Despite all the serious problems plaguing Canada and reducing the standard of living of Canadians, the federal Liberals are determined to expend energy and our tax dollars to prioritize squelching free speech in whatever ways they can dream up. After weighing in on things purported to restrict offensive and/or hate speech on the internet via Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, and bringing online streaming services under the aegis of the CRTC in the Online Streaming Act (formerly Bill C-11), the Liberals now seek to limit what businesses – and especially fossil fuel companies – are permitted to say under Bill C-59.
Bill C-59 involves significant amendments to the Competition Act regarding environmental and climate-related statements by businesses. The legislation requires that any claims about environmental benefits be backed up by evidence based on “internationally recognized methodology.” Penalties to businesses for not complying with this are severe both financially and legally. Although these changes say they pertain to all businesses, what they really represent is an attempt to muzzle the fossil fuel industry from informing Canadians about all the good work they are doing to reduce emissions, incorporate carbon capture technology in their operations and explore other means of improving the environmental performance of the oil and gas industry.
Our Canadian industry is indeed doing very good work and making sizeable investments in this area and is a world leader in technology that can be sold to other countries to improve the industry’s impact on the climate globally while ensuring reliable energy supplies to households and businesses. Canadians should be proud of these accomplishments, and our federal government should not be trying to hide them under a rock such that Canadians are not aware of the industry’s impressive leadership. In Trudeau’s Canada, heaven forbid we should be proud of an industry that contributes immensely to our economy and is also a very responsible corporate citizen. The horror.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and other Alberta Cabinet Ministers said in a statement that this Bill was “part of an agenda to create chaos and uncertainty for the purpose of phasing out the energy industry altogether.” They added that “Ironically, this kind of absurd authoritarian censorship will only work to stifle many billions in investments in emissions reducing technologies – the very technologies the world needs to reduce emissions while avoiding energy poverty for billions around the world.”
Pretty hard to disagree with that sentiment. The Trudeau government has made a practice of implementing policies that hurt Canada’s oil and gas sector, despite the fact that more sensible development of Canada’s resources can help reduce many more
emissions than Canada creates in decades by helping the big emitters – China and India, for example – replace their heavily-emitting coal plants with much cleaner Canadian natural gas. Considering the facts, it sure looks as if the Trudeau government really just wants to spitefully damage the parts of Canada that don’t vote Liberal – notably Alberta and Saskatchewan – than do anything that really matters for the climate.
We already know that the restrictions the Liberals have imposed on the resource sector has meant Canada has lost out on hundreds of billions of dollars of investment that could have boosted our standard of living and made progress on environmental goals. We keep hearing about our poor productivity performance and plummeting investment in Canada – both of which are a direct result of Trudeau’s bad resource policies. Uncertainty is the bane of business investment, and Bill 59 will just add more uncertainty to an already dicey investment climate.
Presumably the Liberals are pursuing these censorship initiatives as they believe it will give them better control over the growing number of Canadians who dare to criticize them, thereby improving their electoral prospects. Results from a recent Postmedia-Leger poll show that such policies are more likely to reduce Liberal support. This survey found that younger age groups were particularly opposed to internet censorship plans as compared to older age groups. This was attributed to the fact that younger generations are more familiar and comfortable with the internet and online activities and did not want them to be interfered with by a censorious government. It seems probable that Liberal efforts to clamp down on what we can all see, hear and watch will come back to bite them electorally rather than give them the boost they expect. Serves them right.
A major part of the problem with regard to all of the censorship-related policy thrust is who will be the decision makers to decide if something is offside or not. Many of these judgements are quite subjective and far from black and white. In the matter of hate speech for instance, we already have laws against it – why do we need more? Some of the online streaming oversight is justified on the basis of increasing Canadian content at a time when the Canadian content-producing industries are doing very well. The current definition of what qualifies as Canadian content is very confusing, as tv shows, movies or other productions can have many Canadian players involved yet still not meet the convoluted regulatory standards that would designate them as Canadian content.
Do we really need another gigantic bureaucracy to decide what is or isn’t hate speech, Canadian content or, as is suggested in Bill C-59, evidence based on “internationally recognized methodology”? The uncertainty and subjectivity involved in all these laws causes problems even for those who are trying to comply with them.
In other weird news over the past few days, Liberal MP Kamal Khera announced a new “Action Plan” to prevent Pierre Poilievre and the so-called “far-right” from bringing “MAGA style” politics into Canada. Really? Why don’t the Liberals just outlaw opposition parties completely so they don’t need elections at all? This kind of stupidity defies belief, even from this incompetent bunch. We also had Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi send out to constituents – to celebrate Canada Day no less – a map of Canada that was hugely inaccurate, forgot to include PEI and combined a few provinces together.
We also discovered the much-vaunted “2 billion trees” program” was just an election slogan, never intended to be implemented. And apparently some federal government departments are looking favourably on a massive CRA-based data scoop of payroll information on millions of Canadians that they can access at will, even though this confidential data is supposed to be limited to tax filings. You really can’t make this stuff up. As the polls get worse for the Liberals and all their efforts fail to reverse that trend, their proposals seem to get wackier and more dangerous for Canadians. Maybe Pierre Poilievre wasn’t far off when he called Trudeau a “wacko” in the House of Commons a couple of weeks ago. It also seems that quite a few Canadians agree with that assessment.
As for the intrusive, censorious Bill C-59, Trudeau defended this ridiculous legislation as vital to ensure “people build their positions and their decisions around facts”. It is to laugh. Given the extensive history of complete dishonesty, secrecy and ignoring facts by this Liberal government, the legislation we could really use is a Bill that forces politicians to tell the truth under penalty of severe financial and legal punishments if they don’t comply. Then we might actually be getting somewhere. In the interim, welcome to North Korea.

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