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Creator of popular kids’ YouTube channel slams federal online-streaming bill

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OTTAWA — The Canadian creator of a children’s YouTube channel with 34.2 million subscribers has condemned the government’s online-streaming bill as a “bad piece of legislation” written by people who don’t understand how digital platforms work.

Morghan Fortier warned MPs on the House of Commons heritage committee Tuesday that the bill is “far too overreaching,” giving powers over the internet to the broadcast regulator.

“Bill C-11 is not an ill-intentioned piece of legislation, but it is a bad piece of legislation,” she said. “It has been written by those who don’t understand the industry.”

The YouTube entrepreneur said Bill C-11 confuses online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and TikTok with broadcasters like CBC and Netflix.

Fortier said a light regulatory touch has been key to her and other digital creators’ success, arguing that Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s assurances that Bill C-11 would not affect user-generated content are “untrue.”

Fortier told MPs that one of her digital-first studio’s channels, Super Simple Songs, featuring kids’ songs set to animated videos, is the most-watched Canadian YouTube channel with over 1.3 billion views.

She said a clause in the bill giving the CRTC the potential to regulate users’ videos posted on YouTube should be deleted.

The bill is designed to update Canada’s broadcast laws to include streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify. It would support Canada’s creative industries by making sure Canadian TV, music and film is featured and financially supported by streaming platforms.

Dr. Irene Berkowitz of Toronto Metropolitan University told MPs she was deeply concerned that C-11 “will chill Canadian media innovation.”

She said Canadians are YouTube’s No. 1 exporters, enhancing Canada’s “soft power and our values around the world,” with people of all genders and races benefiting.

“Why mess with the earnings of self-starters who have never asked for a penny from the public purse?” Berkowitz asked.

But other experts told MPs the bill should be swiftly introduced to protect Canadian music producers and create a level playing field between foreign streaming giants, such as Netflix, and Canadian broadcasters.

Brad Danks, CEO of OutTV, warned that some digital streaming platforms from outside Canada had refused to carry LGBTQ content.

Danks explained that although some such as Amazon Prime have embraced such content, others use an algorithm that predicts no one would subscribe to film and TV with a LGBTQ theme, an assessment he said was incorrect.

He cautioned that big streaming platforms that may not want to carry LGBTQ content were soon coming to Canada.

Danks said regulations in the bill are needed to ensure that Canadian content — including LGBTQ programs — are featured on premium streaming platforms.

He said it “is vital that Canadians gain access” to the streaming giants.

Jérôme Payette, executive director of the Professional Music Publishers’ Association, said streaming giants had “no regard for the cultural aspects of francophone music” and some musicians were making pennies from their work from web giants.

“It is our culture and our cultural sovereignty that is at stake,” he insisted.

Troy Reeb, executive vice-president of Corus Entertainment, said Canadian broadcasters face layers of regulations to which foreign competitors are not subjected and the bill would create a level playing field.

Alain Saulnier, author and retired communications professor from Université de Montréal, said “putting foreign and Canadian companies on the same footing is essential.”

He warned that action was needed to “protect our cultural sovereignty” from foreign streaming platforms, which were overtaking traditional TV companies.

But Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa’s Canada Research Chair in internet law, said the bill would create “regulatory uncertainty” and called for a more targeted approach.

“If the goal is to target large streaming services or to exempt video games and niche streamers, say so in the legislation,” Geist said.

He suggested that Canada could mirror European Union legislation that differentiates between curated and uncurated content.

Matthew Hatfield of OpenMedia, a community-driven organization dedicated to an open internet, said users’ podcasts, YouTube videos and TikTok posts must be excluded from the bill.

He asked MPs to introduce “minimum safeguards … to ensure that user-generated content is fully, plainly and definitively excluded from CRTC regulation.”

Hatfield said the the federal government has just given “a flimsy promise that the CRTC won’t misuse this astonishing expanded power.”

A spokeswoman for Rodriguez said the aim of Bill C-11 was to ask online streaming companies to contribute to Canadian culture, while updating broadcasting policy “to reflect a diverse, vibrant, 21st-century Canada.”

“From the beginning, the minister has said that he is open to ideas that strengthen the bill and achieve these policy objectives. Regulating user-generated content is not one of those objectives,” said Ashley Michnowski. “There is a good debate underway in the parliamentary committee on the bill, and we’re looking at options on how to strengthen it.”

She said YouTube “as the largest streaming platform of music in Canada” is within the scope of the bill but “users will not have any obligations.”

“Only platforms like YouTube will have to contribute to Canadian culture and pay its fair share,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.

 

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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Media Release – July 5, 2022 – Guelph Police – Guelph Police Service

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Charges laid for driving on closed road

A Guelph male faces impaired and dangerous driving charges after ignoring officers and driving on a closed road late Monday.

Approximately 11:45 p.m., Guelph Police Service officers were investigating a single-vehicle collision during which a light post was knocked down on Willow Road at Silvercreek Parkway North. Willow Road was blocked off during the investigation and clean-up.

A driver signalling to enter the closed portion of Willow Road was directed by officers on foot not to do so, but ignored this direction and accelerated past them. The vehicle was located at an address in the area and officers detected an odour of alcoholic beverage on the driver’s breath. He refused several demands to provide a sample of his breath.

A 34-year-old Guelph male is charged with refusing to provide a breath sample and dangerous driving. His driver’s licence was suspended for 90 days and his vehicle was impounded for seven days. He will appear in a Guelph court August 16, 2022.e

A 60-year-old Toronto male was charged with careless driving in relation to the original collision. Willow Road was closed approximately two hours while the post was replaced.

Downtown business entered

The Guelph Police Service continues to investigate a break and enter last week at a downtown business.

Sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday, a business on Wyndham Street North near Woolwich Street was entered by prying open a front door. A 48-inch Samsung TV, computer tower and external hard drives were among the items stolen.

Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Matt Simpson at 519-824-1212, ext. 7318, email msimpson@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Blood trail leads to suspect

A male who injured himself breaking a window Monday evening was caught after leaving a blood trail.

Police were called approximately 7:15 p.m. to an apartment building on Silvercreek Parkway North. A male had been involved in a verbal altercation, following which he punched and broke a window in a stairwell door. The injury bled profusely, leaving a trail of blood down five floors and out of the building.

The male was located in the area and treated by Guelph Wellington Paramedic Service personnel before being transported to hospital for further care. He was later released from hospital and returned to the apartment building, where he was arrested while trying to gain entry.

A 38-year-old Guelph male is charged with two counts of mischief under $5,000. He will appear in a Guelph court August 19, 2022.

Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 200

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4 Takeaways From Canadiens' Pre-Draft Media Availability – The Hockey Writers

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The 2022 NHL Draft is finally upon us as members from all 32 NHL teams begin arriving in Montreal for one of the biggest weeks on the hockey calendar. To kick off the festivities, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and Vincent Lecavalier, special advisor to hockey operations, met with the media on Monday to discuss the team’s plan heading into a very important few days for the future of the franchise.

Here are the highlights from the 45-minute press conference which covered a variety of topics regarding the draft and the Habs’ offseason approach.

A Three Horse Race

To no one’s surprise, Hughes continues to play a good game of poker when it comes to who the Canadiens will be selecting with the no. 1 overall pick at the Bell Centre on Thursday night. It’s not in his best interest to unveil his plans to keep his leverage in trade discussions with his colleagues. The uncertainty surrounding the first pick is suiting the Habs just fine right now.

Kent Hughes, Montreal Canadiens GM
Kent Hughes, Montreal Canadiens general manager
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Hughes did confirm that the decision will come down to three players: Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Logan Cooley. With their scouts now all together in Montreal, the plan was to meet with everyone on Monday night to ensure that each person around the table can contribute to this crucial choice as well as the overall strategy. In other words, with 72 hours to go before round one, the Canadiens still don’t know who they are taking, and the suspense lives on.

They aren’t looking to draft the best player right now, but rather who they project will be the best players four or five years down the road and help the team win when they hopefully enter their contending window. Hughes also mentioned that character would be an important factor in the decision. Beyond their talent and intangibles, they need to determine which player is most suited to handle the pressure that comes with being Montreal’s first overall pick.

#Habs Lecavalier spoke to Shane Wright and will likely do the same with Slafkovsky & Cooley. Part of the conversations are trying to determine how the prospects will deal with the pressure of being picked first overall in the Montreal market. @TSN_Edge

Lecavalier has spoken with Wright about how he is handling everything that comes with being the projected top pick and shared some words of wisdom with the 18-year-old about his own experience as a former no. 1 overall pick himself. The intention is to have the same type of conversation with Slafkovsky and Cooley before Thursday.

Hughes Keeping All His Options Open

It’s safe to say that Hughes is ready to explore any and every scenario from now until Friday, including leaving the door open to trading the first pick if an offer he can’t refuse comes his way. There’s even a chance the Canadiens could end up with both picks one and two.

Related: Who Canadiens Would Target with a Second Top-10 Draft Pick

There’s a stronger possibility that the Habs will use their plethora of selections in this year’s draft, which includes picks no. 26 and no. 33, to move up in the first round. It has been reported they are actively looking to acquire a second Top 10 pick and they have the assets to make that hope a reality.

Shane Wright Kingston Frontenacs
Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs (Photo by Robert Lefebvre/OHL Images)

The fact that these options are even on the table could make for an interesting week for the home team.

The Assistant Coach Search Has Begun

In other offseason business, Hughes indicated that head coach Martin St. Louis has begun speaking to potential candidates for the now-vacant assistant coach position behind the Canadiens’ bench following the departure of Luke Richardson who was recently named head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Related: Canadiens’ Candidates to Replace Richardson as Assistant Coach

Hughes and executive vice president of hockey operations, Jeff Gorton will also meet with the candidates once the dust settles on the draft and free agency to determine who will ultimately be appointed.

Looking for Financial Flexibility

In addition to a successful draft, the Canadiens’ top priority this offseason is to create some financial flexibility and ease their salary cap woes. This means they’ll be looking to subtract players from their current roster before adding to it.  

It’s been well-documented that the player most likely to be moved is Jeff Petry, but Hughes said Monday that the veteran defenseman may very well be in the Habs’ lineup come October if he doesn’t get back the pieces he’s looking for. This is not the same situation as the Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves in with Ryan McDonagh, who was traded to the Nashville Predators over the weekend for a minimal return. The Habs can hang on to Petry. It might be more beneficial if they do because he’s a rare commodity and will be difficult to replace. 

Jeff Petry Montreal Canadiens
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If Petry stays put, Josh Anderson, Christian Dvorak, and Mike Hoffman are all potential trade bait, but Hughes isn’t going to just give them away to save money.

Given all the intrigue surrounding the Canadiens right now, Hughes and company are well-positioned to set off a few fireworks in front of their fans later this week. After months of speculation and preparation, all that’s left is to sit back and enjoy the show.  

Melissa has been covering the Montreal Canadiens for The Hockey Writers since March of 2020. She is also THW’s Social Media & Marketing Manager as well as co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly show produced by THW. In 2006, she spearheaded the social media initiatives for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup and was the primary person responsible for their upkeep for over 10 years. She has written articles for multiple tennis websites and interviewed the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. While her career in sports started in tennis, her first love has always been hockey. She has a journalism degree from Concordia University.

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Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes meets media ahead of NHL Draft – CTV News Montreal

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A few days ahead of the Montreal Canadiens first overall draft pick, general manager Kent Hughes says there are still three candidates in the running for the top spot.

Speaking to the press on Monday, he said it’s between forwards Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley — but the general consensus appears to be that Wright will snag the first pick.

The Burlington, Ontario-native is a 6’1″, 200-pound, right-handed centreman who spent his playing days in the OHL for the Kingston Frontenacs. He’s 18.

After a rough season, Thursday will be the first time in over 40 years the Habs have the first pick.

Hughes said he’s looking for a player with long-term potential — someone who can grow the team year after year.

“We’re not just evaluating hockey players, we’re evaluating character,” he said. “It’s hard to be 17 years old and be under the microscope.”

Canadien’s special advisor Vincent Lecavalier also addressed the media on Monday.

As a former first-pick himself, he had some advice for whoever is chosen Thursday: don’t let it go to your head.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re first or 200th. Forget about the draft and move on. You’re part of the team now.”

Since 2001, the Habs have picked in the top 10 spots.

Mike Komisarek (7, 2001), Carey Price (5, 2005), Alex Galchenyuk (3, 2012), Mikhail Sergachev (9, 2016), and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3, 2018). 

Coming off a last-place, forget-as-soon-as-possible season of misery, it’s safe to say the Habs could use help in just about every position, and two young stars would give fans something to salivate (or obsess) over.

Draft aside, the ongoing “will he ever play again” saga surrounding star goalie Carey Price continues, and it would come as little surprise if the Habs moved a veteran or two like Jeff Petry or Christian Dvorak (maybe Josh Anderson?).

The draft starts Thursday in Montreal. 

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