Canada's new bill threatens free speech

Originally published at:

1 Like

Equality rights are at the core of the Charter. They are intended to ensure that everyone is treated with the same respect, dignity and consideration (i.e. without discrimination), regardless of personal characteristics such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, residency, marital status or citizenship.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

There is that check, coming from a more fundamental right, on otherwise free speech. I also think speech is a tool, not a weapon and, while speech should still be as free as possible, no reasonable checks whatsoever can just make it toxic.


We already have a law or two against hate speech, but I think it’s only been applied in less than a handful of the most extreme cases.

This one might be the same: a giant cannon that’s almost impossible to hit anything with in practice.


This is why I gave up on Popehat. For some insane reason whenever the faux left here in the states wants to champion free speech rights, it’s always in defense of bigotry. This shows how little people grasp free speech law. You realize we still have federal laws against obscenity, right? And yet none of these so called free speech champions ever challenge that. Well, what’s more obscene than bigoted hate? It’s not political to say blacks are inferior or women should be subservient to men, that’s just obscene nonsense. The rational choice is clear. Either you defend free speech blindly, in which case every billboard and street sign in the nation should be able to display straight up nazi furry swinger orgies, or maybe people can finally admit that hate speech is more obscene than sex and deserves to be regulated. And you might note that the nations where it is regulated are moving towards fascism a lot less quickly than the blind free speech pro bigot USA is. Have ideals for reasons and results, not out of jingoistic zealotry.


I thought this sounded familiar. I feel like this whole article is something I would have read the last time we got a bill like this.


I’m all for free speech, but not hate speech. Whatever happened to ‘your rights end where my rights begin?’ Try being a minority online for a bit and see how wonderful unrestrained ‘free speech’ is. Do I not have a right to go online and not be harassed by bigots?


The concern I can actually see with this is some people have been pushing hard to equate criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism, so that “stop the genocide of Palestinians” would be hate speech, and saying they have a right to their land possibly even promoting genocide. :frowning:


Interesting take there, “Yoy.”

Hate speech shouldn’t be protected by the law; there should be consequences for hate mongering, though life in prison is too extreme IMO, and only contributes to the prison pipeline system*.

It seems to me that there should be other alternatives which don’t compound already existing problems.

*I know Canada is not the US, but what can happen here can happen anywhere. Like the weaponization of such laws against peaceful protesters, as @chenille mentions up above.


I’m just glad Yoy is here to arbiter what the proper ideals are for a nation that is not theirs’s - and the 1st Amendment is not quite the bulwark that they seem to think it is; Madison may have got it mostly right but really screwed the pooch on just the basic grammar of 2A


Speaking as the moderator here:

There needs to be consequences for hate speech, and right now online, there basically is not. This affects the lives of countless people (including moderators that have to deal with this shit!) and I generally find that people who are “free speech absolutists” have never had to deal with this stuff or been the subject of hate.

Aside from the effects on the individual, hate speech can affect everything from elections to public policy, and currently there are very, very few situations where hate speech results in any consequences for the speaker.

It is patently false to believe that hate speech is not having an effect, and there needs to be enforceable consequences for it. We cannot simply say that the problem is too risky to solve and do nothing or maintain the status quo.


The Online Harms Act states that any person who advocates for or promotes genocide is “liable to imprisonment for life.”

"stop the genocide of Palestinians” isn’t advocating for genocide and thus would not be considered hate speech.


Yeah, I’m well aware it should not be. But I’ve also heard how some politicians describe the matter, thank you. There is a reason this particular concern comes to my mind at this moment in time.


If someone were a free speech absolutist and not worried about consequences on others - wouldn’t they post under their real name?


Some of us do have better defined ideals than that, and while we do make arguments that are technically not dependent on the content of speech, in practice we’re mostly only given reason to bring them up in the context of speech we personally disagree with. I don’t have to make the free speech argument when the GOP bans books, because everyone else is already doing that, along with all the other arguments. The purist, idealist argument is the last one standing beneath all the others, and you can either value the premise or not.

Btw I would happily bite the nazi furry swinger orgies bullet (eww), but not for billboards. In media where individuals choose whether or not to see or hear it? No problem. On TV channels where individuals choose what stations to tune into or websites that people choose to go onto or not? All in favor. To me that’s not much different than thinking a lot of drugs should be legal for private use that aren’t, even though I have no interest in them whatsoever. For things visible and audible in public spaces? Frankly I’d be a lot more restrictive than we are today, and we (collectively) greatly underestimate the cost of not having better norms of public discourse.

@orenwolf There used to be a more significant difference between public and private speech acts than there is today, and I get that being a moderator of a semi-public forum and having to deal with this crap is terrible. Thankfully, no one is stopping comments sections from having any stricter-than-law content policy they want, and enforcing it in whatever way they want. And no one is stopping people from only frequenting the comments sections that have and enforce policies that they are ok with. I wish most comments sections were way faster and harsher to remove comments or ban people that violate their policies. I also wish the people who pretend to be free speech purists but then oppose strict policies on moderated privately run forums would stop being idiots, too. You removing people and comments from a platform you control is, itself, a speech act that deserves protection and respect.


27 posts were split to a new topic: Freeze Peach, Again, With a Side of Brandenburg

I wonder how much of this Bill is the Liberals just pandering to subsets of their supporters - the Charter has already been interpreted in cases by this SCC as “say whatever you want but if you hurt someone’s feelings then you’re in trouble, buster!”

It shouldn’t be, but that’s the same kind of twisted and disingenuous mentality that labels Black Lives Matters activists and members of Antifa as “terrorists.”


I think Elno said something like this as well. It’s a statement of privilege, much like those who are “centrist” and don’t see much difference between Dems and fascists. It’s an easy position to take if there are no consequences.


Yet there are people who make that argument. We can see the suppression of pro-Palestinian voices happening IN REAL TIME under the pretense of it being “antisemitic”…


The reality is what constitutes “hate speech” is not necessarily common sense, but is often politically driven.

Uh Huh Reaction GIF by Originals



Say it again louder, Doc, so the people in the back seats and those with bad pseudonyms can hear you.