Offensive remarks on social media are legal, but Canada’s Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says they “undermine democracy.”
The government is promoting the internet censorship bill C-36, which seeks to obligate social media platforms to mass censor.
“This content steals and damages lives,” the briefing read. “It intimidates and obscures valuable voices, preventing a truly democratic debate.”
In late June, the cabinet introduced Bill C-36, which threatens social media users with house arrests and fines of up to $50,000 for sharing content that promotes “detestation or vilification.”
“Our objective is to ensure more accountability and transparency from online platforms while respecting the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms,” said the June 16 briefing note.
“The mandate of the Department of Canadian Heritage includes the promotion of a greater understanding of human rights.”
Under Canada’s Criminal Code, so-called “hate speech” (open to interpretation) is a crime. What Bill C-36 does is make hate speech illegal even when there is no evidence of a crime.
“Social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter are increasingly central to participation in democratic, cultural and public life,” said the briefing note.
“However, social media platforms can also be used to threaten, intimidate, bully and harass people or used to promote racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist and homophobic views that target communities, put people’s safety at risk and undermine Canada’s social cohesion or democracy.”