Poilievre Would Protect Free Speech From Gatekeepers

by Paul Fromm  

CAFE [Canada First dot Net]

June 15, 2022

Ottawa, ON – Today, candidate for Prime Minister and MP Pierre Poilievre announced he will introduce the Free Speech Act.

The Trudeau Liberals are obsessed with controlling what Canadians can see, hear, and say online. Their Online Streaming Act empowers government gatekeepers at the CRTC to decide what Canadians see and say in online newsfeeds. The government just shut down debate in Parliament on that bill, which would expand the Broadcasting Act and the CRTC’s power to cover all audiovisual content on the Internet, including on Tik Tok, YouTube, Spotify, and podcast clients. Platforms hosting this content will now have to make financial contributions to the “CanCon” fund and make CanCon “discoverable” on their platforms by manipulating users’ feeds and search results to meet the quota of official CanCon content, or else face fines from the gatekeepers at the CRTC.

The government also proposes a new and Orwellian “Digital Safety Commissioner” to “oversee and improve online content moderation.” The idea of having a cabinet-appointed bureaucrat overseeing online content is state censorship. Worse, politicians would have the power to interfere with the decisions of the Commissioner, according to the government’s own technical paper on the proposal: “The Act should include a policy direction power granting the Governor in Council [the cabinet] the ability to issue binding directions on the Digital Safety Commissioner, following consultations with the Digital Safety Commissioner, with respect to broad matters relating to the purposes of the Act.” So, not only would the Commissioner have powers to censor and manipulate internet content but the politicians in government could direct how he uses those powers.

According to Digital Expert Michael Geist: “The proposed legislation would seek to address these forms of harmful content through a myriad of takedown requirements, content filtering, complaints mechanisms, and even website blocking…. The implications of these provisions are enormous, raising the likelihood of creating a country-wide blocking infrastructure within all ISPs with the costs passed on to consumers in the form of higher internet and wireless bills.”

“The government is trying to control what you see in your social media newsfeed and what you can say online,” said Poilievre. “And on top of that, they’ve teamed up with elite corporate media gatekeepers to stifle the power of the independent media. When I’m Prime Minister, I’ll protect free speech online and make sure independent media have the right to cover the news”.

Poilievre would introduce the Free Speech Act, which would repeal online censorship law C-11 and eliminate the proposed “Digital Safety Commissioner” position and leave it to law enforcement to enforce the criminal code online.

“Freedom of expression is one of our most precious charter rights, without which no other rights are possible. The current government has attempted to rob Canadians of those rights. I will restore them, to put Canadians back in control of their lives and make Canada the freest nation on earth.”

Good, as far as it goes,Pierre, but, if your proposed ‘Free Speech Act’ does not include repealing Section 319, then it is a half baked cake. Paul Fromm



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