This episode of The Ezra Levant Show originally aired on April 6, 2023. To sign our petition against the Trudeau Liberals' censorship efforts, visit StopTheCensorship.ca.
I’m afraid that Canada is now the most dangerous place in the world for freedom of speech. Look at this insane press conference just this week, from the provincial legislature in Ontario.
In case you missed it, she wants massive fines and even jail for being merely “offensive remarks” or “protests”.
You probably didn’t notice it, but I called her a "she", instead of "they-them." So I just broke her proposed law, right there. I misgendered her. That’s “offensive” to her. It’s pretty clear that she is offended all the time. You could say she is offended for a living. But there is no human right not to be offended. That’s a counterfeit human right. Which now takes precedence over real human rights, like freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Canada’s great history of civil liberties is coming to an end.
A few weeks ago, Jyoti Gondek, the mayor of Calgary, Canada’s fourth-largest city, announced the same thing: that anyone who says something she finds hateful or vitriolic, or lying should be arrested and fined. Some might say she is hateful and vitriolic and tells lies. Those aren’t crimes by the way. That mayor publicly demanded that police arrest a pastor named Derek Reimer because she found him offensive. So they arrested Pastor Reimer, and jailed him — for being offensive.
There are a lot of arrests of peaceful political critics in Canada these days. Pastor Artur Pawlowski was jailed for a month and a half for keeping his church open during the lockdowns.
Justin Trudeau invoked martial law and had peaceful trucker protesters arrested and jailed for the sin of embarrassing him on the world stage. He also seized the bank accounts of hundreds of other peaceful critics of his regime. In his defence, he did try to warn us about his beliefs, even before he was elected.
When a politician says he admires Communist China precisely because of its basic dictatorship, we should believe him. When Fidel Castro died, Trudeau wrote a eulogy like a son would write for a father. Cuban health care is a disaster.
“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el comandante”. Is that what his “detractors” say, from their prison cells? That Castro was just a loveable old dictator who really had their best interests at heart? So gross.
But here’s the thing. Arresting peaceful protesters, deploying riot police to stomp on your critics, seizing bank accounts — it looks awful. It’s messy. It’s so obviously controlled by politicians and it’s so obviously designed to stifle political dissent. But if you’re going to silence someone, the way to do it in 2023 is much different from how Castro did it a generation ago. And Trudeau knows that. And while his allies are having noisy press conferences where they absolutely make it clear that they’re all about silencing their political enemies, Trudeau is smarter than that.
You see, the truly modern fascist uses the Internet, not the police, to censor people wherever possible. When you take over the Internet, there are no shocking TV images of cops beating up your opponents. It’s all done online. There’s nothing to see.
And that’s what I want to warn the world about — that’s the message that everyone who loves or even just likes Canada needs to know: Trudeau has embarked on a massive legislative program to censor the Internet.
He’s going through it in four stages, the first of which is about to become law within weeks. Trudeau has four laws set up like dominos. The first leads to the second, which leads to the third and so-on. He’s doing it in stages. If he were to do it all at once people might panic and rise up. But he’s going it incrementally. But the first domino will fall in weeks maybe even days.
Later this month, Trudeau’s majority in the Senate will approve Bill C-11, which amends the Broadcasting Act. In a way, this is the most important stage, the first domino, because until now, the government hasn’t been able to regulate what’s on the Internet. Until now, only regular television and radio have been regulated by Trudeau and his hand-picked censors at the CRTC, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. It even sounds archaic, doesn’t it? What’s a radio-television? Is that like a motion picture or something?
Anyways, that dinosaur regulator, which has been an utter failure and has driven so much talent out of Canada, will now control the Internet — by declaring that social media companies are now “broadcasters” that can be regulated like TV stations.
This enactment amends the Broadcasting Act to, among other things,
(a) add online undertakings — undertakings for the transmission or retransmission of programs over the Internet — as a distinct class of broadcasting undertakings”
In the past, the government could only bully radio and TV stations into silencing voices the government didn’t like. About 20 years ago, the Liberal government refused to renew the licence of a politically incorrect radio station in Quebec called Choi-FM — effectively killing it. It was only saved when 50,000 listeners marched in the streets of Quebec City, and another 5,000 went all the way to Ottawa to protest the censorship — only then did the government relent. Here’s a news clip from the Parliament Hill protest:
That’s incredible, and it was incredible to see other media support Choi-FM. These days, the mainstream media takes the lead in censoring and cancelling voices they don’t like.
So that’s the main threat of C-11: it declares that Facebook and Google and YouTube and Twitter are now broadcasters. And they have to do what the government says, or they’ll be punished like Choi-FM was.
You can see the outlines of what Trudeau plans to do with his new power. Look at the section 9.1., called “conditions”. As in, Trudeau can now put editorial conditions on Internet companies.
9.1 (1) The Commission may, in furtherance of its objects, make orders imposing conditions on the carrying
on of broadcasting undertakings that the Commission considers appropriate for the implementation of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1), including conditions respecting…”
and then a list of things. If I were Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, I might object to a few of these conditions. Like this one:
“9o) the provision to the Commission, by persons carrying on broadcasting undertakings, of any other information that the Commission considers necessary for the administration of this Act, including
(i) financial or commercial information, (ii) information related to programming,
(iii) information related to expenditures made under sections 11.1, and 35
(iv) information related to audience measurement, other than information that could identify any individual audience member
So now social media companies — including Elon Musk’s privately-held Twitter — now have to answer any private business question put to them by Trudeau. There are sixteen items in that list of conditions. But here’s one that really worried me from a censorship point of view.
It’s subsection “e”. Trudeau can make orders regarding: "(e) the presentation of programs and programming services for selection by the public, including the showcasing and the discoverability of Canadian programs and programming services…"
So Trudeau can order Twitter, Facebook, Google or YouTube to alter the algorithm to interfere with what you can find. Trudeau can force social media companies to “showcase” whatever content he wants and to alter the “discoverability” of it. So he can boost his friends and have companies hide his enemies.
It effectively nationalizes social media — now it is all under Trudeau’s control. So it’s not just C-11. It’s what comes after C-11 that’s terrifying.
Because once Trudeau has the power to regulate the Internet, only then will he reveal what he will do with it. And as we saw during the trucker convoy, he will suspend civil liberties if it suits him.
C-11 is just step one. But Trudeau already has another bill in Parliament called C-18, or the Online News Act. And just like C-11 makes social media companies “broadcasters” for Trudeau to regulate, C-18 creates a new thing, called “digital intermediaries.”
Here’s how that’s defined in the bill: "digital news intermediary means an online communications platform, including a search engine or social media service, that is subject to the legislative authority of Parliament and that makes news content produced by news outlets available to persons in Canada.” So that’s a fancy way of saying any sort of search engine.
And every social media platform has that, by the way. Not just explicit search engines like Google. But also YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Anything with a search engine, that if you type in something, like “carbon tax” or “Trudeau blackface” it returns a list of links for news stories. Just the headline, maybe the first sentence, and a link to click if you want to see more.
Now, as you know, that’s how the Internet works — things link to other things. For free. No one has to pay for a link, no one has to get paid for a link. People generally love getting linked to, since it sends traffic to what you’re doing. If a bunch of people post a story to Facebook about a Rebel News story, we love it, because they click the link and come to our site, and that’s good for us.
In fact, many news companies pay to promote themselves on search engines — sometimes you see ads show up in the search results (marked as ads).
So obviously if newspapers are advertising on Facebook or Google, it’s because they see value in it. But what C-18 does is it forces social media companies and search engines to pay any news organization they link to. They are literally going to be compelled to pay to link to someone. Here’s how a Liberal MP Lisa Hepfner put it:
gov’t will always support quality, fact-based and local Canadian journalism in a fair digital marketplace. This bill makes it harder for big digital platforms like Facebook and Google to steal local journalists’ articles and repost them without credit on one of their networks 3/3
Yeah, when Google links to a story, it’s not stealing. That’s disinformation, isn’t it? But look at her language — the government will support quality, fact-based journalism. What does that mean? Well, again, it means only journalism that Trudeau likes will be subsidized. It’s right in the law:
Eligible news businesses — designation
27 (1) At the request of a news business, the Commission must, by order, designate the business as eligible if it 30
(a) is a qualified Canadian journalism organization as defined in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act
That “qualified Canadian journalism organization” designation is really a Canadian news licence — if you have it, it means Trudeau “trusts” you. If you don’t, he demonizes you as misinformation. We applied for that QCJO status, and the government reviewed hundreds of Rebel News stories and bizarrely declared that what we do is not news.
Huh? It’s called Rebel News. It’s not sports or weather or cooking. They literally said 99% of what we do isn’t newsy.
That’s bizarre, and we are legally appealing that decision. But it’s pretty obvious why we were denied, but hard-left-wing media groups like the Tides Foundation-backed National Observer get the designation: because they’re in step with Trudeau’s regime.
So C-11 commandeers the Internet. And lets Trudeau manipulate the algorithm. C-18 makes Big Tech companies pay money to journalists in Canada — but only to the journalists that Trudeau likes, not the ones he doesn’t like. That’s handy.
By the way, Facebook has said that if they’re forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to link to Trudeau’s favourite journalists, they just won’t link to Trudeau’s favourite journalists. They say it’s not a moneymaker for them, and if Trudeau really thinks it’s “stealing” to link to the Globe and Mail or whoever, then they’ll stop doing it.
Google is soldiering doing the same — and Trudeau calls that “blocking” news sites. Got it. So if you link to them, you’re stealing. If you don’t link to them, you’re blocking them. The only solution is to give hundreds of millions of dollars — but only to journalists that Trudeau’s hand-picked cronies approve. Not to Rebel News — we don’t have a government news licence.
So that’s C-18, it’s Trudeau’s second censorship bill.
C-36 is the next one. It was actually introduced in the last Parliament but didn’t get passed before the election was called. Trudeau has said they’ll reintroduce it. It’s terrifying. Because it doesn’t just deal with money and algorithms. It gets right into what you can or can’t say — and it has jail terms and huge fines if you say the things Trudeau doesn’t like.
Let me read to you its formal name, and you can get the picture:"An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech)”
Yeah. Trudeau calls people haters all the time — Islamophobes, transphobes, racists, whatever. He usually just means those as insults. But now he means them as crimes. So if you oppose him, he’ll call you names and charge you with crimes. If you don’t believe me, read the bill.
Just to start, hate propaganda is already in our Criminal Code. Section 318 of our Criminal Code already makes it a crime to advocate for genocide; section 319 makes it a crime to incite hatred. But C-36 goes much further.
It’s pretty brief. But it tries to criminalize feelings. Including hate:
hatred means the emotion that involves detestation or
vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain;
It’s totalitarian to pass laws telling people how to feel and think. You can’t tell someone simply not to be upset; try that with your wife or husband: just order them not to feel bad; they’ll feel worse. Hate often comes from an underlying grievance; if you don’t deal with that in some way, you can “ban” hate all you like, but it won’t work — in fact, you’ll probably make it worse.
So they’ve defined the feelings you’re not allowed to have. And now they’re going to ban it. You see, they’ve decided to regulate the Internet. They’ve got their bureaucrats at the CRTC through C-11. They’re getting the Big Tech companies through C-18. C-36 is where they really come for you:
Communication of hate speech
13 (1) It is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Who knows if something will foment hate? I’m pretty sure they’ll say everything foments hate — these people are professionally offended, it’s their job and their hobby and their sense of identity.
For the purposes of subsection (1), a person who communicates or causes to be communicated hate speech continues to do so for as long as the hate speech remains public and the person can remove or block access to it.
That means if you tweeted or Facebooked something even years ago, even when you were a kid, you’re still guilty of that hate crime today. There is no statute of limitations.
You know, in real courts there’s the idea of being able to confront your accuser. To look them in the eye and challenge them. Not here — Trudeau is setting up a secret court. Complaints about hate speech will be made in secret — and these secret complainants can get up to $20,000 for their complaints. It’s a new industry:
Non-disclosure of identity — Commission
(8) The Commission may deal with a complaint in relation to a discriminatory practice described in section 13 without disclosing, to the person against whom the com-plaint was filed or to any other person, the identity of the alleged victim, the individual or group of individuals who has filed the complaint or any individual who has given evidence or assisted the Commission in any way in dealing with the complaint, if the Commission considers that there is a real and substantial risk that any of those individuals will be subjected to threats, intimidation or discrimination.
Secret courts, secret witnesses, secret complaints. A rival; an ex; a disgruntled former employee; or a political prankster. You can be sued forever, endlessly, and you won’t even know by whom. You can be ordered to pay huge fines:
(b) an order to pay compensation of not more than $20,000 to any victim personally identified in the communication that constituted the discriminatory practice
But there’s something in here even more amazing: "pre-crimes”. Like in the movie Minority Report. Even if you haven’t done anything yet, you can still be prosecuted. I’m not kidding:
Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime
810.012 (1) A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay an information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that an- other person will commit
(a) an offence under section 318 or subsection 319(1) 5 or (2)
(b) an offence under subsection 430(4.1);
(c) an offence motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.
So even if someone hasn’t broken the law yet, but you’re afraid they might, you can go to court and strike first.
And if a judge says your fear is reasonable, he’ll lock up the person you’re afraid of, even if that person hasn’t done anything, doesn’t do anything, or won’t ever do anything. He’ll issue an order against him.
Do you think this just might, maybe, be abused? Getting your opponents locked up, even before they say anything?
You can be put under house arrest, with a curfew; have your firearms seized; have an ankle bracelet put on you; be banned from using drugs or booze; things that normally happen only to convicted criminals who actually did something.
THE ONLINE HARMS ACT
And they saved the worst for last — the Online Harms Act, which hasn’t been introduced yet, or given a number.
C-11 uses a slow and dumb bureaucracy called the CRTC. C-18 is the same. C-36 includes huge fines and jail time, but at least involves some judges. But none of that is tough enough and punitive for Trudeau. So his final bill, out of the four, creates a new Internet censorship office, with the Orwellian name of "Digital Safety Commissioner of Canada.”
• The Act should provide for the establishment of the Digital Safety Commissioner, whose functions are to:
• Oversee and improve online content moderation, by:
• Administering and enforcing obligations;
• Engaging with and considering the particular needs of and barriers faced by groups disproportionately affected by harmful online content such as women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, members of racialized communities and religious minorities and of LGBTQ2 and gender-diverse communities and persons with disabilities; and
• Supporting platforms in reducing harmful content affecting peoples in Canada.
• Engage in partnerships, education outreach activities, and research, to help fulfill the policy objectives of the Act.
So an ultimate, unaccountable, hunter-killer to silence anything “harmful”. And by harmful, they mean whatever this censor doesn’t like.
Trudeau proposes extreme ideas like website takedowns within 24 hours — no time for any sort of hearing. If Trudeau or his team don’t like something, they order a social media company to take it down, and it must come down within 24 hours.
Twitter’s response to this — and let me emphasize, this is from before Elon Musk took over Twitter, so this was when Twitter was pretty pro-censorship itself. The company wrote a private memo to Trudeau, warning that this is literally the stuff that North Korea does — they made that comparison:
ISSUE: 24-HOUR TAKEDOWN REQUIREMENTS
Twitter opposes the recommendation of a time limit on “addressing” any content “flagged” by any person in Canada as “harmful” content.
• The proposed time limit does not allow for judicious, thoughtful analysis in a manner that balances the right to freedom of expression in Canada with the right to freedom from discrimination and prejudice.
• According to existing research and analysis, the proposed system has a high probability of negatively impacting marginalized, racialized and intersectional groups. More information from Prof. Suzie Dunn at Dalhousie University can be found here.
• The 24-hour proposal should be abandoned. Content should be addressed as quickly and as possible and within the scope of existing Canadian jurisprudence, terms of service and rules by the online communication service providers.
• Further, any standard applied in the digital world should also be applied in real life. For example, law enforcement should be required to both launch an investigation within 24 hours of “flagging” as well as remove any hateful content - graffiti on a statue for example - that appears within 24 hours across the country.
And here’s Twitter comparing Trudeau’s proposal to China:
• ISSUE: WEBSITE BLOCKING
The proposal by the government of Canada to allow the Digital Safety Commissioner to block websites is drastic. People around the world have been blocked from accessing Twitter and other services in a similar manner as the one proposed by Canada by multiple authoritarian governments (China, North Korea, and Iran for example) under the false guise of ‘online safety,’ impeding peoples’ rights to access information online.
Four bills. Falling like dominos. C-11, C-18, C-36 and the Online Harms Act. Each one building on the other, to build a censorship regime whose only comparison is places like North Korea.
Trudeau has the support of the NDP, so these simply will become the law. And it’s not like any of the mainstream media are actively opposing them — the opposite; they’re excited about Trudeau forcing Big Tech to pay them money for links. The media have been bought off, again.
Canada is in trouble, and the watchdogs who are supposed to be on guard are all sleeping.
I promise that we hear at Rebel News will do what we can. And I see that as three things.
- Keeping you up to date on the state of censorship in Canada. So, reporting the news — say, have you heard about all of this from the CBC state broadcaster? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
- Making the arguments for why this is morally wrong, legally wrong, impractical and downright unCanadian. So, giving you the facts, and the arguments.
- What Rebel News does best: actually fighting the good fight. All week I have been speaking with constitutional lawyers about how to fight this censorship onslaught. In court. Because if we don’t, who will?
I have commissioned an expert litigation law firm to prepare to fight these bills in court. In fact, they are working on the lawsuit already; we’re not even waiting for the bills to be officially proclaimed — we’re working on it now.
We will sue Trudeau in court — and hold him to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I know it’s a long shot. We’ll be outspent 10:1, they will have a swarm of lawyers there to fight against us.
But we can win.
I know, because we’ve beaten him twice, on censorship battles. In 2019, he banned us from attending the election debates — we took him to court and won. He tried again in 2021. That time he banned us, and when we sued him, he literally had seven government lawyers against us. But we won again.
Twice we beat him. Against all odds. Maybe there’s some hope left.
This is the battle of 2023. What the Freedom Convoy was last year, the Internet battle is this year. Help us if you can — learn the facts, learn the arguments, and then help us take this Castro mini-me to court, visit StopTheCensorship.ca.