By Anthony Murdoch
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s much-maligned internet censorship Bill C-11 came one step closer to becoming law after passing second reading in Canada’s Senate Tuesday.
In a 49-19 vote, Canadian senators decided to push forward the controversial bill which has been called a “power grab over human communications” by industry experts.
The bill, titled, An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act and to Make Related and Consequential Amendments to other Acts will now proceed to the third reading and final reading.
Conservative senators who voted against the bill blasted its second reading passage.
Bill #C11 is bad legislation. It’s paternalistic, will blunt the success of 🇨🇦 creators & control what you consume online; all while protecting the status quo where gatekeepers & corporate broadcasters cash in while creators have to come with cap in hand.https://t.co/daJaPoeeIq
— Senator Leo Housakos (@SenatorHousakos) October 25, 2022
Another Conservative senator, Denise Batters, noted that only two Trudeau-appointed senators voted against the bill.
Out of the 19 senators who voted NO to Bill #C11 at 2nd Reading, only 2 of those senators were appointed by PM Trudeau: Senators Black and Richards.
— Sen. Denise Batters (@denisebatters) October 25, 2022
Dr. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa who is the Canada research chair in internet and E-commerce law, said the “big question” now is “what the bill will look like after completion of the hearings at the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.”
Bill C-11 passes second reading in the Senate by 49-19. Big question is what the bill will look like after completion of the hearings at the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. Those hearings have been ongoing since June.
— Michael Geist (@mgeist) October 25, 2022
Geist also noted yesterday that the bill is undergoing study in a Senate committee, “which will ultimately address the possibility of supporting potential amendments.”
He had earlier blasted the bill as allowing the government’s broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a “virtually limitless reach” in what is deemed acceptable or not for programming.
Earlier in the year, the former head of the CRTC, Timothy Denton, said the bill should be shunned.
Critics have longed warned that Bill C-11 will stifle free speech online because it would classify YouTube videos, most of which are content-creator made, subject to regulation under the CRTC.
Bill C-11 is accompanied by another piece of pending legislation Bill C-18, which together would regulate the internet by forcing Big Tech companies to promoted selected media outlets based on a special designation given by the federal government.
Even Big Tech giants YouTube and Apple – who both have a history of censorship – recently urged Canada’s senate to stall the passing of the bill.
Bill C-11 has likewise been blasted by the official opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada, as opening the door to allow more government control of free speech through potentially draconian regulations.