(LifeSiteNews) — A report by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Department of Canadian Heritage has insisted that citizens desire “stronger legislation” when it comes to the regulation of internet content.
“There was support among participants for creating an online safety regulator,” reads the department’s report, titled, “What We Heard: 2022 Roundtables On Online Safety.”
“Many participants expressed desire for stronger legislation, regulations and systems to be introduced to combat online harm,” it added. “Participants acknowledged the importance of future online safety legislation.”
The report compiled the findings of 19 federal meetings hosted from last July to November in Surrey, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Windsor, Niagara, Montréal, Québec City, Moncton, Halifax, Charlottetown and St. John’s.
Canadians invited to the meetings included the Prince Edward Island Transgender Network, Indo-Canada Association of the Greater Moncton Area, Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadian Muslim Forum, Mexican Society of Edmonton and Youth Parliament of Manitoba.
There were no digital publishers, civil liberties groups, or constitutional scholars in attendance at any of the meetings.
“The distinction between misinformation and disinformation was discussed by participants,” the report stated. “Participants viewed misinformation as a step before disinformation and questioned if legislation can capture both issues.”
“A few participants discussed whether online safety legislation should include misinformation and disinformation due to the challenges of tackling both,” it continued.
The assertion that Canadians desire increased regulation of internet content comes in contradiction to a February 2022 report which revealed widespread opposition to internet censorship. The February report was based on 9,218 submissions from lawyers, academics, civil liberties groups, and the general public.
Even the recent report was forced to admit that some Canadians opposed censorship, writing, “Concerned stakeholders expressed that requiring the removal of speech that would otherwise be legal would raise risks of undermining access to information, limiting Charter rights namely the freedom of expression, and restricting the exchange of ideas and viewpoints that are necessary in a democratic society.”
The Heritage department seems intent on pushing for increased censorship, maintaining it is for Canadians’ benefit. In May, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez insisted that further online internet regulation could remedy the recent slew of anti-Christian church burnings in Canada.
Internet censorship is moving ahead in Canada as Facebook recently announced it will begin censoring news websites for some Canadians in preparation for the passage of Bill C-18, a proposed law fast-tracked by the Trudeau government that aims to compel social media sites to share revenue with certain news outlets, something experts have warned could be the end of independent media.
In April, the Trudeau government passed Bill C-11, which Senator Marc Gould explained “would amend the Broadcasting Act to modify Canada’s broadcasting policy, bring into the act ‘online undertakings’ that transmit content over the internet, and change the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) regulatory powers, among many other things.”
Bill C-11 will, in effect, force social media companies and others to promote more Canadian content but could regulate user content as well.
In practice, Bill C-11 mandates that the CRTC oversee the regulation of online content on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to ensure that such platforms promote Canadian content in accordance with a variety of CRTC guidelines.