Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government proposed legislation on Wednesday, Bill C-36, that is aimed at combating “hate speech” and “hate propaganda.”
Bill C-36 will “better protect Canadians from hate speech and online harms,” according to a news release from the federal government. The statement includes 33 mentions of the word “hate.”
The bill’s summary includes a proposed legal definition of “hatred” to be included in Canada’s Criminal Code. It defines “hatred” as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain … For greater certainty, the communication of a statement does not incite or promote hatred, for the purposes of this section, solely because it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.”
The bill’s text does not specify if or how non-verbal messages such as images or videos would be regulated to control “hate.”
Under a section titled “Fear of hate propaganda offence of hate crime,” Bill C-36 would allow provincial court judges to impose restrictions on those accused by an “informant” of a likely future commission of an offence “on reasonable grounds.” In other words, a judge would be able to issue restrictions against accused parties if the judge believes the accused is likely to commit an offense related to “hate.”
If enacted as law, Bill C-36 would allow a provincial court judge who “satisfied by the evidence” provided by an “informant” against an accused party to order the accused to “enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and be of good behavior for a period of [12 to 24 months].”
Provincial court judges could place accused parties under house arrest by ordering defendants “to return to and remain at their place of residence at specified times.”
Such a “recognizance” would allow provincial court judges to order defendants “to wear an electronic monitoring device” and “to abstain from the consumption of drugs … alcohol or of any other intoxicating substance.”
If ordered to abstain from intoxicating substances, a defendant may be ordered by a provincial court judge to provide blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substances if “reasonable grounds” exist to believe” the defendant has breached a court order to remain sober.
Bill C-36 would empower provincial court judges to prohibit an accused party from “directly or indirectly” communicating with persons identified in the recognizance as well as denial of “going to any place specified in the recognizance.”
If a complaint against an accused person is “substantiated,” the defendant may be ordered to pay up to $70,000 in penalties divided into two components. The first component would be a payment of “compensation” of up to $20,000 (CAD) “for any pain and suffering that the victim experienced” as a function of “hate propaganda” or “hate speech.” The second component is a fine, up to $50,000 (CAD), paid to the federal government.
Failure to comply with the “recognizance” could result in imprisonment of up to 12 months.
CP24 reported that Bill C-36 would “amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to reinstate an amended version of a controversial section [Section 13] that was repealed in 2013 amid widespread criticism that it violated freedom of speech rights.”
CBC, Canada’s left-wing state broadcaster, relayed the Trudeau government’s description of Bill C-36 at face value. It claimed the bill is “intended to curb online hate speech and make it easier for the victims of hate speech to launch complaints.”
Three Canadian ministers — Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti, Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair — described Bill C-36 as part of a broader series of laws and policies “to combat hate online and continue to build a more inclusive Canada.”
Trudeau’s government stated, “This proposed legislation takes an important step towards creating a safe online environment that protects all Canadians from hate speech and hate crimes. “