that engages in, or strategizes about, government legislation. Calling executives into committee is not only appropriate, it is often essential. So too is following up with document demands based on the discussion. But in this case, the Heritage committee is engaged in a fishing expedition based largely on opposition to government legislation.
Post Tagged with: "Heritage Committee"
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.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage yesterday held the first of four planned day-long hearings on Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act. Over the course of five hours, the committee heard from about a dozen witnesses. I was included on the opening panel and used my opening remarks to focus on two key issues: Bill C-11’s regulation of user content and its overbroad regulatory approach and the need for greater certainty. A full transcript of the opening remarks are posted at the end of this post.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is reportedly set to release its much-anticipated study on the future of media today with a recommendation for a new 5% tax on broadband services to fund Canadian media and the creation of Cancon. The Globe reports that the Conservative MPs on the committee oppose the recommendation. I raised concerns about the possibility of new digital taxes last fall, fearing that Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly would implement them as part of her review of Cancon in a digital world and noting that the Ontario government appeared supportive of the approach. Joly has yet to outline her plans which are scheduled for release in September, but has refused to rule out Internet taxes and regulation. I will update this post once the full report is released, but based on the Globe report it must be stated that an Internet tax to fund Canadian content is a terrible policy choice with exceptionally harmful effects on the poorest and most vulnerable households in Canada.
The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has voted unanimously to conduct hearings on the future of the CBC starting in the new year. The move comes after the Conservative government shelved a potential review earlier this year. Interestingly, the hearings could have an impact on copyright reform since tying up […]