Liberals want to use COVID-19 as an excuse to regulate the media

Written By Daniel Bordman, Posted on April 20, 2020

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”. 

A political axiom attributed to many different men across history, but one that seems to ring true in the hearts of the Liberal party during this particular crisis. 

As if by reflex, one of the first measures the Liberal government took, under the guise of fighting the virus, was to attempt to curb freedom of speech.  Their potential new law would “fight online misinformation”.  A problem the CBC claims is flooding social media.

The push to regulate the media can be reasonably termed reflexive since it has been a hallmark of Trudeau’s policy ever since he proposed his 595-million-dollar media bailout in 2018.

Trudeau and the Liberals plan to centralize control over information that seems to be following 3 easy steps.  First, they reward friendly media and/or incentivize major outlets towards favorable coverage. This is done by the $595 million bailouts that would make the mainstream media dependent on the Liberal’s money to remain afloat.

Step 2 was to punish the largest opposition media outlets.  The way they went about this was lawfare against True North Media and Rebel Media.  Since reelection Trudeau has been using the unlimited resources provided by the taxpayer to launch frivolous against these two Right-leaning media outlets.  The goal of lawfare isn’t always to win in court, but simply to force those with less resources to spend their time and resources defending themselves, in this case to prevent them from allocating time and resources to covering the Liberals.  This abuse of the legal system also functions as a deterrent to others from opposing the Liberals.

Finally, the last bastion of opposition coverage would come from the citizens themselves, primarily through social media.  This proposed law would help lay the groundwork for social media censorship, but it is hardly their first attempt, or even their second.

All of this fits a clear pattern of behaviour for the Liberals, so much so that part of their endgame slipped out of the mouth of Minister Stephen Guilbeault when he clearly stated that they wanted media outlets to get a license to distribute news.  He was forced to walk this back, but seemed to walk in circles as he stated that in terms of “discovery media” that would still require a license.  To date, no one knows what “discovery media” means, nor have the Liberals attempted to clarify.

The potential law to regulate social media during COVID-19 was pushed Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc and seems to have support in other parties.

NDP MP Charlie Angus expressed his support for social media censorship stating:

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and it is about protecting the public. This is not a question of freedom of speech. This is a question of people who are actually actively working to spread disinformation, whether it’s through troll bot farms, whether [it’s] state operators or whether it’s really conspiracy theorist cranks who seem to get their kicks out of creating havoc.”

To say that a bill that curbs what Canadians can say online is “not a question of freedom of speech” is akin to stating that wars have nothing to do with the military, yet Mr. Angus sits in the government tasked with defending the exact freedoms he easily dismisses.

There is so much more that can be dissected from the statements of politicians, or the flaws in the underlying logic of the bill.

For example, conspiracy theorist cranks “who get their kicks out of creating havoc” would be punished, but what about those who truly believe what they are peddling? How could the legal system determine if it is being nihilistic, or really believes that the 5g network is part of some convoluted plan to control the masses.

There is also the great irony that state actors are mentioned.  Is anyone in the Liberal party going to call out the Communist Party of China and their enablers at the WHO? These are the very same people whose lies got us into this mess. The same lies that our health minister swallows without question.

Does anyone actually believe that there have been zero new cases in China in the last month?  The level of incompetence/corruption it would take to believe the claim that the largest country in the world, with a heavy population density managed to stop this highly infectious virus at 83 000 cases (absent a cure/vaccine) is truly mind-boggling.  

While some governments scramble to mitigate the damage of the Coronavirus, it seems Justin Trudeau’s priorities remain on a slow, authoritarian push towards ideological purity.  What else could one expect from the man who admires China’s basic dictatorship?

Daniel Bordman

Daniel is the host of political satire show Uninterrupted, runs multiple podcasts and has written for a variety of publications. Daniel is also the communications coordinator of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation. You can find him on Twitter here. Uninterrupted on YouTube

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