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INSIDE THE VILLAGE: The Prime Minister answers our questions

This week's podcast: Justin Trudeau talks to Village Media about the endless opioid crisis, Pierre Poilievre — and why Meta, not his Liberals, is to blame for Facebook's decision to block all news

​Welcome back to Inside the Village, a one-of-a-kind podcast where all news is local — and no topic is off-limits.

On this week's episode: A chat with the Prime Minister.

During a recent visit to Sault Ste. Marie, Justin Trudeau took some time out of his schedule for a one-on-one interview with Village Media, the local news company that operates this website.

We covered a lot of ground during the conversation, with topics ranging from green steelmaking, the endless opioid crisis, and last month's tragic shooting rampage that devastated the Sault.

But we also made sure to ask a few questions about Bill C-18, the Trudeau government's attempt to force Big Tech (ie. Meta and Google) to compensate media outlets for content that appears on their platforms.

So far, at least, the bill has not worked out according to plan. Rather than pay up, Meta chose to block all news headlines from the Facebook and Instagram feeds of Canadian users — and Google is threatening similarly drastic measures once the law takes effect on Dec. 19. 

For the record, Village Media (which is headquartered in Sault Ste. Marie) did not support this legislation. Born digital, we never bought into the prevailing wisdom that Big Tech "steals" our content. We happily posted it there, knowing full well that every Facebook link helped delivery our high-quality community journalism to as many readers as possible.

"It's a really difficult situation," Trudeau said. when asked about Bill C-18. "The reality is we're doing this to force the online giants to support local media. Because if we don't, as the world continues to change, will there be a Village [Media] in 10 years?"

"Meta has chosen to be really bad and irresponsible actors," the Prime Minister continued. "They have said: ‘It doesn't matter that billions of people rely on [us] for their information, we're not going to take any responsibility for defending democracy.’ That is Meta’s choice and I absolutely condemn them for it. But hopefully they will eventually change their minds. Google is being more thoughtful about it. They're still very careful because they know what we do in Canada will end up getting adopted around the world."

The full interview can be found HERE.

Hosted by Scott Sexsmith and Michael Friscolanti, the Editor-in-Chief of Village Media, Inside the Village is a news and current affairs podcast that provides a weekly window into some of the best local journalism from across our chain of Ontario newsrooms. Produced by Derek Turner, the program also explores bigger-picture issues that impact people across the province.

Every episode is available HERE. If you prefer the audio version, it is available wherever you find your favourite podcasts.

Have something to say? You can reach us at [email protected].

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