Creator of Super Simple Songs, one of Canada’s most popular YouTube channels, warns Bill C-11 could shrink its global reach
One of Canada’s most successful YouTubers has warned that the government’s online streaming bill could cut his company’s global revenue as well as that of other Canadians who make a living from publishing on digital platforms.
Morghan Fortier, creator of Super Simple Songs, a preschool YouTube channel with around 30 million subscribers worldwide, accused the government of wanting to “sacrifice” the global reach of Canadian companies “in the name of more regulation.”
“Bill C-11 poses a danger not only to my business, but to thousands of Canadian content creators,” she told the Senate Transport and Communications Committee.
On Wednesday, political tensions escalated over the bill. Conservative Heritage Critic John Nater spoke in the House of Commons about the alleged bullying of Digital First chief executive Scott Benzie by a veteran Liberal MP, ahead of his appearance before the Senate committee that evening.
Bill C-11 critic should be investigated for failing to disclose YouTube funding, says Liberal MP
The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday that Chris Bittle, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage, has asked the Commissioner of Lobbying to investigate Digital First Canada for failing to immediately disclose approximately $100,000 in funding from YouTube and TikTok.
Mr. Nater raised a point of order on the floor of the House and asked the Speaker to consider whether the disclosure of the complaint on the eve of Mr. Benzie’s testimony before a Senate committee amounted to a contempt of Parliament.
The committee chair, Senator Leo Housakos, asked Mr Benzie at the committee whether he had felt intimidated, silenced or intimidated during the “parliamentary process”.
The senator expressed concern that the attack on Digital First – which defends YouTubers and others who post videos on platforms – came from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage and asked Mr Benzie to “develop” “disturbing” details. .
Mr Benzie, a vocal critic of Bill C-11, said he was criticized during his testimony to the Commons Heritage Committee.
“I was assaulted, and not just me. Digital creators have been attacked in ways we have never seen before,” he said. Some digital creators, he said, had refused to appear to testify before parliamentary committees because of such treatment.
Before appearing before senators, Mr Benzie revealed that Digital First had received funding from YouTube, TikTok and Henry’s, the camera store.
He told the committee he thinks the bill, which will impose an obligation on platforms to promote Canadian content, “creates an approach where some creators are promoted over others.”
“The promotion of one means a demotion of the other. In seeking to promote Canadian content, it will actually pit one type of Canadian creator against another,” Benzie said.
Benzie presented a letter to the Senate committee from 30 digital creators raising concerns about the bill, which seeks to modernize Canada’s broadcasting laws and extend them to platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Netflix and Spotify.
In his letter to Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger, Bittle called for an investigation into Digital First’s ties to the platforms. He said in his letter that during one of Mr Benzie’s appearances before the Commons Heritage Committee he did not tell MPs that Digital First had received funding from YouTube and TikTok.
The letter, asking for an investigation, was also signed by a Liberal member of the Commons heritage committee, Lisa Hepfner.
However, Anthony Housefather, another Liberal member of the committee, did not agree to sign Mr. Bittle’s letter. The commissioner’s office confirmed having received the complaint but did not say whether an investigation had been opened.
Asked about the point of order of the Conservative heritage spokesman by The Globe, Mr Bittle said: “I’m not sure I can bully the biggest tech companies in the world.
“Canadians expect this process to be transparent and this is a real complaint to an officer of Parliament,” he added.
As reported by The Globe on Wednesday, Benzie said the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying told him he had complied with Digital First’s funding disclosure rules.
Ms. Fortier, the successful YouTuber, told the Senate committee that last year her company earned about $370,000 from viewing her videos in Canada, but paid $3.1 million in Canadian taxes.
“That’s because we’re taxed on our worldwide earnings and, like most digital content creators, the majority of our views and earnings come from outside of Canada,” she said.
She warned that if other countries copied Canada’s bill and imposed fees on platforms to promote home videos, downgrading Canadian videos, it would be “a huge economic mistake on the government’s part”. .
Oorbee Roy, a skateboarder who makes a living posting skateboarding videos mostly on TikTok, also warned that the bill could hurt her around the world.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has always insisted that the bill would not cover user-generated content, such as cat videos, or require platforms to change their algorithms.