Andrew Lawton on the future of independent media in light of increasing censorship

'The government only wants its own chosen journalists,' he explained.

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At the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference 2024, journalist Andrew Lawton shared his perspective on the state of Canada over the past year. As a speaker at both last year's event and this year's, Lawton provided a candid assessment of the country's trajectory.

"When it comes to metrics, things seem to have worsened," Lawton observed. "Inflation has been very difficult for people. Interest rates have become very difficult for people. Division seems to be larger in some ways, and people are having more issues affording their homes. The carbon tax has gone up."

However, Lawton noted a glimmer of hope amidst the challenges. "But where I think things may be better overall is that people seem to be a bit more hopeful now," he remarked. "People at the conference don't like Justin Trudeau, and they're very excited about the idea of getting rid of him. That idea seems to be making it a little bit better."

Speaking on the future of journalism in Canada, Lawton expressed concern about Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act. "Oh, it's dangerous," he said. "I covered this issue back when it was around the first time...and the reason they removed it is because that bill, or that law rather was allowing the censorship of speech." Lawton warned against the implications of reintroducing laws that could stifle free speech, particularly conservative voices.

Rebel News also addressed Trudeau's proposed licensing for journalism and asked Lawton about the infringement on the freedom of the press. "The government only wants its own chosen journalists," he explained. "They don't want independent, non-government aligned journalists."

Despite the challenges, Lawton remains optimistic about the future. "I think what's going to end up happening is it's going to make it very easy for the conservatives in this country to say we don't even need to dismantle anything. We're just not going to finish this. We're going to walk away and we're going to respect press freedom."

As Canada navigates its political landscape, Lawton emphasized the need for principled leadership and adherence to democratic values. "Press freedom is supposed to be universal," he asserted. "Everyone should have a fair shake."

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