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Trudeau’s Controversial Bill C-10 Passes After Midnight, Will Regulate Streaming

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Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, along with the Bloc Quebecois and NDP, voted in favour of passing controversial Bill C-10, in early Tuesday morning voting.

Bill C-10 aims to amend the Broadcasting Act to grant greater regulatory powers to the CRTC, to regulate streaming services and apps, while also user-generated content on social media such as YouTube.

The controversial legislation passed with a vote of 196-112 in favour of Bill C-10, with only the Conservatives voting against it, at 10:30pm PDT/1:30am EDT, while most Canadians were asleep.

Essentially, the legislation would force streaming services to abide by rules that traditional broadcasters must follow, such as contributing funds to Canadian content and ensuring the latter is also easily found by viewers.

University of Ottawa Law Professor and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, Michael Geist, summarized last night’s Bill C-10 saga in a nutshell:

The Liberal government strategy of multiple gag orders and a “super motion” to limit debate bore fruit last night as Bill C-10 received House of Commons approval at 1:30 am. The Parliamentary process took hours as the government passed multiple motions to cut short debate, re-inserted amendments that had been previously ruled null and void, and rejected a last-ditch attempt to restore the Section 4.1 safeguards for user generated content. The debate included obvious errors from Liberal MPs who were presumably chosen to defend the bill. For example, Julie Dabrusin, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, said that Section 2.1 in Bill C-10 “specifically excludes content uploaded by users.” Only it doesn’t as Dabrusin should know given that 2.1 covers users not content and she was the MP who introduced the amendment at committee to remove Section 4.1, which was the provision that excluded content uploaded by users.

Bill C-10 now heads to the Senate, but it’s unlikely it will pass before the summer break for the House of Commons. Previous senators had voiced opposition to the bill’s fast-tracking, citing concern over the controversial amendment, seen as violating free speech.

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