Vocal critic of Liberals' online streaming bill partly funded by YouTube and TikTok

·1 min read

OTTAWA — An outspoken critic of the Liberal government's online streaming bill has admitted he has received funding from two of the biggest digital platforms in the world.

Scott Benzie, founder of Digital First Canada, told a parliamentary committee on Monday that his organization, which advocates for online creators, is partly funded by YouTube and TikTok.

The revelation prompted Liberal MP Chris Bittle, parliamentary secretary to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, to accuse Benzie of having a major conflict of interest.

Bill C-11 aims to modernize the Canadian Broadcasting Act to include streaming platforms, and Benzie has expressed concerns it could apply to user-generated content.

Both YouTube and TikTok say Digital First Canada has given a voice to online content creators, who they are argue were not otherwise adequately represented in the debate over Bill C-11.

Benzie, who is registered to lobby the Heritage Department on legislation that would affect online content creators, says he started the organization before YouTube and TikTok provided the money, which is under $100,000 and does not pay for salaries.

He says most of the advocacy group's funding comes from the Toronto-based Buffer Festival, an annual event showcasing online video creators.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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