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Proposed bill in Canada would allow people to report online “hate speech” before it even happens

A new attack on free speech.
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Proposed Canadian “hate speech” law Bill C-36 would allow someone to take another to court if they feel they will post something hateful online.

Critics have noted the bill’s broad definition of “hateful,” and the fact that it will allow someone to be reported for something they are yet to do.

The draft bill states: “A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay an information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit (a) an offense under section 318 [pushing for genocide] or subsection 319” [inciting or promoting hate].

“This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create a recognizance to keep the peace relating to hate propaganda and hate
crime and to define “hatred” for the purposes of two hate propaganda offences. It also makes related amendments to the Youth
Criminal Justice Act,” the bill says.

“In addition, it amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to provide that it is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. It authorizes the Canadian Human Rights Commission to accept complaints alleging this discriminatory practice and authorizes the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to adjudicate complaints and order remedies.”

We obtained a copy of the draft bill for you here.

It will also cover “an offense motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, color, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.”

But the bill does not clearly define what “hate” is. It states that “hatred means the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain.” It effectively creates a distinction between “dislike speech” and “hate speech.”

Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen said in January that the hatred would be clearly defined in the Criminal Code.

“We know too many people in Canada are victimized by hate speech and hate crimes and we have to make sure we are tackling this,” he said. “One of the ways we are doing this is to formally define hatred in the Criminal Code and also to improve the complaints process available for victims of hate speech.”

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