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Bill C-11: Rodriguez rejecting some Senate amendments

After weeks of debating Senate amendments to the Liberals’ online streaming legislation, known as Bill C-11, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has confirmed he rejects several of the changes.

While the Liberals are poised to accept most of the legislative tweaks made in the upper house during the longest-ever review of a piece of government legislation, they reject some of the more consequential changes in the Senate.

This means that Bill C-11 could be headed for a legislative battle.

The long-awaited legislation aims to update the Canadian Broadcasting Act regime so that social media and streaming giants such as YouTube and Netflix are subject to Canadian content requirements and regulations comparable to traditional broadcasters.

However, Bill C-11 has come under intense scrutiny from industry stakeholders, content creators and opposition MPs who fear it will lead to censorship of content viewed online.

In a message to the SenateRodriguez indicated which of the 26 amendments to the 12 points the Liberals would allow. The federal government’s response is scheduled to be debated by MPs in the House of Commons later on Wednesday.

If the “take some and leave it” approach is adopted, Bill C-11 will be passed and soon become law, allowing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to work to implement the appropriate regulatory changes that enable this. new powers of the body.

However, if the Senate seeks to maintain its position on certain amendments, the amendments could become a matter of procedural ping-pong between the two chambers.

“I want to thank the senators for their work on this very important bill,” Rodriguez told reporters Wednesday. “This is the bill that has spent the most time in the Senate in Canadian history … There has been a lot of debate.”

“And we accept the vast majority of the amendments of the Senate, but we do not accept some that may be missed,” said the minister.

Among the Senate amendments that were rejected or “respectfully” disagreed with, according to an official notice to parliament, was an attempt by senators to apply age-checking methods to certain content to prevent children from accessing material online that is “dedicated”. depicting explicit sexual activity for sexual purposes”.

Rodriguez said the proposal is being passed because it “seeks to legislate issues in the broadcast system that are beyond the policy intent of the bill.”

It was also the reason for rejecting a Senate amendment that would have sought to change the way the CBC processes advertising content, an issue the minister said requires “further study … on how best to position our national public broadcaster to meet the needs and expectations of Canadians.” : “.

Another change hitting the cutting room floor was aimed at instilling further protections for user-generated content.

The change was pushed by senators after multiple witnesses raised concerns that the new Canadian content requirements would have a negative impact on content posted by individual creators on YouTube’s platforms, which the Liberals continue to deny.

The change is being rejected, Rodriguez said, because it would affect the government’s ability to “conduct public consultations and provide political direction to the CRTC to properly encompass the regulation of social media services.”

Other changes are being rejected because of Liberal fears that they would raise “interpretive issues” or affect the CRTC’s ability to impose conditions around programming diversity and content considered Canadian.

Asked if he was preparing the federal government’s response to the Senate changes to be controversial, House Leader Mark Holland said no because the Liberals’ approach has the support of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP and because there has been productive dialogue. With the Senate.

“We’re committed to passing this legislation, so I think you’re going to see very broad support for this legislation from the House of Representatives. … And I’m very confident that the Senate will pass our verdict.”

The official opposition Conservatives remain staunchly opposed to Bill C-11. With the legislation close to passage, Conservative MPs are ramping up their social media campaigns, urging supporters to call their MPs and tell them to “kill Bill C-11”.

Introducing the changes made by the Senate Transportation and Communications Committee, chair and Conservative Senator Leo Housakos said the changes improved Bill C-11, but “many concerns remain.”

On Wednesday, he tweeted back at Rodriguez’s denials of his initial response, pointing out: Analysis by Michael Geist, University of Ottawa law professor and Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law, who said the Liberals’ approach “reveals its true intent. retain the power to regulate user content.”

“Raise,” Housakos said.

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