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Letter: Bill C-11 is censorship

Has been condemned by a wide variety of people

Bill C-11 is censorship

One of your readers, Carol Money, wrote two letters about Bill C-36 informing people about its dangers. I’d like to do the same for Bill C-11.

Bill C-11, referred to as Canada’s “Online Streaming Bill,” has been condemned by a wide variety of people. Margaret Atwood, Canada’s best known literary figure, and David Richards, famous New Brunswick author, senator and winner of the Order of Canada, have both condemned it. Richards called the bill “censorship masquerading as inclusion” and describing it as “Stalin looking over your shoulder when you write.” Both have added their voices to the multitude of Canadians who recognize the danger to free expression this bill represents.

Other public figures are doing so as well. Peter Menzies, former CRTC vice chairman, added his voice in opposition to the bill. He stated that “…cabinet will be able to tell the CRTC which online services should register with it, and how they, and broadcasters, should be regulated…” In other words, the Liberal cabinet could control the CRTC. As Menzies says, that would open the door to state control of media, which, unless I miss my guess, is not what most Canadians want.

Bill C-11 could also reduce the kind and number of apps, platforms and websites available to Canadians because the expense of complying could cause companies to pull their services out of Canada. Less information and more compliance. Canadian independent creators may also be affected as the restrictions of Bill C-11 hit them. What is most chilling about all of this, though, is the way in which state control of media, in particular independent media, is evolving in Canada. In early 2020 Stephen Guilbeault proposed a national licensing board for all media in Canada, then quickly backed down after a strong public backlash. It wasn’t hard to see the direction of his desire.

I urge all Canadians to contact their local representatives, provincial politicians and federal MPs and strongly express their disapproval of C-11. Our charter right to “freedom of expression” includes freedom of speech too. Let’s not forget that.

Perry Foster