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May 17, 2021

Bill C-10 and its Implications for Canadians with Maxime Bernier

Bill C-10 and its Implications for Canadians with Maxime Bernier

I sit down with the leader of the People's Party of Canada, Maxime Bernier to talk about upcoming legislation known as Bill C-10 an Act to amend the Broadcasting Act. We discussed the implications that the bill will have on Canadians and our ability to compete in the digital sphere.  We also look at the Power Play Interview that CBC did with the Liberal Heritage Minister and we talk about why he can't seem to be able to answer simple questions about his own amendments. 

We wrap up the interview with a question from a listener about abolishing the Bank of Canada.

CBC Power Play footage from  April 30, 2021  is shown under the Fair Use Copyright of Canada.

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Transcript
Coffee Breath Conversations:

Hello, and welcome to Episode 30 of Coffee Breath Conversations. In this episode I interview Maxime Bernier, the leader of the Federal party in the People's Party of Canada about the controversial legislation known as Bill C 10. An act to amend the Broadcasting Act. This bill is being sold to Canadians as an upgrade to the broadcast act. However, there are some worrisome censorship implications. This episode is important as it will have a direct impact on my show if it's passed. Okay, everyone, welcome back to Coffee Breath Conversations. I'm your host Russell Barton. Tonight I will be talking about Bill C 10. This bill seeks to amend the Broadcasting Act which sets out policy for legacy media such as radio and television, the Canadian radio, radio, television and communication commission. CRTC is tasked with regulating supervising and enforcing the act. This bill was introduced in November 2020 by the liberal heritage minister. So tonight to discuss this bill with me is former conservative Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2019. For the Conservative Party and current leader of the People's Party of Canada, Maxine Bernier. So welcome to the show. Maxine.

Maxime Bernier:

Thank you very much, Russell, I'm very pleased to be with you. And I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to be with you and with your viewers.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

So I guess my first question to ask is why now, the current government is a minority government. And they're grappling right now with COVID and the restrictions and lockdowns and a disasterous order and council about firearms regulation. So why table such a bill right now, with so much stuff going on in the background? First of all, I

Maxime Bernier:

think we must ask that question to the Liberal government. why they're doing that right now? I don't know. But it's in line with what they said in what they did in the past. And the minister said that he wants to regulate the internet. And and now he's tabling that bill, but I'm very concerned about that bill. It's what we know right now. They will be able to, if you put a video on YouTube about you and speaking about something, and you're very you're a popular YouTuber, you can become a broadcaster. And you can be regulated under their CRTC. Actually, as you know, Russell, the Minister, a lot of backlash about that, in the recent recent days, and he said that he would bring an order amendments to that bill to answer these questions. But we don't see we didn't see the this amendment. It will be tabled a little bit later. But I'm skeptical about the dn 10 of the minister.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

This bill talks about leveling the playing field for media content. However, what type of effects would you believe this could have on smaller press, for example, Rebel news or press progress even?

Maxime Bernier:

Yeah, that can have a huge impact and the CRTC would be able to regulate them. That means that rebel news or true north will have to pay a kind of a tax that will go in a fund to fund the Canadian content. And and you know, all these regulations, we need to update that. I think we believe in a free system. We believe in internet that you can do what you want, you can say what you want, respecting the Criminal Code on eight speech, but having a regulator that will regulate what rebel news or truenorth or another website is saying and forcing them to pay a fee to a Canadian farm to promote the Canadian content, you know, if you have a good content, if you have if you bring more value. So why why you don't need to the government to protect you. And so we call that free market and now, what they are doing with the radio station and TV station, the CRTC with the federal government with the Liberal government, they want to do the same thing on internet they want to do the same thing with you would want your posting on the internet. So that's why you know, this bill must not pass it's against free speech. That's the best way to promote Indian content is to be sure that, you know, everybody will be able to be online and do what they want to do. And at the end, Indian Canadians will judge and they will go on their website that they prefer. So the federal government, when you give power to bureaucrats in Ottawa, and politicians in Ottawa, to regulate the internet, they will violate free speech and our freedom, they will promote an ideology that may be not what you what you think, and the government is not in the business to regulate the the, the the internet and free speech, we have the Criminal Code rustlers going over there. And and is there the hate speech, that must be under the Criminal Code, you can do something there. And that's why, as you may know, at the People's Party, we won't regulate internet, we will let people say what you want to say on social media. And if somebody is saying something bad, that person can be responsible under the Criminal Code, and we had the Criminal Code for a long time, and that it is working, we don't need to have regulators spending money, and bureaucrats that will look at everything that you're writing or doing or saying on social media, and to try to censor you and deciding what you can say and what you cannot say, That's not my Canada. And that's why we are against that.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

Do you think that Canada risks being squeezed out of the market with these types of regulations? private business might not want to do business with us if they feel that they're going to have to pay more and be so highly regulated?

Maxime Bernier:

Absolutely, absolutely. You have a point there. And yes, when you say they will have to pay more, it's because the intent of the minister is to tax every broadcaster and putting that money in a fund that will be there to promote Canadian content. And so that's why I believe that it will be very difficult to have other website coming from from us or another country, and being active in Canada, they won't, they won't be able to be competitive. We don't need that. It's It's It's, it's another big bureaucracy. And and when you have more bureaucracy, you have less freedom. And we know that

Coffee Breath Conversations:

the CRTC has traditionally been pretty shy about enforcement. And this bill is packed with legislative changes aimed directly towards enforcement, the individual person could be billed $25,000. And corporations could be billed under this bill up to $250,000. Why do you think the liberals are taking an enforcement centered approach? Because they they think that, you know, if we are very strong, and they're strong personalities,

Maxime Bernier:

they think that the bill would be more efficient. But I don't believe that, you know, there's we know right now that there is some censorship on social media, the big tech like Google, and Facebook and Twitter, they are censoring some people. And I think that's, that's what we must look at. I look at what the governor in Florida said about it. He wants to put more pressure on the big tech like Twitter, Google, to be sure that they will allow real debates and free speech. Can you can I cannot understand that a former president of the united state is not able to have a Twitter account. You know, it's it's against our values. He's not a terrorist. He is the former president of the United States of America, and not being able by big tech to have an account on Twitter. That's the problem. The problem is not what the federal government tries to solve. It's not us. It's not Canadians. It No, we need more people, we need more debates on social media. And when you don't allow that you cannot have a good discussion. You cannot have good debates. And so that must be the focus of the Government of Canada, to try to be sure that everybody will be able to express their point of view on social media and not doing the opposite. And now they're doing the opposite.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

So this bill originally excluded user generated content. And then an amendment took out that exclusion so This is when Canadians really started to realize that there was something weird going on with this bill. And they began to speak out, and appears that the heritage minister is having problems justifying, as well. I'm just going to quickly show a quick video of the heritage minister as he attempts to justify why he took the exclusion out of the bill. The

Unknown:

bill is about ensuring that these platforms that act like broadcasters pay their fair share when it comes to Canadian culture. So it's about spending obligations, spending requirements. It's not about content moderation. So I'm gonna flip the question for a moment here, Minister, because it was important enough to put that exclusion there in the first place. Now it's gone. Why was it important in the first place to put it there? Con? We're, we're not interested. I mean, it's not it's not what that is. I mean, I hear you saying you're not interested. But there literally was an exclusion that was put in the original iteration of that bill, the thing that was reviewed, and then it got to committee, and BINGO, BINGO, Bango. The exclusion is gone. So why was it important to put it there in the first place, such that now, the the committee has removed it? Well, the committee decides what they want to build. First of all, the committee hasn't even finished doing it doing its work in terms of, of the amendments. So so we don't have a full picture of what the bill will will look like. When it comes back. When it comes back to the House of Commons for the third reading. Would you like to see the exclusion back in there? It's not necessary. I mean, so it is not necessary. Why was it there in the first place? Well, you know, we've we've worked on this for many months, we we came up with what we thought would be the best possible, Bill. But but but bill can always be perfected, they will be amended. And it's not the purpose of the bill. So.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

So just just taking a look at that kind of briefly, why would he take the exemption out that he had put in there? He can't seem to produce an answer to it. He he did the typical deflection that you see. But first of all,

Maxime Bernier:

it's very discouraging, because is the minister in charge of that bill? And he doesn't know any details of that bill. So first, and I think that's why after that interview, I think he had another briefing from former former his civil servants. And and that's why he will bring in other amendments. He said that actually yesterday that they may be bringing back that amendment, to be sure that if you have a video of your cats on the on YouTube, the CRTC, won't be able to regulate you. I don't know what will be I think they will come back, we'll see what will be that amendment. But for me, the most important is the intent of that government, they want to regulate the internet. And if it's not in that Bill, Bill Sita, it will be in the automobile that they will be the same minister will table in a couple of weeks. And and that deal is for the Minister and the civil servants to be able to shut down and and to, to block website that they don't like, on the excuse of aid speech. So that that's very concerning. I don't like Bill C 10. But I'm pretty sure that the other bill will be worse than that, because the federal government will give power to the civil servants and create a new bureaucracy and more regulations for internet. And I have a quote here from the minister. He said the second bill will is important, because we want to be sure to control what Canadians are seeing on the social media to be sure that it won't undermine Canada's social cohesion. So it's very large. And imagine the power of the civil servant being a blog able to block your website to block your YouTube channel to block your Twitter account, because you're saying something against the government and that they don't like, you know, it's it's power that a government like China has a communist country, but we are in a democracy here in Canada. We're not in a fascist country. So I'm waiting for that bill. But reading what the minister just said today about the other bill that will come. It is worse than Bill C 10.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

What do you think the NDP got Cold Feet on this bill, because they seem to be rallying pretty good behind it. And now they're saying they're going to side with the conservatives. What do you think caused them to get cold feet?

Maxime Bernier:

More, I think is a pressure, you know, politicians react with pressure for from, from Canadians from, from people. And I think a lot of NDP Member of Parliament received some phone calls from their constituents and and some emails. And so now, after reading a caucus and a new decision, decided to maybe being more critics tower that Bill C 10. And it's good, you know, that is showing us when Canadians are out there explaining their opinion on the mat on something that is important for them. You can force politicians to change. Actually, that's what I try to do on the other subject. But I don't know what will be the position of the Conservative Party of Canada, and the NDP and the bloc Quebecois and the green on the next bill. I think they like regulations. You know, the NDP is a socialist political party, like the liberal. So I, I'm pretty sure that they will approve the second bill. So if they are asking for changes in BOC den, that's a good start. But let's wait, let's wait to see these changes.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

The Act itself is nearly 20 years old. And lots of people have talked over the years about updating, especially since the Internet has become so part so much part of our lives. Do you think that the needs to be updated at all? And if the act should be updated? What would be the PPC stance on updating the act?

Maxime Bernier:

Yeah, first of all, you know, the CRTC, I don't believe that we must give more power to the CRTC. Like I said, the CTA CRTC is there to regulate radio station broadcaster, what they're doing try to promote Canadian content. And I think, you know, in 2021, we must abolish that people are able, you know, to listen music on the internet coming from the US if they want in Quebec to send more English songs they can do that they can, they can go on, on the internet and, and having their music. So why having huge regulations regulating Canadian content, I think we must update the deal. Yes, by giving fewer power to free or fewer powers to the CRTC. And I think it's time to abolish all these regulations on Canadian content. And you know, also that form that is there to promote Canadian contents, you know, we are against subsidies to businesses. And we want to be sure that it would be fair for every business at by abolishing subsidies to businesses, and that we can do that also in that industry. And at the same time, lower taxes for every industry. So that would be important. So our position on that at the BBC is to, first of all, being sure that people are free to say what they want on internet on social media. And if they're saying something that is hate speech, it will be regulated under the Criminal Code. We don't need new regulations. We don't need a new bureaucracy for that. And that will be that the idea of the government now is to regulate more to control us. And we are against that.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

Unfortunately, browsing online, appears to be a nanny state sort of approach from the government. There's quite often a term that's being thrown out, especially during these COVID times. And that's misinformation. We hear that a lot. There's misinformation. Should we be leaving it to Facebook, Google Twitter, to and their fact checkers to censor that type of information? Or should the government be doing it or should no one be doing it?

Maxime Bernier:

No, I think first of all, no one should be doing it. Not the government, not the private sector. It's a good question. I think it's the question. I don't know what will be the real solution for what Google is doing the censorship that is doing with people that don't don't have this. They're saying the same political view of them. Like I just said in the beginning, you know why? Mr. Trump cannot have a Twitter account. You know, I cannot understand that it's it's not in line with the Western civilization values. So we must do something to be sure that big tech won't be able to censor us. How can we do that? I don't know. I'm looking at what the governor in Florida will do. Because for me, it was a strong commitment. And it will come with with a deal with a proposal on that. I will look at it. We don't need people to censor, we need to have real debate. And there's law that exists in US and Canada against hate speech, and and they're very efficient. So that's opposition. And because the big tech are doing that, we don't have a good discussion. We don't have a good debate here in Canada. And in the US, we have to point of view with people like for an example on COVID-19 and the lockdowns as you know, we are the PPC are against the draconian lockdowns and for reopening the economy, we are the only political party at the federal level. That is, that is very strong on that. All the orders, they're there for lockdowns and more draconian measures. But because we're not able to debate and to be in the mainstream media, it's very difficult to elevate. And when you don't have debate, debates, in a society, you don't have a consensus. And that's not good for democracy. That's why you know, we have to be out there, we have to be able, at least to have our point of view on social media, because for us, conservatives, it's very difficult to have our point of view in the mainstream media, mainstream radio station, mainstream TV station and newspaper. And you have only one point of view right now. And and that's not good for democracy. So answering your question, I'm against a government tried to control or the internet. And I'm against also big tech try to control us. We need to reopen the debate. And we need to be sure that everybody will be able to say what you want to say, on social media, with the exception of hate speech that is regulated under the Criminal Code.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

Do you think do you think that the conservatives are not opposing this as much because if they're able to get into power in the future, they can just say, they can use this legislation? And then say afterwards? You know, what? Justin Trudeau passed that legislation, we're just using existing legislation?

Maxime Bernier:

I don't know. You know, they, we know that Aaron O'Toole is a real leftists leader. And he said that it he said the Conservative Party of Canada, most progress to the left. And he's doing that right now. So they will be that's what I'm hearing against that Bill C 10. I don't know for the next bill, what what would be their position, it would be very important to watch that. And, you know, if they, if they don't, they're not so strong about free speech. They're they're not defending free speech. They are not also speaking against the canceled culture. So I don't know if they're in government. If they will repeal that deal or not. Maybe they won't, because you know, that will be them in charge of censoring the liberals and their opponents? I don't know. But we don't need these kind of bills, or bills in this country. Okay, so

Coffee Breath Conversations:

we got two questions here. I have one question, any stance on getting rid of the Bank of Canada?

Maxime Bernier:

Yeah, we don't have a policy to get rid of the Bank of Canada. But we have a policy to be sure that Canadians won't pay her hidden tax and inflation tax will have an inflation tax in this country because of the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Canada is spring is printing money out of thin air to buy Canadian government bonds. And when you're doing that, you'll have inflation actually, right now, we have about 4% inflation when you go to your grocery, that every expert are saying inflation would be four or 5% at the end of this year, and that's a tax because you know, you can have the same amount of money in your pockets. But at the end, Indian sorry, if you're not able to buy the same amount of goods and services, it's like a tax. The government is telling you that you can keep your money, but you won't be able to buy the same amount of goods and services so your purchasing power is going down your standard of living is going down, and that will happen. So, going back to the Bank of Canada, we must be sure that the Bank of Canada won't be able to print money like that to create inflation. So that's why our policy of the Bank of Canada is to have a target of 0% inflation. Now, the Bank of Canada has a target of 2% inflation 2% inflation is that good 20% inflation is that good 0% inflation, that's the best because every Canadian will keep that purchasing power.

Coffee Breath Conversations:

I really want to thank you very much, Mr. Bernie, for coming onto the show today to talk a bit about Bill C 10. And to give the PPC stance on some of these issues, it's much appreciated.

Maxime Bernier:

Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm very pleased that I had the time to be with you. And if you want me On another subject on his day to be in touch with my team, and congratulation for you work, you know, I like to see Canadians like that taking subject and taking the opening to debate and that's what you're doing right now. So thank you and have a good evening.