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Passing this bill was never going to be easy. Guilbeault’s handling of it has made it far harder. In an interview last fall, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault compared the Internet giants of today — platforms such as Facebook and Google — to the big polluters he fought for many years as an environmental activist. The comparison is intriguing, perhaps even apt — and it might explain how Guilbeault is going about the task now of reining in this new generation of multinational corporate behemoths. While the battle Guilbeault fought before entering government was about the future of the planet, the struggle between governments and Big Tech is, in the words of Taylor Owen, founding director of The Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University, “about the future of liberal democracy itself.”

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