An American politics site is reporting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was warned well in advance that Bill C-18 — the Online News Act — would have potentially “catastrophic” impacts on digital start-ups, freelancers and independent media sites.According documents obtained by Politico under Canada’s freedom of information laws, Trudeau was personally warned about what would happen if tech giants Meta and Google blocked Canadian news from their platforms.“Between Google and Meta announcing their intention to exit news, we now expect a catastrophic 60% reduction in traffic,” Zoomer Media’s chief operating officer Omri Tintpulver wrote to the prime minister’s office and Heritage department officials. “Jobs are going to be lost. Soon. Entire divisions may also be lost.”.“Jobs are going to be lost. Soon. Entire divisions may also be lost.”Omri Tintpulver, Zoomer Media.Zoomer Media owns the Daily Hive and blogTO websites as well as Vision TV and some smaller local radio stations.As far back as June, the CEO of Village Media — which publishes the SooToday website in Sault Ste. Marie along with 20 other 'hyperlocal' news sites in Ontario — warned the prime minister that losing Facebook and Google will “most certainly devastate what has otherwise been a thriving ‘new’ media sector.”“The impact of an exit from just Facebook alone will likely result in the shutdown of five to six of our newer community news sites (which rely on audiences developed using Facebook to develop to maturity), and the termination of roughly 30 jobs across our company.”.It comes as the federal government faces a December 19 deadline to make changes before the law comes into effect. That’s when Google has already vowed to follow Facebook parent country Meta’s decision to block Canadian news content from its popular search engine.In its own regulatory submission Google warned it sent 3.6 billion redirects to Canadian news sites in 2022 “at no charge, helping them make money with ads and new subscriptions.” According to Deloitte, the traffic drove an estimated $250 million worth of value to publishers each year. That’s on top of the nearly $600 million mainstream media receives in handouts from the Liberal government. The Western Standard does not receive federal subsidies.“We have also been clear about our desire to continue increasing our support to the Canadian News ecosystem. Unfortunately, while well intended, the Act is built upon a fundamentally flawed premise, yielding an unworkable framework and process that the regulations unfortunately do not remedy — and in certain instances, exacerbate,” wrote Deloitte..On Tuesday, Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge told reporters in Quebec the government has no intention of backing down.“We need to give time to certain legislative measures that were adopted last spring, which are in the implementation phase, then see the impact of these measures as well,” said St-Onge.On Friday she responded to a Twitter (“X”) post from Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre reposting the Politico article: “Trudeau knew that C-18 would destroy independent media and concentrate power with the corporate and state media that supports him.”To which St-Onge accused him of misleading Canadians and spreading “fear.”“It’s no surprise they don’t want independent journalists doing their job and asking them questions,” she wrote.