OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) — Newly released notes show that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has lamented the fact that social media content is hard to “counter,” leading to speculation that his government’s lapsed web regulation bill from last year may be resurrected.
The recently revealed remarks were made by Trudeau on September 9, and come from a meeting he had with six lawyers from the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC), the committee tasked with dealing with the fallout of the Trudeau government’s use of the Emergencies Act against the Freedom Convoy protest earlier this year.
In a detailed interview summary of the meeting, as unveiled by Blacklock’s Reporter, Trudeau was said to remark that his government “believes in free speech,” but that he “emphasized the need for governments to take online rhetoric seriously.”
The memo further summarized that in Trudeau’s view, “social media” has allowed for a “new way to foment anger and hate that is different from anything we have seen before, [is] difficult to counter, and it is destabilizing our democracy.”
“He raised the examples of spoof websites that look real,” added the notes.
Trudeau’s focus on social media may stem from the integral role the platforms played in the organization of the Freedom Convoy protest, which allowed thousands of citizens to gather in Ottawa to call for an end to all COVID-related mandates implemented by his government.
Since the convoy, it has been revealed that the federal government was actively monitoring the social media accounts of independent Canadian journalists covering the Freedom Convoy, as well as U.S. reporters such as Tucker Carlson who were sympathetic to their cause.
Last year, the Trudeau government had introduced Bill C-36, which critics warned would have censored bloggers and social media users, and could have even opened the door to giving police the power to “do something” about online “hate.”
Bill C-36 included text to amend Canada’s Criminal Code and Human Rights Act to define “hatred” broadly as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain (haine).”
The bill would theoretically have allowed a tribunal to judge anyone who has a complaint of online “hate” leveled against them, even if he has not committed a crime. If found guilty, the person would have been subjected to fines of up to $70,000 and could have even been placed under house arrest.
Due to Trudeau’s calling of an election in the fall of 2021, Bill C-36 was ultimately dropped from the order paper. This past August, however, Trudeau’s Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez hinted that a form of Bill C-36 could be coming back.
The potential return of Bill C-36 comes in addition to the Trudeau government’s almost-passed Bill C-11, and its release of plans last summer to create a “Digital Safety Commissioner,” who would have the power to shut down websites deemed a threat to “democracy” and to delete content deemed “harmful.”
As of now, there is no updated version of Bill C-36 and there has yet to be an appointed digital safety commissioner, but Bill C-11 is close to becoming law, having recently passed its second of three readings in the Senate.
If passed, Bill C-11 would give the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the ability to regulate “commercial” video content on sites such as YouTube or Netflix, but with the bill failing to provide a definition for “commercial,” and comments from the head of the CRTC saying the legislation could also apply to individual users, critics have warned the bill poses a serious threat to free expression online.