MP concerned about government censorship online

New rules for podcasters

After Bill C-11 recently passed, the Canada Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced its plans to bring in a new registry for social media and online podcasts.

Under the new regulations, podcasts and streaming companies would be required to register with the federal government by Nov. 28. Warnings were raised about online censorship, government overreach and individual liberties during debates on Bill C-11 in the House of Commons and the Senate. The government continually stated Bill C-11 wouldn't infringe on individual posts or online content.

It's crucial for Canadians to receive answers and transparency from both the telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, and the heritage minister.

Conservatives brought forward two motions recently at the Heritage Committee to scrutinize the impact and implications of the new proposed podcast registry restrictions and regulations. We aimed to provide a platform for concerned Canadians and content creators to voice their concerns and seek clarity on the federal government's intentions.

Despite growing unease among Canadians, the federal Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois chose not to study this issue.

The concern is that these CRTC measures will control what Canadians can access, see and express online. The potential for government interference in the content Canadians can access is a significant concern, as it could compromise the principle of "net neutrality," which includes open access to information for what you search and see online.

Conservatives warned C-11 will restrict what Canadians may view and listen to and it will negatively impact digital producers by limiting their success and ability to reach a Canadian and a worldwide audience. Canadian talent and creative content will no longer be successful based on what Canadians want to see. Instead, viewers will only see it if it meets the criteria set by Ottawa bureaucrats at the CRTC.

Canadians deserve a choice in what they watch and listen to online, free from undue government influence. The official Opposition's call for a more transparent and consultative process was made when this legislation was proposed and debated. Now, as we see the implementation of the C-11 through CRTC regulation where the oversights of online podcasts was not something analyzed and has come as a surprise to many.

I will continue opposing federal government overreach that is harming how Canadians access what they search and see online. We only have to see what has already occurred with (Meta’s) removal of Canadian news articles from (Facebook and Instagram) search results and from the inability to copy links to news articles on the social media platforms due to another restrictive piece of legislation, the government’s Bill C-18. Canadians are now left with having to screenshot headlines rather than attaching full article links that no one can click on and see (the full article).

(Conservatives) will continue to press for answers about the regulations being put forth by the CRTC based on legislation from the government. This includes bringing forth concerns and seeking clarity on regulations such as those being proposed for podcast creators.

If you need assistance with federal programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected].

(Editor’s note: In June, Google also said it planned to remove links to news articles for searches in Canada in response to Bill C-18 but as of Thursday, they were still available.)

Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is her party's critic for Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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