Last month, Canada’s Liberal Party headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed legislation to criminalize “hate speech” online, punishable by a $50,000 (roughly $40,000 U.S.D.) paid to the government. A former Crown prosecutor and lawyer who has appeared at every level of court throughout Canada raised an alarm about the new bill, telling PJ Media that it would undermine Canadians’ rights and punish “independent thought.”
“Bill C-36 is calculated to punish legal independent thought and crush it out wherever it finds it using punitive fines and imprisonment,” Jay Cameron, litigation director at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, told PJ Media. “Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault clearly aspires to be the director of the new Canadian Ministry of Truth, a modern Inquisition where every social media post is scrutinized by spying bureaucrats with the power to censor and punish Canadians until they submit.”
“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is specifically intended to protect individual Canadians from legislation like Bill C-36. Section 2(b) protects freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression specifically because there will always be tyrants who gain government power and then abuse it by attempting to compel citizens to think and speak in accordance with orthodox diktat,” Cameron argued (emphasis original).
Bill C-36 would enable citizens to bring legal claims against people who engage in “hate speech” online, and if a member or panel of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal finds the accused guilty, the tribunal can either order the accused to “cease the discriminatory practice” and take steps to prevent it from happening again; order the accused to pay compensation of up to $20,000 “to any victim personally identified in the communication that constituted the discriminatory practice”; or order the accused to “pay a penalty of not more than $50,000 to the Receiver General” if the tribunal “considers it appropriate” considering “the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the discriminatory practice.”
The “Canadian Human Rights Tribunal” seems similar to bodies like the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which discriminated against Christian baker Jack Phillips. Phillips refused to bake a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding, and the commission found him guilty of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, even though the same commission defended another baker’s right to refuse to create cakes that stated a message with which she disagreed.
“The Liberal Party’s crusade against ‘hate’ is in reality a crusade against disagreement and dissent,” Cameron argued. “It is not ‘hate’ to have one’s own personal opinions on politics, religion, sexuality, gender, lockdowns, or any other subject, which is why there are few prosecutions in Canada for ‘hate speech.'”
“Dissent, debate, and disagreement are the nutrients of a free society,” the litigation director insisted. “The protection for free speech in the Constitution is a result of hundreds of years of oppression and resistance to the cruel rule of historical tyrants.”
“Not only are you allowed in a free society to have your own independent thoughts regarding politics, religion, sexuality, gender, Covid lockdowns, and other social issues, but the freedom to think and speak for oneself is a key component of the success of Western society,” Cameron argued. “There is no marketplace of ideas in a land where everyone is forced to think and speak the same. There are no actual ideas at all – only state orthodoxy, fear and rapid societal regression.”
The move to ban “hate speech” online is not new. Cameron himself testified against a similar effort in 2018.