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‘This is insane’: Elon Musk condemns Trudeau gov’t ‘Online Harms’ bill

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

The Trudeau government’s proposed ‘Online Harms’ bill, which seeks to expand the scope of government regulation of the internet through threats of fines and lengthy prison terms, continues to be blasted by prominent international voices.

Tech mogul Elon Musk has blasted the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over its recently proposed “Online Harms” legislation which could see Canadians imprisoned for years for so-called “hate speech” offenses. 

On March 12, Musk posted on his own social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to condemn Trudeau’s newly proposed Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, which seeks to increase the punishment Canadians could receive for “hate speech” posted online, while also expanding the length of sentences for certain already illegal “hate” crimes to life in prison.  

“This is insane,” Musk wrote in response to independent outlet Not the Bee which had revealed that the new law would “allow judges to hand down life sentences for ‘speech crimes.’” 

 

While Musk himself is not conservative, and is, in fact, a self-described “atheist” and promoter of trans-humanismuniversal basic income and a carbon tax to combat so-called climate change, he does have a history of opposing the Trudeau government’s targeting of speech.

In October of last year, Musk accused Trudeau of trying to “crush free speech in Canada” over his government’s internet regulation efforts, following up on similar comments he made in 2022. Earlier this year he continued his opposition to Trudeau, referring to the left-leaning Toronto Star as “Canada’s Pravda” for its hit-piece against Trudeau’s rival, Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre.

Musk’s recent comment comes after Attorney General and Justice Minister Arif Virani introduced Bill C-63 last month and continues to defend the legislation despite pushback. 

The new legislation seeks to create the Online Harms Act and modify existing laws, amending the Criminal Code as well as the Canadian Human Rights Act, in what the Liberals claim will target certain cases of internet content removal, notably those involving child sexual abuse and pornography.  

Most concerning is that the new law would allow anyone to file a complaint against another person with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for “posting hate speech online” that is deemed “discriminatory” against a wide range of “protected” categories, notably gender, race and sexuality. 

Penalties for violations of the proposed law include $20,000 fines and jail time, including life in prison for what it deems the most serious offenses.   

According to the proposed legislation, the bill would not only punish those who have committed a “hate crime” but also those suspected of committing one in the future.   

“A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay an information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit; (a)an offence under section 318 or any of subsections 319(1) to (2.‍1); or (b) an offence under section 320.‍1001,” the text of the bill reads.  

However, Virani justified the legislation which would force a potential “hate crime” violators to wear an electronic tag or be banished to house arrest, arguing the measure is “very important” in preventing anyone from “targeting” a variety of groups.  

Virani remained vague on what would be considered “hate speech,” saying, “There’s a lot of bad stuff out there. But this is not about the bad stuff. This is a much higher level.”   

He explained that some comments which are “awful but lawful” would not be punished, promising the Trudeau government would have a high threshold before punishing Canadians for their speech.   

Increasingly, prominent Canadians and even Americans have begun commenting on Trudeau’s authoritarian rule over Canada, particularly his restricting of internet speech.

In late February, prominent Canadian anti-woke psychologist Jordan Peterson warned the new bill would undoubtedly lead to his criminalization.

Similarly, a top constitutional lawyer warned LifeSiteNews that the legislation will allow a yet-to-be-formed digital safety commission to conduct “secret commission hearings” against those found to have violated the law, raising “serious concerns for the freedom of expression” of Canadians online. 

Additionally, Campaign Life Coalition recently warned that Bill C-63 will stifle free speech and crush pro-life activism.   

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COVID-19

Ontario gov’t drops over 100 fines from COVID era for compliance violations

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Charges were withdrawn for violations of the Quarantine Act ‘due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.’

Canadian legal advocacy group The Democracy Fund (TDF) says that because of generous donor support it secured the staying or withdrawal of 109 COVID-era tickets given to multiple people in Ontario.

The TDF said in a press update sent to LifeSiteNews that most often the charges were withdrawn or stayed “due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.”

“It’s gratifying to see our hard work pay off, and a relief to our clients who have endured years of legal uncertainty,” TDF paralegal Jenna Little said.

“But the government is still doggedly pursuing many clients for charges that should not have been brought in the first place and consume scarce judicial resources.”

The TDF observed that its clients were charged under the Quarantine Act s.15 (failure to provide information to screening officer), s.58 (failure to complete ArriveCan, failure to arrange for quarantine), or s.66 (obstruct an officer).

It noted that the fine for each charge was around $5,000, with “with potential total fines for conviction on all charges reaching $681,250.”

“Though many of these cases have been successfully resolved, many remain,” the TDF said.

Some of the charges were issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, such as s.7.0.11 (obstruct an officer), which can carry a one-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The TDF stated that in “rare cases” some clients were also charged under “s.10 of the Reopening Act (gather or fail to close premises).”

The TDF noted that despite the recent court wins, there are still “hundreds” of clients who are facing “potential fines and jail time for peacefully protesting or objecting to government overreach during COVID lockdowns.”

The TDF said that during COVID the government used the opportunity to enact “rights-infringing, overbroad laws.”

“Legislators and bureaucrats zealously enforced these laws against Canadians in an effort to secure compliance and suppress peaceful protest. Fortunately, The Democracy Fund (TDF) and its team of lawyers and paralegals, with the support of generous donors, fought back,” it said.

The TDF, founded in 2021, bills itself as a Canadian charity “dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty,” by promoting constitutional rights “through litigation and public education.”

In early July, LifeSiteNews reported that TDF lawyers helped get criminal charges against a Canadian man who participated in the pro-family 1 Million March 4 Children protest over radical LGBT ideology being taught in public schools dropped by the Crown.

Over the last couple of years, the TDF has been active in helping Canadians persecuted under COVID mandates and rules fight back. Notable people it has helped include Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, an Ontario pediatrician who has been embroiled in a legal battle with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) for her anti-COVID views. She has also had the help of Elon Musk.

COVID vaccine mandates, which came from provincial governments with the support of the federal government, split Canadian society. The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

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Addictions

Claims about ‘safer supply’ diversion aren’t disinformation

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News release from Break The Needle

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics have said all along: safer supply diversion is happening at alarming levels

Last spring, Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions claimed critics’ concerns about “safer supply” diversion — the illegal selling and trading of taxpayer-funded addictive drugs — were based on lies.

“For Pierre Poilievre to state untrue information about safer supply, and try to create barriers to accessing harm reduction services that are saving lives amid this ongoing crisis, is incredibly irresponsible and dehumanizing to people who use drugs,” read a statement by then-minister Carolyn Bennett’s office.

Fast forward a year, and it’s clear which side was telling the truth.

This month, police in London, Ont., admitted to what critics said all along: diversion of pharmaceutically supplied opioids to the streets is happening at alarming levels. London is home to Canada’s longest-running safer supply program, which dates back to 2016 and was significantly expanded in 2020.

The London Police Service released data that shows a staggering 3,000 per cent increase in the seizure of hydromorphone tablets — the opioid predominantly given out by safer supply programs — over the last five years. In 2019, London police seized just under 1,000 tablets. By 2020, that number had tripled. In 2023, they seized 30,000 hydromorphone tablets.

For context, hydromorphone is as potent as heroin and just two or three of these pills, if snorted, can cause an overdose in an inexperienced opioid user.

Earlier this month, the city’s deputy police chief, Paul Bastien, told CBC’s London Morning, “We recognize the value that safe supply plays as part of that harm reduction piece, but diversion is an important issue that is affecting community safety. I won’t say that everyone’s doing it, but some of the tablets from safe supply are being diverted for that purpose.”

“Criminal groups are fairly adept at exploiting policy changes that are well intended. But unforeseen consequences sometimes arise and this appears to be, at least in part, one of them,” he continued.

A reasonable person may assume that, given this alarming new evidence, proponents of safer supply would change their tune about widespread diversion being “fake news.” Unfortunately, they haven’t.

Some activists are now claiming on social media that London’s spike in hydromorphone seizures was not caused by safer supply, but rather by a high-profile theft of 245,000 hydromorphone tablets from an Ontario pharmacy. Yet the spike in seizures began years before this theft and, according to multiple addiction physicians, the street price of hydromorphone collapsed in the city well before 2023, suggesting an earlier influx of diverted supply.

However, these mental contortions aren’t surprising. As more and more evidence of widespread diversion emerged over the past year, accusations of disinformation and misinformation haven’t stopped –– they have simply evolved. The narrative changed from “Diversion doesn’t exist” to “Fine, it exists, but only on a small scale” to, now, “Fine, diversion exists at scale, but imagine the alternative?”

This is the angle already emerging in British Columbia, where the province’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, authored a damning report that acknowledges the regularity and harms of safer supply diversion, yet still concludes safer supply is “ethically defensible” and advocates for its expansion.

Like many safer supply activists, Henry often argues diversion isn’t a significant concern because most opioid deaths are caused by fentanyl.

While it’s true that most opioid deaths are attributable to fentanyl, hydromorphone is still incredibly dangerous. When diverted into the black market, it creates new addictions, often among young people, which culminate in fentanyl use.

Moreover, data indicate hydromorphone is implicated in an increasing share of drug-related deaths in young people in B.C. In 2019, there were no reported deaths involving hydromorphone. By 2022, that number jumped to 22 per cent. Similarly, a recent report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario found the number of youth in the province who self-reported using prescription opioids for “non-medical” reasons jumped 71 per cent between 2021 and 2023.

Still, safer supply activists continue to insist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that widespread diversion isn’t happening.

In 2017, Collins Dictionary declared “fake news” the word of the year. Since then, the term –– along with sister terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” –– have taken on a disturbing new life.

While fake news, misinformation and disinformation are very real democratic threats, some politicians and activists realized they could delegitimize opponents’ arguments and unflattering media stories by simply proclaiming them fake. Now, we’re in the dizzyingly ironic position of real news, and real facts, being dismissed as misinfo and disinfo by self-declared guardians of the truth.

This is the exact problem journalists and concerned medical professionals continue to face when raising the alarm on so-called “safer supply.” Despite the abundance of solid reporting, emerging data, whistleblower warnings and first-hand accounts of widespread diversion, harm reduction activists and their allies in government don’t just recklessly dismiss the problem, they weaponize the language of fake news to discredit a reality they don’t like.

Communities across Canada, and addicts themselves, deserve better.

A guest post by
Sabrina Maddeaux
Bold opinions and analysis of the political and economic issues that matter.
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