The long campaign to repeal the Internet hate speech law may have been for naught in the long run. On Friday, a Federal Court of Appeal ruling reportedly found Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) does not violate freedom of expression, i.e., it is constitutional. Section 13 governs hate speech/expression on the Internet in Canada (Source).
Capping a determined crusade to repeal Section 13—led by Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant and several other conservatives—a private member’s bill from Alberta Conservative MP Brian Storseth finally passed, repealing the offensive section effective once it receives royal assent, which is scheduled to take place June 26, 2014.
Under the odious legislation one could be fined thousands of dollars by a human rights tribunal—very nearly a kangaroo court, in my opinion—for being insulting, disrespectful or rude on the telephone or the Internet to a member of certain named groups. The tribunal—not even presided over by a real judge—had merely to find your words were:
…likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”
All very subjective, of course, for one person’s expression of “hatred or contempt” is another’s free speech/expression as guaranteed by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To make the law even more egregious, “Intent is not a requirement, and truth and reasonable belief in the truth is no defence.”
Now it seems this latest ruling by a federal court opens the way for some progressive politician to reinstate Section 13 with all that that implies.