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The Liberal government is attempting to fix its own law against publishing false information about a political figure to influence an election after an Ontario judge ruled it violated the Charter’s right to free expression. Canada has had an election misinformation law for many decades, but until recently it required that a person “knowingly” make or publish a false statement about a political figure with the intention of affecting an election result. The Liberals removed the requirement in Bill C-76, their 2018 election modernization legislation, citing internal government legal advice that it was a redundant qualification. The Liberals then voted down an attempt by Conservative MPs to keep that term included in the law. In February, Ontario Superior Court Justice Breese Davies ruled that removing “knowingly” was an unconstitutional violation of free expression, accepting in part the argument of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which had challenged the entire law in court. Instead of appealing the decision, the Liberals have now stuck the phrase back into the law in a section tagged onto the end of Bill C-30, their omnibus budget implementation bill introduced last month.

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