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Two constitutional rights groups have raised the alarm bells over the Liberal government’s recently unveiled “online hate speech” bill, Bill C-36. Both the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) and the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) have condemned the bill as dangerous and infringing on Canadians’ rights. “Bill C-36 is not subtle legislation: it is a blatant attack on freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, as well as other Charter provisions,” said JCCF Litigation Director Jay Cameron told True North. According to Cameron, the law’s “anticipatory of hate provision” in section 810.012 is particularly concerning from a legal perspective. The section, which amends the Canadian Human Rights Act, would allow anyone who has fear that a “hate propaganda offence or hate crime” will be committed to bring charges against another person. “Not only is ‘hate’ not clearly defined in Bill C-36, but it allows a person to be punished and even incarcerated because of something someone imagines that they might say. This is an attack on the presumption of innocence, and is entirely unconstitutional, not to mention frighteningly despotic and totalitarian,” said Cameron.

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