In a sign that negotiations with tech giants Google and Meta over the government’s new Online News Law may be at an impasse, the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois are expected to present a united front in support. of the legislation at a press conference today.
“Canada is taking on the tech giants for the right reasons,” Heritage Minister Pablo Rodríguez said in a press release. “A free and independent press is fundamental to our democracy.”
His office did not say whether the government would have anything new to announce at the news conference.
“We’re going to stand our ground. After all, if the government can’t defend Canadians against the tech giants, who will?” Rodriguez’s statement said.
“We are not going to do the impossible, we are not going to change our position,” an NDP source said. Breaking: is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter.
The source called Google’s announcement last week that it would remove Canadian news content from its search, news and discovery products an act of “intimidation.”
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has also said it will prevent Canadian users from posting Canadian news media links on Facebook or Instagram pages.
Neither company has followed through on those threats yet, despite the fact that the Online News Act, also known as C-18, received royal assent after passing both the House of Commons and the Senate.
The law requires companies like Google and Meta to pay money to a news organization every time a user accesses a web story through a link in one of their products.
The bill has been billed as a way to maintain the solvency of the media after advertising moved en masse to digital platforms, virtually eliminating a major source of revenue for journalism.
As a news organization, the CBC could see a financial benefit under C-18, which requires the CBC to provide an annual report on any news compensation it receives from digital carriers.
“Democratically voted laws must be respected,” said Martin Champoux, heritage critic for the Bloc Québécois, in a press release.
Champoux is expected to appear alongside Rodriguez and the NDP’s Peter Julian on Wednesday. He said the news conference is “an occasion to show how serious we are about protecting the media and ensuring there is a fairer way to share advertising revenue.”
The Conservative Party did not offer a comment for this story. He voted against C-18 and party leader Pierre Poilievre vowed in a tweet to “repeal [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau’s censorship laws”.
Google and Meta also offered no comment for this story. In the past, both companies have said the legislation is unfeasible.
Google has likened the exposure it provides through its search engine to a free media kiosk service. Meta has said that he sees no room to negotiate with the government, given the way the law was drafted.
Last week, Rodríguez told Breaking: that he hoped to speak with Google this week and suggested that the regulations supporting the new law could address some of the company’s concerns. His office has not said whether such talks have yet taken place.
Google has said it hopes to participate in the regulatory process.
Breaking: will broadcast today’s press conference live at noon ET.