We already know that free speech is not a principle that the contemporary left support. It’s also obvious that, for all the self-serving palaver about “your right to know”, the left are implacably hostile to a free press, too.
In 2011, the Gillard government in Australia attempted to force through a tranche of media regulations that would have subjected the Australian media to an extraordinary regime of government oversight. Jacinda Ardern and Emmanuel Macron’s “Christchurch Call” is an attempt to do the same to social media. In Canada, the third leftist brat of the terrible trio, Justin Trudeau has also been trying to subject even that country’s mostly already de-fanged media to the same kind of Orwellian government control.
Luckily for the flickering candle of free media, the Unicorn Prince pursued his proposed policy with his usual steely resolve.
It’s one of the fastest reversals of government policy that I’ve ever seen.
On Sunday, the Trudeau Liberals were promising to bring in a licensing regime for news outlets and podcasters, by Monday they were singing the praises of a free press.
Gillard appointed a hand-picked “inquiry”, which, as per Sir Humphrey Appleby’s dictum, delivered exactly the report she wanted. Trudeau’s proposal and modus operandi were identical to Gillard’s.
It all started last week when a panel struck by Justin Trudeau himself to examine the future of media in Canada released their final report.
Called “Canada’s Communications Future: A Time to Act,” the report called for new media to be required to register with the government and be licensed.
Even Trudeau’s motives were the same as Gillard’s.
Gillard was infuriated when Australian journalist Glenn Milne published a meticulously-researched investigative article detailing her shady past as a lawyer intimately involved in setting up a fake union slush fund for her then-boyfriend and his mate. In an extraordinary action, Gillard screamed down the phone at News Ltd chief John Hartigan and Australian editor Chris Mitchell, demanding that they not only pull the story, but expunge it from all News Ltd sites, promise to never refer to the matter again, and sack Milne. To the eternal shame of the Australian media, Gillard got nearly everything she asked for.
But Gillard wasn’t done yet. Using Greens leader Bob Brown as her catspaw, she orchestrated the 2011 media inquiry.
It was just about one year ago, Feb. 7, 2019, that I stood in a commuter parking lot north of Toronto as Trudeau reacted to the first story on SNC-Lavalin and lied to the world.
“The allegations in the Globe story are false,” Trudeau said.
Of course, we would come to learn that the allegations were true and then some. Yet, for weeks, the government’s line was that the media outlet was lying.
If we lived in a licensed system, would the Globe see their licence revoked for publishing something the government claimed was a lie? Would they have even published it in the first place or held back out of fear of irritating the authorities?
Like Gillard’s, Trudeau’s kangaroo court didn’t just want to restrict the dead hand of government oversight to the legacy media.
In recommendation 56, the report calls for online media to be registered by the CRTC, meaning any news outlet, any podcaster, any content creator — a recipe blog — could be registered by the government.
“This would require a person carrying on a media content undertaking by means of the Internet to register unless otherwise exempt,” the report states.
And at recommendation 74, the report called for the CRTC to be given the power to, “impose codes of conduct, including provisions with respect to resolution mechanisms, transparency, privacy, and accessibility regarding all media content undertakings.”
All media undertakings.
As usual, forked-tongued leftists cloak their authoritarian intentions with mealy-mouthed platitudes about “free press”.
Well, let’s be honest, a “strong, free and independent press,” isn’t one that has to register with the government and obtain a licence. To do that would be to give the government control over what media outlets could say, print or broadcast.
That’s bad for democracy and a complete violation of the ideal of freedom of speech.
But great for governments, especially leftist ones, determined to rule without hindrance or oversight.
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