This is a long one but the topic is pretty important. Over the last 20 years of being online, here and there I'll let it slip out that I'm anti-censorship. If you want to ban something/anything, it's a sign your brain hasn't developed fully and you shouldn't sit at the Adult Table on holidays. Also, committees that censor things usually don't have a collective IQ over 80. So hearing that there were amendments to the Broadcasting Act (Bill C-10) coming up and that it's to regulate Canadian Content on the Internet while giving powers to the State's mouthpiece, my ears perked up.
I don't have the illusion I live in the democracy I was told I did. I do know that Canada in the last 5-6 years has just become an embarrassing shit show of incompetence at the top (read Canadian Federal Government), displaying their ineptness on a daily basis. You'd think a minority government that lost 30 seats last election would be a tad bit humbled. Even worse, these amendments are being pushed by the Heritage Minister, an activist whose claim to fame was climbing up the CN tower with another activist and unfurled a banner that read “Canada and Bush Climate Killers.” Remember, all activists are self-centred assholes but apparently, it's enough of a qualification to get you a Ministry seat. By the way, that khunt's name is Steven Guilbeault and he can't even get a decent haircut. See?
It is true that the CRTC will be given a blank cheque of power... because it is blank. Khunt already said that he doesn't know exactly what powers the CRTC has yet because they haven't figured them out yet. They get to make those up after the Bill passes. How could that fail? That on its own should be enough for it not to pass. The always-losing NDP already said they'll support it, not because they understand where this could go (they don't) but probably because they're broke again. Tip: don't hire a virtue signaler as your party leader; nobody will vote for you. At least they'll be the second party to be censored by these amendments.
It's pretty doom and gloom. Could it stifle Freedom of Expression? Sure, totally, and also in terms of any competition that goes against the CBC. It's the same thing in the States where they want all cable news channels competing with CNN/MSNBC off the air because CNN/MSNBC's ratings are so dismal.
The more you read on the Department of Justice's page, https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/charter-charte/c10.html it's apparent that most of these amendments are just to keep the bloated carcass, called the CBC, on life support indefinitely by getting rid of the competition and adding in some social justice language to it to try and fool people that it's all about expanding Canadian Content.
Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
You know, just amendments to other acts while we're here.
Bill C-10 amends the Broadcasting Act (the Act). The Act sets out the broadcasting policy for Canada, the role and powers of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the Commission) in regulating and supervising the broadcasting system, and the mandate for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Act plays an important role in supporting Canada’s cultural industries and ensuring Canadian content is available and accessible.
The Commission, an independent administrative tribunal, is responsible for determining the regulatory requirements to be imposed on broadcasting undertakings with a view to implementing the policy established by the Act, and for enforcing those requirements. Regulatory decisions are generally made following processes that allow for input by interested parties and the public.
This thing is poorly worded. At first The Commission is the CRTC and in the next paragraph, the Commission is a tribunal. Can’t these people pretend to care about their work? And don't kid yourself, the Commission will not be independent and there will be no public input from here on in.
The Bill would provide the Commission with new powers to regulate online services, and update the Commission’s regulatory powers as they relate to traditional broadcasters.
Clause 8 would amend the Commission’s power to make regulations, including a new power to make regulations requiring broadcasting undertakings to register with the Commission
Remember the blank cheque of powers, the ones that haven't been thought up yet? This is where the censorship stems from. Everyone that's watched the Harry Potter movies should think this looks familiar (for the grownups, it's the Animal Farm Seven Commandments). They call it regulation.
The following considerations support the consistency of the proposed regulatory requirements with section 2(b). The provisions aim to establish a fair competitive environment for online and traditional broadcasting services in Canada, in the context of changing market trends that have not been favourable to traditional broadcasters. Traditional broadcasters remain a key source of information and programming for Canadian consumers, including francophones and those living in rural and remote communities. By levelling the regulatory playing field, the provisions will help ensure that traditional broadcasting services remain viable and accessible to Canadians. Traditional broadcasters subject to licences often use radio frequencies that are a limited public resource. Licencing helps to manage this scarce public resource in the public interest. The proposed amendments will also advance the Act’s cultural objectives by helping to ensure that all broadcasting undertakings contribute equitably to the implementation of the objectives of the broadcasting policy for Canada, which may include support for the production of Canadian content. In so doing the Bill would further the values and principles that underlie freedom of expression. These values are promoting the search for truth, the opportunity for individual self-actualization through expression, and participation in social and political decision-making.
I guess I could have made the Blog post about this one paragraph. The CBC can't keep up and adapt with the Internet and other news media that actually shows what's going on, so instead of the CBC upping their game or re-evaluating themselves to figure out why they suck, they close out the competition. This doesn't fix any problem at all. Nobody wants to watch the CBC because of its shit programming and "news". And I know this first-hand living on a border town, Canadian content isn't as good as US content, or as good as other parts of the world. Canadian Content is like a female stand up comedian: second rate. That would be my version of Hell: all comedy clubs only have female stand up comedians. If Canadian Content was so good, it would sell itself.
"These values are promoting the search for truth, the opportunity for individual self-actualization through expression, and participation in social and political decision-making." Once a state broadcaster starts spouting the word "truth", you can be sure you'll get anything but. Also, political decision making is hardly a value. Pretty much all of the political decisions made in Canada over the last 5-6 years absolutely have had no value.
Just in case you forgot what MP Khunt looks like:
The Bill is carefully tailored to achieve these objectives. Users of social media who upload programs for sharing with other users and are not affiliated with the service provider will not be subject to regulation. The Bill maintains the Commission’s role and flexibility in determining what if any regulatory requirements to impose on broadcasting undertakings, taking into account the Act’s policy and regulatory objectives, the variety of broadcasting undertakings and the differences between them, and what is fair and equitable. The Act provides that it must be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with freedom of expression. In making regulatory decisions, the Commission must proportionately balance the objectives of the Act with the protection of freedom of expression in light of the facts and circumstances. The Commission’s decisions on matters of law or jurisdiction are subject to review by the Federal Court of Appeal.
The Bill isn't carefully tailored at all, that's part of the problem. Also, a glossary would have been helpful. What exactly is a "program"? Software, like a video player, or a program meaning a show? Or "service provider"? Is that an ISP or YouTube? It doesn't help that the Commission is flexible. Why not make Freedom of Expression paramount, like it should be and not some balancing act? I know, I keep forgetting the Bill is carefully tailored. The only thing I got out of that is you'll never, ever get anything honest or worthy out of the CBC. It's a brand that no one's interested in, from the crummy news to its frumpy looking TV anchors. I won't even watch hockey on the CBC; I'll watch it through NHL.com.
Information collection and disclosure powers (clauses 7, 17, 23 and 31) is so wishy-washy, that you don't know what information is to be collected and nothing is confidential anymore.
The prohibition on public disclosure of confidential information submitted to the Commission has the potential to engage section 2(b) of the Charter. Section 2(b) may provide a limited right of access to documents in the possession of government bodies. Such access is constitutionally protected only where, without the desired access, meaningful public discussion and criticism on matters of public interest would be substantially impeded. However, even where a case for public access is established, access may be declined based on countervailing considerations.
I love how they slip a "however" in there. Countervailing considerations. I haven't seen censorship worded like that before.
You can't have a Bill without fines: Administrative monetary penalties (clause 23)
Clause 23 of the Bill would create an administrative monetary penalty regime for violations of certain provisions of the Act or of the Accessible Canada Act. Persons designated by the Commission for that purpose would be empowered to issue notices of violation where they have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed a violation. A notice of violation would include the act or omission giving rise to the violation, the amount of the penalty, and a summary of the person’s rights and obligations, including the right to make submissions to the Commission with respect to the violation or the penalty. The Commission would then determine, on a balance of probabilities, whether the person committed the violation. Proceeding with a notice of violation would preclude proceeding with criminal charges.
You know, certain provisions, in this carefully tailored Bill. "A notice of violation would include the act or omission". You know, one or the other, or whateves, LOL. The CRTC isn't full of lawyers, but if they probably think you made a violation, whether you did or not, you're busted. I don't know how that's legitimate.
Add some systemic racism, (or is it institutional racism? It's hard to keep up) to it: Other provisions (clauses 2, 4 and 7)
The Bill would amend the Act to take greater account of Indigenous cultures and languages and of Canada’s diversity. Clause 2 would update the broadcasting policy for Canada by specifying that the Canadian broadcasting system should provide opportunities for Indigenous persons to produce programming and carry on broadcasting undertakings, and should provide programming that reflects Indigenous cultures and programming that is in Indigenous languages. It would also add that through its programming and employment opportunities, the Canadian broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians including Canadians from racialized communities and of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds. Clause 4 would update the regulatory policy by adding that the broadcasting system should be regulated and supervised in a manner that takes into account Indigenous language broadcasting and programming.
I say we should just pull the plug on the CBC. It doesn't offer any value. Have a look at their Parents section on their website. There's more useless shit on there than an outhouse on Summer Break. Local Public Radio has always been better, and I don't mean NPR or PBS, I mean real public radio. And stop using diversity as a noun; it's not grammatically correct for one thing. "Canada's diversity"... what does that even mean?
I don't have anything against Indigenous people to make up their own programs; go ahead... but who's going to listen to it? There's too much product out there already and it such a tiny demographic that even regular viewers/listeners of the CBC will switch it off, especially if it's not in English. CBC diehards talk the talk but when it actually comes to following through, good luck. If you tried to implement that policy on a normal radio station that didn't bleed tax payer money, they'd be out of business in a month.
This whole thing seems like a bad
joke. Let's expand Canadian Content by
censoring other Canadian Content at the same time deregulating the CRTC.
Typically rushed without thinking ahead.
"The Canadian broadcasting system should serve the needs and
interests of all Canadians including Canadians from racialized communities and
of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds."
See, when you use language like that you just make a run-on
sentence. All Canadians covers all
Canadians and the CBC should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians but
it fell short decades ago.
Update as of May 3rd: Liberal Members of the Heritage Committee have voted to end the debate on the Conservative motion that would review Bill C-10 under a charter of rights review, so it already goes against the Charter. But that's what happens when you give a myopic, self-centred, shitty activist a job that has real life consequences for others, and I wasn't referring to the inept PM. This won't turn out well but it'll be at least 10 years down the road until we all see its ill effects played out. Maybe I'll luck out and be dead by then.
In the meantime, get your VPNs ready; Canada is taking a turn for the worst.