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View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
I'm sorry, Mr. Chair, but I need just one moment here.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Sure. Thank you for giving me a moment, Mr. Chair.
With regard to amendment CPC-12, really what we're trying to do here is to ensure that individual privacy is respected.
A DNI—a digital news intermediary—such as Facebook, for example, collects individual user data, and that is used and held within the confines of existing legislation within the jurisdiction in which they operate.
This amendment, CPC-12, would simply be asking for further clarification with respect to privacy protection. It's basically making sure that when a DNI has to provide information to the commission, that information will be disclosed with the exception of individual information. In other words, privacy will still be respected. Data ownership will still be protected in accordance with any other act of Parliament or any other law. It's simply for the sake of further clarity and protection for everyday online users. That's ultimately what we're going for there.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I would ask the officials for some further information.
The legislation as it's currently written doesn't offer this confinement as to what information could be demanded of these DNIs.
In your estimation, then, is that quite a wide berth? Is there anything in there that would protect the privacy rights of individuals and make sure the information of an individual user—let's say, of Facebook—would in fact be protected and not called for by the commission?
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you. I appreciate that.
My follow-up question would be this: Currently, as it stands, are there limitations as to what the CRTC can request? If it considers information to be pertinent to this act, can it ask for it, or are there any limitations on the request that can be made?
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
You used the phrase “minimal implications”, which means there are still some. Can you expand on that? What are the privacy infringements within this?
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you so much, Chair.
Essentially what amendment CPC-12.1 attempts to do is bring about some further clarification or simplification within the definition. Clause 11, of course, has to do with the exemption order. It's essentially trying to—
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
All right. We are on clause 11, to be clear. Clause 11 has to do with granting an exemption order. It establishes criteria that have to be met by the DNIs in order to be exempt from having this legislation further apply to them. Here we see a number of criteria established. Our attempt here, then, is to clarify and simplify. It is also to, I suppose you could say, set some parameters with regard to this exemption order or these criteria.
I'll draw people's attention particularly to paragraph (b), which is to delete lines 16 and 17 on page 5. Those lines were about any condition being set out in regulations made by the Governor in Council. As Mr. Ripley pointed out a number of meetings ago, the Governor in Council essentially refers to cabinet, so what this is saying is that if there are any conditions whatsoever that are set out by cabinet in regulation, then those can be used in order to grant an exemption.
Stakeholders have said that this is quite vague. It's leaving them with significant uncertainty. There are concerns on both sides, from DNIs and from eligible news businesses. They want to know those terms up front. Obviously news businesses are interested because they want to make sure that they get a fair shake. DNIs are interested because they want to know to what extent they have to bargain and at what point they can reasonably apply for an exemption.
There's clarity desired on all fronts. Further, from us, clarity is desired just because we believe it's good public policy.
To leave this so vague with regard to any condition set out in regulation made by the Governor in Council just seems far too open-ended and therefore problematic for stakeholders. It's very difficult then for them to form a business model or any sort of anticipation with regard to this legislation and what it would fully mean for them.
We are looking to bring about further clarity there. I can probably leave that there for now.
Thank you, Chair.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Is it okay if I respond?
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
You're right in pointing out the first change there, to lines 22 to 24. We've made a small change there. Then if you keep going, it's on the next page—page 5—in the legislation. There's paragraph 11(1)(b) under clause 11. That paragraph 11(1)(b) is the one that allows for any condition to be set out by the Governor in Council. We're striking that.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
I don't know if I understood your question.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I'm sorry, but I couldn't make out the very first premise of Mr. Bittle's statement, so I lost the context for the entire thing.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Can he just clarify? He said that the entire legislation was subject to something and therefore....
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Let's be really clear here. I recognize that the members opposite enjoy launching baseless attacks against this side of the table. Allowing for paragraph 11(1)(b) to remain in there, such that it would be up to the cabinet to determine “any condition” to be applied with regard to an exemption, would actually put news businesses in danger, because they wouldn't know under what conditions DNIs could move forward with an exemption.
Those conditions could be, for example, that the CBC had entered into a negotiation or Bell had entered into a negotiation or any of these big companies had entered into negotiations, so therefore an exemption would be granted. How would that help ethnic media? How would that help our local newspapers? Allowing this paragraph to stay in there and allowing for such vague criteria to be implemented by cabinet actually puts the little guys in danger.
Let's be really clear about what's going on here. It allows for this government to show favouritism towards the big media companies that push out their story and it puts the little guys in danger, because they could be prevented from entering into negotiations with DNIs because DNIs could be granted the exemption.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
It's an internal thought.
View Rachael Thomas Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I support this amendment in principle. I will offer a subamendment, though.
Essentially, this bill is that DNIs have to enter into negotiations with eligible news businesses. This amendment makes sure that if there are 20 lined up to bargain with the DNIs, all 20 have to be bargained with before an exemption can be granted.
I fail to understand how that is benefiting big tech. Everyone lined up and everyone wanting to enter into negotiations gets to enter into negotiations. That's favouring the little guy. That's advocating for them.
I guess I'll ask Mr. Ripley a question for clarification.
Is allowing all eligible news media sources to enter into negotiations with DNIs before an exemption can be granted leaving some eligible news businesses out of the picture?
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