It’s the end of the Canadian speech code, and their Human Rights Commissions (censorship panels) will be curtailed, too.
The federal Conservatives voted late Wednesday to repeal controversial sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act banning hate speech on the Internet, backing a bill they say promotes freedom of expression and would have the courts play a larger role in handling hate-crime cases.
In a free vote of 153 to 136, the Tory caucus supported a private member’s bill from Alberta Conservative MP Brian Storseth that would scrap Section 13 of the human rights code, which deals with complaints regarding “the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet.”
Storseth argues the current human rights code fails to protect freedom of speech, which is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and believes Canadians are better off if the government repeals sections 13 and 54 — the latter section dealing with associated penalties.
“It’s a really important step for freedom of expression in our country,” Storseth said Thursday, the morning after the bill passed third and final reading in the House of Commons.
“There hasn’t been a tremendous pushback as you would have seen seven or eight years ago when this issue first really arose, and I think it’s because there has been a fruitful debate in our country.”
Senior cabinet ministers supported the bill and the results generated loud applause from Conservative MPs. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is overseas and wasn’t present for the vote. Most opposition politicians voted against the bill, although Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MP Scott Simms supported it.
Storseth, a backbencher, said the current human rights code allows too many frivolous cases to proceed against citizens, when the Criminal Code already covers hate speech that could generate harm against an individual or group.
Acts of hate speech are serious crimes that should be investigated by police officers, not civil servants, he said, adding that the cases should be handled by “real judges and real lawyers,” instead of a quasi-judicial body such as the human rights commission.
The bill would effectively strip the human rights commission of its ability to rule on cases of hate speech over the phone and Internet, he said, and instead hand many of the powers to the courts.
Storseth said he has also been speaking with colleagues in the Conservative-dominated Senate in hopes the bill will pass through the upper chamber and receive royal assent by the end of the year. The bill contains a one-year implementation period.
For those who need a refresher course on how bad these secular leftist fascism panels really were, you can read this article about the punishment received by a Christian pastor who wrote an editorial critical of gay activism in the schools.