Canada's controversial Bill C-11, which will give the Government's media watchdog the authority to regulate online content, passed the House after its third reading. As it heads to the Senate, some Canadian YouTubers have said they will leave the country if it passes, to protect their career.
The bill is an update to the Broadcasting Act and it would give the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to regulate online content, both commercial and user-generated. The government's idea is to force streaming platforms to prioritize mainstream Canadian content.
Critics of the bill argue that it is an attempt by the government to control the content Canadians consume.
In response to the bill passing the House, content creators have condemned it with some vowing to leave the country and others saying they will stop creating content.
Canadian tech YouTuber Rene Ritche said that, as it currently stands, the YouTube homepage is, "filled with recommendations based on the videos you chose to watch in the past, and that other people like you have engaged with and enjoyed," but that after the implementation of the bill, "it'll be based on what the government decides you should watch."
However, Ritchie didn't hint that he would leave Canada if the law is introduced.
The person behind the channel BeforeTheyWereFamous released a video explaining that the bill would be a blow to his business because it would limit his reach.
"I can't get into all the nitty gritty here but it would pretty much be like a death blow for my business. Not all my employees are Canadian, we do produce the show in Canada but if I were to only talk about Canadian things or have my content served primarily to Canadians well I might as well just start yelling out my car window on the highway. You can't be a digital media company and only work with this audience," he said.
Gaming streamer Rick Kackis posted a video on Twitter saying the bill is "terrifying" and was considering moving to the US.
"My life and the life of other Canadian YouTubers just got turned upside down. Our government just passed Bill C-11 which gives them control over what Canadian citizens see on the internet," said Kackis.
"Where do we go from here? No one knows, it's simply terrifying. People in the states. Got any good deals on housing? Because apparently, I've got to move."
Actress and singer Hailey Reese tweeted that if the bill actually passes, "I will never view my country the same."
In a separate tweet, she explained her concerns with the bill: "It's essentially that basically only Canadian content will be shown to other Canadians and our government will control what we're shown and where we're shown as content creators."
Responding to Reese's tweet, Canadian YouTuber Jessii Vee said "I'm debating moving if this goes through. So crazy!"
Much like the Orwellian "Fairness Doctrine" imposed on US radio and television for years until Ronald Reagan got the FCC to drop it in the late 1980s (inspiring the renaissance of local and national talk radio that, itself, gave rise to FoxNews and energized many of today's indie video creators), this claimed power of the CRTC (and FCC) works not to open the airwaves and net to ideas and diversity, but to use fear and intimidation to stifle independent views and small voices.
The doctrines mean that anyone who says anything about anything must be ready to provide whatever "viewpoint" the government deems is required to offer "balance" or "inclusion" or "diversity."
Through the guise of "inclusivity," this speech-stifling proposal will punish people, revealing the truth: the backers of this in the government certainly don't want to be "inclusive" and "accepting" of divergent views.
Through force, they will put at risk independent video creators and reporters, and even put at risk churches that stream their content online. You better believe that any church that speaks out and offers a Biblical based response to LGBTQA++ will be shut down immediately. And in order to facilitate enforcement, the CRTC's power to punish will be expanded beyond the pulling of "licenses" of streaming services it currently claims the power to pull.
Since little creators aren't "licensed," C-11 serves up a new power for CRTC to levy fines - any time, on any "non-personal, non-social media" online video creator - and shut down the creator.
And if the "silencing through cover of 'inclusiveness'" speech policing reminds you of Canada's Bill C-16, you're not alone. Remember, that was the statute the Canadian Parliament passed in 2017 mandating that any business "regulated" by the Canadian government (pretty much all of them) or any group/business/school operating as a part of the Canadian government must make its employees use "pronouns" directed by the demands of any customer. It's still in force, and still threatening people that if they don't use the language the government approves, they will be fined, and, should they not pay the fine, imprisoned.
If this reminds you of the numerous times giant Big Tech firms like Google were exposed for having "black lists", or exposed for purging hundreds of Conservative leaning YouTube channels, you are in good company however Canada is taking this to a whole new level.