The Trudeau Liberals' internet censorship bill is so over-reaching that it's akin to "something you might expect out of China or Russia," a former CRTC commissioner said.
During a podcast interview with Senator Pamela Wallin, Timothy Denton, the ex-commissioner of the CRTC, said that we currently do not live in a "very liberal era when it comes to free speech."
“We’re living in an era that has many anxieties verging on hysteria about the dangers of unfettered discussion. There seems to be very little belief on the part of recent college graduates in the ability of society to find for itself reasonable accommodations with dissent," he said, reports Blacklock's Reporter.
The bills in question include Bill C-10 and Bill C-36. The former aims to change the way that sites bring Canadian content to viewers, and will subject them to CRTC regulations as public broadcasts.
The latter aims to make it so bloggers and Facebook users could be fined for posting comment that's "likely to foment detestation or vilification." The bill goes beyond hate speech laws, and criminal wrongdoing is not necessary. Denton called the legislation "totalitarian," and something that would come out of "China or Russia."
“They are going to be unworkable and they are going to be, I think, unconstitutional in the old-fashioned sense of outside the powers of the federal government,” said Denton. “I think they are almost certain to be taken down on Charter issues of freedom of speech. But they are really very unpleasant pieces of legislation.”
The bills were introduced under Heritage-turned-Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, and are now the responsibility of former House leader Pablo Rodriguez.
The bill has been criticized by other senators, including Senator David Richards, who compared Bill C-10 to book burnings, saying that the controversial censorship bill didn't just need to be amendments, but that it instead needed a "stake through the heart."
According to Blacklock's Reporter, Richards, who is also a novelist, said: "I will always and forever stand against any bill that subjects freedom of expression to the doldrums of government oversight."