The Hill Update - April 29

Dean discusses the government's propose internet legislation Bill C-10 and the election of the Islamic Republic of Iran to a 4-year term to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. His special guest on this show is Dr. Robert Fallis who discussed how the pandemic has affected our mental health.





We all know that the internet has been a revolutionary tool for the world. In 2021, it’s difficult to imagine our lives without it. That’s why discussions around its censorship are so sensitive. Recently, the federal government is once again looking into an internet censorship program through Bill C-10. This legislation would amend the Broadcasting Act to allow the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to regulate internet content.

"The federal government is once again looking into an internet censorship program through Bill C-10. This legislation would amend the Broadcasting Act to allow the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to regulate internet content."

You may remember an interview from early 2020 where Canadian Heritage Minister, Steven Guilbeault, wanted news outlets in Canada to be licensed. The government eventually backtracked on this. This time around, Bill C-10 intends to regulate social media, websites, blogs, TV, radio, and the press.There’s even talk of imposing mandatory ‘take downs’ of content within 24-hours of reporting. Critics say that Bill C-10 will undermine democracy and erode free speech. Others have called Ottawa's move to regulate video posts on YouTube and social media an 'assault' on free speech. University of Ottawa Law Professor, Michael Geist, has called the current federal government ‘the Most Anti-Internet Government in Canadian History’. He says that “In a free [and] democratic society we don’t subject basic speech to regulation in this way.” Peter Menzies, a former commissioner of the CRTC, said this: “Granting a government agency authority over legal user generated content — particularly when backed up by the government’s musings about taking down websites — doesn’t just infringe on free expression, but it constitutes a full-blown assault upon it and, through it, the foundations of democracy,” Menzies went on to say that “It’s difficult to contemplate the levels of moral hubris, incompetence or both that would lead people to believe such an infringement of rights is justifiable.” Many Canadians believe strongly that freedom of speech and expression is a pillar of our democracy, and without it, the future of Canada may be at risk. The Conservative Party has come out against the government’s latest internet censorship. In a statement earlier this week, Alain Rayes, Conservative Shadow Minister for Heritage, said that the Conservative Party will continue to stand up for the freedoms of Canadians who post their content online and oppose C-10 at every stage of the legislative process. The second item of this week’s Hill Update is the election of the Islamic Republic of Iran to a 4-year term to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The commission is tasked with promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Iran has some of the strictest laws and codes in the world restricting the rights of women. Married women cannot obtain passports or leave the country without permission from their husbands.Women who are not married are similarly under the control and supervision of their fathers. Women cannot go out in public uncovered due to mandatory hijab laws, and those who do face jail time. Iran’s record when it comes to women’s rights, including the practice of jailing women’s rights activists, is stunningly terrible. A 2020 Amnesty International report stated that in Iran, “the authorities failed to criminalize domestic violence, marital rape, early and forced marriage and other gender-based violence against women and girls, which remained widespread.” Last month, Iran’s U.N. special rapporteur on human rights, Javaid Rehman, said, “Egregious gender-based discrimination persists in law, practice and societal attitudes, disempowering women and girls from participating and contributing in society.” A 2020 report by the UN General Assembly noted the human rights situation in Iran as including “torture and large-scale arbitrary detention, as well as persistent discrimination against women, girls and minorities.” Iran was elected to the UN Commission on the Status of Women with 43 votes in favour. The voting process relied on a secret ballot, meaning that no one knows how different states voted. According to an analysis by UN Watch, however, at least four EU and Western democracies voted to elect Iran to the position. Iran joins Saudi Arabia, China, Lebanon and Pakistan in contributing to international discussions on advancing the rights of women and girls. The Association of Iranian Women in France said this in a statement, alongside support from their counterparts in Italy and Sweden: “We consider the election of the extremely misogynistic regime of Iran as an insult to all Iranian women, the main victims of this regime during the last four decades, Garnett Genuis, Conservative Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister for International Development & Human Rights, said that “this elevation of Iran obviously makes a mockery of the important work the commission should be doing.” MP Genuis raised the issue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and asked the Canadian government to condemn Iran’s involvement in the commission.


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