B.C. Bill 12 (Online Harms) Deferred: Another Case Of Problem, Reaction, Solution

The C.B.C. recently reported that British Columbia Bill 12 (the Online Harms Act) is being paused for now. This is titled the Public Health Accountability and Cost Recovery Act. The stated reason is that social media companies like Facebook and X/Twitter have come to the table to implement their own protections.

But B.C. Premier David Eby made it clear that this may go ahead anyway, if an agreement cannot be worked out.

Other recent B.C. specific legislation includes:
Bill 23, the (Anti-White) Anti-Racism Act, and
Bill 31, domestic implementation of U.N. Sendai Framework

The stated purpose is to hold companies — such as social media outlets — accountable for medical and health care costs that arise from content they put out. An example cited is Carson Cleland, the 12 year old from Prince George, who committed suicide last October after online sextortion. It’s claimed that if platformed were properly regulated, this wouldn’t have happened.

However, it appears more likely that this is a pretext to be able to swiftly remove content the Government deems “harmful”, for whatever reason. And this is being achieved in the standard way.

  1. Problem
  2. Reaction
  3. Solution

The PROBLEM is that Bill 12 is crafted in such a way as to impose financially crippling penalties. No Government wants to be seen as being overtly anti-free speech. So this must be framed in a manner that appeals to public safety.

The REACTION is that companies get nervous about the fines and other costs they could be on the hook for, even if they weren’t complicit in generating the material.

The SOLUTION is that social media firms agree to “voluntarily” implement their own measures, which means complying with what the Government wanted anyway.

Now, what’s in this Bill?

Direct action by government
2 (1) The government has a direct and distinct action against a person to recover the cost of health care benefits caused or contributed to by a health-related wrong.
.
(2) For certainty,
(a) subsection (1) does not establish a right of action for any other person, and
(b) the cost of health care benefits recoverable under subsection (1) includes the cost of health care benefits in relation to the risk of disease, injury or illness.

Direct action by the government of Canada
3 (1) The government of Canada has a direct and distinct action against a person to recover the cost of health care benefits caused or contributed to by a health-related wrong.
.
(2) For certainty,
(a) subsection (1) does not establish a right of action for any other person, and
(b) the cost of health care benefits recoverable under subsection (1) includes the cost of health care benefits in relation to the risk of disease, injury or illness.

Sections 2 and 3 of the Bill specify that the B.C. (and oddly, Canadian) Governments are able to take legal action against people for health care costs in relation to “disease, injury or illness”.

Interestingly, both Sections 2 and 3 specify that the right of action — or ability to sue — is for Governments only. Private people apparently don’t have that right. Then there’s 2(6) and 3(6)

(6) If the government [of Canada seeks] in an action under subsection (1) to recover the cost of health care benefits on an aggregate basis,

(a) it is not necessary
(i) to identify particular individual benefit recipients,
(ii) to prove the cause of disease, injury or illness in any particular individual benefit recipient, or
(iii) to prove the cost of health care benefits for any particular individual benefit recipient

What this means is that while both the B.C. and Federal Governments have the right to sue to recoup health care costs, private citizens don’t. It’s also not required that they identify: (a) beneficiaries; (b) causation; or (c) analysis of health care benefits.

Apparently, companies aren’t limited to being sued once, either.

Private parties and proceedings
6 (1) It is not a defence to an action commenced by the government under section 2 (1), or by the government of Canada under section 3 (1), that a claim for a benefit recipient’s damages, alleged to have been caused or contributed to by a health-related wrong, has been adjudicated or settled.

6 (2) It is not a defence to an action commenced in respect of a benefit recipient’s claim for damages, alleged to have been caused or contributed to by a health-related wrong, that an action commenced by the government under section 2 (1), or by the government of Canada under section 3 (1), has been adjudicated or settled.

It’s a commonly accepted principle that once a dispute is resolved, that it not be rehashed in a different forum. This applies to things like union grievances and human rights complaints. But here, it’s explicitly stated that “adjudicated or settled” won’t protect from future litigation.

Section 8 gets into what evidence will be allowed. This will include “statistical information and information derived from epidemiological, sociological and other relevant studies, including information derived from sampling”. In other words, modelling will be allowed as evidence. Remember how that was used back in 2020/2021?

Section 10 states that the Statute of Limitations both for the B.C. and Federal Governments will be 15 years. This goes well above the 2 year limit that typically applies.

In any event, it’s not hard to see what social media companies are nervous about Bill 12 going ahead. It exposes them to all kinds of risks, but without really defining their responsibilities. It’s no surprise that they’re now willing to work something out to prevent this legislation from going ahead.

Another area the CBC article omitted was any explanation of who was responsible for social media companies capitulating. For that, we turn to the B.C. Lobbying Registry.

Jean-Marc Prevost is one of the people lobbying on behalf of Facebook. He’s a former staffer for BCPHO Bonnie Henry, and helped her push the injections back in 2021. To give context, he was a part of this same NDP Government, leaves, and then promptly lobbies that same Government. See Archive.

And the conflict of interest doesn’t end there. Prevost lobbied for the company Emergent BioSolutions Inc., a few years back. This is the actual manufacturer of the AstraZeneca vaccines. He had the ear of the right people at the time.

Bradley Lavigne works at Counsel Public Affairs, same as Prevost. In March, he also lobbied on behalf of Facebook. And similar to Prevost. Lavigne pushed for vaccines on behalf of Emergent BioSolutions back in 2021. He has been a CBC commentator for about 20 years, meaning he pitches his clients’ goals directly to the public. See archive. He has also been in the inside of the Federal NDP party structure going back to the days of Jack Layton.

As should be obvious: a lot of these “commentators” and “pundits” are really just paid actors, playing the role of experts. And although these actors are supposedly from different political parties, their respective firms have people on staff across the spectrum.

For more on Emergent BioSolutions, or pharma lobbying more broadly, there are many rabbit holes to go down. These examples are hardly exhaustive.

Rachel Curran also lobbied on behalf of Meta. This is important since she spent over 3 years as part of the B.C. Government, and more than 6 more working for Harper Federally. See archive. Additionally, she lists herself as a CBC commentator from 2016 to 2020. This isn’t simply a left or right issue, but one where all parties do much the same things.

  • Francis LeBlanc – Chair, Former Executive Director, Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians
  • Chris Wilkins – Past Chair, CEO, Edge Interactive
  • Robert Asselin, Senior Director, Public Policy, Blackberry
  • Megan Beretta, Policy Analyst, Canadian Digital Service
  • Rachel Curran, Public Policy Manager, Canada, Facebook
  • Peter Donolo, Vice-Chairman, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada
  • Dr. Elizabeth Dubois, Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Ottawa
  • Kathleen Monk, Principal, Earnscliffe Strategies

Curren is also involved in CIVIX, which is an online “disinformation prevention” group funded by taxpayers. In fact, there are several such organizations in Canada. Some are registered as charities, receiving large tax benefits.

The name Peter Donolo should also ring a bell. He was Jean Chretien’s Chieff of Staff in the 1990s, and helped get him elected. He also worked with Michael Ignatieff and Justin Trudeau.

It’s interesting that groups that are supposed to stop disinformation also are filled with operatives from the same Governments who are impacted.

The B.C. Government was lobbied on behalf of X (formerly Twitter) with regards to Bill 12. Fernando Minna works for Capital Hill Group, and has for the past 3 years. See archive.

Capitol Hill Group is run by David Angus, who worked for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and former Ontario Premier Bill Davis.

Sabrina Geremia of Google lobbied the B.C. Government as well. While she doesn’t list political involvement in her profile, at least 3 colleagues do: Lindsay Doyle, Jeanette Patell, and Semhar Tekeste.

Erin O’Toole, former CPC Leader, gets an honourable mention. Before getting into politics, he lobbied on behalf of Facebook. He worked for Heenan Blaikie, same law firm as Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau.

Why cover all of this?

Bill 12 seems designed to force social media companies into compliance or face crippling financial penalties. Virtually anything can “cause public health harm”, depending on how it’s worded. This legislation is written in such a way that either Victoria or Ottawa can inflict damage. But these groups are very willing to negotiate, and the lobbyists have connections to those same Governments.

If the goal all along was to compel these outlets into being willing to censor, it’s more effective to get them to do it themselves. And remember, it’s all voluntary here. Technically, no one has been forced.

Problem. Reaction. Solution.

(1) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-online-harms-bill-paused-1.7182392
(2) https://www.leg.bc.ca/
(3) https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/42nd-parliament/5th-session/bills/progress-of-bills
(4) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/
(5) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=5501&regId=56572920
(6) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=4186&regId=56566730
(7) https://www.linkedin.com/in/jean-marc-prevost-04830598/
(8) Jean-Marc Prevost LinkedIn Profile
(9) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=34073
(10) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=1334&regId=56559236&blnk=1
(11) https://www.linkedin.com/in/brad-lavigne-a0927a39/
(12) Brad Lavigne LinkedIn Profile
(13) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=34055
(14) https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-curran-a99258109/details/experience/
(15) Rachel Curran LinkedIn Profile
(16) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=5460&regId=56572569&blnk=1
(17) https://www.linkedin.com/in/fernandominna/
(18) Fernando Minna LinkedIn Profile
(19) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=3536&regId=56568880
(20) https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrina-geremia-028644/
(21) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=16607&regId=948142
(22) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=288445&regId=668908

UNESCO Guidelines For The Governance Of Digital Platforms

Recently, UNESCO released their action plan to regulate social media platforms. The guideline is a 59 page document outlining a series of goals and steps that should be taken by Member States.

On the surface, the paper seems harmless enough. But as with most things, the devil is in the details.

Going through this, the thoughts that comes to mind are the CRTC, and Bills C-11 and C-18. There’s a strong reluctance to accept any sort of Government interference with media access.

The paper talks about the importance of having an independent media, with a diversity of perspectives. Nothing wrong with that. However, there are a few places where the idea is raised of subsidizing “independent” media, presumably with Government funds. While a viable media is important, this creates an obvious conflict of interest.

There are also several mentions of online media being used in ways to help advance the U.N. Sustainable Development Agenda, a.k.a. Agenda 2030. It’s unclear what would happen if online platforms were used in ways to undermine its implementation.

There are repeated calls to use digital platforms to respect and protect human rights. This is fine in principle, but it’s undefined, and presumably arbitrary, what those rights are.

Paragraph 38 talks about the need for there to be an ongoing relationship with digital platforms and “credible” news sources. Of course, the term credible is left undefined. It’s also unclear what, if any, voices that media who aren’t considered credible would have.

Paragraph 45 gets into the topic of “compliance mechanisms”. It’s rather chilling, as it mentions the possibility of regulators making final decisions with respect to the rules on platforms.

Paragraph 49 addresses the idea of having checks and balances. This sounds fine, until one asks what structures would have to be put in place to begin with.

Paragraph 52 covers “investing” in so-called independent media, in order to make it more sustainable. If the only way that independents can survive is by getting bailout money, then that would convert them into Government employees. No need to ban critics when they can simply be bought off.

Paragraph 54 talks about having: (a) national; (b) regional; and (c) global governance systems put in place, to safeguard freedom of expression, access to information, and other human rights. There’s also a brief mention about limiting expression to protect human rights.

Perhaps the most interesting sections are paragraphs 68-73, which outline how an “independent regulator” would work. Of course, how independent can it be when it reports to the very people it’s supposed to keep an eye on.

68. In statutory regulation, official regulatory authorities, though constituting part of the executive state apparatus, should be wholly independent of the government and be primarily accountable to legislatures for fulfilment of their mandates. This applies to existing regulatory bodies that have a legitimate interest in content on platforms (such as electoral management bodies, advertising authorities, child protection entities, data and privacy commissions, competition bodies, etc.), as well as any new dedicated or coordinating regulatory instances that may be established.

69. With regard to all statutory bodies engaging in platform regulation, either solely or jointly, periodic review should be performed by an independent body reporting directly to the legislature. Statutory interventions should also be subject to review in the courts if authorities are believed to have exceeded their powers, acted unreasonably, or acted in a biased or disproportionate manner.

70. Official regulatory authorities need to be independent and free from economic, political, or other pressures. Their power and mandate should be set out in law. They should also comply with international human rights and promote gender equality standards.

71. Official regulatory institutions must have sufficient funding and expertise to carry out their responsibilities effectively. The sources of funding must also be clear, transparent, and accessible to all, and not subject to the governmental discretion.

72. Governing officials or members of the official regulatory institutions working on the issue of content on platforms should:
a. Be appointed through a participatory, transparent, non-discriminatory, and independent merit-based process.
b. Be accountable to an independent body (which could be the legislature, judiciary, an external council, or an independent board/boards).
c. Include relevant expertise in international human rights law and the digital ecosystem.
d. Deliver an annual public report to an independent body—ideally the legislature—and be held accountable to it, including by informing the body about their reasoned opinion.
e. Make public any possible conflicts of interest and declare any gifts or incentives.
f. After completing the mandate, for a reasonable period, not be hired or provide paid services to those who have been subject to their regulation, in order to avoid the risk known as “revolving doors”.

73. The official regulatory authorities should be able to request that digital platforms provide periodic reports on the application of their terms of services, and take enforcement action against digital platforms deemed non-compliant with their own policies or failing to fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information and diverse cultural content. They should be able to establish a complaints process and issue public recommendations that may be binding or non-binding and be empowered to issue transparent and appropriate directives to the platforms for the promotion and respect of human rights, based on international human rights standards

In fairness, there are portions that are noble, such as 72(e) and (f) which aim to limit conflicts of interest in the forms of gifts or lobbying. Lest this be viewed as a hatchet job, there are portions of the paper that are quite good.

Paragraph 115, and its many subparagraphs, detail how due process information and human rights data should be integrated at all stages of moderation. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with this, but who will be setting the standards?

Paragraphs 116 to 118 offer suggestions for collecting user demographic data for research purposes. While it’s supposed to be anonymized, there’s not enough specifics included as to it use.

Paragraph 143 gives brief guidelines about how platforms should conduct themselves during emergencies and armed conflicts. It suggests . Developing cooperation with trusted partners, independent media organizations, and other reliable flaggers.

These are just some of the issues that are raised. This UNESCO paper seems so harmless on the surface, but it’s really vague at times when clarity is needed.

Note: While UNESCO claims to want to prevent misinformation from spreading, it has hardly been neutral or objective. Only recently, it was telling people to only trust official sources for information on the “pandemic”.

(1) https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/online-disinformation-unesco-unveils-action-plan-regulate-social-media-platforms
(2) https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000387339
(3) UNESCO Guidelines To Govern Digital Platforms
(4) https://www.youtube.com/@UNESCO
(5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90cIg4lv-3M

A Little Discernment Can Go A Long Way….

Above is a photo from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. This exact image is available at my local library, and probably many others across Canada as well. It’s meant as a rough guide for filtering out information.

While it presumably is targeted at books, the same guidelines are valid for podcasts, articles, videos and other content. And there are worthwhile things to ask.

  • Are there any supporting sources to make the claims?
  • Is the title “clickbait”, or does it accurately represent the content
  • Is it satire? If the claims made are overly dramatic, the author may be trying to create humourous work.
  • Who wrote it, and why? Are there any obvious conflicts of interest?
  • Who can a person check with to verify the information?
  • Will biases be an issue in judging it objectively
  • Is the information current or outdated?

No one needs to point out how badly “ask the experts” has gone lately. Nonetheless, it can be a starting point for getting information on a topic.

Note: This isn’t meant at a specific person or group. Rather, it’s a pattern that has become a lot more noticeable over the last few years.

While many people have become proficient at spotting Government deception and propaganda, they either overlook or ignore it in the alternative media spheres. Of course, the reverse is also true for the normies. And examples?

(1) Some who dismissed Government fear mongering around this so-called “pandemic” will not look carefully into topics such as microchipping vaccines, DNA modification, gain of function, lab leaks, or bioweapons. Any dramatic claims deserve skepticism, regardless of the source.

(2) On a related note: there have been some who (rightly) question whether CV tests are accurate based on current methods. However, they will just take for granted that other viruses can be tested for using that same technology. We want authors who are logically consistent.

(3) Some of the larger political alternative voices will do a great job researching candidates and parties they don’t like, while making excuses for those they support. If they have a dog in the fight, then they can never be fully trusted.

(4) In a world where views and advertising dollars matter, catching attention is important. However, that’s not always the best option if the content doesn’t warrant sensationalism.

(5) While Government plants within the media are often easy to spot, “alternative” voices come out of nowhere and instantly gain huge followings. Such individuals do so despite addressing topics that are normally censored, or while not offering anything insightful. Similarly, if the content frequently borders on, or engages in outright Fed-posting, be wary.

(6) Lack of curiosity should always be viewed as a red flag. If a piece touches on really important issues, but only at a surface level — with no follow up — one should ask why. Rabbit holes are a fun, albeit exhausting, way to shake strongly held views.

These are just a few things that have come up in the alt-media landscape, and not just the Canadian scene. All media should be scrutinized, regardless of whether it has the slant and leanings that are preferred.

A question that comes up is who should the public be following. The answer is no one. Ideally, the best populace is one that’s full of inquisitive and resourceful people. Yes, research is time consuming, but there’s no shortcut to becoming educated. The alternative is to sit back and hopefully trust the right outlet. That seems to be a poor plan.

True, there’s no way to not view published media at all, but just realize that there will be gaps in what’s presented. If nothing else, different perspectives can at least draw attention to flaws and errors.

A little discernment can go a long way….

Rebel News Abandons Lawsuit Against Canada Revenue Agency After 2 Months

This is a follow-up to an April 2022 article, which covered Rebel News suing the Canada Revenue Agency (the C.R.A.) for access to various subsidies. A Notice of Application was filed to challenge the C.R.A.’s decision. However, nothing seems to have been announced afterwards, which was odd.

As it turns out, the lawsuit was discontinued less than 2 months later. It was done on consent, and without costs. The Federal Court allows members of the public to check the status of cases online, and to get summaries of what has progressed.

There were no hearings or motions, just a Notice of Appearance filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada.

While this lawsuit was publicly sold as a way to protect free speech, it comes across as far less idealistic. Rebel wanted to be classified as a QCJO, or a qualified Canadian journalism organization, and that was denied. There are significant financial considerations at play here.

This was also announced on Twitter.

But the April 7, 2022 article states this:

So Rebel News is fighting back. Because if we don’t fight back now they’re going to destroy us — like Trudeau is doing more and more to his peaceful political opponents. He wants to try to do to us what he did to the truckers — if he had his way he’d put us in jail and seize our bank accounts. This is a step in that direction — having a government panel declare, legally, that our journalists are not actually journalists.

Because if they can do this to us, their largest independent critic left, they’ll do this to anyone. They’ll censor you. Which is why we have to fight back now — not later, right now. There might not even be a later.

The outcome of that lawsuit will affect us, obviously. But it will affect everyone. Anyone in Canada who wants to do journalism without government censorship. And every citizen in Canada who wants the freedom to choose their own choice of news, without some secret government panel deciding what is or isn’t real news.

I don’t know if there are other journalists who are being censored; I know if they succeed, we won’t be the last. I think we’re likely the only ones who can and will fight back. Good news is, we’ve got an absolute top-notch legal team.

This is hyperbolic and misleading. The C.R.A. is responsible for overseeing various programs which result in tax breaks and subsidies, including for media outlets. The C.R.A. decided (rightly or wrongly) that Rebel News didn’t meet the criteria for subsidies.

There’s also the bemusement in seeing such a lawsuit coming from an organization that purports to rail against Trudeau funding the media at all.

Here are the current registered journalism organizations:

  • La Presse Inc.
  • The Narwhal News Society
  • Presse-Ouest Ltée
  • Journaldesvoisins.com
  • New Canadian Media
  • The Local TO Publishing
  • The Canadian Jewish News
  • Chateauguay Valley Community Information Services
  • Coopérative nationale de l’information indépendante
  • La Gazette de la Mauricie

If Rebel had gotten their QCJO designation, what would they be receiving?

(a) Canadian Journalism Labour Tax Credit: this would pay up to 25% of salaries of the business’ employees, which are typically the biggest expense
(b) Digital News Subscription Tax Credit: subscribers would receive a tax rebate of up to 15%
(c) Registered Journalism Organization Status: going the next step, QCJOs would be able to qualify as RJO as well, and start issuing tax receipts, similar to how charities operate.

According to their own records, Rebel succeeded in getting 86% of the 2,000 donors that were sought. This would translate to approximately 1,720 individual donors.

If there really was such a top-notch legal team on the case, why abandon it in the beginning stages? Rebel hasn’t succeeded in getting the QCJO designation, so it’s not like Ottawa quietly capitulated.

However, it doesn’t seem that any of the money has been returned. The donation function on the article hasn’t been taken down either.

So, not only does that mean we’re not allowed to attend government press conferences, it also punishes us under Income Tax Act.

The C.R.A. has nothing to do with deciding who can attend government press conferences, or debates in political elections. So including this is a red herring. This lawsuit is about getting access to subsidy money, and tax breaks.

Or at least it was, until it was abandoned in May 2022.

FEDERAL COURT DOCUMENTS:
(A) T-720-22 Document #1 Notice Of Application
(B) T-720-22 Document #2 Notice of Appearance
(C) T-720-22 Document #4 Notice of Discontinuance
(D) T-720-22 Document #5 Affidavit of Service

OTHER LINKS:
(1) https://www.rebelnews.com/rebel_news_is_suing_justin_trudeau
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b_1vwGrcY4&t
(3) https://archive.ph/beOQY
(4) https://www.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/court-files-and-decisions/court-files#cont
(5) https://twitter.com/RebelNewsOnline/status/1512229529737211921
(6) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/business-tax-credits/canadian-journalism-labour-tax-credit/qualified-canadian-journalism-organization.html
(7) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/business-tax-credits/canadian-journalism-labour-tax-credit.html
(8) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/deductions-credits-expenses/digital-news-subscription.html
(9) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/corporations/business-tax-credits/canadian-journalism-labour-tax-credit/registered-journalism-organization.html
(10) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/list-charities/list-charities-other-qualified-donees.html
(11) https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/charities-giving/other-organizations-that-issue-donation-receipts-qualified-donees/other-qualified-donees-listings/list-registered-journalism-organizations.html

SSHRC Funding Digital Citizen Research And Anti-Disinformation Grants In 2023

The SSHRC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, has been involved in handing out more taxpayer money for the stated purpose of combatting “disinformation”. For the 2023 year, grants have been issued in the amount of $10,000 each, to various people.

Of course, this isn’t the first time such grants have been issued. It’s just the latest iteration of these initiatives.

The stated goals with the SSHRC are:

  • promote Canadian research that will develop better understanding — based on empirical evidence — of the impacts of online disinformation in Canada in order to better inform programs and policies;
  • build Canada’s capacity to conduct research on and related to countering online disinformation and other related online harms; and
  • help foster a community of research in the digital citizenship and online disinformation space in Canada.
NAME YEAR AMOUNT
Brown, Carol A.M. Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Chen, Yu-Chen Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Dowling, Erin Jennifer Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Farokhi, Zeinab Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Kennedy, Angel M. Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Lin, Hause Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Malo, Benjamin Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Martel, Marc-Antoine Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Miller, Mark D. Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Munro, Daniel Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Park, Jeong Hyun Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Rodrigues, Daniel Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00
Stijelja, Stefan Jan 1, 2023 $10,000.00

If nothing else, at least the grants and recipients are easy to find online. It’s always beneficial to know who’s on the Government payroll.

There is also a sub-group of this program, designed to partner with various colleges and universities to achieve what are essentially the same goals. These are the: (a) Insight Grant Supplements; (b) Postdoctoral Fellowship Supplements; and (c) Doctoral Award Supplements. Eligible areas include:

  • Creators and propagators of online disinformation in a Canadian context.
  • Digital techniques used to spread online disinformation in a Canadian context.
  • Sectors of Canadian society more or less vulnerable to online disinformation, including how disinformation may specifically affect marginalized, minority and Indigenous communities.
  • Effects of exposure to information and online disinformation on Canadians’ individual beliefs and behavior as well as overall mental health.
  • Different impacts of online disinformation in Canada and on Canada, including on democratic institutions and elections.
  • Government responses to online disinformation.
  • Disinformation outside of the internet/not online in a Canadian context.

In short, grant money is available to those willing to research into ways of “combatting misinformation”. Plainly stated, this is anything the Government disagrees with.

While Ottawa may not be banning free speech (yet), they are working on ways to limit the scope and depth of what is being talked about.

As with everything, do your own fact checking.

(1) https://search.open.canada.ca/
(2) https://search.open.canada.ca/grants/?sort=agreement_start_date+desc&search_text=disinformation&page=1
(3) https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/online-disinformation/joint-initiative-digital-citizen-research.html
(4) https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/online-disinformation/joint-initiative-digital-citizen-research/insight-grants.html

Postmedia Periodicals: Taxpayer Handouts From 2015 – 2022

The handouts really took off in September 2015, when Stephen Harper was still Prime Minister. In the last article, someone commented that Trudeau was in office. In reality, that didn’t happen until November 2015 (the election was in October). Anyhow, as for what Postmedia has been getting, here are some numbers.

Also noteworthy is that there was another spike in 2020. The likely reason is that periodicals that previously wouldn’t have met the threshold for subsidies would now have qualified anyway.

NAME DATE AMOUNT
Airdrie Echo Apr 1, 2020 $18,210
Bow Valley Crag & Canyon Apr 1, 2020 $29,507
Chatham-Kent This Week Apr 1, 2020 $55,450
Clinton News Record Sep 4, 2015 $22,737.00
Clinton News Record Jun 1, 2016 $23,545.00
Clinton News Record Jul 4, 2017 $24,218.00
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2018 $22,525.00
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2019 $21,086.00
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2020 $21,086
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2020 $5,272
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2021 $15,629.00
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2021 $2,228.00
Clinton News Record Apr 1, 2022 $12,979.00
The Cochrane Times Post Sep 4, 2015 $28,086.00
The Cochrane Times Post Jun 1, 2016 $30,384.00
The Cochrane Times Post Jul 4, 2017 $30,368.00
The Cochrane Times Post Apr 1, 2018 $28,200.00
The Cochrane Times Post Apr 1, 2019 $25,118.00
The Cochrane Times Post Apr 1, 2020 $19,730
The Cochrane Times-Post Apr 1, 2020 $25,118
The Cochrane Times-Post Apr 1, 2020 $6,280
The Cochrane Times Post Apr 1, 2021 $21,449.00
The Cochrane Times Post Apr 1, 2021 $3,058.00
The Cochrane Times Post Apr 1, 2022 $19,026.00
The Cold Lake Sun Apr 1, 2020 $20,629
The Courier Press Apr 1, 2020 $18,333
Devon Dispatch Apr 1, 2020 $18,529
The Drayton Valley Western Review Sep 4, 2015 $43,553.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Jun 1, 2016 $45,401.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Jul 4, 2017 $47,170.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2018 $43,548.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2019 $36,803.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2020 $36,803
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2020 $9,201
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2021 $30,227.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2021 $4,310.00
The Drayton Valley Western Review Apr 1, 2022 $23,327.00
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2018 $45,771.00
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2019 $43,679.00
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2020 $43,679
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2020 $10,920
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2021 $42,191.00
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2021 $6,015.00
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr 1, 2022 $40,516.00
The Fairview Post Sep 4, 2015 $24,882.00
The Fairview Post Jun 1, 2016 $24,404.00
The Fairview Post Jul 4, 2017 $24,837.00
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2018 $24,474.00
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2019 $21,966.00
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2020 $21,966
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2020 $5,492
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2021 $19,984.00
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2021 $2,849.00
The Fairview Post Apr 1, 2022 $18,195.00
Fort McMurray Today Apr 1, 2020 $45,970
Goderich Signal Star Sep 4, 2015 $59,801.00
Goderich Signal Star Jun 1, 2016 $63,126.00
Goderich Signal Star Jul 4, 2017 $68,550.00
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2018 $67,698.00
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2019 $66,744.00
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2020 $66,744
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2020 $16,686
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2021 $53,353.00
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2021 $7,607.00
Goderich Signal Star Apr 1, 2022 $48,812.00
The Graphic Leader Apr 1, 2020 $24,378
The Grove Examiner Apr 1, 2020 $54,973.00
Hanna Herald Sep 4, 2015 $19,578.00
Hanna Herald Jun 1, 2016 $17,247.00
Hanna Herald Jul 4, 2017 $14,934.00
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2018 $14,835.00
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2019 $12,539.00
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2020 $12,539
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2021 $11,724.00
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2021 $1,672.00
Hanna Herald Apr 1, 2022 $12,190.00
High River Times Apr 1, 2020 $18,012.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Sep 4, 2015 $22,616.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Jun 1, 2016 $24,454.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Jul 4, 2017 $26,059.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr 1, 2018 $24,960.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr 1, 2019 $23,501.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr. 1, 2020 $23,501
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr. 1, 2020 $5,875
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr 1, 2021 $11,038.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr 1, 2021 $2,109.00
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr 1, 2022 $11,038.00
Ingersoll Times (The) Sep 4, 2015 $12,877.00
Ingersoll Times (The) Jun 1, 2016 $11,255.00
Ingersoll Times (The) Jul 4, 2017 $10,309.00
Ingersoll Times (The) Apr 1, 2018 $8,543.00
The Journal Apr 1, 2020 $29,340
Kenora Miner & News Apr 1, 2020 $44,217.00
The Kincardine News Apr 1, 2020 $18,210
Kings County Record Apr 1, 2022 $43,730.00
The Kingsville Reporter Sep 4, 2015 $22,709.00
The Kingsville Reporter Jun 1, 2016 $23,318.00
The Kingsville Reporter Jul 4, 2017 $23,540.00
The Kingsville Reporter Apr 1, 2018 $23,331.00
The Kingsville Reporter Apr 1, 2019 $22,407.00
Lakeshore Advance (Grand Bend) Sep 4, 2015 $17,070.00
Lakeshore Advance (Grand Bend) Jun 1, 2016 $18,137.00
Lakeshore Advance (Grand Bend) Jul 4, 2017 $19,119.00
Leduc Rep Apr 1, 2020 $40,857
The Londoner Apr 1, 2020 $18,210
The Lucknow Sentinel Sep 4, 2015 $18,460.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Jun 1, 2016 $18,423.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Jul 4, 2017 $18,902.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2018 $18,832.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2019 $17,215.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2020 $17,215
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2021 $14,828.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2021 $2,114.00
The Lucknow Sentinel Apr 1, 2022 $13,367.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Sep 4, 2015 $9,828.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Jun 1, 2016 $10,957.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Jul 4, 2017 $11,895.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2018 $11,964.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2019 $10,156.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2020 $10,156
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2021 $12,288.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2021 $1,752.00
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr 1, 2022 $10,893.00
Melfort Journal (The) Sep 4, 2015 $24,293.00
Melfort Journal (The) Jun 1, 2016 $24,134.00
Melfort Journal (The) Jul 4, 2017 $24,541.00
Melfort Journal (The) Apr 1, 2018 $25,021.00
Melfort Journal (The) Apr 1, 2019 $23,562.00
The Mid-North Monitor Sep 4, 2015 $18,702.00
The Mid-North Monitor Jun 1, 2016 $16,844.00
The Mid-North Monitor Jul 4, 2017 $17,388.00
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2018 $16,342.00
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2019 $13,959.00
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2020 $13,959
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2021 $12,037.00
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2021 $1,716.00
The Mid-North Monitor Apr 1, 2022 $11,958.00
The Mitchell Advocate Sep 4, 2015 $34,254.00
The Mitchell Advocate Jun 1, 2016 $37,250.00
The Mitchell Advocate Jul 4, 2017 $37,347.00
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2018 $37,940.00
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2019 $36,312.00
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2020 $36,312
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2020 $9,078
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2021 $33,859.00
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2021 $4,827.00
The Mitchell Advocate Apr 1, 2022 $34,680.00
The Nanton News Sep 4, 2015 $9,860.00
The Nanton News Jun 1, 2016 $10,075.00
The Nanton News Jul 4, 2017 $11,804.00
The Nanton News Apr 1, 2018 $11,529.00
The Nanton News Apr 1, 2019 $10,060.00
Nanton News Apr 1, 2020 $10,060
Nanton News Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
The Nanton News Apr 1, 2021 $10,503.00
The Nanton News Apr 1, 2021 $1,497.00
The Nanton News Apr 1, 2022 $8,193.00
Nipawin Journal (The) Sep 4, 2015 $18,445.00
Nipawin Journal (The) Jun 1, 2016 $19,839.00
Nipawin Journal (The) Jul 4, 2017 $18,349.00
Nipawin Journal (The) Apr 1, 2018 $19,460.00
Nipawin Journal (The) Apr 1, 2019 $17,024.00
Northern Light Apr 1, 2022 $30,161.00
Northern News This Week Apr 1, 2020 $39,207
Northern Times (The) Sep 4, 2015 $28,403.00
Northern Times (The) Jun 1, 2016 $23,393.00
Northern Times (The) Jul 4, 2017 $20,040.00
Norwich Gazette (The) Sep 4, 2015 $14,323.00
Norwich Gazette (The) Jun 1, 2016 $13,672.00
Norwich Gazette (The) Jul 4, 2017 $13,751.00
Norwich Gazette (The) Apr 1, 2018 $13,203.00
Ontario Farmer Sep 4, 2015 $711,372.00
Ontario Farmer Jun 1, 2016 $766,553.00
Ontario Farmer Jul 4, 2017 $830,958.00
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2018 $866,359.00
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2019 $855,254.00
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2020 $855,254
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2020 $213,814
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2021 $817,081.00
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2021 $116,496.00
Ontario Farmer Apr 1, 2022 $829,881.00
Pembroke Observer & News Apr 1, 2020 $50,195
Petrolia Topic Sep 4, 2015 $17,584.00
Petrolia Topic Jun 1, 2016 $13,988.00
Petrolia Topic Jul 4, 2017 $13,045.00
Petrolia Topic Apr 1, 2018 $11,529.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Sep 4, 2015 $19,473.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Jun 1, 2016 $17,369.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Jul 4, 2017 $17,830.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2018 $16,734.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2019 $14,512.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2020 $14,512
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2021 $12,273.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2021 $1,750.00
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr 1, 2022 $12,024.00
The Post Apr 1, 2020 $34,234
The Record Apr 1, 2020 $29,688
Record-Gazette Sep 4, 2015 $24,641.00
Record-Gazette Jun 1, 2016 $25,499.00
Record-Gazette Jul 4, 2017 $30,464.00
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2018 $26,074.00
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2019 $20,152.00
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2020 $20,152
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2020 $5,038
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2021 $16,080.00
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2021 $2,293.00
Record-Gazette Apr 1, 2022 $9,558.00
Sarnia & Lambton County This Week Apr 1, 2020 $17,172
Sault This Week Apr 1, 2020 $144,121
Shoreline Beacon Sep 4, 2015 $47,020.00
Shoreline Beacon Jun 1, 2016 $42,554.00
Shoreline Beacon Jul 4, 2017 $45,071.00
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2018 $43,511.00
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2019 $39,074.00
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2020 $39,074
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2020 $9,769
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2021 $30,263.00
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2021 $4,315.00
Shoreline Beacon Apr 1, 2022 $28,816.00
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Sep 4, 2015 $50,183.00
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Jun 1, 2016 $49,929.00
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr 1, 2019 $47,825.00
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr 1, 2020 $47,825
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr 1, 2020 $11,956
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr 1, 2021 $39,545.00
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr 1, 2021 $5,638.00
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr 1, 2022 $29,462.00
The Standard (Sudbury) Jul 4, 2017 $51,533.00
The Standard (Sudbury) Apr 1, 2018 $50,234.00
Strathroy Age Dispatch Sep 4, 2015 $26,167.00
Strathroy Age Dispatch Jun 1, 2016 $17,299.00
Strathroy Age Dispatch Jul 4, 2017 $15,567.00
Strathroy Age Dispatch Apr 1, 2018 $14,082.00
Tilbury Times Sep 4, 2015 $16,677.00
Tilbury Times Jun 1, 2016 $18,047.00
Tilbury Times Jul 4, 2017 $17,675.00
Tilbury Times Apr 1, 2018 $17,827.00
Tilbury Times Apr 1, 2019 $17,493.00
Tillsonburg News Sep 4, 2015 $30,683.00
The Timmins Times Apr 1, 2020 $19,582
The Tribune Apr 1, 2022 $32,987.00
The Trentonian Apr 1, 2020 $32,614
Vermilion Standard Apr 1, 2020 $20,765.00
The Vulcan Advocate Sep 4, 2015 $24,641.00
The Vulcan Advocate Jun 1, 2016 $16,756.00
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2018 $20,573.00
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2019 $19,194.00
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2020 $19,194
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2020 $5,000
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2021 $17,417.00
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2021 $2,483.00
The Vulcan Advocate Apr 1, 2022 $17,731.00
Weekender Times-Advance Apr 1, 2020 $44,932
The Wetaskiwin Times Apr 1, 2020 $14,794
The Whitecourt Star Sep 4, 2015 $29,083.00
The Whitecourt Star Jul 4, 2017 $27,757.00
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2018 $23,818.00
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2019 $21,086.00
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2020 $21,872
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2020 $5,272
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2021 $17,624.00
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2021 $2,513.00
The Whitecourt Star Apr 1, 2022 $18,817.00
The Wiarton Echo Sep 4, 2015 $26,741.00
The Wiarton Echo Jun 1, 2016 $29,913.00
The Wiarton Echo Jul 4, 2017 $30,176.00
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2018 $32,003.00
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2019 $24,872.00
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2020 $24,872
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2020 $6,218
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2021 $21,881.00
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2021 $3,120.00
The Wiarton Echo Apr 1, 2022 $17,342.00

While it looks like there is double dipping in 2020/2021, the smaller grants are classified as “Aboriginal recipient”. That’s why there are multiple entries. 2020 is also when the “special measures for Covid” grants were being handed out.

These are not just one-off occurrences, where an outlet is short of cash and needs help. Instead, subsidies appear to be built into their respective business models.

Of course, these grants don’t take into account other indirect contributions, just as Government buying up ad space. That was extremely common occurrence over the last few years.

Do we have any sort of real media when everyone — including the “independents” — are getting handouts from the Federal Government? Doesn’t seem like it.