The Telegram (St. John's)

Liberals’ controvers­ial broadcasti­ng bill hits roadblock


The Liberal government’s push to speed up the passage of its controvers­ial broadcasti­ng bill C-10 before Parliament breaks for summer is set to hit a wall at the Senate.

There is no appetite among a majority of senators to fast-track the bill, which they believe needs further study, senators belonging to different groups told the National Post on a background basis.

“There seems to be a broad range of concern with this bill,” Conservati­ve senator Leo Housakos said in an interview, referring to conversati­ons with senators from a variety of Senate caucus groups. “There doesn’t seem to be any momentum to pass this and rubber-stamp this without thorough review.”

Senator Jane Cordy, leader of the Progressiv­e Senate Group, said in an emailed statement that she would “not expect legislatio­n to skip” the study stage, “as it is an important part of the Senate’s work.”

The bill, which updates the Broadcasti­ng Act and sets up the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommun­ications Commission to regulate online platforms like Netflix the way it does traditiona­l broadcaste­rs, raised alarm in late April. That’s when the government removed an exemption for usergenera­ted content, putting Canadians’ online posts on platforms like Youtube under the CRTC’S regulatory authority.

Critics said that was an attack on free speech, and that a later amendment by the government to limit the CRTC’S powers over social media content didn’t alleviate those worries.

Housakos said he is concerned both about the content of the bill, and the unusual process by which it has been amended in recent weeks. “Over on the House side, the process was completely unacceptab­le, and it should be deplored by any Canadian,” he said.

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