Thursday, May 05, 2011

Gift To Israel?

There's been some chatter today about the Tories now suddenly passable Bill C-51: Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act.  Most of it has been over this bit strengthening Canada's hate speech laws:

Clause 5 of the bill provides that the offences of public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred may be committed by any means of communication and include making hate material available, by creating a hyperlink that directs web surfers to a website where hate material is posted, for example.

However, the clause I find more interesting is 4, which "adds “national origin” to the definition of “identifiable group”--that is adds that phrase  “national origin” to subsection 318(4) of the criminal code, which currently reads:

...any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.

Maybe I am being overly suspicious, but I find it very difficult to believe that anyone would be arsed enough to press charges against someone trashing Iranians.  But could criticism of Israel be taken as hate speech against Canadian Israelis? Would this therefore make a statement of the Israel = Apartheid State analogy a criminal offence?


Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

It is a sort of slipperly slope, isn't it.

When you can get fined for being an ignorant ass to a Lesbian, why not charge people for insulting Americans?

The fact that a "Conservative" government is considering ADDING to the list of things you can't say and do is disconcerting.. particularly for those of us who take great joy in being able to raise hell with our words.

Mark Richard Francis said...

And the Conservative libertarians have what to say about this Daddy state crap?

Anonymous said...

BCL, however under Section 713 dealing with hate motivated sentencing "national origion" is one of the criteria.

Terrence said...




We libertarians have been suggesting for some time that this slippery slope was approaching. Specifically with regard to Israel.

If I recall right, Dr. Dawg told us we were being silly.

bigcitylib said...

Terrence, no, Dawg thought it was all comin'; I might have been the one that thought you were being silly, but I was thinking specifically about the result of that anti-semitism confab last year, which resulted in very little.

Terrence said...


I admit, it does sound like the kind of thing Dawg would predict.

Yeah, maybe the issue in the case I'm remembering is whether current legislation could be extended to cover criticism of Israel.

What I don't get, and what I try to get across in my blog post is why the Conservatives are even bothering.

What's the point for them? What's the upshot?

Anonymous said...

Folks this is an over reaction. As I said earlier "national origin" has been part of section 713 for a long time...And I would add that "national origin" has also been part of Section 13 of the CHRA for a long time. I see no slippery slope here.

Terrence said...


It's also redefining "communication" so that it includes merely making hateful material available.

Does that mean a link to a Google search for "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" might be prohibited speech?

A good chunk of the results returned seem to be from antisemites who take the Protocols as their inspiration.

Would Google be guilty or making the material available, or only the person posting the link?

bigcitylib said...


True, though I didn't know that until you told me. But putting it in the code seems to up ther seriousness quotion. Dyou think its just a housekeeping/harmonization measure?

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

Mark is right.. and it is what has always worried me a little about my own party.

I'm not real comfortable with anyone putting their hand on my shoulder to tell me what to think.. whether it's the right hand or the left.

Hence the unsteady balance between social conservatives and libertarian conservatives and fiscal conservatives.. all in the same tent, but all with slightly different goals.

bigcitylib said...

R.G., No, nobody seems to like the bill. I think you wrote about earlier versions and I will probably write some more about this version later.

But I wonder on the Conservative/Libertarian emphasis on the "civil liberties" aspect of it. For me the slam-dunk argument against is that the gov, in the name of our children, wants to ask the ISPs of the nation to spy upon their own customers in the govs name WITHOUT PROVIDING THE FUNDING TO DEVELOP THE SPYING APPARATUS. You as an internet user will pay higher bills in order to fund the federal requirement that your ISP spy on you.

And that's just bad for business.

Do Harper hate business, or just this one? Does their ase still think the Internet = Internet Highway 666.

Its weird that the CPoC is so unreceptive to that kind of (bad for bus.) arguments these days.

(Same with long form census, incidentally. Any business that uses demographic info gets set back by this decision. That kind of consideration used to be important to Conservatives.)

Terrence said...


"It's for the children" is often the excuse statists always give when they jump into your life.

The Conservatives may have the (bleak) virtue of actually believing their rhetoric.

But, in mild protest to your suggestion that "bad for business" is an argument -- it is, maybe, but I don't measure legislation against that standard.

bigcitylib said...

Good. So why don't we impose a national carbon tax, then?

Terrence said...


Carbon tax might be bad for lots of regular folks, as well as big business. I haven't done enough reading to say for sure. You'll notice it's not an issue I ever comment on.

There's also the matter that bad for business sometimes means bad for everyone else. But containing negative externalities isn't one of those cases, at least typically.

In principle, I'm not against some kind of pricing scheme for pollution, btw.

Sir Francis said...

I just love the "libertarian" CPC hoplites who are shocked...shocked...that this absurd nanny-statism is being inflicted by the guy who just finished campaigning on a promise to establish a bizarre "Office of Religious Freedom" and who spent a good part of his first ministry appointing (and then gelding) a whole host of redundant Parliamentary officers, commissions, commissariats, and apparatchiks—the most comically ironic being the disastrous "Ethics Commissioner".

Have these people had their heads up their asses for the last five years?

Tof KW said...

Ah Sir Francis, your wit is so welcome now.

I know that last sentence was a rhetorical question. Of course their craniums were far up their rectal cavities over the past 5 years, deluding themselves that it will all be different once that magical majority is obtained.

Well now it's payback time for them! Except that the majority of the Conservative Party are not foaming rightwingnuts ...and more-so because they would like to be reelected in 2015 after all, and seeming to be against minorities isn't a good way about that.

Marky Mark said...

A few years back one "arthurdecco" used a progressive blog to spew Protocols type stuff and linked to "j*ew*shtr*balrev*ew...which everyone agreed was an anti-Semitic site. At the same time a noted Canadian Holocaust "revisionist" posted heavily on a high traffic MSM blog with every post linked to his blog. If you think that we should have hate speech laws, would you characterize those two instances as properly being caught? I understand the opposition to the idea of such laws altogether, but for those who support them, what say you re: those examples?

And as for the much maligned CPCCA to whom I made a submission and before which I appeared in person to discuss such very issues, their website domain name seems to have expired. So much for the conspiracy theories that all critics of Israel would end up in jail, a notion which to me always struck me as somewhat suspect on the facts and borderline "all powerful Jews" conspiracy talk.

Marky Mark said...

P.S. Looks like the CPCCA site is back up (when I checked last week it said the domain name had expired). Note that several members will not be in Parliament as they either didn't run again or were defeated.