March 19, 2019
In the days approaching former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould‘s testimony to the House of Commons’ Justice Committee on February 27, at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s behest, Karina Gould, the Minister of Democratic Institutions, reached out to social media giant Google to pressure the firm to curtail political criticism of the Trudeau government on its platform.
Gould placed a call to a senior government relations executive at Google, during which she complained about ‘hate speech’ and ‘toxic rhetoric’, referring multiple times to specific criticisms of the Trudeau government that she found objectionable. She then threatened sweeping regulations that would require unprecedented disclosures of advertising sponsors.
The firm’s existing ad systems are not technologically capable of complying with Gould’s demand. It would require a months-long reconstruction of the software to meet the compliance requirements she laid out.
In response, the firm announced that it will not accept political advertising through the October elections. That disappointed Gould, who implored them to reconsider, even complaining to newsmedia that, “they have enormous financial and technical resources… they can get this done.”
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