Jagmeet Singh, head of the New Democratic Party (NDP), says his party would advocate for government control of social media sites to combat “hate and misinformation,” adding that private corporations should not be solely responsible for content moderation on their platforms.
All of the 25 NDP members of Parliament, reportedly according to Singh, will put pressure on cabinet to pass laws to control legal internet content, including censorship of “misinformation”. Currently, there are 338 seats in the House of Commons.
“The government has a responsibility to play in making sure social media platforms are adhering to proper guidelines around misinformation, around hate,” Singh told reporters during a virtual press conference on January 4.
The party leader, who turned 44 last Monday, reiterated that “the responsibility to keep people safe from misinformation and radicalization can’t rest in the hands of private companies.”
“[It] has to be the government taking responsibility, and for a long time we’ve said that the Liberal government hasn’t done the job of making sure platforms are following the rules around making sure hate and misinformation aren’t being spread,” he added.
However, some Twitter users were quick to point out that Singh himself posted a seemingly misinformed tweet back in 2020. The party leader blamed Toronto police officers for the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old woman of Black, Indigenous, and Ukrainian descent who died after falling from a 24th-floor balcony after police were called to an argument at her apartment building.
“Regis Korchinski-Paquet died because of police intervention. She needed help and her life was taken instead. The [Special Investigations Unit’s] decision brings no justice to the family and it won’t prevent this from happening again,” Singh tweeted.
This is even after the independent review cleared six Toronto police officers of wrongdoing.
“The evidence establishes that this did not occur,” says the analysis by SIU director Joseph Martino. “Instead, the evidence indicates that no one other than Ms. Korchinski-Paquet was on the balcony when she scaled over the railing and attempted to sidestep along the outer ledge over to her neighbour’s balcony, lost her balance, and fell.”
Bill C-36, titled “An Act To Amend The Criminal Code,” was the federal government’s most recent attempt to directly control hate speech-related online content. The bill died after Parliament’s 43rd session ended in 2021.
The bill, if passed, would have introduced new hate speech offenses and restored the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s ability to consider instances of claimed Section 13 Charter violations. The law proposes fines of up to $70,000 for internet users who are found to be responsible for anything that is “likely to foment detestation or vilification.”
The Upper Chamber’s Standing Committee on Transport and Communications is now studying Bill C-11, An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act. While academics, content providers, and free speech advocates have queued up to oppose the proposed legislation, the public and media have shown little to no protest.
If C-11 is passed, content makers and streaming services will be subject to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations that will limit what they can make or show. It will add extra hoops for everyday content makers, raising production costs while providing no discernible public benefit. The CRTC would be allowed to determine what type of content streaming services might offer in Canada and influence the algorithms that recommend shows to users.
Singh has stated in the House of Commons that the Liberal government had taken no “concrete steps” to combat online hatred and misinformation.
“What is the Prime Minister going to do to tackle the rise of online hate so we can build a better future for our kids?” Singh earlier asked in the House on January 31, 2022.
In November 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that his government is dedicated to preventing “harassment and violence” online.
“While always ensuring and defending free speech, we must make it clear that it cannot be OK to bully and attack people online,” he told reporters.
There is no short of supply in political battles between Singh and Trudeau. In October 2022, the Burnaby South MP made the case in his letter to Trudeau for the Bank of Canada to temper its aggressive rate hikes and emphasizes that the institution is and should be independent. He argued that the current approach has become overly severe for ordinary Canadians, adding a shot at the Prime Minister saying “your government has a responsibility, too.”
Singh, in December 2022, also threatened to throw in the towel on the Liberals’ confidence-and-supply agreement if Trudeau doesn’t address the country’s healthcare crisis.
The two are set to battle again for the top role in October 2025.
READ: House of Commons Erupts in Laughter at Prospect of Jagmeet Singh Becoming PM
Information for this briefing was found via Epoch Times, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Blacklock, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.
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