This morning, Meta released a statement explaining why its president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, is no longer appearing at a Canadian Heritage committee meeting regarding Bill C-18, slated for two hours today.
According to Meta, the committee changed the title of the meeting last Thursday, from “The Response of Companies in the Information Technology Sector to Bill C-18”, to ‘Tech Giants’ Current and Ongoing Use of Intimidation and Subversion Tactics to Evade Regulation in Canada and Across the World’. This, the company said, is “very different” from what Clegg agreed to appear for.
The Meta representatives in Canada, Kevin Chan, global policy director and Rachel Curran, head of public policy for Canada, who did make it to the meeting, affirmed that the new title is “confrontational”.
According to the clerk of the committee, Meta also said that a sovereign citizen of another country does not have to abide by the conditions of a summons from the Canadian Heritage committee, and that Clegg only planned to appear voluntarily if the framing of the meeting was collaborative, adding that the change of title might have been “unpalatable” to Clegg.
But the chair of the Heritage Committee, Hedy Fry, maintained during the ongoing meeting that there was no “sleight of hand” and that the content of the meeting, disclosed publicly, prior to the title change, fully informed the nature of the meeting.
Another committee member also questioned Meta’s chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg and head of Canada, Chris Sanaga’s decision to not appear, adding he finds it extraordinary that only witnesses (Chan and Curran), who were not even summoned in the first place, made it to the meeting.
The committee voted to demand that Clegg appear next Tuesday for another meeting or he will be in non-compliance and face “whatever processes we [committee] have to show Mr. Clegg that he has to respect our democracy.”