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As anybody watching the Home of Commons this week is aware of, it’s Small Enterprise Week. Every day, Liberal MPs have stood within the Home to proclaim their assist for small enterprise. The speeches are supplemented by tweets, equivalent to this one by Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez. The professed admiration for small enterprise got here to thoughts final evening throughout a spectacular Senate hearing on Invoice C-11 that includes Jennifer Valentyne, Stewart Reynolds (aka Brittlestar), and Darcy Michael. The three witnesses, who have been bursting with power and confidence, got here with easy message: repair Invoice C-11 by protecting the federal government and CRTC away from the platform algorithms. It’s a message that Rodriguez has ignored for months, even though these are exactly the creators one would assume the Minister of Canadian Heritage would need to assist.
The panel supplied a reminder that these are extra than simply supremely gifted creators who’ve parlayed Web platforms and international audiences into nice success, nevertheless. They’re additionally small companies. Working alone, with a companion, or a small crew, every is a small enterprise that generates employment, brings new revenues into Canada, and – to make use of Rodriguez’s language – convey dynamism and ingenuity.
The federal government has been lulled into considering it’s a great supporter of small enterprise, pointing to applications such because the $4 billion Digital Adoption Program. However assist for small enterprise isn’t nearly spending cash. It additionally requires a supportive authorized setting. On that entrance, each week is “small enterprise weak” as long as the federal government seeks to enact Payments C-11 and C-18.
On this case of Invoice C-11, tons of of small enterprise Canadian creators have practically begged the federal government to repair a invoice they’re satisfied will harm their companies. The response from Rodriguez has been to gaslight them by denying one thing that the overwhelming majority of witnesses and consultants warn is an actual concern that might trigger grave hurt.
Invoice C-18, the On-line Information Act, is simply as unhealthy. It actually excludes small enterprise from benefiting from the system by blocking small enterprise media shops that don’t repeatedly make use of two journalists. Furthermore, as famous yesterday, the Parliamentary Finances Officer estimates that almost all of funds that could possibly be generated by the invoice will go to the largest broadcasters equivalent to Bell, Rogers, and CBC. After the large print media firms equivalent to Postmedia and Torstar get their share, it’s readily obvious that there will probably be little left for small enterprise. The online impact is evident: Canadian Heritage insurance policies undermine claims that the federal government is supporting small enterprise, who’re at greatest an after-thought for the division and at worst victims of misguided insurance policies that might result in misplaced alternatives and revenues.