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Column: Bill C-10 must be stopped

This ██ is ████ what your ████████ next ████ social media ████ post ████ could ████ look ████ like. Censored. Withheld. Blacked out. Erased. The Liberal Party’s Bill C-10 is a direct assault on the freedom of speech of Canadians.

This ██ is ████ what your ████████ next ████ social media ████ post ████ could ████ look ████ like.

Censored. Withheld. Blacked out. Erased. The Liberal Party’s Bill C-10 is a direct assault on the freedom of speech of Canadians.

If you haven’t yet heard about Bill C-10, you soon will. It was a bill introduced in the House of Commons by Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, entitled ‘An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.’ What the Liberals describe as a bill to ‘even the playing field’ for big tech producers to pay Canadian tax for their online programming has turned into an assault on your thoughts and opinions online. It is arguably the most destructive and consequential bill of the last decade.

As I sit on the standing committee for Canadian Heritage, we have been studying this bill for quite some time, interviewing witnesses, examining the clauses for potential amendments and understanding the ramifications should the bill become Canadian law.

We recognize that technology has advanced rapidly and exponentially over the past 30 years. With the growth of the internet as the catalyst for nearly all of our day-to-day affairs in the business, banking, entertainment, and government sectors – and frankly, everything else – legislation has not caught up to the rate at which technology has progressed. Therefore, we as conservatives understand the need for large, foreign corporations like Google and Facebook to pay their fair share of tax so the content they distribute does not harm our Canadian industry or swallow up smaller players, like the weekly newspapers we hold so dear in our communities.

What has transpired at the Heritage Committee has been an entirely different story. During clause-by-clause analysis of the Bill, Members of Parliament can propose amendments to modify the text. The Liberals voted to remove clause 4.1, which would have protected the content individual Canadians post online from regulation by the Canadian Radio Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Members of the Conservative Party were the only members of the committee who voted to keep these protections for individual Canadians.

If you hear the Liberals in media interviews mentioning clause 2.1 to protect the individual, do not be fooled. This clause exempts the person posting the content from acting as a broadcaster, but not the content that person posts. So regardless, the CRTC will be able to go directly to the platform and compel the post to be removed.

If this bill passes in its current amended form, the CRTC will have the power to censor and remove posts the government deems to be “wrong think.” This path to censorship is one seen in authoritarian regimes, not free democracies like Canada.

If you disagree with this bill and want to protect Canadians from government censorship, call and email Liberal Members of Parliament to voice your concern. If you have family or friends in areas of the country that are governed by non-Conservative MPs, encourage them to voice their concern as well. Spread the word on social media – while you still can! Use hashtags like #StopBillC10 to add to the cause.

C-10 must be stopped – the future of Canadian freedoms depends on it.

I can be reached by email at martin.shields@parl.gc.ca. My Brooks office can be reached at 403-793-6775, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on any federal issue.

Martin Shields is the Member of Parliament for Bow River, a riding that includes the easternmost communities and municipalities of Rocky View County. He sits on the Standing Committee for Canadian Heritage.

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