The Canadian Senate just passed a censorship bill that has many worried about the future of free speech in Canada.
The Epoch Times reported that Bill C-11, or The Online Streaming Act, passed the Canadian Senate Feb. 2, meaning the censorship bill has passed both houses of the Canadian Parliament.
Bill C-11 would alter Canada’s Broadcasting Act, giving the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to make internet streaming services such as Netflix “contribute to Canadian content rules or else face steep penalties,” The Epoch Times reported.
The Online Streaming Act now returns to the Canadian House of Commons for review with 12 Senate amendments added. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez reportedly expressed that he “hopes [it] will [be] less than a week before the bill can be passed”, according to the The Epoch Times. Rodriguez reportedly expects some amendments to be rejected by Canada’s federal government.
The Epoch Times reported that New Brunswick Sen. David Adams Richards voiced a concern that Bill C-11 could create a culture of censorship in the country. “This law will be one of scapegoating all those who do not fit into what our bureaucrats think Canada should be,” Richards said Jan. 31.
One Bill C-11 amendment will require user age verification for sexually explicit content. The Epoch Times explained, “The Senate’s amendments to Bill C-11 include one meant to protect user-generated content on platforms like YouTube from the regulating power of the CRTC, and another that prohibits the CBC from broadcasting or publishing sponsored content.” An amendment to shield online content creators and programmers who make less than $150 million a year from CRTC regulation failed.
The U.S. government has criticized Bill C-11 not for its censorship aims, but because it might “‘discriminate’” against US businesses in favor of Canadian businesses, The Epoch Times noted.
Bill C-11 appears to be a reiteration of Bill C-10 which was introduced in 2021 with some similar provisions.
Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has become increasingly anti-free speech. Trudeau cracked down harshly on the Canadian trucker Freedom Convoy in early 2022. The Canadian government has even partnered with the World Economic Forum to roll out a digital ID required to do or buy anything.
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