Catching Up on – Matt Johnson’s ‘Blackberry’ – KvF’s Bill C-18 amendments – Senator Simons on C-11

From Blackberry. IMDB

February 18, 2023

This week’s round-up of media issues begins with a choice.

One: You can stick your finger in the Pierre Poilievre light socket and watch him tee off on the CBC yet again for asking a question he didn’t like.

Two: You can start your weekend on a different mood channel with Barry Hertz’s positive review of the new Blackberry film written and directed by Matt Johnson and starring Jay Baruchel.

The script is based on the book by Globe reporters Sean Silcoff and Jacquie McNish and will be released internationally by Paramount. (There are no YouTube trailers available yet).


Konrad von Finckenstein is a national treasure.

That endorsement may surprise, given contrary policy views expressed on this blog site. But the former trade negotiator, Competition Commissioner, CRTC Chair and federal judge offers an intellectual rigour in his criticism of Bills C-11 and C-18 that isn’t always available elsewhere.

Now that the Online News Act Bill C-18 has passed the House, von Finkenstein has revised his recommendations to the Senate, here.

The Senate’s Transportation and Communications Committee will take up C-18 in late March.


On the subject of Bill C-11, I recommend Michael Geist’s podcast interview of Senator Paula Simons, the co-author of the key Senate amendment on user generated content posted to hosting platforms like YouTube.

We are still waiting for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s full reply to the Simons/Miville-Dechêne amendment and 25 other changes to C-11 proposed in the Senate. The Minister had implausibly suggested we would hear from him as soon as the week of February 9th.

No word yet, although Liberal House Leader Mark Holland told the Globe and Mail on February 15th that he was in talks about ‘next steps’ with Senate caucus leaders.


Last week Heritage officials attended their day of reckoning at the House committee on the hiring of Laith Marouf as an anti-racism consultant despite his many racist (Black, Indigenous and Québecois) and anti-semitic Twitter posts.

Despite intensive questioning by Heritage MPs we are left guessing about the true state of mind of various government officials who must accept responsibility for the baffling omission of a basic Internet search in vetting Marouf’s job application, the inexplicable failure of a 100-person communications team to pick up on Mark Goldberg‘s tweets alerting Heritage to Marouf’s posts in April 2022, and culminating with Heritage’s walking-pace response once the story was broken by journalist Jonathan Kay.

An interesting admission from Heritage officials: the lethargic response wasn’t caused by waiting for legal advice. That seems to leave either indifference or hand-wringing as the most likely explanations.


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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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