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April 29, 2021 10:31 am  #1


This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

This is very long and I’m sorry about that. But I hope you’ll take the time to read it anyway. I thought for many days before posting it. But it's too important not to. 
 
I’ve often said how much I hate getting political here. But this goes beyond politics. In fact, it’s beyond outrageous. And no matter what side of the blue or red spectrum you’re on, you should be very, very alarmed about something called Bill C-10, which the federal government will soon be trying to pass.
 
Now normally reading about a government bill makes most people’s eyes glaze over. But this one should open them wide. When it was originally created, it was designed to ensure Canadian content was easily found on the Internet and vowed to apply CanCon rules to the Netflixes and Amazons of the world. We’ve had spirited discussions on SOWNY in the past about whether the CRTC should be allowed to do that, with both sides offering well-argued opinions.
 
But something happened last Friday afternoon when few were paying attention that changed everything. The Heritage Committee debating and creating this new law sneakily removed a clause that would have exempted social media. The government originally said it didn’t want to police your cat videos on YouTube or what you post on Facebook or Twitter. But the excised paragraph now gives Ottawa the power to do just that.
 
In a series of increasingly worrisome articles, newspapers, lawyers, free speech advocates, and social media users are slowly awakening to the dangers this poses to your Internet use and your ability to express yourself or watch which videos you choose on YouTube or other popular sites.
 
I know this was in the National Post, but don’t let that obscure the message.
 
“Bill C-10 proposes to subject whole realms of the Canadian online world to content oversight from broadcast regulators, including podcasts, online videos and even the website on which you are currently reading this story.
 
“This covers news sites, podcasts, blogs, the websites of political parties or activist groups and even foreign websites that might be seen in Canada. In a Monday meeting of the Canadian Heritage committee, smartphone apps were also thrown under the Bill C-10 rubric, although the complete text has not been released to the public.”
 
It’s very scary and the fact that many of the opposition parties (including the NDP, the Bloc and the Greens) say they’ll support it should set off huge alarm bells.
 
From the National Post:
 
“Former CRTC commissioner Peter Menzies said in an interview that Bill C-10 “doesn’t just infringe on free expression, it constitutes a full-blown assault upon it and, through it, the foundations of democracy.”

'Full-blown assault' on free expression: Inside the comprehensive Liberal bill to regulate the internet
 
And it’s not just right-leaning newspapers that are concerned. Advocacy groups like Open Media are also very worried about this.

“The CRTC is about to be put in charge of every video, meme, and podcast we upload to the Internet. Censoring videos with language that doesn’t fit the CRTC’s broadcasting standards? Limiting our timelines to display content from our Canadian friends? Imposing CanCon content requirements on app stores and video games? Taxing YouTube channels to fund traditional media?
 
All of that and more is now possible, after the government’s bait and switch removed safeguards that exempted user-generated content from Broadcast Act Amendment Bill C-10 at the very last minute.”

 
So is free speech advocate, lawyer and professor Michael Geist:
 
“This is a remarkable and dangerous step in an already bad piece of legislation. The government believes that it should regulate all user generated content, leaving it to regulator to determine on what terms and conditions will be attached the videos of millions of Canadians on sites like Youtube, Instagram, TikTok, and hundreds of other services.”
 
Freedom of Expression Under Attack: The Liberal Government Moves to Have the CRTC Regulate All User Generated Content
 
This is as a terrible an overreach as the Ford government’s attempt to empower police to stop you at random as part of the COVID stay-at-home order. That was met with huge resistance as it should have. Hopefully, this will too, before your chance to post objections about it online disappears for good.
 
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, do you really want the CRTC to have a say on what you watch on any website reachable in Canada? And remember, the political party you support may not always be in power. The group you don't like could win one day and employ these same tactics against what you believe. So be careful what you wish for. 

I'm totally against government interference on the Internet, regardless of which party is doing it. We have hate laws and other legislation if posters go too far. We definitely do not need this. I hope I'm just being alarmist and that this will never stand up to court scrutiny if it passes. But it should never be allowed to get that far.

I always thought George Orwell’s 1984 was just a novel. Turns out, it may have just been a few decades late.

 

April 29, 2021 12:32 pm  #2


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Not surprising coming from a PM who has praised China's "basic dictatorship."


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

April 29, 2021 1:06 pm  #3


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

It's a terrible bill, but as a sliver of hope - the CRTC can't even keep up with its current regulation of traditional media, renewing licenses of broadcasters with clean records up to a year late. The taxes (such as HST on Netflix, which actually makes sense) are easy to implement, but they'll be dropping this steaming mess of content regulation on a commission is barely able to enforce its current obligations.


 
 

April 29, 2021 1:19 pm  #4


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

RadioAaron wrote:

It's a terrible bill, but as a sliver of hope - the CRTC can't even keep up with its current regulation of traditional media, renewing licenses of broadcasters with clean records up to a year late. The taxes (such as HST on Netflix, which actually makes sense) are easy to implement, but they'll be dropping this steaming mess of content regulation on a commission is barely able to enforce its current obligations.

Somehow the idea of turning that much power over to a bunch of overwhelmed incompetent bureaucrats does not make me feel better!

     Thread Starter
 

April 29, 2021 1:42 pm  #5


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

RadioAaron wrote:

It's a terrible bill, but as a sliver of hope - the CRTC can't even keep up with its current regulation of traditional media, renewing licenses of broadcasters with clean records up to a year late. The taxes (such as HST on Netflix, which actually makes sense) are easy to implement, but they'll be dropping this steaming mess of content regulation on a commission is barely able to enforce its current obligations.

It should be easy to do. With today's technology, you can easily detect and remove social media ports critical of the government, and those who support opposite views. You could also use that technology to track down the users. People will complain at first but will eventually get used to it, and the ruling party will steam to majority after majority. With barely a peep from the bought-and-paid media, there will be "sunny days" ahead for the ruling party and the Mop of Hair who leads them.
 


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

April 29, 2021 2:05 pm  #6


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

I'm still not sure this will stand up to scrutiny at the Supreme Court if it gets that far. But you can be absolutely certain it will be challenged legally if they manage to get this thing passed. No matter what reasons the government gives for this - protecting the music industry, promoting CanCon, etc.- it's a bridge way too far for anyone to cross. It's mind boggling that any opposition party would support it. 

Thank God for VPNs, although from what I've read, China has a way of shutting those down, too, if there's something they don't want their citizens to read. (Like the recent Oscar win by a Chinese national who hates the Communists. The Oscars - and any mention of them - were censored in China on Sunday and any mention of them on social media was immediately taken down.) We certainly don't want to entrust any government of any stripe to be able to do that here. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 29, 2021 2:07 pm  #7


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Dale Patterson wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

It's a terrible bill, but as a sliver of hope - the CRTC can't even keep up with its current regulation of traditional media, renewing licenses of broadcasters with clean records up to a year late. The taxes (such as HST on Netflix, which actually makes sense) are easy to implement, but they'll be dropping this steaming mess of content regulation on a commission is barely able to enforce its current obligations.

It should be easy to do. With today's technology, you can easily detect and remove social media ports critical of the government, and those who support opposite views. You could also use that technology to track down the users. People will complain at first but will eventually get used to it, and the ruling party will steam to majority after majority. With barely a peep from the bought-and-paid media, there will be "sunny days" ahead for the ruling party and the Mop of Hair who leads them.
 

Don't forget about his socks...
 

 

April 29, 2021 2:12 pm  #8


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

I know he has a certain appeal to the younger crowd, but despite all the scandals and hypocrisy, not to mention the vaccine procurement failure, interfering with the Internet may just be the one thing that could take him down with members of a generation that grew up with an essentially free web. That's why I'm not sure he'll dare to go through with it once an increasingly glaring spotlight starts shining on this. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 29, 2021 2:53 pm  #9


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

RadioAaron wrote:

It's a terrible bill, but as a sliver of hope - the CRTC can't even keep up with its current regulation of traditional media, renewing licenses of broadcasters with clean records up to a year late. The taxes (such as HST on Netflix, which actually makes sense) are easy to implement, but they'll be dropping this steaming mess of content regulation on a commission is barely able to enforce its current obligations.

I agree with Aaron and I don't know why this hasn't been getting much coverage other than the Post/Sun.  In fairness they have been sounding the alarm about this proposed legislation for a long time.
 
Post/Sun Media takes full advantage of the newspaper funding program from the federal government, so the argument that media have been bought off doesn't really fly. And if they have been bought off by these not huge amounts of tax credits and money, then that means they have also been bought off by advertisers for decades then. That indicates a pretty embarrassing and unprofessional news media. 

Youtube and Tik Tok already regulate and censor what is posted, so I can't see the CRTC going through literally millions of already vetted postings everyday.  They have neither the time or the staff to do this as mentioned.

Last edited by paterson1 (April 29, 2021 2:55 pm)

 

April 29, 2021 3:38 pm  #10


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Ridiculous.  

 

April 29, 2021 5:00 pm  #11


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

paterson1 wrote:

RadioAaron wrote:

It's a terrible bill, but as a sliver of hope - the CRTC can't even keep up with its current regulation of traditional media, renewing licenses of broadcasters with clean records up to a year late. The taxes (such as HST on Netflix, which actually makes sense) are easy to implement, but they'll be dropping this steaming mess of content regulation on a commission is barely able to enforce its current obligations.

I agree with Aaron and I don't know why this hasn't been getting much coverage other than the Post/Sun.  In fairness they have been sounding the alarm about this proposed legislation for a long time.
 
Post/Sun Media takes full advantage of the newspaper funding program from the federal government, so the argument that media have been bought off doesn't really fly. And if they have been bought off by these not huge amounts of tax credits and money, then that means they have also been bought off by advertisers for decades then. That indicates a pretty embarrassing and unprofessional news media. 

Youtube and Tik Tok already regulate and censor what is posted, so I can't see the CRTC going through literally millions of already vetted postings everyday.  They have neither the time or the staff to do this as mentioned.

I suspect this issue has gotten lost in the shuffle due to the pandemic. If it weren't for Covid, this would probably be getting more mainstream media attention.

 

April 30, 2021 3:28 am  #12


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

However Prod Guy - while you may consider the discussion to be about politics and issue goes way beyond politics and/or politicians. Bill C-10 is very very dangerous. It hovers so very close to silencing everyone as may be done in country such as North Korea. 

Bill C-10 must not pass. For if it does many many things we accept in our daily lives may be brought to death. Including the freedom we each have to say what we think right here on sowny.net.

The depth of this bill is beyond anything we have ever seen before. Equally - it leaves a very wide channel of interpretation for those in the long terms of our future.


 

 

April 30, 2021 6:59 am  #13


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Prod Guy wrote:

Can you guys knock it off with the politics? It’s getting really tiresome. This is supposed to be a media board not the Toronto Sun comment section.
You’re old and white. You don’t have to tell people how you voted. We already know.

I understand how you feel and as noted, I thought long and hard about putting up this thread. Normally I would eschew politics here but as Mr. Marsden and others have noted, this is actually on point for this board - it's about the media and a threat to free expression. It has nothing to do with whether you vote one way or the other. Anyone who uses the Internet should be worried about government overreach.

I've seen comments from people on both sides of the political spectrum who are really worried about this, even in the Toronto Star. Who knows if you would even be allowed to post the comment you did if somebody in some government fiat decides they don't like it and orders it removed.

I really value your comments and expertise here and always have. You bring a lot to the board and I hope you always will. But I consider this a non-partisan issue. Anything that censors speech is a red flag to many here. And right now, it's waving at us as a warning. I hope this thing is stopped before it becomes law. Because once it does, none of our speech is safe. 

That having been said, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. I just hope in a future where this is the law, you'll still be able to express it publicly. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 30, 2021 3:27 pm  #14


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Anything that stops this bill as it is from becoming law - whether it be a politician's ego or simply someone reading the reaction writing on the wall - I would welcome. To me this has nothing to do with the party or the leader, per se, it's just a huge imposition on our freedoms. Any party that would suggest this would draw my ire and I'm guessing many here feel the same. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 30, 2021 3:39 pm  #15


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Would Netflix set up a major office in Toronto and invest a lot of energy, and money without doing their due diligence on these changes and what they could mean to their Canadian operations.

I did contract work at both the CBC and the provincial auditor's office in the late 90's, it was eye opening to say the least. There's always more going on than what they tell the public via the media. And I bet the media knows more than they're saying because of legal issues.

When Anne Cavoukian starts retweeting Brian Lilley and a Toronto Sun front page with this story, it's not a good day. The Victoria Day weekend is around the corner, and if there's anything major that anyone in government or business needs to get buried, they'll go public with it on that Friday.

Thanks for flagging this story RadioActive. It's important, and goes way beyond "politics".

Last edited by betaylored (April 30, 2021 3:41 pm)

 

April 30, 2021 3:50 pm  #16


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

I have a very mixed relationship with Michael Geist and Open Media. I appreciate the activism for things that would otherwise be swept under the rug. However, I don't think it would be wrong to say they're often crying wolf. In fact, their website currently has a campaign pushing to change the FCC's stance on net neutrality, despite the doomsday scenarios we were warned of seemingly not materializing. It's been years and I haven't heard of U.S. internet providers charging more for access to certain sites.

The shady handling of C-10 does make me fear this might be one of the times the wolf is real. A last-second addition to any bill raises alarm bells. Especially so, when the heritage minister and his staff are unable to agree on the purpose of it.

Prod Guy wrote:

Can you guys knock it off with the politics? It’s getting really tiresome. This is supposed to be a media board not the Toronto Sun comment section.
You’re old and white. You don’t have to tell people how you voted. We already know.

You expect a thread about a government bill regulating media to not touch upon politics? The subject of discussion is literally politics impacting media.

I don't usually remember users lacking avatars, but I did recall your fixation on demeaning the perceived race and age demo of this site. That behaviour is far more toxic than political jabs about socks. You bring it up specifically to stifle discussion.

 

April 30, 2021 3:51 pm  #17


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

The Friday Data Dump is a time honoured political tactic used by every party that's ever been in power. It basically buries something bad in the tumult of a weekend, hoping very few people notice. It too often works, which is why so many keep doing it.

I'm not sure even the Netflix brass knew what was coming, however. They would have had to set up their new HQ arrangements months ago even if the decision was only recently announced.  

The changes to this bill were made furtively and suddenly last week, with no notice, and despite endless assurances that they would not go after user uploaded content. It took everyone by surprise. And no matter how hard I try to see another motive behind it, controlling opinions they don't like or think aren't politically correct is the only one that makes any logical sense. There is just no other reason to do this, especially when they promised endlessly that they wouldn't.

Every government has a set of extremists lurking amongst its moderates. It seems those people are in charge of this committee and that's something we should all be worried about. As noted, if this terribly misguided Broadcasting Act revamp passes, I just can't see the courts allowing it to stand. It's just too much of a government power grab.

And I'm guessing the justices on the court use the Internet, too. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 30, 2021 6:19 pm  #18


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

"Freedom of speech is a human right and the foundation upon which democracy is built. Any restriction of freedom of speech is a restriction upon democracy."

- Deeyah Khan 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (April 30, 2021 6:19 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

April 30, 2021 11:28 pm  #19


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

You linked to the bill in its original incarnation, when it left user-generated platforms exempt from the CRTC's perview. The current issue is that it's been quietly amended to now include them. 

 

May 3, 2021 8:51 pm  #20


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Some apparent good news. The government is now pledging to change the Bill and potentially not allow the CRTC to regulate user content. Although I'll believe it when I see it. 

I know there are a few here who think conservative-types are making a bigger issue out of this than it deserves, but there have been alarm bells ringing in very Liberal sources like the Toronto Star and even on the CBC. Steven Guibeault, the minister in charge of this legislation and who had previously insisted there was nothing wrong with taking out the part of the bill that prevented CRTC interference in your postings, made a disastrous appearance on the CBC, which normally handles the governing party with kid gloves. 

Not even they could let him get away with it this time and you can watch all 7 excruciating minutes of the interview here. Good on veteran newsman David Common for calling him out on his B.S.

And one more bit of good news - the NDP, which had said it would support this thing, is obviously seeing the writing on the wall as opposition builds from both the left and the right and now says they won't support it after all. 

Sorry for the politicization in this thread and I promise it won't happen often, but this is an issue I think both sides of the political spectrum and those who care about free speech can actually agree on. 
 
After storm of criticism over Bill C-10, Liberals vow to make it clear CRTC won't regulate social media posts

Feds plan change to Bill C-10 to make it ‘crystal clear’ social media uploads won’t be regulated

     Thread Starter
 

May 3, 2021 9:22 pm  #21


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

The fact that the Liberals tried to sneak this through speaks volumes about the current regime.

Last edited by Dale Patterson (May 3, 2021 9:23 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

May 3, 2021 10:34 pm  #22


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Dale Patterson wrote:

The fact that the Liberals tried to sneak this through speaks volumes about the current regime.

<Sigh>

Bill C-10 is very concerning no doubt, but governments will do, what governments will do.

They spin, deny, "pivot", leak information, manipulate, “float” ideas, and tell you a how much better things will be under their stewardship.

Nonetheless, constantly criticizing any political party or leader due an apparent “biased spin” does little to maintain one’s own credibility.

You have previously stated “Journalists used to pride themselves on not showing their political leanings in their work. Now it seems the opposite is true. It shouldn't. I witnessed open cheering for the Liberals on election night from the supposed "honest, unbiased and unflinchingly fair" news organization I used to work for. The old maxim of "no cheering in the press box" seems to have been revoked.”

With respect Mr. Patterson, I am a little perplexed at the “political leanings” I read here.

Apologies to RA et al if this has drifted too far from the topic and into the political realm.

 

 

May 4, 2021 7:26 am  #23


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

The Ford Consevatives mistakenly tried the same overreach by giving the police the extra powers of stopping any person to ensure they were on an "essential" trip. The reaction was immediate and negative. It is one thing to stop a suspected impaired driver, but to arbitrarily stop a citizen going about their daily business? NOT!!   When it comes to media in Canada, I suspect most people have never heard of the CRTC, haven't a clue what simsub is and don't care. As long as they get Wheel/Jeopardy at 7pm, it doesn't matter to Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch whether they are watching on YES or WIVB. Now Bill C-10 comes along and all the news talking heads are discussing it. The average citizen might be curious as to why this piece of government legislation is so important that it is getting so much media attention. When the explanation is forthcoming, eyes start to glaze over. When it is dumbed down to "Grandma's Cat Videos" might get censored, outrage is the reaction. Martha get the pitchforks! If that is what it takes for the average Canadian to oppose this bill, so be it.

 

May 4, 2021 12:29 pm  #24


Re: This Media Move Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

Good on David Common for putting Steven Guibeault on the spot effectively during the interview.  Guibeault is not the best communicator, easily rattled, and his answers are often confusing. Heritage Canada was foolish by put in a clause specifically saying the guidelines would not apply to individuals and then all of a sudden take it out.  Common did the job bringing this up about 3 times during the interview.

I really wasn't overly concerned about this since I can't see the CRTC vetting videos for Youtube, Tik Tok etc.  The CRTC has neither the mandate or the ability to do this.  And it is possible the commission would push back to Heritage Canada and simply not follow through with the request. Anyway Heritage Canada is saying that this was never part of the regulation regardless.  They are on record and on camera saying as much many times now.

Videos on Youtube and others for the most part have already been vetted by the various companies and the video has to comply with certain criteria or it doesn't get on or is pulled.  The CRTC is concerned, as are all other broadcast regulators, about the very nasty stuff possibly from the dark web ending up on line to a much larger audience.   

I know some are very suspicious of the CRTC but to me all you need to look at is their track record over the past 50+ years.  They have never told broadcasters what to play or not play or tried to impose any particular position on anyone.  They want broadcasters to be responsible, play their cancon honestly and play by the rules.  Simple.  And yes having a broadcast license is still a privilege and not a right.  They are very hesitant to "pull" a license and almost never have.  They give broadcasters who are openly disregarding the rules proper warnings and give even them ample time to work out their problems.   But these broadcasters know they are being watched and are under the gun to get their act together and adhere to what they committed to in the license.   

 David Common is one of those personalities that any station wants.  He is a good utility newsperson who is strong on both on TV and radio.  Don't know if he was interested in Metro Morning but he was one of the hosts for a time after Matt Galloway moved on.  He was excellent in the morning, what I heard anyway, funnier than I thought he would be and had a great relaxed rapport with the news, sports, traffic people on the show and a pleasant style interviewing guests.  When I listened to him he seemed to be trying to keep the show light.  I find Metro Morning gets bogged down in issues and politics a bit much for a morning wake up show.  Now if they could just fix some of the dreadful music they play. Although the show does pretty well ratings wise.