Trudeau government is taking steps to make expanded financial transaction surveillance powers 'permanent.'
Image Source: National Review

Google’s news-blocking test in Canada a ‘terrible mistake’, says PM Trudeau

On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was a “terrible mistake” for Alphabet Inc’s Google to block news content in reaction to a government bill that would now it obligatory for the search engine behemoth to pay publishers in Canada for news content.

Trudeau government is taking steps to make expanded financial transaction surveillance powers 'permanent.'
Image Source: National Review

Earlier this week, Google said it was testing blocking some Canadian users’ access to news as a potential response to the Trudeau government’s “Online News Act,” which is soon expected to pass as a law in the parliament.
Speaking to reporters in Toronto, PM Trudeau said the blocking of news in Canada was an issue “bothering” him. He said, “It really surprises me that Google has decided that they’d rather prevent Canadians from accessing news than actually paying journalists for the work they do.”

“I think that’s a terrible mistake and I know Canadians expect journalists to be well paid for the work they do”, he further added. The tech giant did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Introduced last year by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, the “Online News Act,” will create rules for social platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news publishers. Facebook has also voiced its opinion against the legislation and cautioned it might be forced to block news-sharing on its platform.
In December 2022, the legislation was passed in Canada’s House of Commons and right now, it is in the unelected upper chamber of the parliament, which hardly blocks legislation the lower house clears.

The rules are meant to help the Canadian news industry, which has long requested for regulation of tech firms, citing growing financial losses while Facebook and Google steadily get a bigger market share of online advertising income.
The proposal is quite similar to a ground-breaking law that Australia passed in 2021, which also sparked controversy and triggered warnings from Google and Facebook to curtail their services. After a series of amendments to the legislation were offered, both eventually struck deals with Australian media companies.

Canadian Flag

Since 2008, more than 450 news outlets have been shut in Canada, as digital platforms acquired the space, while billions of dollars in advertising revenues that once fed newsrooms across Canada now go mostly to two companies: Google and Meta.

The new law would mandate tech giants to make reasonable commercial deals with Canadian outlets for the news and information that is shared on their platforms, or face binding arbitration.