Documents obtained by The Counter Signal reveal that the Trudeau Liberals contracted a TikTok-funded non-profit to take on “disinformation, reliable news, and online safety.”
The Canadian Heritage department contracted MediaSmarts in October 2022 to lead a multi-stakeholder engagement panel on “the media ecosystem.”
MediaSmarts is an Ottawa-based not-for-profit “Centre of Digital and Media Literacy.” Its website shows it is sponsored by TikTok, Google, Meta, Bell, and Telus, among others.
TikTok has sponsored MediaSmarts since 2021.
Documents show an internal memo from federal government staffer Isabelle Mondou to Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez in September 2022.
“At the July 2022 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Culture and Heritage meeting, you broached the issue of disinformation and online safety with your PT [provincial-territorial] ministerial counterparts…”
“To the end, the Department developed a plan in which it would contract MediaSmarts, a civil society organization specializing in digital and media literacy, to organize and host a meeting with FPT [federal-provincial-territorial] Ministers and civil society organizations on these issues to take place on Oct 27 2022, during MediaSmarts’ annual Media Literacy Week in Ottawa.”
The contract was valued up to $145,000 for MediaSmarts to run the meeting focused on “Disinformation, reliable news, and online safety” in “the media ecosystem.”
The names of all federal employees attending the event were redacted.
Mondou has been the Deputy Minister for the COVID-19 Response and a Privy Council Office staffer since 2020, and the Associate Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage since 2018.
MediaSmarts’ website shows it works closely with the federal government on several initiatives, and receives non-competitive contracts to provide services such as communications research.
One often-cited source by MediaSmarts is government mouthpiece Timothy Caulfield. Caulfield has received $1.5 million of government funding to “address misinformation in a timely and accessible way.” However, on Twitter, he regularly blocks people who challenge his claims.