Bill C-18: Justin Trudeau’s Unhinged Rhetoric Towards Tech Companies Has Fallen Flat With Canadians, Survey Finds

A new survey from Angus Reid indicates a plurality of Canadians say the government should rescind Bill C-18.

The Trudeau government has sought to position themselves as the defenders of ‘homegrown’ Canadian media against the supposedly dangerous ‘American big tech companies.’

Justin Trudeau took that rhetoric to new depths, when he compared the fight against those companies to Canada’s fight against fascism in World War Two.

Trudeau’s comparison was denounced by many at the time:

“Talk about trivializing the sacrifices of our veterans and the real horrors of war and the Holocaust.

This is shameful hyperbole that has no place in the debate over poorly drafted legislation. There is no equivalence to the millions of lives lost in wars to defend freedom”

To my knowledge, Trudeau has not repeated the comparison since. Likely, this is a recognition on the part of the Liberals that it went too far. Still, the rhetoric from Liberal MPs and some of the legacy media towards the tech companies has seemed completely over the top. It entails a mix of desperation – failing companies and unpopular political parties want an enemy to fight against and extract money from – and an apparent confidence that they have public opinion on their side.

However, that does not appear to be the case.

Rather, a new Angus Reid survey indicates Trudeau’s unhinged rhetoric towards the tech companies – and the broader government against the tech companies – is falling flat with Canadians:

When given three possibilities – tech companies should not have to pay news organizations at all, tech companies should pay news organizations a set agreed upon amount each year, and tech companies should pay news organizations for links (what C-18 demands), here’s how the numbers break down:

39% say there should be no payment.

42% say there should be a yearly agreed-upon payment.

20% say there should be payment for links.

That 20% is a problem for the Liberals, because the whole fight around C-18 is about that number. Google and Meta (Facebook) have shown a willingness to give money to news organizations in Canada. Facebook had a number of agreements to fund journalism in this country before C-18 was rammed through – those agreements have now been cancelled.

What the tech companies object to is the idea that they should pay for providing links to content. The tech companies argue – rightfully – that they are the ones providing a service to those who post the links, not the other way around. Why should they pay someone to use a service that they are providing for free?

Canadians as a whole seem to recognize how absurd an idea that is, as chose an alternative to it.

There is one area in which the Liberals are aligned with public opinion, and that’s in their claim that the tech companies are too powerful.

83% of Canadians agree that “too few tech companies have too much power over the internet”.

The problem for the Liberals however is that agreement with that question doesn’t imply agreement with the Liberals ‘response’ to that perceived issue, nor does it imply that people want the government to become more powerful in response.

Plurality want government to back down

And this is where we get to the really bad number for the Liberals.

When asked whether “the federal government should back down and rescind Bill C-18,” 48% said yes, while 26% said no. Another 25% said thy were unsure.

Intensity of opinion is also against the legislation.

27% strongly agree the government should back down, while just 10% strongly disagree that the government should back down.

The Liberals also have an issue with their own supporters.

Unsurprisingly, 75% of Conservatives want the government to rescind the legislation.

Yet, even 32% of Liberals want to see it rescinded.

Liberal supporters are split almost three ways on C-18, with 32% wanting it rescinded, 38% wanting it to go through, and 30% unsure.

After all the rhetoric and aggressive attacks made by the Liberals in relation to Bill C-18, the fact that they have only won over about 1/3rd of their supporters is stunning.

Where it gets very interesting is when we look at what Bloc supporters say. Just 15% of Bloc voters want C-18 to be rescinded, while 46% support it. 38% say they are unsure. Bill C-18 is more popular among the Bloc than it is among the Liberals.

Is this all about the Liberals trying to hold on in Quebec?

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has been spearheading the Liberal promotion of Bill C-18.

Rodriguez represents the riding of Honoré-Mercier in Quebec.

Justin Trudeau is also a Quebec MP.

The Liberals are facing heavy criticism in Quebec over immigration.

So, picking a fight with the ‘American big tech companies’ may be a way for the Liberals to create a new wedge issue that wins over some Quebec nationalists. It also feeds into the perception in Quebec that American culture is always threatening to dominate the province, a concern felt less in the rest of the country due to the similarities between many regions in English Canada and close-by regions in the United States.

After all, Trudeau’s most unhinged rhetoric against the tech companies was in French, so he appears to be targeting his most aggressive messaging to Quebec.

Is this all C-18 is about?

No, though it is definitely a part of it.

The Liberals have a broader opposition to free market competition and free expression, and they seem desperate to prop up legacy media outlets while weakening independent upstarts who are more willing to directly challenge the government on a wide range of issues.

C-18 also follows Bill C-11, as the Liberals have been consistently moving towards more and more centralized government control over the media and a less and less hospitable attitude towards freedom of speech.

Canadians appear to recognize that, with 66% agreeing with the statement “Bill C-18 is going to hurt smaller broadcasters and news organizations most.”

Keep up the fight against C-18

With the public having largely rejected Liberal messaging on C-18, now is the time for Canadians to keep up the fight against Bill C-18. Defending freedom of expression is a must if we want to defend democracy and have a dynamic and creative capitalist economy, because a free society cannot survive in the long-run without the free flow of ideas.

I encourage you to continue speaking out against Bill C-18, continue educating those around you on the dangers of the legislation, and – if you are able – contribute financially to independent media organizations to help ensure the spirit of true independent opinion and journalism thrives in Canada.

Spencer Fernando


The damage being done by the Liberal Government and 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:


[simpay id=”28904″]