, 12 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
1/ I strongly oppose any reinstatement of hate speech in the Canadian Human Rights Act. It would be too big a restriction on free speech in a free & democratic society.

I seconded & voted for Bill C-304, which removed hate speech from the Act.

2/ Bill C-304 removed Section 13, the hate speech provision, from the Act. It passed into law in 2013.

Among others, Bill C-304 was supported by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, B’nai Brith and the Toronto Star (Editorial, December 15, 2011).

3/ The right way to counter hate speech is through free speech, not human rights codes.

Using human rights codes to counter hate speech is an overly expansive interpretation of the harm principle.

4/ Only through the disinfectant of free speech & debate will we counter the odious views of those who spew hatred.

Otherwise, we risk driving these views & debates underground where they will fester, and we risk overreaching and restricting other speech.

5/ In a free & democratic society, the bar must be set very high when the state considers any restrictions on speech.

In a democracy, using speech as an incitement to legally change things – a policy, a law, a vote, a point of view – is fundamental.

6/ If the Liberal government is truly committed to protecting minorities from being targeted by hate speech or by another other method, they would take action when those minorities are actually being targeted.

7/ Take Bill 21, which bans Muslims, Sikhs and orthodox Jews in Quebec from jobs as teachers, police officers, judges, etc.

If the Liberal gov’t is truly committed to protecting minorities, it would use the full power of the federal gov’t to protect these Canadians.

8/ Section 90 of the constitution allows the federal cabinet to disallow provincial legislation within 1 year of its becoming law.

Disallowance has been used 120 times since 1867, last in 1961.

If that’s out of reach b/c of convention, there remain other options.

9/ The Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti, can seek intervener status in the case linked to below, just like the federal government did in another case that involved minority rights, Ford v. Attorney General of Quebec.


10/ The federal government also has the spending power: power to withhold federal spending in areas of provincial jurisdiction.

They could also seek a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada.

11/ And, most importantly, the Prime Minister can use his position to show leadership:

Speak up clearly and forcefully in defence of Canadians who are Muslim, Jewish and Sikh, and against Bill 21, and indicate what action the Government of Canada is going to take.

12/ Bill 21 is an odious attack on minorities, particularly Muslims, Sikhs and Jews. We cannot be silent. We cannot allow it to stand.

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