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A Legislative Onslaught Against Freedom
Bills C-11, C-18, C-21, C-26, & C-36 will turn Canada into an authoritarian hellscape
Although most of Karlstack’s readers are American, a healthy percentage are Canadian, and so am I, therefore I feel a duty to report on the downfall of the country that I once loved.
If you don’t care about Canadian politics, then at least use us a cautionary tale; learn from our mistakes so that you may be free.
Justin Trudeau’s government is currently in the middle of granting itself sweeping new powers that will be used to seize control of the internet, seize control of the media, crush dissent, and control the population. If these 6 bills pass (which they will), Canadians will regret it for the rest of their short, miserable, emasculated lives.
Bill C-11: The Online Streaming Act
The government says that we need to pass bill C-11 because the last reform of the Broadcasting Act was in 1991, before online streaming services existed. They need modern powers to control the YouTube, TikTok, Facebook algorithms.
Ostensibly this is to prioritize “Canadian content” — the government wants to spoonfeed you only wholesome Canadian content, just like the magnanimous government of North Korea only wants to spoonfeed wholesome North Korean content.
YouTube itself warns that if Bill C-11 is “put into practice, this means that when viewers come to the YouTube homepage, they’re served content that a Canadian Government regulator has prioritized, rather than content they are interested in.”
The government will tweak the algorithms to de-prioritize un-Canadian content (anything that it doesn’t approve of), while prioritizing Canadian content like “Canada’s Drag Race,” which Trudeau appeared on as a guest last week.
So Canadian! Wow!
While “Canada’s Drag Race” is an example of Canadian content that would be prioritized by this bill, The Catholic Civil Rights League is concerned that Bill C-11 will deprioritize the free speech of Catholics.
“In a free and democratic society efforts to limit free speech must be opposed in favour of open communication, which includes opinions that the government might view as dissentient … We support the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death in our opposition to abortion and euthanasia. We hope that broadcasters will allow such voices to be heard in a robust way, rather than submit to government diktat.”
And that gets to the root of the problem: the definition of “Canadian content” is so purposely broad that it’s guaranteed it will be abused by the bureaucrats at the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), who are supposed to be impartial, but in reality everyone knows they obsequiously and gleefully take their marching orders straight from the Liberals.
The CRTC can not, and will not, defy orders from the Federal Government.
The CRTC will be granted sweeping new powers to censor whatever they want, and there are no guardrails. The Trudeau government is simply promising (fingers crossed!) that bureaucrats won’t use the full power handed to them. Do you trust them?
“By declaring every piece of user-generated audiovisual content—which would encompass the Instagram posts or YouTube videos of private individuals, even by children—a form of broadcasting subject to CRTC regulation, the state will gain the power to censor or remove that content. C-11 could create the most authoritarian regulatory framework of any democracy in the world.”
— journalist Fin DePencier
Bill C-18: Online News Act
As per the text of the bill, “The purpose of [The Online News Act] is to regulate digital news intermediaries with a view to enhancing fairness in the Canadian digital news marketplace and contributing to its sustainability, including the sustainability of independent local news businesses.”
What does that mean in practice? Just like the result of Bill C-11 is sweeping new powers for the CRTC to control the internet, the result of Bill C-18 is… sweeping new powers for the CRTC to control the media.
For starters, this bill would make CRTC responsible for determining who is a journalist (“The Act will include criteria to determine which news businesses are eligible”).
This will be abused to gatekeep the little guy. Liberal Member of Parliament Lisa Hepfner, who spent her career as a “journalist”, made it clear last week that she doesn’t consider “a couple of hundred online news organizations” as “news” since they “publish opinions” … as if CBC reporters don’t heavily inject their opinions into everything they write.
Which gets to the thrust of this bill: it’s a handout to the oligopoly that already controls Canadian media; you just need to ask yourself who is lobbying hardest for this bill and ask why they are lobbying so hard. The top 5 media organizations in Canada —Bell, Telus, Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor— account for 73% of all media revenue in Canada.
The mechanism to accomplish this will be “payment for links.” Every time a story is linked on Facebook or Google, bill C-18 will force Facebook to pay the “approved” journalist for the link.
This payments-for-link is based on a model from Australia called the “News Media Bargaining Code”, where it's estimated that about 90% of revenues of the new law have gone to Australia's three largest media companies. This is exactly what a Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates will happen in Canada: the bill will generate $329 million per year for Canadian news organizations, but the vast majority will go to CBC, Bell, and Rogers. Independant jourrnalists (if they even somehow magically succeed in their fight to be classified as “journalists”) will be left fighting for the scraps.
This business model is fundamentally backwards: the premise of C-18 is that online platforms such as Facebook are “stealing” news content by making links to news material available on their sites, but if anything, social media is a boon for journalists’ articles to go viral. If you put a tax on viral articles (Bill C-18 creates a disincentive for platforms to link to news material), less articles will go viral, and less readers will click the story.
The more appropriate way to think of a story going viral on Facebook isn’t “hey let’s tax it!”, it’s “hey thanks for the free marketing!” Facebook sent registered publishers in Canada more than 1.9 billion clicks last year at an estimated marketing value of more than $230 million.
If you tax big tech and transfer those funds to journalists, you will make journalists directly dependant on big tech. You create a direct link between the success of Facebook and the health of journalism in Canada. Do you think that might skew how they cover big tech? All journalists will become slaves of Facebook and Google. It will eviscerate their impartiality.
Bill C-21: The Largest Gun Ban in Canadian History
This bill was initially pitched as a way to “freeze” the sale of Canadian handguns… and then the government pulled a bait-and-switch at the 11th hour, introducing an amendment to ban any “firearm that is a rifle or shotgun, that is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner and that is designed to accept a detachable cartridge magazine with a capacity greater than five cartridges of the type for which the firearm was originally designed.”
This effectively bans legal firearm ownership altogether.
NOTE: After publishing, I received this note:
You might want to amend the section on firearms where it says "This effectively bans legal firearm ownership altogether. Rifles and shotguns won’t exist in Canada." This is not true, since the amendment referenced only impacts semi-autos which are also centerfire (not .22 rimfire). Generally speaking, it doesn't impact most bolt actions, pump actions, lever actions or break actions. There are a few shotguns or rifles which aren't semi-auto that are banned due to bore diameter or joules of muzzle energy, but not very many. Of course, the ultimate goal of the Liberals is to go after all guns, but this particular amendment doesn't do that. It just marches Canada one step closer to the end of firearms in this country. It does ban hundreds of pages of semi-auto centerfire firearms. The criticism about this amendment introduced at Committee is 100% valid, but you are jumping to a conclusion which isn't valid.
“This ban is sneaky and underhanded. By moving this significant change to legislation at the committee amendments stage, the Liberals did not allow a democratic debate or experts to weigh in on the ban.”
— Conservative MP Rob Morrison
“The majority of Canada’s 2.2 million licensed firearms owners will now be criminalized, should these amendments to Bill C-21 become law.”
— executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.
The worst part is that this gun grab will not reduce gun crime — nearly all gun crime is done by gangs (gang-related homicides in Canada are at an all-time high) and nearly all gang murders are committed with handguns… which are almost always smuggled across the border from the USA.
Gun crime is done by criminals who don’t care about gun laws. It’s not done by farmers with legal shotguns.
It is especially misguided to punish hunters and rural voters for urban handgun crime because Trudeau *just* eliminated several mandatory minimum sentences for smuggling handguns — the mandatory minimum for both gun smuggling and selling illegal guns was 3 years, but the PM thinks there should be none… because… wait for it… black people are the ones doing the smuggling.
How can any Canadian believe Trudeau is working to reduce gun crime while lowering sentences for handgun smugglers?
Going after the law-abiding gun owners (legal gun sales bad!) while going easy on the people committing gun crimes (smuggling good!) is as far from “evidence-based policy” as you can possibly get; it’s pure politics. People who own shotguns and rifles vote Conservative, people who own illegally smuggled handguns vote Liberal, so punish the former and pardon the latter… it’s as simple as that. Everything Trudeau does is to maximize his chances of power. This is a a pure power play by a communist despot to disarm the citizens who didn’t vote for him, while rewarding the ones who did.
Bill C-26: Regulating Cybersecurity
More sweeping authority for the government to control the internet!
This bill allows the government to shut off the internet for anyone, for any reason.
The government can “direct a telecommunications service provider to do anything or refrain from doing anything” and to “suspend providing for a specified period any service to any specified person.”
I’m sure they won’t use this to cut off the internet next time there is a Freedom Convoy.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, along with a collective including the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, the Privacy & Access Council of Canada, and several other groups and academics, released their "Joint Letter of Concern Regarding Bill C-26."
Increased surveillance: The bill allows the federal government to "secretly order telecom providers" to "do anything or refrain from doing anything… necessary to secure the Canadian telecommunications system, including against the threat of interference, manipulation or disruption." While this portion of the bill (s.15.2(2)) goes on to list several examples of what 'doing anything' might entail—including, for example, prohibiting telecom providers from using specific products or services from certain vendors, or requiring service providers to develop security plans—the collective expresses the concern that the power to order a telecom to 'do anything' "opens the door to imposing surveillance obligations on private companies, and to other risks such as weakened encryption standards."
Termination of essential services: C-26 allows government to "bar a person or company from being able to receive specific services, and bar any company from offering these services to others, by secret government order," which raises the risk of "companies or individuals being cut off from essential services without explanation."
Undermining privacy : The bill provides for collection of data from designated operators, which could potentially allow the government "to obtain identifiable and de-identified personal information and subsequently distribute it to domestic, and perhaps foreign, organizations."
Lack of "guardrails to constrain abuse": The bill would allow government to act without first being required to perform proportionality, privacy or equity assessments to hedge against abuse, which is concerning to the collective given the severity of the penalties available under the statute.
Secrecy impairing accountability, due process and public regulation: Many of the collective's concerns stem from the fact that government orders issued under the bill may be made in secret, without public reporting requirements, making it impossible for rights groups and the public to monitor and challenge how power is exercised under the bill. The secrecy attaching to such orders could impair the ability of operators subject to orders to challenge them in court, because key evidence about secret orders (which would be required for a court challenge) could also be kept secret from the operators.
Potential for abuse by CSE: The CCSPA would grant the Communications Security Establishment (the federal agency responsible for cyber security, but more prominently, signal intelligence) access to large volumes of sensitive data, but would not constrain its use of such data to its cyber security mandate.
Bill C-36: Regulating Hate Speech
The Liberals have been trying to pass this Bill for several years, and it temporarily died in 2021, but reintroducing it is a top priority for the Trudeau government — they have repeatedly promised to reintroduce the anti-hate bill “as soon as possible” as per the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion (lmao @ the fact that we even have a minister of DEI).
Bill C-36 means that Canadians can take a citizen to court if they feel like they might post something hateful online. You can and will be sued if you MIGHT post something hateful.
The draft bill states: “A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay an information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit (a) an offense under section 318 [pushing for genocide] or subsection 319” [inciting or promoting hate].”
All you have to do is think that someone might commit a hate crime, and the police will drag them to court.
“Hatred” would be defined as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain” … meaning your tweets or your blogposts will need to avoid causing any emotion stronger than “dislike or disdain.”
Forget about tweeting anything that isn’t woke ever again.
Oh and don't forget that since Bill C-16 passed last year, calling someone the wrong gender pronoun in Canada is considered "hate speech.” Good luck keeping track of everyone’s pronoun du jour!
If you are unable to keep up with the latest pronoun trend, the person whose pronouns you forget (heck, you don’t even need to forget their pronouns, they just need to claim that they are afraid you might forget their pronouns) can take a citizen to court and steal up to $20,000 from you, a straight transfer from you to them.
This will incentivize Canadians to spy on each other, and will incentivize trolls to make a living out of provoking hate speech and then suing upon being hate-speeched… vexatious litigants galore.
When you are dragged to court and ordered to pay $20k for even thinking about using the wrong pronouns, the bill also allows your accuser to remain anonymous.
This is especially fucked up because the punishment should fit the crime, not the random wealth of the “guilty” person.
Elon Musk, for example, will be able to come to Canada and misgender his son hundreds of times at will, but poor people won’t be able to misgender once, lest their life be ruined by a fine.
Bill C-36 (British Columbia)
The first 5 bills were federal laws — this last one is a provincial law. I am not going to relitigate whether or not mRNA vaccines are safe & effective, I assume you already have established your opinion on that. So I will present this last bill without any commentary.
Bill 36 will permit the “the Health Minister to impose a Covid vaccine as a condition of licensing on all health practitioners in the province.”
This means that psychiatrists, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists and naturopaths will lose their licenses if they aren’t up to date on the latest booster.
The Bigger Picture
With this slate of legislation the government will 1) control what you see on the internet 2) control the media 3) control whether or not you can access the internet 4) control your healthcare 5) control your speech 6) control all guns.
What more is there to say?
Do I really need to editorialize what this means?
After this slate of legislation is passed, the government will then move full-speed ahead with CBDC, digital ID, and vaccine passports.
I’m ashamed to be Canadian… nobody cares about freedom, and it’s only going to get worse. Sad.