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The government will introduce another internet regulation bill – this time focused on curbing harmful content such as hate speech and revenge porn – in “the very near future,” according to Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault.

Mr. Guilbeault appeared Monday before the House of Commons ethics committee to discuss the bill, and while he declined to be specific on the timeline, his comment strongly suggests the legislation will be introduced before June 23 when the House is scheduled to break for summer.

The minister appeared on the same day that Liberal and Bloc Québécois MPs voted together in the House of Commons to shut down debate on another proposed internet law, Bill C-10, which would subject online streaming services to oversight by the federal broadcasting regulator. The adoption of the procedural move does not guarantee that Bill C-10 will become law by summer, however. Even if the bill is approved by the House before June 23, it still requires the review and approval of the Senate, which is planning to break the same day.

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What is Bill C-10 and why are the Liberals planning to regulate the internet?

Liberals seek to run out the clock on parliamentary disclosure

The minister said the next internet legislation will cover five areas: child sexual exploitation, inciting violence, inciting terrorism, the non-consensual sharing of intimate images and hate speech. He also said it will be inspired by Australia, which has an e-safety commissioner with regulatory powers over similar matters.

The ethics committee has been holding hearings into Montreal-based MindGeek, which owns the Pornhub website, over allegations it is abetting sex trafficking and exploitation and has ignored complaints about intimate images shared without consent.

The government has signalled that the upcoming legislation will require online platforms to remove illegal content within 24 hours or face significant penalties.

“What we want to do with this legislation is really shift the challenge for the victims of having to try and get these images taken down – if we’re referring to images that we would find on Pornhub, for example – shift the burden of doing this from the individual to the state,” Mr. Guilbeault told MPs. “So it would be up to the government of Canada, through a regulator, to do that, as it is done in other countries, for example, Australia with the e- safety commissioner. So that’s the goal we’re pursuing with the tabling of this legislation.”

As for when the bill will be made public, Mr. Guilbeault said: “It is still my intention to introduce the legislation in the very near future.”

The committee also heard from an expert that cautioned against increased regulation. Melissa Lukings, a cybersecurity researcher and advocate, told MPs that more regulation would push content to dark corners of the internet, making it even harder to find and regulate. “We’re continuing to discuss the creation of additional regulations as if there is not a direct consequence of doing so. But there is,” she said.

“Adding new regulations will put people at risk of exploitation and other types of harm, and will push traffic onto anonymized networks,” Ms. Lukings said.

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Instead, she said that the criminal code and current corporate regulations can already be used in these situations. “Why do we need more oversight when we have not yet tried to simply apply the law that we already have?” she told the committee.

The focus on which bills will be approved into law before the summer recess is attracting heightened attention this year owing to the possibility that the Liberals will call a fall election, which would mean all bills that have not yet been passed would die.

Monday’s motion to shut down debate on C-10 was opposed by NDP and Green Party MPs.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters that the Liberals were elected to a four-year term in 2019 and there is no reason for a fall election.

“The Liberal government is setting up a bogus deadline,” he said in French. While the NDP generally supports C-10, the party has said it should receive extended debate through the summer.

Conservative MP and heritage critic Alain Rayes said his party is very concerned that the Liberals and the Bloc are making use of an “extreme tactic” to shut down debate on C-10 and accusing them of “ramming the bill through Parliament without proper discussions.”

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