Catching Up on – C-11 is back on the menu – Objective or Opinion Journalism ? – The American C-18 stumbles

September 17, 2022

The media event of the week was the combustible encounter between Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre and Global News reporter David Akin at a Parliament Hill press conference, followed by Poilievre fundraising off the incident and doxing Akin.

There’s no need to put in my two cents, Karen Pugliese’s account of what occurred and what it means for Canadian media and politics covers it.


One of Poilievre’s least favourite Liberal bills is C-11, the Online Streaming Act.

The controversial “Netflix Bill” broke through the Tory filibuster in June and has now moved on to the Senate Transportation and Communications Committee. As the Orcs of Middle Earth would say, “meat’s back on the menu.”

Except that Senators are taking a different approach than their House colleagues: less partisanship and a real curiosity about the policy issues. The Senators spent two days studying the Bill in June and two more this week, I posted an update that attempts to get at what is feeding the heated “discoverability” debate.

You can get more detailed reports from here ,here and here.

Also, Marie Woolf of the Globe and Mail writes this morning about the role of “intellectual property” (ownership of exploitation rights) in making Canadian content film and TV. American streamers Disney and Netflix are currently barred from retaining these commercial rights for certified CanCon, so their movies don’t qualify. You will hear a lot more about this issue in the weeks and months to come.

Senate hearings continue on ParlVu this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.


There’s a recently published reflection on Canadian journalism provocatively entitled “Objectivity: What Journalists Hate but the Public Still Craves.”

Former Calgary Herald Editor Peter Menzies is looking at audience data from the American Press Institute suggesting readers are disappointed in how much opinion they believe they are getting in news stories instead of facts and analysis.

Menzies delivers quite a scolding to his fellow journalists. While some of his comments might be considered polemic, the data that he’s looking at is thought provoking.


I’ve been following the American version of our Bill C-18, the Online News Act. Democratic Senator Amy Klubachar’s Journalism Competition and Protection Act (JCPA) ran into a major snag in “mark-up” debate at the Senate Judiciary Committee, despite having bipartisan support lined up.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) tossed in an amendment on platform content moderation that Democrats wouldn’t accept and it was approved in the absence of a Democrat sick with Covid. Klobuchar had to withdraw the Bill and will resubmit it.

Another interesting development in the US was the state of California passing a $25M budget measure similar to our federal Local Journalism Initiative.

The California program will fund 40 local newsroom interns in three consecutive annual cohorts, each internship lasting three years. The program will be administered by Berkeley’s School of Journalism.


Minister Pablo Rodriguez has tabled his response to the May report of the Commons Heritage Committee on the Rogers-Shaw merger.


The federal court has granted CBC leave to appeal the CRTC’s ruling against it following the use of “mot d’n” (n-word) on a radio broadcast discussing Pierre Vallières’ 1968 book “White N****** of America.”


Another CRTC file I am following is the complaint filed by One Soccer (on the CRTC website under its corporate name Timeless Inc.) against Rogers for refusing to put the independent soccer channel into its cable package, even on a pick-and-pay basis.

Rogers has now filed its response, as has Telus as an intervenor. Telus is the only Canadian cable provider that carries One Soccer, which holds programming rights for the Canadian Premier League and several game broadcasts of our national teams.

Based on the filings, One Soccer is a long shot to win cable access under the long standing CRTC rules. Whether those rules are still “in the public interest” may be something to comment upon after we get the Commission’s ruling.

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Howard Law

I am retired staff of Unifor, the union representing 300,000 Canadians in twenty different sectors of the economy, including 10,000 journalists and media workers. As the former Director of the Media Sector and as an unapologetic cultural nationalist, I have an abiding passion for public policy in Canadian media.

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