Guilbeault’s answers were confusing, vague and often contradictory. The Minister in charge of pushing Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts cited the wrong sections of the Bill when trying to answer the interviewer’s question.
Guilbeault repeated that the content published by individuals on social media or content platforms would not be regulated, but then contradicted himself by saying that the law would apply to “people who act like broadcasters”.
Guilbeault said the regulatory body that would gain oversight of the content Canadians consume online, the CRTC, has never intervened on content. This is verifiably false.
For example, the CRTC’s own guidelines stipulate that licensed “French-language radio stations must devote at least 65% of all Popular Music broadcast each week to French-language selections”.
Radio stations that do not respect this French content quota are exposed to penalties from the CRTC. This is just one example that the CRTC does in fact impose regulation on content. Similar regulations could now be applied to “people who act like broadcasters”, according to Guilbeault.
The liberal government removed an exemption that originally shielded individual Canadians from the government’s ‘censorship bill’.
The interviewer repeatedly asked Guilbeault to what threshold will individual content creators become subject to CRTC regulation. Guilbeault could not answer the question.
A newly voted amendment for the bill would allow the CRTC to issue orders regarding discoverability. For example, the regulatory agency could force online platforms to show a specific amount of Canadian content to their users. “I believe that clearly involves speech regulation”, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist told the National Post.
The content you post on your social media is not exempted from government overreach either. Geist added that the content users generate online is considered a “program”, so the CRTC would have the authority to regulate it under Bill C-10.
“Despite nearly two weeks of public concern, the government still seems committed to regulating user generated content […] This remains an unworkable, dangerous bill driven by lobbyists demands rather than the interests of Canadians”, Geist added.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole said: “If the CRTC can regulate what you see on your YouTube or Instagram feed, they can control what you see and what you learn about any given topic,” he said. “This bill is a direct attack on free speech.”