By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
As the Canadian government tries to level the playing field between online tech giants such as Google and Facebook and Canadian news media who produce a lot of the stories they run on their websites, weekly newspapers may be left behind. Bow River MP Martin Shields is fighting hard to ensure newspapers do receive aid if Bill C-18 gets implemented.
“One of the things that I have been able to be on is (Heritage) committee. We have been talking about weekly newspapers and a lot of what C-18 will do is that it’s a bill that takes money from Facebook, Meta as it is now called, Google, and re-distribute it,” said Shields. “Well, 75 per cent of that money looks like it will head to CBC — those types of corporations that are already there. The 25 per cent leftover will head into the mega newspaper chains. There’s going to be virtually nothing left for the weeklies out of that piece of legislation. When I challenge people that have come as witnesses I say, ‘The weekly papers are such a critical and important part of our communities. They cover the news of municipal governments, they cover the news of sports teams, they cover the schools, they cover fundraisers.’ They are so critical in our communities, and we got a lot of them in this writing and a lot of them in rural Alberta and rural Saskatchewan, but yet this legislation is not going to help those weekly newspapers.”
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