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Thousands of Canadians protest Liberal plans to censor internet; minister says they’re just confused

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole called YouTube censorship a direct assault on political dissent on the internet.




As MP’s were blitzed with thousands of protest emails on the government’s plan to censor the Internet, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said Canadians against it are just confused.

“We’re outraged our government is trying to take so much power over our speech,” Matthew Hatfield, campaign director of the group Open Media of Vancouver, said in a statement.

Hatfield called the legislation “one of our most important fights since Open Media was founded a decade ago.”

Critics sent more than 8,000 emails to MPs’ offices on Thursday and free speech advocates were “frankly furious,” said Hatfield.

Bill C-10 would regulate users’ videos posted on YouTube similar to television programming, including a requirement that YouTube management comply with CRTC regulatory orders.

“They lied to us and inserted a Trojan Horse regulatory power over all user audiovisual content, easily the worst assault on Canadian freedom of expression we’ve seen in years,” Open Media wrote in a petition to supporters.

“It is an existential threat to the open internet in Canada,” said Hatfield.

“The videos, podcasts, pictures and memes that would come under CRTC regulation under the revised bill are not ‘programs’ being ‘broadcast.’ They’re the individual expressions of people living in Canada.”

Bill C-10 introduced last November 3 originally had an exemption for “programs that are uploaded to an online undertaking that provides a social media service,” but the Liberal cabinet had members of the Commons heritage committee remove the exemption at an April 23 hearing.

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole called YouTube censorship a direct assault on political dissent on the internet.

Guilbeault “is trying to regulate political speech that he does not like,” said O’Toole.

“Why is the government attacking Canadians’ free speech rights?”

Guilbeault replied: “The characterization that this bill would restrain freedom of expression is factually incorrect and dangerously misleading,”

Conservative MP Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, Alta.) said YouTube controls, the first of their kind, set a dangerous precedent.

“Liberals are trying to give themselves the power to control what Canadians can read online, what they post on social media and videos they watch on YouTube,” said Harder.

“It is wrong. Why is the government doing this?”

“What we are seeing now is that these are big, powerful and in fact some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet,” replied Minister Guilbeault.

“Clearly the member opposite and her party are just afraid to stand up to them. Again it seems that the members of the Conservative Party are listening to the most extremist element of their Party.”

The Commons heritage committee Friday resumes clause-by-clause review of Bill C-10.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Steven Ruthven

    May 10, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    10 May 2021
    The Heritage Minister’s job isn’t to protect Canadians from ourselves or the outside world of free exchange of thoughts and idea’s. It is not Minister Guilbeault mandate to write a censorship bill C-10. No where in the mandate letter does it say get involved in writing a censorship bill Minister Guilbeault. Copy and past into an uncensored browser & we can all see your job is the Minister of Heritage NOT the Minister of Censorship


  2. Natasha

    April 30, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Basically fudged over here. Censorship and control are to be gained by some. Um. Hold onto your hats.

  3. Barbara

    April 30, 2021 at 10:33 am

    So Open Media and the left are surprised.
    Well Trudeau doesn’t need you anymore, he has China.
    Yet the NDP and Conservatives are shaking their fists again and DOING NOTHING.

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.




The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.




Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

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