Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continued to defend his Liberal government's controversial Bill C-18, which since its passing has caused Google and Meta to remove Canadian news from the majority of their platforms and angered many across the nation.
While the federal Liberals have continued negotiating with Google, they have been less optimistic with Meta, going so far as to pull government advertising off the site.
"How far will your government go in taking on a company like Meta, and what could be next?" a reporter asked during a press conference on Wednesday.
Trudeau replied by claiming that the fight went beyond advertising, that it's "also dispute over democracy."
"It's a question of recognizing the role that internet giants like Facebook, Meta, Google, and others, have in our lives, and therefore a responsibility that they also wield."
The prime minister went on to accuse Meta of refusing to accept responsibility by "contributing to a democracy, and democracies in general, that have contributed to its success as a company."
"We're not backing down on this," he continued, suggesting the bill "goes to the core of a free and informed society that is able to take responsible decisions in a democracy."
Trudeau said Canadians deserve to have access to "quality local news, quality content, quality journalism that is properly paid," and claimed that Meta "doesn't want to recognize the hard work of professional journalists," and that its decision "undermines the very fabric of our democracy."
Google has remained steadfast in its belief that the bill will harm, not help, everyone involved. The internet giant explained in a statement following its decision to remove Canadian news stories that the Liberals' push to have the company pay for each link was preposterous.
It argued that the law would "make it harder for Canadians to find news online, make it harder for journalists to reach their audiences, and reduce valuable free web traffic to Canadian publishers," pointing out that stories from the great white north had been linked to over 3.5 billion times in 2022 alone, at no cost. Referral traffic from the links was valued at around $250 million CAD.
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