Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday December 1, 2023
A Step Forward, Poilievre’s Stance a Step Back
In a recent breakthrough, Google and the federal government have forged an agreement over the Online News Act, marking a significant stride towards fair compensation for Canadian news outlets. The deal ensures that Google will continue sharing Canadian news online, accompanied by annual payments totaling around $100 million to support the news industry.
Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge, instrumental in the negotiations, expressed confidence in addressing Google’s concerns, emphasizing the importance of finding common ground. The regulatory framework, incorporated into the C-18 legislative framework, is poised to be unveiled by mid-December, showcasing a commitment to transparency and accountability.
The agreement, a product of extensive talks, not only secures financial support for news organizations but also addresses Google’s reservations about the Online News Act’s structural aspects. Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, expressed gratitude for the government’s responsiveness to their concerns, acknowledging the commitment to address core issues.
However, amid this positive development, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre remains a notable critic. Poilievre has consistently opposed the idea of globalist tech firms compensating Canadians for the content they use to generate profits. His stance, epitomized by a proposed “Online News Don’t Act,” raises concerns about the fair treatment of local journalists.
While Google embraces negotiations and financial contributions, Poilievre’s reluctance to support the Online News Act suggests a different vision. The contrast between Google’s willingness to engage in fair compensation and Poilievre’s non-act approach underscores the potential implications for the Canadian news landscape.
The government’s success in reaching an agreement with Google sets a precedent for other countries, showcasing the effectiveness of legislation like Bill C-18. This achievement stands in stark contrast to Poilievre’s skepticism and reluctance to acknowledge the positive impact of regulatory frameworks.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hails the agreement as “very good news” and emphasizes the support for local journalism, Poilievre’s dissenting voice seems out of touch with the demonstrated commitment to a thriving news ecosystem. It is crucial to recognize the importance of fair compensation for journalists and the potential positive influence of legislation like the Online News Act.
The deal with Google represents a positive leap forward for Canadian media, demonstrating the effectiveness of legislative frameworks. While celebrating this achievement, it is essential to scrutinize and question opposition voices like Pierre Poilievre, who appear resistant to measures aimed at securing fair compensation for the backbone of our information ecosystem – our journalists. (AI)