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LETTER: Nonsense to say Bill C-18 about 'saving' Canadian media

Mr. Trudeau and his government suppress freedom of expression rights in their bogus quest to 'fight big tech', reader says
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SooToday received the following letter to the editor from reader Bryan Davies in regards to Bill C-18, the Online News Act.

The Liberal Government's Bill C-18 provides SooToday readers with the means to understand Prime Minister Trudeau's recent attacks directed at Meta (Facebook) regarding Meta's decision to block Canadian media reports of the Kelowna wildfires from Facebook platforms. The Prime Minister is outraged that people facing danger in the BC fire zones have been 'denied' such information access. For Mr. Trudeau, this is yet another example of a multinational digital tech giant putting profits ahead of the public good.

As usual when political leaders engage in virtue signaling, and their accompanying sanctimony obscures the facts - truth becomes the first casualty. Bill C-18 is a blunt force attack on freedom of expression - yours and mine - and little wonder that leading legal experts (notably University of Ottawa Professor Micheal Geist), and people leading independent publishing companies like our Sault publishing house are fundamentally opposed to it.

A real-life example - in June, we Tagona Press types were very pleased to win a North American book publishing award. Our press release circulated to various media outlets across Ontario was picked up - but under full C-18 effect, Meta / Facebook would have to pay these media outlets whom I might link in a FB post that is solely intended to celebrate our success, and maybe sell some books, and therefore benefit our local, 100 per dent Sault-based business enterprise.

Strange but true - the release is something that I have crafted for our company's benefit, but C-18 would mandate Meta to pay the outlet that I have linked.

Who loses here? Tagona Press, and our wonderful creative contributors - because my international law protected freedom of expression rights (as also implemented into the Canadian Copyright Act as 'fair dealing') are now eliminated by C-18 in the name of 'saving' Canadian media - utter nonsense. But... Mr. Trudeau and his government now suppress these rights in their bogus quest to 'fight big tech'.

Should Meta allow Canadian media reports across its platforms regarding the terrible fires, C-18 aside? Perhaps - but on a simple, cause and effect analysis, had the Government not enacted these dangerous C-18 rights restrictions, no one would have to answer this question - would they?

Bryan Davies, Sault Ste. Marie

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