Bill C-10 has me agreeing with conservatives…

I never thought I’d say that statement above, and yet here we are. As many of you hopefully know by now, I have a small but mighty podcast called The 905er. So I have been following with keen interest the turmoil in Ottawa surrounding Bill C-10. For those of you unfamiliar with this potential legislation, here is a brief summary. Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault brought forward legislation under Bill-C10 meant to enforce online platforms such as Netflix, Youtube, Spotify and others, to pay into the Canada Media Fund. This would be done by bringing them under the jurisdiction of the CRTC. The real controversy arose, when the Liberals removed a clause, that would exempt user generated content from CRTC oversight. For greater insight into the back and forth over this click on these links:

Is the government trying to regulate the videos you post? What you need to know about Bill C-10

Feds plan change to Bill C-10 to make it ‘crystal clear’ social media uploads won’t be regulated

I want to clarify that I don’t think the government is looking to restrict free speech. I think this is too impractical to censor all content on the internet. It could definitely be used as a weapon down the road by a different government. This current federal government doesn’t strike me as a very forward thinking one. There are too many unanswered questions in my opinion. Stating that user generated content won’t be governed sounds great on paper, however the practicalities of it say other wise. For YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, their entire platforms are about user generated content. Some of those users are millionaires with huge clout and cultural influence. Will the CRTC by governing the platforms force censorship by default? The Liberals themselves can’t guarantee that a large enough Social Media star would not become under the influence of the CRTC.

As a podcaster, this of course is of great importance to me. By default I am a social media content creator. I currently am streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon. I am humble enough to admit, my following is very modest compared to others. However, I have ambitions. I want to grow my listenership to the millions if possible in Canada. My genre is news and politics, so of course I would be right in the centre of any controversy over censorship from the CRTC. I believe I have a right to speak my mind and be critical of this government and the one that comes after it and the one after that. At what point does my little corner of the internet, turn from my opinion and reporting, into Canadian culture? At what point do I come under the jurisdiction of the CRTC? I honestly have no idea, and I’m betting the majority of you don’t either.

Which brings me to my biggest criticism of Bill C-10. The problem with this legislation is that it lacks imagination. It’s attempting to undisrupt what has already been disrupted. By that, I mean the YouTube’s and the Spotify’s of the world have opened up production to anyone. Canadians and the world consume more and more media free from the confines of the old model. Bill C-10 is essentially trying to fit the new model into the old. Demanding that a more free and open, democratic model of media production fit into a model that was made prior to Web 2.0. The problem with this is the old model made monopolies of Bell and Rogers. Giants who dominated media production and consumption in Canada in the past. Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Spotify etc, have disrupted that model. Bell and Rogers are right however, the playing field isn’t level.

However, rather than work to find a new model that fits the 21st Century, the Liberals have tried to haphazardly make the future adapt to the past. And it is failing. Perhaps the time has come to reconsider how exactly the Canadian Media Fund is funded, and how art in general is created in this country. The people are already there, its time for it’s government to join them.

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