With Google Removing Canadian News Links, The Liberal Sabotage Of The Press Is Nearly Complete

Whether due to deliberate malice or rampant incompetence – and malice seems more likely here – the Liberals are getting what they want: The weakening of independent media outlets and a broader media ecosystem dependent upon the government for survival.

Well, there it is.

As a result of Bill C-18, Google will be ending news sharing in Canada on their search engine.

Here’s their announcement:

“Bill C-18 has become law and remains unworkable. The Government has not given us reason to believe that the regulatory process will be able to resolve structural issues with the legislation. As a result, we have informed the Government that we have made the difficult decision that when the law takes effect we will be removing links to Canadian news from our Search, News, and Discover products and will no longer be able to operate Google News Showcase in Canada. Read our blog and consult our FAQ to learn more.

The Government of Canada has enacted a new law called Bill C-18 (the Online News Act), requiring two companies to pay for simply showing links to news, something that everyone else does for free. The unprecedented decision to put a price on links (a so-called “link tax”) creates uncertainty for our products and exposes us to uncapped financial liability simply for facilitating Canadians’ access to news from Canadian publishers. We have been saying for over a year that this is the wrong approach to supporting journalism in Canada and may result in significant changes to our products.

We have now informed the Government that when the law takes effect, we unfortunately will have to remove links to Canadian news from our Search, News and Discover products in Canada, and that C-18 will also make it untenable for us to continue offering our Google News Showcase product in Canada.

We’re disappointed it has come to this. We don’t take this decision or its impacts lightly and believe it’s important to be transparent with Canadian publishers and our users as early as possible.”

Pablo Rodriguez responds

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has responded to Google’s announcement. He struck the usual tone taken by the Liberals throughout their time pushing Bill C-18, which is to attack “big tech” and ignore all legitimate criticism:

“Big tech would rather spend money changing their platforms to block news from Canadians instead of paying a small share of the billions they make in advertising dollars.

Canadians won’t be bullied. Big tech isn’t bigger than Canada.”

Rodriguez’s response is now surprise. He has shown tremendous arrogance whenever confronted with criticism of the legislation. Further, he was warned over and over again by both Facebook and Google that if Bill C-18 was passed without changes it would result in them blocking Canadian news on their platforms.

Rodriguez ignored those warnings, yet here we are, with Facebook and Google ending news sharing on their platforms – exactly as they promised.

Google is complying

Now, you’re going to hear a lot of people saying that Google and Facebook “aren’t complying” with Bill C-18.

But that is incorrect.

In fact, Google and Facebook are perfectly complying with the legislation.

C-18 demands that if Facebook and Google want to have links to Canadian news on their platforms, they must pay Canadian news organizations for those links.

This leaves Google and Facebook with another option to comply: Simply remove all news links.

The Liberals have argued that Google and Facebook are ‘stealing’ profits from news organizations by posting the links. It’s a crazy argument, because it would be equivalent to arguing that roads which facilitate customer access to a business are ‘stealing’ from that business.

Facebook and Google provide a service, a service which dramatically increases the traffic going to many news sites in Canada.

Thus, without that service being provided, those links can’t exist and their is no traffic at all from those platforms.

So, from the perspective of Google and Facebook, the Canadian government is telling them that providing their service equals theft.

They have decided to end this ‘theft’, by not allowing links at all.

It’s a perfectly common-sense response, and the Liberals have no right to complain about it. After all, what did they expect would happen?

Compelling someone to do something you can’t compel them to do

If you want to compel someone to do something, you have to have a way in which to compel them.

The Liberals are trying to compel Google and Facebook to use their own profits to pay media companies for a service Google and Facebook are providing for free.

What business would see that as a good idea?

Imagine how absurd it would be to ask a restaurant to pay it’s customers, rather than being paid by them?

Yet, that’s what the government is demanding.

But they have no leverage.

They can’t make Google or Facebook do anything, so both platforms are deciding to simply withdraw their service, and there’s not a thing the government can do.

A sad day for Canada

Make no mistake about it, this is a sad day for Canada.

The Liberals have managed – either deliberately or through incompetence – to dramatically weaken the media. Independent media outlets will take a big hit, since they won’t be subsidized by the government.

And establishment outlets will be both weaker – due to less traffic – and more dependent on the government, thus further incentivizing them to support the government rather than questioning the government.

As I’ve said before, I believe this is all deliberate. It fits perfectly with what the long-term Liberal effort to reverse the rise of independent media and turn much of the establishment media into an extension of the state.

They are seeking to turn all media into Canada into a ‘CBC-clones’, or weaken them so much that they fold and CBC becomes one of the only places to go for news.

The Liberals’ sabotage of the press is nearly complete.

An attitude incompatible with a free & open country

The Liberals love to posture as a modern, forward-looking, progressive party that embraces the future.

But their actions often completely clash with that.

Canada will now join a small group of countries – mostly authoritarian states – where people will have to use VPNs to access Canadian news on Google and Facebook.

Our access to information about what is happening in our own country will be narrowed, all because of legislation imposed by the federal government.

There’s nothing modern or open about that attitude, and it’s completely incompatible with Canada being a free and open country.

All Canadians, regardless of our partisan affiliation, should be opposed to what this federal government is doing. This must be a wakeup call for Canadians to realize the significant damage that can be done when a government becomes obsessed with control rather than seeking to defend our rights and freedoms.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube


The damage being done by Bill C-18 makes it more important than ever for Canadians to support independent media. If you value my writing, you can make a contribution through PayPal or directly through Stripe below:


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