Google and Facebook parent-company Meta, the companies targeted by the Liberals’ Bill C-18, the Online News Act, are opposed to the bill. The legislation would force them to share revenue with news publishers for making news content available through their platforms. Google has publicly criticized the bill.
The coalition of smaller publishers, which says it represents more than 100 independent outlets, has raised its own concerns about the act, which is supported by many large, mainstream news organizations, including Postmedia, publisher of the National Post.
Independent publishers began discussing forming a coalition in response to Bill C-18 at the Google-hosted Newsgeist industry conference in Montreal last month, according to notes from that conversation circulated among coalition members.
It was at that same conference that the possibility of Google providing funding for a lobbyist for the group was discussed, the notes show.
“Google has offered to fund a government relations consultant to help us have a voice at the table,” the notes read. A majority of the group was in favour of accepting the funding at that first meeting, the notes indicate.