The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently made an announcement regarding plans to update broadcasting in Canada under the Online Streaming Act, also known as Bill C-11. The proposed changes have been put forward by the Trudeau Liberals and aim to modernize Canada’s broadcasting system.
According to the tweet released by the CRTC, they are taking a significant step forward in this modernization process. After conducting broad consultations, they have made two initial decisions, one of which involves determining which online streaming services must register with them. While this news may seem insignificant to most, it highlights a concerning trend of government control over media platforms.
On a recent episode of the Ezra Levant Show, Ezra Levant discussed how the majority of Canada’s mainstream media has remained indifferent to these developments. Levant believes that this lack of concern is due to the fact that many media outlets already work for the government or receive government subsidies. This paints a troubling picture of media independence and fuels concerns about censorship in Canada.
A Twitter comment from a friend of Levant’s, Billboard Chris, further raises questions about freedom of speech in Canada. Chris wonders why he hasn’t been imprisoned if freedom of speech is truly restricted in the country. He asserts his right to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and wherever he wants, defying what the government may desire.
Billboard Chris, known for his polite demeanor, mostly operates in the United States where he benefits from the protections of the First Amendment. However, in Canada, his concerns about the limitations on freedom of speech may hold some truth. To shed light on the issue, Levant highlights various instances of censorship in the country that affect not just Chris but everyone.
Levant provides a list of 30 examples of government censorship, ranging from minor to major infractions. Some notable instances include the registration of podcasters by the CRTC, instances of assault being ignored by the police, the cancellation of venues for controversial figures like Dr. James Lindsay and Meghan Murphy, and attempts to censor Levant himself over his political cartoons.
The list also includes book bannings, such as the refusal of Indigo-Chapters to stock Andrew Lawton’s Freedom Convoy book and Amazon banning Levant’s China Virus book. Rebel News, Levant’s media company, has also faced bans from press conferences, denials of credentials at the UN, and physical attacks towards their reporters.
Furthermore, Levant addresses the Trudeau government’s censorship bills, partnerships with social media companies to increase censorship, and attempts to spy on Rebel News. The state broadcaster is also accused of smearing Rebel News, while platforms like Twitter have blocked their accounts. Financial deplatforming by institutions like the Royal Bank and the creation of political “bubble zones” where protesters risk prosecution are additional concerns.
Levant also mentions the forced closure of churches during COVID-19 lockdowns, compelled speech orders, and the effective exile of Meta (Facebook, Instagram) and Google from news due to threats of regulation. Bylaws against “harassing words” and the issuance of tickets to protesters is also on the list. Finally, the invocation of Canada’s form of martial law in response to honking from the Freedom Convoy truckers is a troubling development.
These examples paint a troubling picture of freedom of speech and censorship in Canada. Levant’s coverage on The Ezra Levant Show aims to raise awareness about these issues and spark a conversation about the importance of preserving freedom of expression.