The Trudeau Liberals expressed shock after Google blocked 4% of Canadians from effectively using its search engine as a retaliatory move against Bill C-18 pending legislation.
Bill C-18 would require Google and Facebook to pay Canadian content creators when linking to their content – but only content deemed worthy by a board appointed by the Trudeau Liberals.
On Thursday, Google responded to the pending legislation by blocking 4% of Canadians from having access to news on its search engine. A spokesperson from Google said the decision was part of a five-week-long “product response” to the Liberals’ Bill.
“We’re briefly testing potential product responses to Bill C-18 that impact a very small percentage of Canadian users,” a spokesperson said.
Subsequently, Liberal Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriquez said the move by Google was an attempt to “intimidate” Canadians.
“It’s disappointing to hear that Google is trying to block access to news sites,” he said.
“At the end of the day, all we’re asking the tech giants to do is compensate journalists when they use their work.”
The Online Streaming Act (Bill C-18) was passed in the House of Commons in December. It’s currently in second reading in the Senate.
Conservative MP Brad Redekopp has said the Bill would hurt smaller content creators like The Counter Signal while propping up Trudeau-friendly sites like the CBC.
Redekopp said the Bill would allow the NDP-Liberals to control what Canadians see online when they search for news.
“This NDP-Liberal Coalition needs to stop its assault on free speech,” he tweeted on Friday.
According to Michael Geist, Bill C-18 could force Big Tech to pay up to 35% of Canadian news expenditures.
Last year, Google executives slammed the Trudeau Liberal’s plan to censor the internet by passing Bill C-11.