Orwellian Bill C-11 passes third reading in the Senate

The highly criticized piece of legislation will have detrimental repercussions for Canadian media autonomy while granting sweeping powers to federally-funded content regulators.

Orwellian Bill C-11 passes third reading in the Senate
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The Liberal-proposed Bill C-11  a sweeping piece of legislation that would regulate the internet content that Canadians can produce and access  passed its third reading in the Senate late February 2.

The Senate has proposed dozens of changes to the bill, An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act, which will need to go back to the House of Commons to be passed.

Broadcasting in Canada is regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a regulatory authority that works at arm’s length from the federal government.

The Senate itself, admits that it’s difficult to say how the bill will affect broadcasting in Canada.

“The bill would give the CRTC new powers — but exactly how or even if the CRTC would make use of them cannot be determined through an analysis of the bill alone,” the Senate website reads.

“Aspects of this bill may have a sweeping effect on broadcasting in Canada — or modest effect, depending on future CRTC decisions.”

Any person and/or business that violates certain provisions of the sweeping regulations will have hefty financial penalties imposed on them by the CRTC.

This caused at least one Liberal-appointed Senator to criticize the bill as an Orwellian piece of legislation.

Senator David Richards drew a chilling comparison when he compared it to Stalin’s Pravda and Hitler’s book burning while he condemned the censorship measures.

Conservative Senator Leo Housakos tried to reign in what he referred to as deeply flawed legislation. 

Yet any meaningful attempt to amend the bill in a way that would uphold Canadians' freedom to access content online was squashed by the Senate. 

The same senators are being criticized for not acting independently of the federal government in their review and approval of this legislation. 

As Canada's ranking on the freedom scale declines and things that the government deemed misinformation turn out to be true, granting the CRTC new powers and sweeping control over internet content with ambiguously worded legislation and unknown consequences will be detrimental to Canadian media autonomy.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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