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“If you can’t regulate yourselves, government will regulate you,” the infrastructure and communities minister said during a panel discussion hosted by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. McKenna also raised the spectre of antitrust investigations into the likes of Facebook and YouTube, noting how Facebook has faced antitrust scrutiny in both the U.S. and the European Union. (The Logic)

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Talking point: These comments follow a drumbeat of similar warnings in recent weeks from Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault. Herself a frequent target of online and real-life vitriol, McKenna said a recent analysis of her Facebook page revealed “110,000, violent, abusive, abusive [and] hateful posts” directed at her. Yet panelist Daniel Bernhard of Friends argued the country’s ultimate authority on social media hate should be the courts, not Parliament. “If a judge finds that the content is illegal and that a platform amplified it, then the platform should be held responsible. And not only that, but that the penalties should be commensurate to their revenue and size so that it hurts accordingly,” he said.

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In reports issued Thursday, Nancy Bélanger said Benjamin Bergen and Dana O’Born, respectively executive director and director of strategic initiatives of the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), did not contravene the conflict-of-interest or political-activity provisions of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct. Both worked on Chrystia Freeland’s 2015 re-election campaign and were part of her riding’s electoral district association. The lobbying commissioner found no evidence either had lobbied her directly, or that their 2016 interactions with her then-parliamentary secretary David Lametti or his staff broke the rules. CCI also said Bélanger had informed Bergen she would not investigate a separate 2017 incident involving then-environment minister Catherine McKenna’s staff. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The lobbying commissioner’s findings have been a long time coming. Democracy Watch, a transparency watchdog, and then-NDP MP Nathan Cullen first called for investigations into CCI in July 2017. In the time since, Bélanger has replaced Karen Shepherd in the commissioner’s chair, and both Bergen and O’Born have served the majority of the five-year cool-off period for former senior campaign staff. Democracy Watch will challenge the ruling in court, co-founder Duff Conacher told The Logic, saying the commissioner had a “negligently weak record of enforcement” and relied on questioning but did not check communications. CCI, which represents domestic scale-ups, isn’t the only tech lobbyist active in Ottawa. In July 2019, The Logic reported foreign tech giants had more than tripled their government relations activity under the Liberals.

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Environment Minister Catherine McKenna accepted 62 of more than 180 amendments proposed by senators, but just seven per cent of those put forward by Conservative senators, after months of consultation with stakeholders in the energy sector. The bill proposes to overhaul the environmental review process for large projects, including pipelines and seaports. The lightly amended bill will go to the House of Commons for approval this week before going back to the Senate. (National Post)

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Talking point: The decision pits the federal government—along with environmental and Indigenous groups—against the Conservative party and companies in the oil and gas industry. Critics of the bill argue it gives environmental advocacy groups too much power to oppose projects, and the environment minister too much discretion over projects, while the federal government warned the amendments would weaken the review process. The stalemate is part of a broader national debate over how, or whether, to transition Canada’s economy away from a resource-based one. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has threatened a court challenge if Ottawa adopts Bill C-69 without heavy amendments.

Correction: An earlier version of this briefing incorrectly stated that the federal government had rejected 90 per cent of the Senate’s proposed amendments to Bill C-69. It has been updated to reflect the fact that the government rejected 93 per cent of Senate Conservatives’ proposed amendments.

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Alison Uncles, editor-in-chief of Maclean’s; Scott Gilmore, a Conservative columnist for the magazine who is also married to federal environment minister Catherine McKenna (although that certainly has never stopped him from taking positions against the current government), and an unidentified third person have submitted a bid to buy seven magazines, including Maclean’s, Today’s Parent, Hello! Canada, Chatelaine, Canadian Business and Flare(Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Rogers has been significantly reducing the number of employees at Maclean’s (where I used to work) and the other magazines for years. In June, Rogers laid off 75 people from its publishing division—one-third of remaining employees—in the run-up to putting the magazines on the market. At that point, as The Logic reported, Rogers had been looking for a buyer for months. It’s now down to two bidders. According to the Globe and Mail report, the employee group is promising to maintain the current headcount of about 150 staff until at least 2021 and not reduce pay or benefits. It’s a bold offer, and a chance for Rogers to save face after spending years cutting these magazines well past the point of viability—Canadian Business, for example, currently has no full-time employees.