Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s credibility took another hit yesterday with an exceptionally misleading tweet on Bill C-11. The tweet featured a video of artists encouraging Canadians to seek out Canadian content, which Rodriguez used to tweet “I’m hearing so many stories from artists about how Bill #C11 will make a real difference for artists. This is what it’s all about: supporting diverse Canadian culture, artists, and stories.” Leaving aside the fact that thousands of digital creators have vocally opposed the bill with warnings that it will result in serious harm to their careers and livelihood, the artists in the video were not speaking about Bill C-11. We know that because the video was launched in April 2021, pre-dating Bill C-11 by nearly a year and created before the government started the ruckus by removing Section 4.1 protections for user content from Bill C-10, the predecessor to Bill C-11.  

The video was part of the Seek More campaign launched by Made/Nous designed to “encourage Canadians to seek out creators and content from a wide array of racial backgrounds and lived experiences, reflecting the vast and varied storytellers shaping television, film and gaming in Canada.” A press release dated April 14, 2021 discusses the campaign and features a link to the YouTube video that Rodriguez tweeted yesterday. At that time, Steven Guilbeault was Heritage Minister and Bill C-10 was sailing through the Heritage committee with little opposition. Just over a week later, the government removed the Section 4.1 protections for user content which sparked enormous concern, particularly from digital creators. Bill C-11 was not introduced until February 2022, 10 months after the video was posted.

By tweeting that he’s hearing from artists about how Bill C-11 will support them alongside a video from artists on the issue, the obvious intended implication is that the video is demonstrative of artist support. To use under-represented artists in this way – using their words for political purposes when it is clear there was no such intent with the video – is incredibly misleading. It is also part of an ongoing trend since Rodriguez has been gaslighting the public on Bill C-11 for months and his recent appearance before the Heritage committee raised credibility concerns regarding both his department’s funding for an antisemite and Bill C-18. Canadian creators deserve straight answers about how their Bill C-11 concerns will be addressed. Instead, Rodriguez has dismissed their concerns as “invented” and now has shown a willingness to mislead the Canadian public by misusing artists voices for political gain.

The post Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez Tweets Video Suggesting it Shows Creator Support for Bill C-11, But the Video Pre-Dates the Bill By Nearly a Year appeared first on Michael Geist.