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FREE SPEECH VS HATE SPEECH: A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE

Well, as a Canadian, I keep learning about how different my country is from others.  

Sometimes, I’ve made too many assumptions.  We are all—in a sense—a product of our environment, think our backyard is no different from the guy’s next door.  WRONG.

So, I was confused on the subject of free speech, recently.

Here, in Canada, we have a law that forbids the incitement of hate The law takes priority over free speech.  This means that you are free to say what you want, but only as long as what you are saying does not promote hate against any group  (for example, people of colour, the LGBTQ community, faith communities.)

Here is a summary of the law: 

Public incitement of hatred

319 (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Marginal note: Willful promotion of hatred

(2) Every one who, by *communicating ****statements, other than in ***private conversation, willfully promotes hatred against any **identifiable group is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

*communicating includes communicating by telephone, broadcasting or other audible or visible means; (communiquer)

** identifiable group has the same meaning as in section 318; (groupe identifiable)

***public place includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied; (endroit public)

****statements includes words spoken or written or recorded electronically or electro-magnetically or otherwise, and gestures, signs or other visible representations. (déclarations)

__________________________________________

After just a bit of research, I discovered that only a few countries share Canada’s commitment to end hate speech.  There have been seven notable cases, here.

Here is one example (this is from a CBC article )


Ernst Zundel

Ernst Zundel sits in a court in Germany in 2005 at the beginning of a trial where he was accused of incitement. (Michael Probst/Canadian Press)

Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel lived in Canada for four decades, making frequent court appearances to argue for the freedom to express his anti-Semitic views in books and pamphlets and on a website.

In 1992, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned his conviction for "spreading false news," saying that the charge violated his Charter right to freedom of expression.

The German-born Zundel, who wrote the introduction to the book Did Six Million Jews Really Die?, was deported to Germany in 2005 after a Federal Court judge ruled he was a threat to national security.

He was freed from a German prison in 2010 after serving five years for denying the Holocaust.

______________________________________________________

So, in Canada, if you are caught spraying a graffiti tag on a wall, you will be charged with mischief and damage to property.

But, if you are caught spraying a swastika on a wall, you will be charged with mischief, damage to property, and a hate crime.   IT’S BIG BIG CRIME.  ENORMOUS.  YUGE FINES. 

Fines can go up to $10,000 and a sentence can be 2 years in prison.

There are (of course) defenses for the spreading of hate.  And they have been used successfully in Canadian courts.  

What do you think of this?  Are you surprised?  Horrified?  Interested? Unable to absorb it?  Wish your country would draft a law similar to this?  Hope your country never drafts a law similar to this?  

Please, share your thoughts, you can be rude, lol, but you can’t be hateful or target a single group on this blog or I will sentence you to a full blockage.  Intelligent argument will be rewarded with more of the same—passionate speech against the attack on minorities that promote discrimination and hatred.

Peace sign from  A Passionate Cannuck

PS- I'd tried this as a blog, but I guess it broke the "controversial" politics rule. However, I'm free to post this as prose. 

PPS-- no hate was used in the writing of this opinion piece. And Soup Terms and Conditions  14) Remember, people have different opinions. That does not make them wrong. Be considerate of other's opinions.

:DDD



 

Copyright © Cyndi MacMillan | Year Posted 2016

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  1. Date: 12/10/2016 7:13:00 PM

    Ach tung! Shhh...
  1. Date: 12/9/2016 4:25:00 PM

    Cyndi... I miss you.
  1. Date: 12/7/2016 4:42:00 AM

    hi cyndi, reading you after a long while and enjoying every bit of it. hope all is well, hugs,
  1. Date: 12/1/2016 5:04:00 AM

    I can respect anyone's opinion or speech, whether it's love or hate. It's those who cloak things we should be afraid of, not those who are dapper in flamboyancy. One question: what's a minority? It's more poor than there are rich...they've made a new race according to billions in your account.

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