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Free speech advocates say the Liberal government’s re-introduction of a new version of a controversial hate speech law involving the Canadian Human Rights Commission brings back the same problems that led to its repeal in 2013. “The concerns that we had with (Section 13) continue to be concerns,” said Cara Zwibel, the director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s fundamental freedoms program. “I think we will probably see people making complaints that probably shouldn’t go forward and there may be a chilling effect on people who were concerned about expressing themselves and whether they’ll cross some sort of line.” While the legislation announced by cabinet ministers as the parliamentary session ended Wednesday evening narrows the definition of hate speech, it reintroduces essentially the same complaints process. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act allowed individuals to make complaints about hate speech to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which would investigate and refer some cases to a tribunal that could issue cease-and-desist orders and impose fines up to $10,000.

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