National Conservative Caucus Chair is concerned by Media Licensing

Written By Guest User, Posted on February 14, 2020

According to “Canada’s Communications Future: Time To Act,” a regulatory body, like or including the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), was recommended to control licensing for companies producing audio, audiovisual, and alphanumeric news content.

While the CRTC does not regulate online media, the Heritage minister’s comments in a CTV interview two weeks ago failed to differentiate amongst which media outlets he would request to obtain a license.

On Monday, February 1st, he clarified his statement, stating, “We are committed to a free and independent press, which is essential to our democracy.”

While Minister Guilbeault claimed said licencing did not include independent content creators, the National Conservative Caucus Chair Tom Kmiec, amongst others from the Official Opposition, found him misleading at best.

Kmiec, the Member of Parliament for Calgary-Shepard, did not buy what the Minister attempted to sell Canadians because “if you watch the Minister’s answers in Question Period, he always says “credible and trusted” to describe the type of media that the government wants to either license or pick as a winner.”

“The Minister said they would exempt news media organizations and grant them exemptions, which meant that they had a licensing system in mind, and the government shouldn’t be in the business of censoring ideas and thoughts it doesn’t like,” says Kmeic. 

“The report appears to target content creators and the minister continues to dodge the questions by pretending it’s an independent report he isn’t considering, which is untrue.”

While recent statements raised red flags amongst content creators and free speech advocates, this isn’t the administration’s first attempt to curb constitutionally guaranteed rights.

At the first-ever Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, U.K., then Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, prevented True North’s Andrew Lawton and Rebel Media’s Sheila Gun Reid from attending the press gallery initially.

Only two Canadian journalists were permitted questions, and none were granted a private interview. Despite ample pressure from other outlets, Reid and Lawton were eventually allowed in, but denied any questions.

“If the Minister had been better prepared and really understood the Charter and constitutionally guaranteed rights, he would openly reject the entirety of the report and drop any notions of regulating what people can do online, including dropping any considerations of licensing people.”

“A license to speak your mind is no free speech, that’s just the first step to forcing their views on everyone else,” continues Kmiec, who found “the values attestation for the Canada Summer Jobs program to be only the beginning for their censorious ways.”

Concluding, he notes that, “Those who think the minister is right and controls on speech online are legitimate should ask themselves whether they would be comfortable handing such broad powers to a future conservative government. Who watches the watcher’s after all? This is a dangerous game the Liberals are playing, and reason suggests this entire plan be dropped.”

Guest User

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