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Reform of the Broadcasting Act | Quebec will not have its amendments



(Ottawa) A final attempt to add amendments requested by the Government of Quebec to Bill C-11, which aims to modernize the Broadcasting Act, failed on Thursday. The Bloc Québécois proposal was deemed inadmissible at a time when the legislative text is in danger of being the subject of a showdown between the House of Commons and the Senate.

The Legault government was urging Ottawa to add a mechanism for mandatory consultation with Quebec to ensure that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) protects Quebec’s cultural specificity.

He also wanted to ensure that Quebec law on the status of the artist applies to online cultural businesses. Culture and Communications Minister Mathieu Lacombe expressed his concerns in a letter sent in early February to his federal counterpart, Pablo Rodriguez, when the bill was in the final stages before it was passed. final. Mr. Lacombe did not react on Thursday.

“The ball is currently in the minister’s court,” said Bloc Québécois MP Martin Champoux in an interview. Mr. Rodriguez, who heads the Department of Canadian Heritage, could “undertake to issue a directive to the CRTC” to give Quebec a right of scrutiny when the regulator’s interventions risk affecting cultural businesses that offer online services in Quebec.

Mr. Champoux attempted a last-minute maneuver on Thursday to amend C-11, but the presiding judge ruled it out of order. The bill is back in the House of Commons after being amended by the Senate. The government rejects 6 of the 26 amendments proposed by the Upper House, including one that aimed to allow content uploaded to platforms like YouTube to escape CRTC rules.

Conservative Opposition

Content creators on social media fear being subject to discoverability requirements for Canadian content online, which could limit their international reach and thus affect their revenues. The Conservatives, who oppose the bill, accuse the government of wanting to censor content posted by individuals on social media.

“We hope that Conservative MPs will not continue to obstruct this important bill,” Minister Pablo Rodriguez said in a written statement. Our artists, our creators, our culture are counting on Bill C-11. It’s time to move on. »

He added that Ottawa shares a common goal with Quebec for “the giants of the web to do more for our culture”. During question period, he promised to consult Quebec.

Debate on the amendments proposed by the Senate continued in the House of Commons on Thursday. The final amendments to C-11 will have to be passed by elected officials before the bill returns to the Senate, which could lead to a standoff between the two chambers.

With the collaboration of Joël-Denis Bellavance, The Press

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