Saturday, March 31, 2012

What Will Replace Section 13 Of The Canadian Human Rights Act

Rob Nicholson responds to my email.  Comments below:

Correspondence from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada‏


Thank you for your correspondence concerning the Government’s proposed amendments to strengthen the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code. I regret the delay in responding.

As you are aware, on September 30, 2011, Conservative Member of Parliament Mr. Brian Storseth introduced Private Member’s Bill C-304, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting freedom), into the House of Commons. The Bill proposes to repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which empowers the Canadian Human Rights Commission to deal with complaints regarding the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet.


Our government supports the repeal of section 13 as it has been found to be subjective and unnecessarily vague when it comes to informing Canadians about what can and cannot be said on the Internet. We firmly believe that the Criminal Code is the best vehicle for combating hate propaganda and we remain committed to the promotion and protection of free speech by all Canadians.

To that end, on February 14, 2012, the Government tabled in the House of Commons Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. Among other things, the Bill proposes to expand the definition of “identifiable group” for the crimes of inciting hatred in a public place likely to lead to a breach of the peace and the wilful promotion of hatred, which are found in section 319 of the Criminal Code. The criteria of national origin, age, sex, and mental or physical disability would be added to the current definition of “identifiable group” for these two offences. In addition, the criterion of national origin would be added to the definition of “identifiable group” for the offence of advocating or promoting genocide, contained in subsection 318(1) of the Criminal Code.


Thank you again for writing.
Yours truly,
The Honourable Rob Nicholson

If this is all they plan to do, some obvious problems:

1) The requirement that the AG must approve hate speech charges would appear to remain, which in practice means that such charges will be almost impossible to lay.  There were rumors going about that this requirement might be removed, but apparently no such luck.

2) Any expansion of the criterion can trigger a legal challenge to the criminal code provisions, which might mean section 319 falls and  the country's winds up being without any hate speech legislation.

3) The bill containing these new provisions is the infamous C-30, which the government appears to have already given up on.

So, not a very impressive response.

10 comments:

sassy said...

Nice new blog look.

bigcitylib said...

Actually, its crap and was done inadvertantly. And all the instructions as to how to revert to old verson are unfindable.

Omar said...

Yep, looks like shite.

deboaned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deboaned said...

The point you make about new provisions triggering a potential constitutional challenge is very astute. If I were a more cynical person I would wonder if this was not the endgame.

The Harperites never liked the hate laws, only paid lip-service because despite the very best efforts of right-wing cave-dwelling bloggers most Canadians understand and want anti-hate laws.

But hell if the Supremies take it away (and Nicholson fights "hard") what can you do...too bad bye bye anti-hate laws.

12:26 PM

Chapel said...

I have to agree with deboaned. And tx to BCL for pointing this out. I also missed it.

Of course that's the game here. In fact it fits the PM's style not to be seen as the bad guy. Better to leave well enough alone.

liberal supporter said...

bye bye anti-hate laws.
Not true. There are plenty to laws coming to deal with hatred (i.e. even a whiff of dissent) of the oil sands.

Surprisingly, the new layout did not also inadvertently rename the blog to "Blogger Strikes Back"

muscocamoca said...

Liberal supporter...I am afraid you know not of what you speak...be interested to know from you what other anti-hate laws you think mean "plenty:

liberal supporter said...

I was referring sarcastically to the CPC notion that any kind of disagreement with their point of view constitutes hate.
C-30, the budget, omnibus crime bill all support suppression of those who disagree with the CPC, hence I consider these as being anti-hate laws. "Coming" refers to the future, so another 3 years of this can result in at least 9 more laws of this nature. Is that "plenty" enough? I find even one of these odious provisions to be "plenty".

Chapel said...

So people are not confused anti-hate laws refer to legally sanctioned regs prohibiting vile hate speech.