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OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – After information came to light alleging that staff from one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ministries told Facebook and Twitter to remove links on their sites to a news report criticizing his government, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has now called for an emergency debate over internet censorship.

CPC MP and shadow minister for Canadian Heritage Rachael Thomas wrote in a long letter to Speaker of the House Anthony Rota that she will be demanding in the House of Commons debate “attempts” at “government censorship of the news.”

“I am writing to give you notice that I will rise in the House Monday afternoon to request an emergency debate concerning revelations that the government has pressured social media platforms to edit or remove content it considered embarrassing,” Thomas wrote.

“These attempts at what can fairly be described as government censorship of the news and, more generally, the internet came to public attention through a response to my colleague Dean Allison’s Order Paper Question No. 1219, which was tabled just before the Easter adjournment.”

Thomas noted that the order paper showed “one of several examples” of government meddling such as a 2021 Toronto Sun article, written by Lorne Gunter, about “pending Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) policy changes.”

“In a column last week, Mr. Gunter noted that IRB officials had first asked his editors to pull his article and when that failed, we now know they asked social media platforms to take it down and prevent any linking to it. The government’s requests were denied, thankfully.”

Noted Thomas, as Mr. Gunter observed, about his own experience, the government “still tried to have it banned as misinformation because it was embarrassing to them. It revealed a policy change they didn’t want revealed, which is precisely why it had to be revealed and why the social media platforms should not have banned it.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas stressed that such attempts at censorship will only worsen should Trudeau’s internet censorship Bill C-11 and other bills become law.

“If adopted, these two bills will greatly diminish the ability of media companies and social media platforms to ignore government commands concerning what information can and cannot be made available to the Canadian public. News and cultural content will be at the mercy of government oversight and approvals. This is a terrifying thought in a longstanding, robust, and proud democracy like Canada,” she wrote.

At the time of writing, it is not yet known whether Rota will grant Thomas’ request for an emergency debate.

Thomas’ letter was written in light of revelations that a staff member from Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s office had asked Facebook and Twitter to remove links to a 2021 article written by the Gunter.

As noted by Blacklock’s Reporter, Cabinet in an Inquiry of Ministry tabled in the House of Commons said that an unidentified “director of communications” demanded that Facebook and Twitter delete links to Gunter’s article on September 27, 2021.

At the time, Mendicino was the immigration minister.

According to the Inquiry, the nameless official had ordered Facebook and Twitter to “remove/unpublish social media posts” linked to Gunter’s article. The official had falsely claimed the article had “serious errors of fact (that risk) undermining public confidence in the independence of the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as the integrity of the refugee determination system.”

Facebook and Twitter refused to take down the links to the article.

As for Thomas, she concluded her letter by telling Rota to grant her request for an emergency debate, urging him to “recognize that these issues touch upon one of our fundamental freedoms: the freedom of speech.”

CPC leader Pierre Poilievre yesterday retweeted Thomas’ letter demanding an emergency debate.

Bill C-11 inched closer to becoming law two weeks ago after MPs passed a motion in a 212-117 vote to adopt the bill without agreeing to the amendments previously made by the Senate.

The bill has faced immense criticism for its implications on freedom of speech, to the point that even Big Tech giants YouTube and Apple, which both have a history of enacting their own forms of censorship on users, had previously urged the Senate to stall the bill.

In effect, Bill C-11, if given Royal Assent, would mandate that Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, be in charge of regulating online content on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to ensure that such platforms are promoting content in accordance with a variety of CRTC guidelines.