There have been a number of articles written with regard to the suggested amendment. In those articles, there have been interviews that have been done by Dr. Geist, former CRTC commissioner Peter Menzies, who has been quoted, and others who have long-standing careers in looking at these things very closely and being able to offer credible opinions.
One particular article or post that was put out by Dr. Michael Geist says the following:
Last night at a somewhat strange Canadian Heritage committee meeting, Liberal MP Julie Dabrusin brought forward the promised amendment. Only rather than confirming that the content that people upload on social media won’t be considered as programming under the Broadcasting Act, it does precisely the opposite. First, the new amendment does not restore the Section 4.1 exception that had been touted as a safeguard against regulating user generated content.
It does not bring back that protection. He continues:
Second, not only does the regulation of user generated content remain in place—
In other words, a direct infringement on our rights and freedoms....
—but the amendment confirms the CRTC regulatory powers, including a new power specifically designed for social media.
It is interesting. This committee was led to believe, and the Canadian public was led to believe, that these amendments would somehow bring further clarification and further protection, but actually, Dr. Geist is saying that the opposite is true. He's actually saying that the new powers are specifically designed to help social media content be regulated even further.
Mr. Chair, I understand that I cannot say outright that the member is trying to mislead the Canadian public or that the Prime Minister is outright trying to mislead the Canadian public, but I can say that, based on what I'm reading, based on the evidence, it would sure seem that this is the case. I find that troublesome. I find that very troublesome.
I find it very troublesome that we would be told that amendments are coming forward to help make this crystal clear, but—don't forget—it didn't even need those amendments. It was perfectly fine before. Nevertheless, there were amendments brought forward in order to make it crystal clear, and those crystal clear amendments seem to be making it more muddy than ever.
This is a mess, and those aren't actually even my words. Those are the worlds of experts. Dr. Geist is asking that this bill be totally kiboshed and that we do a redo.
He goes on to say the following:
In other words, rather than backing down in the face of public criticism, the government is doubling down on its Internet regulation plans.
Again, this is Dr. Michael Geist. He is an expert in this area. I learn a lot from him. He helps me understand this legislation. I'm very thankful for him because it is certainly complicated. I can see where members of this committee and the Canadian public might find it difficult to comprehend all of the language within this bill as it exists, as well as the amendments that are brought forward. However, I believe that it's important then to turn to experts such as Dr. Michael Geist and to rely on the information they provide.
What he is saying is that these regulations, the amendments that have been brought forward, would allow—not just allow but actually insist—that social media platforms prioritize some content over others.
In other words, the government will direct the CRTC, which will direct social media platforms to give preference to some content over others. If you like dogs, dog videos get to stay on. If you don't like cats, the cat videos have to go. Maybe you don't really care for a policy that's brought forward by the Liberal Party of Canada. We don't want you speaking out about that, so that video has to come down. Maybe you want to hear people talk about the importance of planting poplar trees, so you let that video stand.
I understand that one of the honourable members in particular is laughing at this, but I don't know that this is laughable. I don't know that it's laughable to attack the charter rights of Canadians, to impose upon them a regulatory measure that would only allow certain material to remain standing and insist that other material be taken down.
I don't know that Canadians think that's funny. I think they value their charter rights. I think, in particular, they—