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Pierre Poilievre Leads Charge Against Justin Trudeau’s Online Censorship Bill

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In appealing to Canadian parliamentarians to halt the adoption of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed Online Harms Bill, conservative opposition leader Pierre Poilievre has expressed stern opposition to the pending legislation.

Poilievre insists it could curtail online freedom of speech and potentially imprison Canadians for vaguely classified “hate speech” offenses. So far, there has been no concrete pledge from his party to take specific measures against the bill.

Poilievre voiced his strong reservations in a press statement, taking aim at Trudeau’s Bill C-63, a proposed law bill that would drastically increase penalties for expressions of online “hate speech.”

Poilievre emphasized that the bill’s genuine intention should be to protect the nation’s children from online exploitation, rather than increasing the boundaries of illicit speech.

“Common sense Conservatives believe that we should criminalize and enforce laws against: sexually victimizing a child or revictimizing a survivor online; bullying a child online; inducing a child to harm themselves or inciting violence,” Poilievre wrote. Adding that “Criminal bans on intimate content communicated without consent, including deepfakes, must be enforced and expanded.”

Poilievre further asserted that serious offenses of this nature must be prosecuted, subjected to a fair trial, and punished accordingly, instead of being handled by a new bureaucratic system that fails to prevent criminal acts and provide justice for transgressed victims.

Nevertheless, he underlined that, while it appears the bill intends to protect children, it could lead to widespread censorship among Canadian citizens. Poilievre affirmed that prohibiting opinions ruling contrary to the Prime Minister’s should not be the government’s role.

Regarding this legislation, the Trudeau administration has proposed major escalations for penalties associated with existing hate offenses.

Of major concern is the bill’s sanction that allows anyone to lodge a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against another person for posting “hate speech” online deemed prejudiced against a vague range of protective categories, especially gender, race, sexuality, among others. Violations of this anticipated law could result in fines of up to $20,000 and potential imprisonment.

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