Trudeau government rejects Senate compromise on broadcasting bill

Trudeau government rejects Senate compromise on broadcasting bill

Trudeau Government Rejects Senate Compromise on Broadcasting Bill

Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Heritage Minister , Pablo Rodriguez, in the House of Commons, February 16.

The Trudeau government persists and signs: no question of specifying that only professional music on YouTube is covered by its broadcasting bill (C-11). He thus refutes a compromise found by the Senate to calm the critics.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez put a message on the order paper Tuesday night for the Senate: There is no question of limiting too strictly in law the power of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over social networks.< /p>

The Minister “respectfully rejects Amendment 3” because it would limit the CRTC's power to regulate the distribution of commercial programming on social media, and would “prevent the broadcasting system from adapting changes in technology over time,” reads the government response.

That music, says Senate

The government thus rejects one of the main amendments of the Upper House on C-11, and insists on adopting the original version of section 4.‍2 of the text. This article also aims to make content uploaded by users on social networks, such as YouTube, subject to the law, in the same way as professional content from Netflix, Disney+, or Spotify.

By law, these platforms will have to contribute financially to Canadian culture and promote Canadian content, in order to make it more easily accessible, or “discoverable”. Even if the minister assured Devoir that the government only targets films, television series and music, and not youtubers and other amateur videographers. This clarification must be sent to the CRTC in a later regulation.

The Conservative Party of Canada, along with big corporations like Google, which owns YouTube, have publicly opposed Bill C-11. While the Conservatives have gone so far as to accuse the government of wanting to censor their Twitter page, multinational platforms have said they are already doing enough for Quebec culture.

In order to find a compromise between the government and the many critics of the bill, senators Julie Miville-Dechêne and Paula Simons proposed to modify the text of the law to reduce the scope of the content to be regulated by the CRTC, limiting it to professional music. Essentially, the change would have meant that only songs that can be played on radio and are on platforms like YouTube would be affected by the law.

D' other amendments rejected

Minister Rodriguez also announced that he does not accept the amendment which would add to the law an obligation for websites to verify the age of Internet users before presenting pornographic material. “The amendment seeks to legislate matters relating to the broadcasting system that go beyond the policy intent of the bill,” reads.

Similarly, the government equally rejects of respect for the idea of ​​banning Radio-Canada from airing commercials “designed to resemble journalistic programming”, an all-out Senate attack on the Crown corporation's controversial Tandem advertising service. /p>

The minister had already admitted to Devoir that he found this amendment irrelevant, in December. He had in the same breath promised that a government response to the amendments would be provided quickly, after discussions with the other parties. That response only came three months later.

Meanwhile, the Government of Quebec sent a letter in February complaining about certain aspects of Bill C-11. The Minister of Culture, Mathieu Lacombe, wants to ensure that Quebec is consulted when establishing the rules of the CRTC, which is normal practice, but not enshrined in law. Quebec also wants its laws on the status of the artist to apply to the online companies concerned.

It is midnight minus one, since the text of C-11 must now be voted on at third reading at the Commons on Wednesday, which normally constitutes the final step for elected officials to modify the text. The government says it's too late to respond to Quebec's demands, and nothing about it is included in the response to the Senate.

The Liberals accept other amendments proposed by the senators. Accepted additions change the original intent of the law less significantly. In order to become a law of Canada, a bill must be passed identically by the House of Commons and the Senate. This means that the Senate can insist on keeping its changes, and send another version of the text back to the House.