Who decides what is misinformation?

Connecting the Dots

I have heard bits and pieces about Bill C-10, but only within the last couple of weeks. Prior to that, I hadn’t heard of this bill to change broadcast and internet regulations.  

As I look into it, I find there’s concern that this bill attempts to regulate the Internet in a new way for us Canadians.

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The Internet is a buyer beware setting, that’s for sure. However, our governments, local and provincial are clear about their communications. Take COVID-19 bulletins, for example. These are clearly marked as from Manitoba government. I have to say that viewing the online press conferences carried on YouTube, and seeing our officials, be it Roussin, Premier Pallister or others, gives a clearer picture of who these people are and where the messages are coming from.I am grateful for that. That’s a great way to present information.

It’s up to me to parse the rest of what I find on various platforms. It’s called “free speech” and freedom of thought!

But what about this new bill? Upon calling MP Larry Maguire’s office yesterday for more information, I found out that Bill C-10 was introduced in February 2021. It was short notice (last minute, really) and MP Maguire wasn’t available at that moment, but his staff was a great help. The bill is before the Heritage Committee now. It’s time to find out more about it.

A politician from Alberta, Tom Kmiec representing a Calgary riding says, “Bill C-10 and what it hopes to achieve, is confounding two different issues.” (openparliament.ca/bills/43-2/ C-10/)

Kmiec refers to a news headline - an interview given by the Minister of Canadian Heritage - “Regulation of online hate speech coming soon, says minister”.

The MP says, “Hate speech is already banned by the Criminal Code. There is a way for police to monitor and go after individuals who spread hate speech.”

What also bears further investigation is the interest the government is showing in shaping social thought. Kmiec says, “The Minister of Canadian Heritage also said that the government wants to block messages on the Internet and social media that might undermine Canada's social cohesion. It is a lofty goal for the government to want to do these things with legislation like Bill C-10 and the vast extension of government powers that it is allowing.”

Presently the Heritage Committee is reviewing the bill clause by clause. If it passes or is amended, it goes to report stage, back to the House to be debated there. If it passes there, Bill C-10 would go to third reading.

A lot can happen before a final vote. It could yet be months in process. All 308 members of parliament have the right to speak to the bill. (Free speech in process here.)

However, another party could support a government motion to move for a time allocation limiting debate time, which would speed the process along.

What do you think about the CRTC attempting to regulate the Internet? Only in China, you say?

I hope to speak to our local MPs to get their point of view. I encourage readers to look into Bill C-10 as well.

 All parliamentary conversations are available to read on the website: openparliament.ca.

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