It was roughly one month ago that I last wrote about Bill C-10.
For those unfamiliar with Bill C-10, it is the Liberal government bill that aims to, among other things, "provide the CRTC with new powers to regulate online audio and audio-visual services, allowing the CRTC to create conditions of service and other regulatory requirements under which these online broadcasters would operate in Canada."
If you have been following Bill C-10 closely, you will know that critics of this bill have raised some very serious concerns.
I continue to receive a growing number of calls and emails from local citizens who are strongly opposed to Bill C-10.
The concerns I hear locally are different from the concerns heard in Ottawa, where industry and cultural groups have lined up, depending on whether they win or lose more control over their revenues.
The concerns I hear locally are largely around freedom of expression, however more and more I am also hearing about C-10’s impact to 'net neutrality'.
For those of you unfamiliar, net neutrality is a principle that internet service providers should treat all internet data equally.
In other words, certain internet content should not be sped up or slowed down, censored, or blocked, based on discretionary criteria.
It is an important principle and one that PM Trudeau defended in 2017: “digital technology and use of the internet is the lever to create economic growth and opportunities for citizens right across this country, we need to continue to defend net neutrality and I will.”
The concerns raised point to the fact that Bill C-10 enables unelected bureaucrats at the CRTC to have the power to regulate and force these online companies to put in place regimes or algorithms that may misplace or censor content posted online by Canadians.
The problem is much of the content on these social media sites is unique content created by Canadians, and posted to their social media accounts.
While the intent is to ensure Canadian content, the question is who decides these definitions for the CRTC?
Instead of you having the choice, your choices could be limited, based on a yet to be announced criteria set and enforced by the CRTC.
Further, if certain content is prioritized because it meets an arbitrary standard or other content is pushed so far back that it is difficult to find or censored, there is no question that would be in contrast with the principle of net neutrality.
This is the core concern that I am hearing from many local citizens.
People do not want unelected and accountable bureaucrats using an arbitrary process to decide what does and does not meet their objectives.
My question this week:
Do you want the CRTC to have the tools to regulate your internet content?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.