Catching Up on – the most important fix for C-11 – Nanos poll shows strong support for C-18

The sliding public trust in news from the 2022 Reuters poll

November 12, 2022

The Senate committee studying the Online Streaming Act Bill C-11 took a rare week off. It’s unclear how many more days of hearings (currently at 20 days and 125 witnesses) it will convene, although it has scheduled two more days and ten more witnesses next week. The unofficial agreement to have the Bill voted upon by the full Senate and returned to the House by November 18th obviously will not be met. 

Other than the unusual length of the Committee proceedings, there is no overt sign of a filibuster. However the Québec-based Coalition for Diversity in Cultural Expression (CDCE) has drawn attention to the fact that spirited opposition to the Bill from the Chair of the Committee, Conservative Senator Leo Housakos, has spilled over into making partisan videos (in English and French) inviting the audience to sign the CPC’s anti C-11 petition . In the video, Housakos identifies himself as chair of the committee. He also says that the Committee hearings “will be wrapping up soon.” 

In case the Committee moves on to amendments soon, I posted (“The Next Internet Czar”) on the biggest flaw in C-11 that the Senate should fix (and it’s not about YouTube videos). 

The House debate on the Online News Act C-18 will begin clause-by-clause (amendments) consideration on November 18th. Earlier this week a Nanos poll sponsored by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters revealed strong public support for the legislation. I posted a brief evaluation of the questions and the results and then segued into comments on this year’s Reuters poll on “trust in news” which provides important context to public policy and regulation of the news industry. 

McGill University’s Taylor Owen published his views on C-18 here. Owen is the school’s Chair in Media, Ethics and Communication and recently lead Heritage Canada’s study of online harms and safety.

The Globe’s Phillip Crawley posted a rare Publisher’s comment with a luke warm endorsement of C-18. Crawley indicates some discomfort with the CRTC’s stewardship of the new regime and a lot of discomfort with the Commission’s authority to compel disclosure of advertising rates charged by news organizations to their commercial clients.

The Rogers-Shaw merger hearings continued all week at the Competition Tribunal and the proceeding is really just getting started. So much hearing time was spent reviewing confidential documents in camera that the Globe had little to report and instead focussed on the lack of public transparency.


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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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