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OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) — A former chair of the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission told the Senate that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s online censorship bill must be revised to protect free expression.

Retired CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein warned at Tuesday’s Senate communications committee meeting that if Trudeau’s internet regulation bill, C-11, is passed, it will grant “vast powers to the CRTC.”

Finckenstein told the committee that it is his opinion that the bill needs to be revised to exclude user-generated content from the scope of the CRTC in order to “respect the freedom of speech of Canadians.”

“Let’s face it, this Act is about money,” Finckenstein said. “It’s about getting money from the streamers to pay for Canadian content production … ”

Finckenstein is also the director of the Canadian Chapter of the Internet Society, a group that has been highly critical of Bill C-11.

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” the Society wrote to the heritage committee, whose minister, Pablo Rodriguez, introduced the controversial bill.

“C-11 is based on the tragic illusion all audio and audio-visual content on the internet is a program and that any person who transmits a program on the internet is a broadcaster rather than a communicator,” the Society continued.

“Internet streaming services are simply not broadcasting,” the group stressed.

Bill C-11 has been a topic of extreme controversy in Canadian politics over the past year, with critics warning Canadians that the broad language used in the legislation would grant the government sweeping powers over what Canadians can say and consume online.

When Bill C-11 was introduced, the Trudeau government and current CRTC chair Ian Scott promised Canadians that the bill would only regulate content produced by large commercial companies. However, earlier this month, Scott admitted this was not the case, and the legislation would indeed grant the CRTC regulatory power over what individuals can do and say online.

Bill C-11 passed in the House of Commons yesterday, one week after Trudeau’s Liberals spearheaded a successful motion to shut down debate on the bill.

Despite the House’s success in getting the bill passed with little debate, Conservative Senator Leo Housakos has promised Canadians that he will not allow the government to “ram this legislation through without proper parliamentary scrutiny.”

“It’s been made quite clear to the Trudeau government that there will be a diligent and thorough study of this flawed legislation — one that will be done transparently and will include witnesses whose voices and concerns were silenced in the other place,” Housakos stated last Wednesday.

Housakos’ statement has provided some hope for those opposed to the legislation, as the last iteration of the bill, known then as Bill C-10, was passed by the House but eventually axed by the Senate in July 2021.

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