Editorial: Trudeau’s censorship laws are still a bad idea


Prior to the election he called, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was ready to pass three pieces of ill-considered legislation to censor social media. […] No doubt the Liberals will highlight the testimony of former Facebook data scientist and whistleblower Frances Haugen before the U.S. Congress to defend them. But Haugen’s testimony — alleging that Facebook and other products owned by the company willfully facilitate hatred on the internet and harm children, because it leads to increased profits — is not a justification for bad legislation in Canada that attacks free speech. The first of these proposed laws, Bill C-10, to have the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulate social media sites, created a firestorm of controversy when provisions were added to regulate user-generated content by ordinary citizens. Eventually that was dropped but the potential abuse of the regulatory powers in C-10, is still there. The second proposed law, Bill C-36, would have revived Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, giving human rights bodies the power to censor hate speech through quasi-judicial hearings, which in practice are often little more than kangaroo courts.

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