Bad times for free speech
But axing Section 13 of Rights Act would begin to warm up chilly climate
Canadians heard a long time ago, at least as long ago as 1990, that they are not free to speak their minds as they see fit. 1990 was the year the Supreme Court of Canada ruled constitutional Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Section 13 says that it is "a discriminatory practice" to communicate "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination."
It is under s. 13 that a complaint against
Now none of us wants that any group of people is vilified. We don’t want our ears bruised by racist epithets and we don’t want to witness displays of contempt. And yet one doesn’t have to be a free speech absolutist to see what is wrong and dangerous with s. 13. It is addressed to any matter that "is likely to expose" a person to hatred. What you say need not actually expose anyone to hatred. It need not even be intended to expose anyone to hatred.
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