Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

During this week’s debate on Bill C-10, senators expressed strong reservations and said it required more in-depth review.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

The Senate gave its final approval to the government’s budget bill and climate change legislation Tuesday, but recessed for summer without passing Bill C-10, the controversial Liberal broadcasting bill, nor a separate bill aimed at curtailing conversion therapy.

The Liberal government had listed all four bills as priorities to pass into law by summer, but the Senate only signed off on two of them.

One of the biggest questions facing the Senate this week was whether it would schedule committee hearings over the summer on Bill C-10, which would update the Broadcasting Act. Summer hearings would have left open the possibility that the bill could still pass before a possible fall election. However senators effectively shut down that option Tuesday, recessing until mid-September without scheduling any summer hearings.

Story continues below advertisement

As a result, if an election campaign begins in late August or early September, Bill C-10, as well as the other unapproved priority bill and all other unfinished legislation, would die.

Canada’s governor-general post has been vacant for months, that’s a problem

Catherine McKenna, and half of Trudeau’s first cabinet, are now going or gone

During this week’s debate on C-10, senators expressed strong reservations and said it required more in-depth review.

Senator David Richards, a Canadian novelist who was appointed as an independent senator by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017, told the Senate Tuesday that C-10 raises serious freedom-of-speech concerns.

“I will always and forever stand against any bill that subjects freedom of expression to the doldrums of governmental oversight,” he said. “And I implore others to do the same. Because I don’t think this bill needs amendment. I think, however, it needs a stake through the heart.”

The four bills were only sent to the Senate from the House in late June. Several senators expressed frustration with the government pressure to approve them despite the tight timing.

As one senator, Scott Tannas, put it last week: “Your bad planning is not my emergency.”

Bill C-10 was introduced in the House of Commons in November. According to the government, it’s meant to update the Broadcasting Act for the digital age and level the playing field between traditional broadcasters and web giants. The legislation is one in a series of bills on internet regulation that Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault promised to introduce.

Story continues below advertisement

C-10 gained notoriety this spring during study at a Commons committee, when Liberal members removed a section of the bill that would have excluded user-generated content from regulation. Critics said this change meant Canadian citizens could have their social-media content regulated, while the government maintained that there were other provisions in the bill to protect people’s rights.

Senators also resisted government pressure to pass another bill, C-6, that the Liberals had identified as a priority. The legislation would effectively ban the practice known as conversion therapy, which aims to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or to change an individual’s gender identity or expression.

Rather than approving the bill this week, the Senate sent the legislation to committee for further review in September.

Several senators have spoken in favour of C-6 in recent days, including Senator Marilou McPhedran, who described the legislation as “an act of love.”

“I am the proud mother of a non-binary queer person who, as a child, was secretly taken to gender conversion sessions until I found out,” she told the Senate last week. “This is a brilliant, strong, compassionate person who brings huge light to our world. To this day, more than 30 years later, they remember that terrible time even though they have not only survived, but they thrive and share the power of love every day, in so many ways, with so many people.”

But Conservative Senate Leader Don Plett said this week that the bill raises religious freedom concerns.

Story continues below advertisement

“Here’s the problem: It’s no secret that the practice of homosexuality is forbidden in some faiths,” he told the Senate this week. “The bill before us today may be well intentioned, and Conservatives support it in principle. Abusive or coercive conversion therapy should be banned. But the bill has significant problems that need to be addressed.”

The Senate approved Bill C-30, the budget bill, and C-12, a climate change bill, on Tuesday.

Bill C-30 gives the legal authority for the government to move ahead with various plans laid out in April’s budget, including extending pandemic-related support programs through the summer.

Bill C-12 requires the federal government to set national targets for reducing Canada’s greenhouse-gas emissions. The targets – and related progress reports – would apply to every five-year period from 2030 to 2050, when the government says Canada will reach a target of net zero emissions.

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies