(LifeSiteNews) — Canada’s Conservative Party leader told reporters this week that Meta’s act of hiding news from citizens in cooperation with the nation’s internet censorship bill is a reality comparable to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984.”
During an August 1 CPAC press conference on the topics of affordable housing and immigration, Pierre Poilievre was asked his thoughts on Meta’s recent decision to censor news articles from Canadian Facebook and Instagram accounts. The platform made the change in adherence to Bill C-18, which became law at the end of June.
“I think it’s like ‘1984,’” he told reporters at the end of the conference. “You have a prime minister passing a law to make news articles disappear from the internet.”
“Who would ever have imagined that in Canada the federal government would pass laws banning people from effectively seeing the news? Who would have thought that we’d have a government that would pass a law to manipulate the algorithms of the internet so that Canadians only see what the prime minister wants them to see?”
Similarly, Orwell’s “1984” follows a man living in a nightmare society where the governing body controls every aspect of citizens’ lives, including speech. To thoroughly censor unwanted ideas from the public, the government also strives to implement a new language which omits any words that could lead to opposing views and political revolution.
“I know that Justin Trudeau doesn’t want Canadians to see the facts of life, because after eight years in power, people’s lives are falling apart,” Poilievre continued. “But here’s my response: whether it’s Big Tech or Trudeau’s big government, censorship is always and everywhere wrong.”
“And that’s why I will bring home freedom of speech—online, on campus, and anywhere else in this country. Because I believe that I can win an open debate in this country, and so, unlike Trudeau, I will not need to censor.”
Meta first announced plans to begin the censorship on its platforms on August 1, in compliance with the new law. Google also told Canadians that they would be unable to view news on the site due to the Online News Act forcing companies to pay publishers to display news articles on their sites. However, Trudeau’s government changed its course shortly after by removing the mandatory payment caveat to the law.
Despite the amendment to the bill’s language, many Canadians still fear they will lose access to online news sources. Bill C-18 is the latest in a series of internet censorship bills to become law. In April, Bill C-11 was enacted, allowing the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to regulate so-called “commercial” video and audio content. The censorship laws also subject broadcasters to liberal diversity, equity and inclusion standards.
When politicians were still debating Bill C-11 in March, Poilievre criticized the government for using Orwell’s “1984” as “an instruction manual.”