ontario news watch

Committee to grill justice minister on bill's potential to undermine free expression

OTTAWA — Justice Minister David Lametti will be on the hot seat this afternoon as a fired-up heritage committee grills him about Bill C-10’s potential to undermine online freedom of expression.

Lametti sent his deputy minister and other officials to face the all-party committee last Friday, but its members pushed for him to appear today to answer questions.

Bill C-10 has become a political flashpoint, with a range of academics, columnists and other influencers alleging it gives the CRTC too much influence over what’s shared through social media.

The legislation will make the first major changes to the Broadcasting Act since social media platforms became a major source of individual and commercial communications.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says Bill C-10 will ensure that platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Facebook must join broadcasters in contributing to funds that pay for Canadian content.

But Lametti’s challenge will be to convince the heritage committee that the proposed legislation doesn’t give the government, through the CRTC, the ability to dictate what online content is acceptable. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press