So the Trudeau government has succeeded in ramming through its internet censorship law, Bill C-10, on the eve of Parliament rising for the summer (and probably for a fall federal election).
The Liberals used some of the most ham-fisted Parliamentary tactics in the past quarter century just to make sure this bill became law before the House of Commons adjourned.
I guess that’s an improvement from this time last year when the Liberals prorogued Parliament entirely for four months rather than suffer continued damage from the WE Charity scandal.
Being forced to do the Trudeau government’s bidding versus being forced to shut up; take your pick.
But why employ such anti-democratic means as closure and undebated amendments to foist such anti-democratic legislation onto a nation that has shown no desire to have its internet habits so closely scrutinized (and potentially censored) by a government agency, the CRTC (the Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission)?
The short answer is that to the statist and bureaucratic minds who thought up C-10, it makes sense to restrict free speech in order to save it. Kill the patient – just a little – in order to save his life.
So what now?
Canadians won’t notice the strong arm of government controlling their internet posting and browsing right away.
This is going to be creeping censorship – death by a thousand bureaucratic edicts – not online martial law.
That’s how regulators work.
The government has even given the CRTC an extra budget of nearly $4 million this year just to figure out what to do with all its newfound power to enhance Canada’s “social cohesion,” reduce online criticism against civil servants and expunge all hatred from social media.
Bill C-10 is a blank cheque it will take the cabinet and the regulators some time to fill in.
First, they will go after sites and providers who most Canadians will give their nodding acceptance to being reined in.
White supremacists, for instance, and anti-immigrant pages. People (and more likely organizations) that post anti-trans or anti-gay messages.
Maybe the incels – the involuntary celibates such as Alek Minassian who preach hatred (and often violence) against feminists. Minassian drove a van down the sidewalk along Toronto’s Yonge St. in 2018 killing 10 and injuring 16 more.
But what about the recent spate of anti-Catholic hatred online, some of which has urged vandalism and violence in retaliation for the church’s operation of residential schools?
Here the biases of the CRTC and our “progressive” elites are likely to be on glaring display.
If one form of hatred rankles politically correct sensibilities, expect it to be banned. But if our elites sympathize, even a little, with other forms, expect them to get a pass under C-10.
A couple of for-instances: Our prime minister was quick to label as “domestic terrorism” the hit-and-run killing of a Muslim family in London, Ont., but he has yet to name as “terrorists” Canadians who went to Syria to join ISIS.
And when Western oilfield workers drove to Ottawa in United We Roll caravans in 2019, the most senior civil servant in the country wanted them stopped because they had called Trudeau a traitor.
Expect Bill C-10 to be unevenly applied.
But the million little affronts to free speech will begin two to five years from now when the big targets have been mostly subdued.
To justify its continued existence, the CRTC will start going after little-guy posters with backwards views or news sites that question the “settled” science of climate change or the wisdom of our Indigenous welfare industry or race-based federal loans to businesses owned by racialized Canadians.
That’s where the real danger of C-10 lies, in the drip-drip-drip erosion of our freedoms.