Traveling abroad always gives us a perspective that it is hard to achieve when we’re right in the thick of it at home. Even my old trick of “going outside” hasn’t given me the more objective perspective I was seeking. This is a personal failing of mine that I will add to my growing list. But the traveling did the trick and I’ve got that better perspective now.
Now I admit, “getting ready to fight” is not a very healthy way to think when simply returning to and living in one’s home country again after a trip abroad (more about that trip in another installment). But I guess I’ve made it at least a part of my job to “fight” for what I believe in, and it feels like there is increasingly this “fight” to be had here — as I found even others in the world have noticed.
I think maybe the root of the problem is that the things “I believe in” are what I always thought was universally and objectively so basic and so obvious and, well, what we all used to think of as “God-given” (even that description is now verboten) and which literally everybody believed in. So there is, unfortunately, this challenge foremost in my mind when I return, rather than simply jetlag; but as I see it, the threat continues to grow and I’m compelled to fight.
Like the cars in London, things are moving in the opposite direction to that which they should, in Canada. Freedom should always be on the increase. Never on the decrease. Never. And they clearly — objectively — are not on the increase here in Canada.
I try to not sound like a fabulist, a catastrophizer, or a conspiracy theorist (I fail many days — another fail!) but when freedom is on the decrease, things can go badly, very badly, very quickly, and it demands at least a little shriek if not a ginormous shout from us all.
At the root of my fear, this week anyway, are two (more) Liberal Party bills all irreducibly designed to reduce our freedoms. Freedom of speech, mostly. It’s all really quite remarkable how Canadians are seemingly allowing this to happen without, I don’t know, at least considering their support of the left-wing and increasingly authoritarian parties that are at the root of this threat. But here we are.
The now clearly ironically-named Liberal Party is pushing two draconian and really stupid, damaging bills and a whole new set of government regulations (we didn’t have enough regulation in this country!) to crack down on online free speech. Bill C-11, called the “Online News Act,” and C-18, the “Online Streaming Act.” They should both be called Authoritarian Government Crackdown on Freedom bills.
Readers know I follow a number of good left-wing-rooted commentators to help get and keep a proper perspective on things (when “going outside” fails to help), and sharing the top of that list of favorite lefty commentators is (American) Michael Shellenberger, who with Leighton Woodhouse created their now very successful “Public” Substack site. As Americans and others in my world travels have noticed, in Canada, Trudeau and the Liberals (I’m going to have to start typing Liberals using ironic quotes) have since the so-called “Covid-19” (so-called as demanded by the Chinese Communists and as a result of our idiotic compliance with those freedom-hating communists) shutdowns and vaccine mandates and the crushing of the Freedom Convoy, and beyond, are well into a program of a reversal of the positive direction freedom should be taking.
I really believe everybody understands the danger that presents. It’s just that some are brainwashed into thinking this crack-down on freedom is actually a good thing. Yes, brainwashed. It’s inconceivable to me how that can happen to a free people, but then again, we still have a state-owned, state-run CBC that inarguably acts as a media propaganda division of the political left — which many people in Canada inexplicably support — so when it comes to brainwashing, nothing should surprise me I guess.
Anyway here is an overly large copyright-abusing quote from their latest Substack, sent just today and co-written by former Nova Scotia Liberal Party keyman Stephen Moore (you can read the whole thing at their Public Substack and I strongly advise that you do. Also see Stephen Moore’s October 1st column entitled “The malignant narcissism of Justin Trudeau” with which this co-authored Substack piece is related, in Postmedia papers like the Vancouver Sun and the National Post):
For months, representatives of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government insisted that their plans to regulate Big Tech social media platforms wouldn’t impact independent news outlets or podcasters.
“I think we brought the necessary changes to the bill to reassure them and to make sure that platforms are in and users are out,” Minister Pablo Rodriguez told the media, echoing what he had been telling members of parliament. As a result of government reassurances, their legislation passed.
But it turns out that the government is, in fact, going to regulate content providers, not just Big Tech social media platforms.
The government regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), announced on Friday that it would require registration by independent content producers, including online news companies and “individuals that host podcasts on their own websites.”
The CRTC says that the law only covers media companies with $10 million or more per year in revenue and that the information it is demanding is minimal. “You will be able to continue to listen to and watch the content of your choice,” the government stresses. “Our goal is to better support Canadian and indigenous content and ensure it is available.”
But, notes Canadian legal analyst Michael Geist, “The takeaway from the decision is obvious: registration is the first step toward regulation…In fact, the rationale for the CRTC to include many of the services is that without such information, it is not well positioned to regulate.”
The Liberal Party plainly misled the public into thinking that platforms would only be regulated, not content providers. There are many independent media companies with over $10 million annually in revenue that will be forced to register.
And the CRTC made clear that this is just the beginning and that it has “begun to explore the concept of social media and the role, if any, that social media platforms may play in the broadcasting system.”
While the government is preparing to regulate independent content providers, whether news or podcasts, it is preparing to subsidize more news media content. The federal government already gives $1.4 billion in direct support to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation compared to the $650 million it receives from commercial revenue.
The behavior of Trudeau, Rodriguez, and the entire Liberal Party is appalling. They are actively using disinformation to censor their fellow citizens in the name of stopping disinformation. They are pioneering dangerous tactics that other Western nations could pick up. Why is this happening? And what must be done to stop it?
Often it is from afar that we can best see the state of affairs in our own backyard. Michael Shellenberger sees it, as did our taxi driver in Athens, and fellow travelers in Sintra. More Canadians need to see it too.
P.S. — Not to rub salt into the wound, but there are any number of perspectives to bolster what I’ve said here about, well, perspective, especially from those outside of Canada. Here’s Douglas Murray (U.K.) in today’s NatPo:
Perhaps I should say straight away that I love Canada. Some of my best friends are Canadian. That minimal throat-clearing aside, let me say — as a friendly outsider — that Canada today looks like a nation of ignoramuses.
… The world — especially America — has looked on in horror as the Canadian government has tried to curtail speech in the country, and looked on with ever-more horror as Canadians seem willing to go along with this. …
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