BREAKING: Bill C-11 passes Senate

The Upper House passed Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, Thursday afternoon by a vote of 52-16. One Senator abstained.

BREAKING: Bill C-11 passes Senate
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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The controversial legislation gives Ottawa the authority to tell broadcasters like YouTube and Netflix what they should and should not recommend to viewers online.

On March 30, the bill passed the House of Commons, but earned incredible pushback from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre citing no debate on it earlier that day due to “time allocation”.

“The Liberals in coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois have just passed the censorship bill out of the House of Commons,” said a dejected Poilievre. He remained confident in the “free speech warriors” within the Senate, including Conservative Senator Leo Housakos, who held the bill back for the better part of a year.

“He’s going to fight like hell to stop it from passing,” claimed the Opposition Leader of Housakos.

On February 2, Liberal Senator David Richards likened the ‘censorship’ bill to totalitarian regimes.

“Stalin again will be looking over our shoulder when we write,” he said, drawing additional similarities between this bill and dictatorships.

“In Germany, it was called the Ministry of National Enlightenment,” continued Rochards, as he compared it to the Reich Ministry for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment which controlled film, radio, theatre, and the press during Hitler’s reign in Nazi Germany.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez previously declined most of the proposed amendments made by the Senate, claiming they “created loopholes.” Law professor and Bill C-11 critic Michael Geist responded that Canadian content creators are not loopholes.

Geist argued this is “disinformation” and revealed the true intent of the legislation: To retain power and regulate user content.

“The bill would give the CRTC new powers — but exactly how or even if the CRTC would use them cannot be determined through an analysis of the bill alone,” reads the Senate website. “Aspects of this bill may have a sweeping effect on broadcasting in Canada — or modest effect, depending on future CRTC decisions.”

“This bill will give [the government] the authority to control what we see, hear, and post online,” said Conservative Heritage Critic Rachael Thomas on April 25. “It will bring about internet censorship.”

As first reported by Rebel News, Conservative MP Dean Allison tabled documents in Parliament that unveiled Ottawa had requested social media companies remove 214 posts between January 2020 and February 2023.

Thomas referenced an attempt by Immigration Canada to censor a 2021 Toronto Sun article by columnist Lorne Gunter on pending changes within the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). 

“The government’s requests were denied, thankfully,” she said.

On April 16, the shadow minister requested an emergency debate amid concerns that Bill C-11 and Bill C-18, the Online News Act, could pass the senate and immediately regulate the Internet.

“If adopted, these two bills will greatly diminish the ability of media companies and social media platforms to ignore government commands concerning what information can and cannot be made available to the Canadian public,” wrote Thomas in a letter to House Speaker Anthony Rota on April 16.

“News and cultural content will be at the mercy of government oversight and approvals,” she continued. “This is a terrifying thought in a longstanding, robust, and proud democracy like Canada.” 

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