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April 4, 2022 11:58 am  #1


CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

You've probably heard about Bill C-11, the controversial replacement for the Broadcasting Act, that will allow the CRTC to gain some say over what Canadians can and cannot see on the Internet, including new CanCon rules. 

On Monday, the Chair of the CRTC, Ian Scott, came to Ryerson University to try and explain these proposed new edicts, which haven't quite yet been passed by the government. But they're on the way and they will potentially affect everything you see on the web, without a VPN.

Here are few highlights from his speech and a few observations of mine about what he had to say.

"Some have also said that Bill C-11 would give the CRTC the authority to regulate user-generated content on social media. That someone who uploads an original song on YouTube or a video on TikTok could be subject to registration, contribution or discoverability requirements.

That’s just not true.

As it’s drafted at the moment, the Bill draws a distinction between the users of social media, and the platforms themselves. It’s clear to us that the Bill’s intent is to exclude individual users from regulation.

Even our powers to regulate social media platforms would be limited by Bill C-11. However, they would include requiring that these platforms support the development of Canadian programs, make content discoverable, or accessible to persons with disabilities."


Well, I agree with at least one of those statements. "That's just not true." Still, I hope he's right, but are you going to trust the CRTC to not use these "powers" when they get them? Do you really want to have Canadian videos, for example, be in the suggested list algorithm when you go to YouTube, at the expense of other things that might be more relevant?

I certainly don't. Let me see what's most relevant, regardless of origin. If it happens to be Canadian, that's great. But to force it onto that list while leaving out other potentially better options is a terrible and dangerous idea.

And if this is such a great plan, why have experts ranging from a former CRTC commissioner to broadcast law expert and lawyer Michael Geist, among others, all warned against giving the federal regulator this power? There's something not right here, when so many are raising the alarm about what some have labelled an "Internet control bill." 

I'm not trying to get overly political here, but this particular government has shown an almost rabid desire to control the worldwide web for Canadians, introducing this revised bill for a second time, after it died when the election was called.

And the excuses they've come up with to justify it have often been beyond belief. Just recently, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, whose portfolio has nothing to do with broadcasting, suggested the law is needed to counter "Russian disinformation" on the web as the war in Ukraine continues. As if a law in Canada would stop it. All it could do is stop you from reading it, if you choose to.

I'm not in favour of war lies or Russian propaganda. But you should have a right to see what you want and this law might well stop you from seeing it on other topics, as well.   

"...the CRTC issues about 250 broadcasting decisions annually. Not a single one has ever been successfully challenged on the basis that it somehow infringed Canadians’ freedom of expression."

If that's true, it may be because they've never had this much power before. But I strongly suspect if this passes, this law will be challenged in court. 

Finally, Scott concludes:

"...for all the Bill proposes new tools to help us regulate a broadcasting system that is much changed from 30 years ago, there is one thing it won’t change: the process we follow to serve the public interest."

Yes, like you served the public interest by suddenly and almost inexplicably reversing a ruling to lower Internet prices for third party providers, while being seen shortly thereafter having a beer with your good friend, Mirko Bibic, the CEO of Bell Canada. I'm sure you met him while working in your previous job as a lobbyist for Telus - another phone company. 

I believe Ian Scott's term as CRTC chair is up at the end of this year. Hopefully, they will not re-appoint him and whoever they choose will appear to be a little more balanced in future rulings. But it might be too late by then. 

Sorry this is so long and so vitriolic. But I - and many other critics - feel strongly this bill is a disaster waiting to happen and it's attracted the attention and alarm of worried free speech advocates around the world.

I wonder if this screed I've just written would even be allowed online at all under Bill C-11. So I figured I'd better post it now. Before you can't read it anymore.

Well, at least it's CanCon...

Text of Ian Scott's Ryerson Speech

 

April 4, 2022 12:13 pm  #2


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

“Am I going to trust the CRTC…?”  I wouldn’t trust a CRTC member to operate an elevator I was on.
I first said those words in 1977 and nothing has changed in the interim to make me change my mind.


- Chris Mayberry
 

April 4, 2022 12:15 pm  #3


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

I have never trusted anything the CRTC says or does. My VPN gets a much more vigorous workout now than in the past.

 

April 4, 2022 12:46 pm  #4


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

I'm wondering how much it will cost to use a VPN when all is said and done. 
People will want a VPN in droves!
Heavy use = higher pricing, does it not?


RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.

 
 

April 4, 2022 3:26 pm  #5


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

RA nice try to amp up the rhetoric and misinformation.  Yes please post your comments now, before the CRTC and Bill C-11 take it down.  Who knows, this may be the last honest post we will see from you before the CRTC gets their hands on it.  As you mentioned, this government has an almost rabid desire to control the worldwide web for Canadians.....   What a pant load of garbage. I thought I was reading a rant from Sun Media. 
 
C-11 is attracting "attention and alarm" from free speech advocates around the world??  Really?  I guess these free speech advocates must be spinning since there's over 30 other supposedly free and democratic countries looking to do the same thing. Some of our best friends like the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, in fact all 27 countries in the EU.  The US has also floated the idea of regulations for the internet. 

We heard all of the same weak arguments and fears 51 years ago, how our freedoms were being taken away by the government and CRTC.  Yep, that's what happened, your freedom was stolen back in January 1971. This lame and embarrassing point of view becomes even more ridiculous considering what is happening in the world today.  Try talking to someone who came from a country where freedom was really stolen. Watch the news tonight, and you will see what really happens when freedom is taken away.   
 

 

April 4, 2022 3:39 pm  #6


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

paterson1 wrote:

We heard all of the same weak arguments and fears 51 years ago, how our freedoms were being taken away by the government and CRTC.  Yep, that's what happened, your freedom was stolen back in January 1971. This lame and embarrassing point of view becomes even more ridiculous considering what is happening in the world today.  Try talking to someone who came from a country where freedom was really stolen. Watch the news tonight, and you will see what really happens when freedom is taken away.   
 

how do i insert a thumbs up thingy?

 

April 4, 2022 4:22 pm  #7


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

paterson1 wrote:

Try talking to someone who came from a country where freedom was really stolen. Watch the news tonight, and you will see what really happens when freedom is taken away.

I don't have the time I usually do to craft a full answer to your critique, so I'll just say this:

-It would be wise for those who support this kind of censorship-lite legislation and this government to be aware that one day another party will be in charge. These same rules may well be used against the one you now favour. Bad law is bad law bad no matter who is in charge. And I say that as someone who's not a big supporter of any of the big three political parties. 

-As for those countries where their freedoms have been taken away? This kind of government overreach is exactly how it starts. As the old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for."

     Thread Starter
 

April 4, 2022 7:29 pm  #8


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

Well regardless of what you think about censorship-lite legislation, or government overreach, changes for the internet are going to happen here and elsewhere and it is overdue.  The internet has proven again and again it is incapable of policing itself or just won't do it.  The new media has not earned the right to define freedom, yet this is what they and others for no regulations try to peddle.  They seem to think they are special and rules don't apply to them.  
.
Sorry kids, you had your chance and ya blew it.  Let's grow up and show some responsibility.  Responsibility has nothing to do with censorship or taking away anyone's freedom.  And if you don't understand that, then you don't understand what freedom really is.   
  

 

April 4, 2022 7:41 pm  #9


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

The potential appointment of a "Digital Safety Commissioner." which appears to be part of the plan, is very disturbing. Even the title makes me nervous.

This person will not be elected and his/her powers will be widespread. The fact we don't know exactly what this will entail should be reason enough for concern, given the performance of governments of all stripes over the years. Remember when censors decided what Ontarians could and could not see at the movies? Is that really what you want to return to the entire country? 

I do not want any "Commissioner" deciding what's OK for me or other Canadians to see, publish or read on the Internet. 

That alone should scare the hell out of you, regardless of the web's past indiscretions. Perhaps when it happens it will.

My hope is that it never gets that far. But God help us if it does.  

     Thread Starter
 

April 4, 2022 8:36 pm  #10


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

https://i.ibb.co/cbGvs4X/tinfoil-hat.jpg

 

April 4, 2022 8:48 pm  #11


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

Well the regs are not there to decide what you can and can't watch.  You always try to paint the CRTC as this big censor board which they are not and never have been.  The regs are an attempt to keep the evil stuff off of the net. Youtube already tries to do this.  Do you get as wound up about them as well?

I don't have much memory of the Ontario Review Board which was only dissolved a couple of years ago.  Deciding what movies Ontarians could see or not see at the theatre was not what they did.  You really hurt your argument and credibility when you make misleading statements like that, The purpose of the board was to classify movies.  Decades ago they may have requested some scenes be cut but deciding what people can see at the theatre is not accurate and an exaggeration. 

But if I am wrong, maybe you can provide a list of movies that were banned in Ontario.  I am sure people were protesting in the streets a few decades ago when all of this suppression of freedom was happening.  Odd how I don't seem to recall any of these events though. 

 As much as you hate cancon, Canadian media, and the CRTC please explain how the commission has abused their power over the past 50 plus years.  And please let's not bring up (again) things like how Canada had colour TV or stereo broadcasts later than the US or why FM radio didn't play the hits the same time as Rock 102.  All of these points have been shot down many times already.   

 

April 4, 2022 9:30 pm  #12


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

Sigh.

I don't know how many times it needs to be said - government regulation of a broadcast medium (if you accept that the Internet meets that definition, which I don't) is fine as long as it's about technical issues - such as making sure stations don't interfere with each other or assigning licences. But when it gets into content, there is no elected (or in this case, unelected) body on earth that I want having its finger in that pie. 

I can't comprehend how that doesn't bother you. As for Bill C-11, it's not just me. Far more intelligent critics than I have been vociferous against this Act, including the aforementioned legal expert Michael Geist and two former CRTC chairmen, including the wonderfully named Konrad von Finckenstein and former CRTC commissioner Timothy Denton. If you're so confident in the Commission's ability to get it right, why would these men be so opposed to it? 

In a petition about the former Bill C-10, of which C-11 is the successor, they wrote:

“It appears Canada is not immune to the growing trend of government intervention to curtail freedom and seek to control parts of the internet’s infrastructure in ways reminiscent of actions taken by authoritarian governments...

 “We are Canadian internet policy and technical professionals writing as concerned experts and on behalf of all those who care about the future of a free and open internet.”  


If you don't believe me, do you at least believe them? These are not some crazy right-wing tin foil hat wearers issuing this warning. These are people who know the inner workings of the government and are fearful of what this law could mean. Or are they just debunked lunatics, too?

Finally, I'll let the following really well documented article take the rest of this issue. I hope you'll at least give it an unbiased read. There is clearly something to worry about here. The fact you're not shows it may be too late by the time you realize what the implications of this law could be. 

What’s wrong with Bill C-11? A FAQ

     Thread Starter
 

April 4, 2022 9:52 pm  #13


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

https://i.ibb.co/ZfvpQrF/being-repressed.jpg

 

April 5, 2022 1:01 am  #14


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

splunge wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

We heard all of the same weak arguments and fears 51 years ago, how our freedoms were being taken away by the government and CRTC.  Yep, that's what happened, your freedom was stolen back in January 1971. This lame and embarrassing point of view becomes even more ridiculous considering what is happening in the world today.  Try talking to someone who came from a country where freedom was really stolen. Watch the news tonight, and you will see what really happens when freedom is taken away.   
 

how do i insert a thumbs up thingy?

I would do the same.  What a load of garbage.

 

April 5, 2022 2:42 pm  #15


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

Went through the link RA and some interesting points from dedicated and likely well meaning people.  However why are they fixated on cancon so much?  Bill C-11 is about much more than just that.  I do agree that C-11 still needs some work and it will continue to change or be modified.  Yes the broadcasting act needs to be updated  I am sure this is happening and will happen. 

But you can't understand why the proposed changes are not scaring the hell out of me?  Why would it? Again please look at history and our solid Canadian democracy.  When has any government (provincial or federal) ever intentionally tried to undermine or harm the well being of people?  You and many others may not like some rules or regulations but obviously there are many more that either don't have an issue with them or agreed with what was brought into law. 

You mention that former directors and a previous chairman of the CRTC disagrees strongly with the bill and have been vocal in their opposition.  Good for them, this is what a good democratic society does.  Also shows that the CRTC was not filled with only left leaning liberals.  There are still appointees from the Harper days that continue to work for both the CRTC and CBC. 

Again, nobody has answered the question why the internet and social media which is more or less controlled by five or six mega corporations has earned the right to continue to be unregulated.  No other business has this arrangement. These multi billion dollar organizations should be allowed this unheard of free rein and privilege because...???
 
Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Tik Tok, Instagram have only brought in weak restrictions when they were threatened or shamed into action.  Excuses like they aren't broadcasting or they have no borders doesn't cut it.  They have huge power and influence, make billions in profits, and have been responsible for countless computer hacks, spam, malware, cyberbullying, cyberhacks, loss of revenue for individuals and companies, even cities and towns, spreading of disinformation and outright lies etc etc. All of this because of lack of regulation and responsibility.

Some interesting thoughts on the lack of regulation from Sacha Baron... https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/video/sacha-baron-cohen-calls-social-media-greatest-propaganda-67291908

Last edited by paterson1 (April 5, 2022 6:43 pm)

 

April 5, 2022 3:28 pm  #16


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

I suppose my answer is if pressed, is I can live with the CanCon regs, which are easily ignored despite this "discoverability" nonsense they're pushing at the expense of other foreign content. Although I will continue to say the CRTC has no business mandating that on the Internet. My real problem with this legislation is with policing user content. There is simply no justifiable reason for the Commission to have any say in what you - as an independent individual - puts up on a message board like this one or on Facebook or YouTube.

Yes, that's not entirely what they're planning, but the principle is there and it's extremely dangerous in my mind. I originally laughed when I heard critics saying this was being done because the Liberals and their leader simply don't like being criticized, are extremely thin-skinned and this is their way to suppress things that "hurt their feelings." But after reading parts of the Bill (and yes, I've looked at parts of it, despite its sometimes impenetrable legalese) it's given me pause.

The zeal with which they've pursued this through two terms in office despite all the warnings from some pretty knowledgeable people is also a blinking red light and makes me wonder about their ultimate motives. I've written hundreds of stories about politicians at all levels of governments for years, and my cynicism about them is both well-earned and based on experience. My Spidey-sense is tingling whenever I think of this. I can't ignore that now. 

So while there are parts of C-11 I can live with if I have to, the censoring of user content is really a step too far. We have libel, slander and hate laws for anyone who really crosses the line. Who is the CRTC or some "Digital Commissioner" to tell me - or you - what you can legally say in any forum?  That's why I say it should disturb you. This is a lot like a tax - once it's established, you know it will never go away. And inevitably, they will raise the stakes as they go along. 

When has government say over content ever led to more free speech? I doubt there's a single case anyone could cite. As for the gentlemen I noted who object, because of their experience with broadcast regulations and other matters, I would definitely heed their warnings more than the "we're the government and we know what's best for you" attitude that frequently comes out of whoever is in charge in Ottawa.

I hope those who disagree with me are right. I would love to be wrong about this. But once it's here, it may be too late. And that's not going to be good for any of us. Well, except those with the "approved" opinion. The rest of us may well be singing The Sounds Of Silence. If, that is, we're allowed to sing at all.

CRTC Chairman Shrugs Off Bill C-11 Regulation Concerns by Critics

     Thread Starter
 

April 5, 2022 4:40 pm  #17


Re: CRTC Chair Ian Scott "Explains" New Broadcasting Act. Do You Buy It?

I'm really curious to see how this "discoverability" would work. In the link RA posted above to OpenMedia (a generally left-leaning org) they imply pretty strongly that this can only be accomplished though the platforms' algorithms. 

YouTube and Spotify both have very long tails and serve every niche imaginable. I'm curious how this would affect those. If you have a penchant for Bollywood music, or Japanese Urban Exploration, how does non existent Cancon get inserted? 

If this comes to pass, I see a massive vulnerability that could be exploited - find good size niches with next to no Canadian content creators and create some garbage content that meets qualification standards, and watch the ad dollars or royalties pour in.