As you are hopefully aware, Bill s-210, proposed by the Progressive Conservative Party, passed third reading in the House of Commons on December 13th. The bill is titled “An Act to restrict young person’s online access to sexually explicit material.”

At first, you probably think this is a good idea. Regardless of how you feel about sexually explicit material, when you examine the broader implications of this proposed law, you need to be very, very concerned.

What is this really? It is my opinion and that of many constitutional lawyers that “porn” is being used as an emotional trigger by the Conservative Party as a first step to censor Canadian’s access to the internet. If we permit this bill is to pass into law, it will be a massive invasion of online privacy. The government will get to pick and choose what you can see. If this sounds familiar, this is the same system that China uses for its great firewall. You are about to experience Chinese style censorship in Canada. The potential to use this to suppress freedom of information and free speech is incredible, and you can be sure this will be expanded to include political commentary, opposing political views, critics, outside news, politicians behaving badly and of course political corruption. Basically, anything the government doesn’t want you, the citizen, to see will be blocked. Like all new laws, if we permit this to pass, it will be impossible to get rid of.

You are probably thinking, “This bill targets porn and that is a good thing.” Some of the most popular user generated content websites like Twitter, Reddit and YouTube could easily be deemed pornographic and subsequently blocked. The Joe Rogan podcast will become a distant memory. The UFC will be banned because the card girls present pornographic imagery. Anyone and anything the government doesn’t want you to access will be blocked.

Of course this plan is not going to work. The flaws in this proposal are massive.

As an ex-teenage male I can assure you that there are infinite ways for creative, computer savvy, highly motivated young guys to get around this. Your uncle’s secret stash, bootlegging, older friends, and borrowed IDs quickly come to mind.

Some giant media providers may decide to block a paltry 40 million Canadians because the hassle of complying with Canadian government censorship regulations will too great. This could include some of the most popular user generated content sites previously listed.

Who will bear the cost of the newly minted Royal Canadian Porn Police Directorate? Will we the taxpayers pay for more bureaucrats to create more bureaucratic bloat and more paper to justify their existence, and then spawn a slew of yet more bureaucrats because the workload is so heavy? Maybe we can save money by outsourcing the contract to a Quebec-based company like SNC-Lavalin Construction and Surveillance? Total cost? Definitely more than the price of an ArriveCAN app!

The most unfortunate part of this is the elites making the rules will not be following them because they are special and deserve special compensation; however, you will probably never know about it as you recline behind their firewall consuming the drivel they choose for you. You need only look at any authoritarian government and see this at play.

Finally is this really necessary? As a parent, do you really want the government being a parent to your child? Governments make poor parents. Just ask residential school survivors.

Censorship is NOT the hallmark of a democratic society. Censorship is a tool for autocrats, dictators and authoritarian regimes. A democratic society doesn’t need censorship: it needs media education. If politicians trust us to elect them then they need to trust us to evaluate all available information and make informed choices.

So, if you don’t care or are not interested, that’s fine. Just take the blue pill, kick back in your easy chair and watch Netflix (while you still have access). In the years to come, your government minders are sure you will enjoy many happy hours of entertainment viewing Pippy Longstocking reruns and listening to daily speeches from your exalted leaders about all the great deeds they are doing to benefit you.

Justin Trudeau has publicly declared his admiration for “how the Chinese get things done,” and now it seems the Conservatives have also embraced this ethos. If you value your ability to access online media, you need to oppose this bill by contacting your MP, Bob Zimmer by Telephone: 250-787-1192 or Fax: 250-787-1195 or Email: [email protected].

Most important, don’t believe anything I have written. Read the bill yourself and draw your own conclusions. It is only 3-4 pages long and not technical. You can read it here:

Keep in mind that were we living in China, you would never see a letter like this criticizing government policy, and if you did, I would disappear. Shortly thereafter, my organs would reappear for sale to members of the communist party or the ruling elite.

Qui custodit vigilias.

Michael Austin
Valemount, BC