Trudeau’s new censorship regime to cost over $200 million, PBO report reveals

A damning report released today by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new “Online Harms Act,” Bill C-63, will cost Canadian taxpayers over $200 million over the next five years.

Trudeau’s new censorship regime to cost over $200 million, PBO report reveals

The bill, if passed, aims to establish a 330-person bureaucracy to regulate social media platforms, including punishing individuals for statements made before the bill’s implementation that are deemed illegal.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who requested the PBO’s investigation, wrote about the report in her substack. 

“The Liberals’ controversial legislation has received significant criticism from concerned Canadians and raised alarm amongst legal experts and civil rights advocates. Instead of protecting vulnerable Canadians, it is focused on banning opinions that contradict Justin Trudeau’s radical ideology,” she said. 

What is Bill C-63?

The Trudeau Government has stated that Bill C-63 was created to combat online hate, and protect children from viewing adult content online. Trudeau has said it’s “very specifically focused on protecting kids and not on censoring the internet.” 

But beyond the protections for children against pornography, the bill also contains provisions that expand the definition of hate and increase the penalties for those who commit it. As per the bill, if an individual expresses hate speech, they could face penalties up to $20,000 and even “pay a penalty of not more than $50,000 to the Receiver General, if the member or panel considers it appropriate…” 

The text of the bill also allows for hate speech complaints to be filed anonymously to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Another part of the bill reflects the 2002 movie Minority Report, calling for citizens to be placed under house arrest if “a person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit an offense.” In other words, individuals can be punished for crimes they haven’t committed. 

The PBO report released Thursday states that the cost to establish the Digital Safety Commission and Ombudsperson Office includes salaries, operations, and enforcement measures. However, it also notes that these figures are preliminary estimates and could rise. 

Rempel Garner further stated in her substack that the bill lacks a clear framework for recouping administrative expenses, meaning taxpayers will likely bear the financial burden entirely.

Earlier this year, the non-profit Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) handed off over 55,000 signatures to the PMO in opposition to the bill. 

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