Monday, November 24, 2008

Human rights commission releases Moon report

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) today released the “Report Concerning Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Hate Speech on the Internet,” which recommends that Section 13, the “hate speech” provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), should be repealed.

“The use of censorship by the government should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression—that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence that is supported or threatened is not imminent.” – Richard Moon

The report, which was commissioned by the CHRC in June 2008, was prepared by law professor Richard Moon of the University of Windsor.

Section 13 of the CHRA was initially written because of telephone hate lines, but was expanded in 2001 to include the Internet and other forms of media. It prohibits messages that are likely to expose an identifiable group to hatred or contempt.

Prof. Moon writes:

quote-left-red-beige-bgThe first recommendation is that section 13 of the CHRA be repealed, so that the CHRC and
the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) no longer deal with hate speech, and in particular
hate speech on the Internet. Hate speech should continue to be prohibited under the Criminal

This is about the best outcome we could have hoped for and Prof. Moon should be commended. The repeal of Section 13 has also been proposed by Liberal MP Keith Martin and by the Conservative Party at its recent policy convention.

The report is available at the CHRC’s web site and in .pdf format.

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