Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused tech heavyweights Google and Meta Platforms of resorting to “intimidating strategies” in their opposition to a proposed Canadian law. The intent of this legislation is to bolster financial support for news publishers by requiring internet behemoths such as Google and Facebook, a Meta subsidiary, to negotiate commercial deals and pay publishers for their content.

The “Online News Act”

The legislation, referred to as the “Online News Act,” has led Google and Facebook to run trials in 2023. The aim was to restrict some Canadian users from viewing or sharing news content, a potential measure if the proposed legislation is passed in its current form.

Trudeau’s Tough Talk

Trudeau voiced his concerns during a press conference in Ottawa, criticizing the tech giants for their decision to curtail Canadians’ access to local news rather than paying publishers their fair share. He censured their forceful tactics and assured that such strategies would not triumph.

Following Australia’s Footsteps

This proposed law, first introduced in April 2022, echoes a similar law that was enforced in Australia in 2021. Google, however, argues that the provisions in the Canadian legislation are more severe than those in Australia and Europe. The company suggests amendments to the bill to bring it into line with global standards.

Google’s Counter Proposal

Google Spokesperson Shay Purdy outlined the company’s viewpoint, asserting they proposed sensible and practical solutions that would render the bill functional as intended. They also aim to increase their investments in the Canadian news ecosystem. However, Purdy pointed out that the current state of the bill presents serious obstacles, making it incompatible with Google’s products and services.

The Legislation’s Journey

After successfully passing the House of Commons in December, the legislation is now with the unelected upper chamber of Parliament, which is known for rarely obstructing legislation that has been approved by the lower house.

Demands of the Canadian Media Industry

The Canadian media industry is urging stricter regulation of tech corporations to prevent them from outcompeting news organizations in the digital advertising market. Trudeau emphasized the need for these highly profitable corporations to contribute to strengthening democracy, especially at a time when local independent news outlets across the country face difficulties.

Meta’s Stance

Last week, Meta voiced its perspective, declaring the proposed bill fundamentally flawed. The company holds that news content doesn’t yield any economic value for its platforms.