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Canadian News May 6, 2022 2:41 PM EST

Poilievre says he will defund CBC, takes shots at Canadian 'liberal media' in Conservative leadership debate

"I would defund the CBC. I would do so, I would defund the CBC to save over a billion dollars and I would repeal the internet censorship bill C-11," said Poilievre on Thursday.

Poilievre says he will defund CBC, takes shots at Canadian 'liberal media' in Conservative leadership debate
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

During the Conservative leadership debate on Thursday night, perceived frontrunner MP Pierre Poilievre took several shots at state-funded CBC and explained why he'd defund them.

He also explained how he gains the attention of hundreds of thousands—not through coverage from liberal media outlets, but through his social media presence.

"Canadians believe they've lost control of their lives," said Poilievre in his opening statements, pointing to things such as Trudeua's "big, bossy government" that has "taken their money and told them what to do, leaving the country desperate and divided."

"I'm running for prime minister to give you back control of your life by making Canada the freest nation on earth. Freedom means you should be free to choose your own medical decisions, free from vaccine mandates imposed on you by the state. Freedom means you control your own money, free from government-induced inflation that has made housing, food and gas unaffordable.

"Freedom means expressing yourself without fear, and freedom of the press by defunding the CBC and giving every Canadian the liberty to speak without fear," he said.

Later in the debate, Poilievre explained the importance of getting his message out without the help of liberal media.

"I'm undefeated in seven consecutive elections in a big, Ontario multicultural city. That's because I don't try to go through the liberal media to get my message out," he told the crowd.

"I go around them and deliver my message to millions of people through social media that we're seeing in the tens of thousands that have been coming out to my rallies, people who have never voted Conservative before in their lives."

True North's Candice Malcolm asked the candidates what their views were on government funding and regulation of the press, to which Poilievre said he would axe tax dollars to Canada's crown broadcaster.

"I would defund the CBC. I would do so, I would defund the CBC to save over a billion dollars and I would repeal the internet censorship Bill C-11."

C-10 was highly controversial in both Parliament and the Senate, with Senator David Richards saying that the legislation needed to be scrapped altogether, as it aimed to give the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) overwhelming new powers, something that even former vice-chair of the CRTC Peter Menzies called a violation of the rights of ordinary citizens.

Bill C-11, 10's successor, titled "An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts," strives for the same goals as C-10, which was created and championed by now-Minister of the Environment Steven Guilbeault, who was Heritage Minister last year.

"That bill came forward as C-10 in the last parliament, I was the first MP to sound the alarm bell over that bill, and I join with other MPs like Rachel Thomas in order to stop it from passing before the election was called.

"Not only will I get rid of that, but if they do decide to go forward with this digital safety commissioner who will have the power to take down what you post online, remove websites that it considers hostile to the government, I will fire that digital safety commissioner, and I will uphold and restore freedom of expression in this country," he said.

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