Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Liberal MP Keith Martin Press Release: Parliament must Protect our Freedom of Speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 25, 2008

Parliament must Protect our Freedom of Speech

 Dr. Keith Martin

OTTAWA – “Professor Richard Moon’s report on the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Act that governs it was a courageous assessment on how we can protect one of our true rights, the right to freedom of speech,” said Dr. Keith Martin, Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.

Professor Moon’s key recommendation was that Section 13 of the Act be scrapped, given that Canadians enjoy protection from hate speech through the Criminal Code.

“This is a sensible balance between the right to free speech and the protection all of us must have from being subjected to hate speech. The way forward is clear. Changing the Act rests solely within the powers of Parliament. It is now up to our elected officials to implement those solutions that will modify the CHRA in order to ensure that the Commission has the rules that will enable it to execute its duties in an effective manner,” said Dr. Martin

Dr. Martin his suggesting that the government follow one of two courses of action:

1.      Bring forth legislation into the House as soon as possible to amend the CHRA. This would be consistent with a proposal that was just supported by Conservative members at their recent party convention; or

2.      Call on the Justice Committee to do a public assessment of the Act that is televised so that all Canadians can hear opinions on both sides of this issue, and then introduce legislation into the House based on these findings.

“There has never been a better time to protect our right to free speech, a right for which Canadians laid down their lives in two World Wars to defend,” said Dr. Martin.

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For more information:

Sara Schulz

Office of Dr. Keith Martin

996-2625

Martik@parl.gc.ca