(Ottawa) Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says the government has reached “a good compromise” by accepting certain amendments proposed by the Senate to its Bill C-11 on streaming platforms, but rejecting “those who could create a pass for some”.
He thus explained the Liberals’ decision to set aside, among other things, the changes desired by the senators to circumscribe what type of content the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) could regulate or not by discretionary power.
Bill C-11 seeks to modernize the Broadcasting Act to integrate internet broadcasting platforms such as YouTube, Spotify and Disney+. The Trudeau government wants to ensure better “discoverability” of Canadian content.
The proposals from the Upper House — which has completed its study of the bill and sent it back to the House of Commons for further legislative process — were intended as a response to the concerns of several conservatives as well as content creators and platform users are limited or harassed in what they can share there.
One of the amendments sought to respond to the concerns of several witnesses heard during the examination of the bill, and to clarify that the power, if exercised, could only target professional content and not amateur content, for example.
“The amendment we propose aims to focus Article 4.2 on the intended target, professional music, without unduly restricting the latitude of the CRTC. […] This actually means that youtubers, amateur videos or any other content not associated with professional music are not targeted by Bill C-11,” said Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne.
In the eyes of Mr. Rodriguez, the rejected amendments would have created a “passe-droit”. “It means that all commercial content must be included, whether it is on one platform or another. So I think that by moving forward like this, we take into account the needs, the comments of everyone in a certain way and we come to support the music sector, ”he said Wednesday before go to the Liberal caucus meeting.
In a motion on the Order Paper, the government indicates that it intends to send a message to the Senate indicating which amendments “The House” refuses. The deputies will first be called upon to vote.
Asked whether he fears a legislative “ping-pong” between the House and the Senate and, consequently, a delay in the adoption of the legislative document, Mr. Rodriguez replied: “It is the bill that spent the most time in the Senate. »
“It has been studied extensively in the House and in the Senate. Now is the time to move on. The music, television and film industries demand it,” he argued.
According to him, the government gives its approval to “the vast majority of the amendments” of the Senate.
Last month, the Association of Music Publishing Professionals (APEM) invited the House of Commons to reject some Senate amendments, including one about social networks.
According to the organization that represents French-language music publishers in Canada, “the amendment to section 4 was not necessary and is worded in a problematic way”.
“The text creates a loophole that would benefit multinationals when they broadcast music videos. This is highly problematic and would have repercussions for all undertakings in the Canadian broadcasting system. We must return to the text that the House of Commons adopted last June, it had been debated and thought out at length,” said APEM Director General Jérôme Payette in a press release.
However, YouTube, which was pushing for an amendment specifying that content creators are not targeted, sharply criticized Minister Rodriguez’s refusal.
“It is inexplicable and deeply disturbing to tens of thousands of Canadian creators that the Senate’s efforts to add commonsense clarity to the legislation are being defeated,” Jeanette Patell, Canada’s head of government affairs, said on Wednesday. public policies for the dissemination platform.
The bill has also caught the attention of the United States. Two U.S. senators have notably called for a trade crackdown on Canada over Bill C-11, saying future regulations flout trade agreements.
Minister Rodriguez has already indicated, on this point, that he has no concerns since he believes that the piece of legislation is “compliant with commercial obligations”.
With Mickey Djuric