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Canada Privacy

Putting your voice on the record against Quebec’s Internet censorship Bill 74

Nearly 20,000 Canadians are asking federal decision-makers to deem the controversial bill in violation of our right to freedom of expression.

Today OpenMedia put your voice on the record at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), where decision-makers are currently reviewing whether Quebec’s controversial Internet censorship Bill 74 violates federal law.

So far 18,000 Canadians have signed to express their opposition to the bill at https://act.openmedia.org/Bill74– and we’re just getting started.

You can see our full comments here in PDF:

For those just joining the discussion, the Bill is currently being challenged in the Quebec Superior Court by Internet service providers, while Internet advocates ring the alarm at the CRTC. OpenMedia has been deeply concerned that the bill violates rules which keep our Internet free and open – including Section 36 of the Telecommunications Act and, arguably, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Make no mistake: 74 is a slippery slope. No government should have the power to decide what its citizens can and cannot view online. Once governments are given this power, what is to stop them from censoring more and more content as it suits their interests?

While our community engages with many different issues across the three pillars of Internet freedom, it is our work on Free Expression that guided our comments on Quebec’s Bill 74:

An open Internet is a place of free dialogue and creative expression, a place where we can all connect and collaborate in shaping the solutions to the world’s problems. Censorship and interference—like government takedowns or content blocking—are the enemies of the Internet.

As we say at the close of our comments:

OpenMedia believes this principle applies particularly to the ISP provisions in Bill 74, if not for the sake of gambling sites in their own right, then for what they represent as canaries in the digital coal mine. In cases like the present matter, one of OpenMedia’s perennial tasks is to apply the above principle to everyday Internet users’ social and economic realities, and convert that into actionable policies that are rooted in those realities. In light of that, OpenMedia has been impressed throughout recent proceedings by the Commission’s demonstrating genuine understanding of these on-the-ground struggles and experiences, and urges the Commission to continue using citizens’ voices as a compass to guide its decision-making.

We’ll keep you posted on what comes next as the Bill winds its way the the halls of the federal government and Quebec Superior Court. In the meantime, be sure to join on at https://act.openmedia.org/Bill74/