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Trudeau’s ‘online harms’ legislation includes life imprisonment for ‘hate speech’

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Justice Minister Arif Virani

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

While the government claims the bill is intended to protect kids, Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre said Liberals are looking for clever ways to enact internet censorship laws.

Details of new “online harms” legislation to regulate the internet have emerged, revealing that the bill could lead to more people jailed for life or fined $20,000 for posts that the government defines as “hate speech” based on gender, race, or other categories.

Bill C-63 is titled “An Act to enact the Online Harms Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act and An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts.”

It was introduced by Justice Minister Arif Virani in the House of Commons today and passed its first reading in the afternoon.

The new bill will 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 under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claim will target certain cases of internet content removal, notably those involving child sexual abuse and pornography.

According to the Trudeau government, Bill C-63 aims to protect kids from online harms and crack down on non-consensual deep-fake pornography involving children and will target seven types of online harms, such as hate speech, terrorist content, incitement to violence, the sharing of non-consensual intimate images, child exploitation, cyberbullying and inciting self-harm.

Virani had many times last year hinted a new Online Harms Act bill would be forthcoming.

While the Trudeau government claims the bill is being created to protect kids, Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Pierre Poilievre said the federal government is looking for clever ways to enact internet censorship laws.

During a February 21, press conference, Poilievre said that Trudeau is looking to in effect criminalize speech with he does not like.

“What does Justin Trudeau mean when he says the word ‘hate speech?’ He means speech he hates,” Poilievre said.

As part of the new bill, the Trudeau Liberals are looking to increase punishments for existing hate propaganda offenses in a substantial manner.

The Online Harms Act will also amend Canada’s Human Rights Act to put back in place a hate speech provision, specifically Section 13 of the Act, that the previous Conservative government under Stephen Harper had repealed in 2013 after it was found to have violated one’s freedom of expression.

The text of the bill, released Monday afternoon, reads that the Canadian Human Rights Act will be amended to add a section “13” to it.

This section reads, “It is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or any other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

“In this section, hate speech means the content of a communication that expresses detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination,” the bill reads.

A “Clarification – hate speech” in the bill reads, “For greater certainty, the content of a communication does not express detestation or vilification, for the purposes of subsection (8), solely because it expresses disdain or dislike or it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.”

Earlier Monday, details of the bill were released to the media in a technical briefing.

“New standalone hate crime offence that would apply to every offence in the Criminal Code and in any other Act of Parliament, allowing penalties up to life imprisonment to denounce and deter this hateful conduct as a crime in itself,” the technical briefing reads.

“The maximum punishments for the four hate propaganda offences from 5 years to life imprisonment for advocating genocide and from 2 years to 5 years for the others when persecuted by way of indictment.”

For now, the law will affect all social media platforms as well as live-streamed video services, notably Meta and Google (YouTube).

Bill creates three ‘Digital Safety’ positions to enforce rules and let anyone file ‘complaints’

Bill C-63 mandates the creation of the Digital Safety Commission, a digital safety ombudsperson, and the Digital Safety Office.

The ombudsperson along with the other offices will be charged with dealing with public complaints regarding online content as well as put forth a regulatory function in a five-person panel “appointed by the government.” This panel will be charged with monitoring internet platform behaviors to hold people “accountable.”

Bill C-63 also includes text to amend Canada’s Criminal Code and Human Rights Act to define “hatred” as “Content that expresses detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination, within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and that, given the context in which it is communicated, is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of such a prohibited ground.‍ (contenu fomentant la haine).”

Most worryingly, the new bill will allow it so that anyone can 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 so-called protected categories, notably gender, race, those, or other areas.

If a person is found guilty of violating the Human Rights Act by going against what the government deems to be hate speech, they face fines of $20,000 along with being mandated to take down any postings online, notably on social media.

Many aspects of Bill C-63 come from a lapsed bill from 2021.

In June 2021, then-Justice Minister David Lametti introduced Bill 36, “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes and hate speech).”

It was blasted as a controversial “hate speech” law that would give police the power to “do something” about online “hate.”

It was feared that it would target bloggers and social media users for speaking their minds.

Bill C-36 included text to amend Canada’s Criminal Code and Human Rights Act to define “hatred” as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain (haine).”

If passed, the bill would theoretically allow a tribunal to judge anyone who has a complaint of online “hate” leveled against them, even if he has not committed a crime. If found guilty, the person would be in violation of the new law and could face fines of $70,000 as well as house arrest.

Two other Trudeau bills dealing with freedom as it relates to the internet have become law, the first being Bill C-11, or the Online Streaming Act, that mandates Canada’s broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), oversee regulating online content on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to ensure that such platforms are promoting content in accordance with a variety of its guidelines.

Trudeau’s other internet censorship law, the Online News Act, was passed by the Senate in June 2023.

The law mandates that Big Tech companies pay to publish Canadian content on their platforms. As a result, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, blocked all access to news content in Canada. Google has promised to do the same rather than pay the fees laid out in the new legislation.

Critics of recent laws such as tech mogul Elon Musk have said it shows “Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada.”

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Now We Are Supposed to Cheer Government Surveillance?

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Jeffrey A. TuckerJEFFREY A. TUCKER 

The powers that be are leading us from the Declaration of Internet Freedom from simpler times (2012), to the  Declaration on the Future of the Internet. Do we need to say more than the word “freedom” has been left out of the future?

They are wearing us down with shocking headlines and opinions. They come daily these days, with increasingly implausible claims that leave your jaw on the floor. The rest of the text is perfunctory. The headline is the takeaway, and the part designed to demoralize, deconstruct, and disorient.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times told us that “As It Turns Out, the Deep State Is Pretty Awesome.” These are the same people who claim that Trump is trying to get rid of democracy. The Deep State is the opposite of democracy, unelected and unaccountable in every way, impervious to elections and the will of the people. Now we have the NYT celebrating this.

And the latest bears notice too: “Government Surveillance Keeps Us Safe.” The authors are classic Deep Staters associated with Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush. They assure us that having an Orwellian state is good for us. You can trust them, promise. The rest of the content of the article doesn’t matter much. The message is in the headline.

Amazing isn’t it? You have to check your memory and your sanity. These are the people who have rightly warned about government infringements on privacy and free speech for many decades dating way back.

And now we have aggressive and open advocacy of exactly that, mainly because the Biden administration is in charge and has only months to put the final touches on the revolution in law and liberty that has come to America. They want to make it all permanent and are working furiously to make it so.

Along with routine warrantless surveillance, not only of possible bad guys but everyone, comes of course censorship. A few years ago, this seemed to be intermittent, like the biased and arbitrary actions of rogue executives. We objected and denounced but generally assumed that it was aberrant and going away over time.

Back then, we had no idea of the scale and the ambition of the censors. The more information that is coming out, the more the full goal is coming into view. The power elite want the Internet to operate like the controlled media of the 1970s. Any opinion that runs contrary to regime priorities will be blocked. Websites that distribute alternative outlooks will be lucky to survive at all.

To understand what’s going on, see the White House document called Declaration on the Future of the Internet. Freedom is barely a footnote, and free speech is not part of it. Instead it is to be a “rules-based digital economy” governed “through the multistakeholder approach, whereby governments and relevant authorities partner with academics, civil society, the private sector, technical community and others.”

This whole document is an Orwellian replacement of the Declaration of Internet Freedom from 2012, which was signed by Amnesty International, the ACLU, and major corporations and banks. The first principle of this Declaration was free speech: don’t censor the Internet. That was 12 years ago and the principle is long forgotten. Even the original website has been dead since 2018. It is now replaced with one word: “Forbidden.”

Yes, that’s chilling but it is also perfectly descriptive. In all mainline Internet venues, from search to shopping to social, freedom is no longer the practice. Censorship has been normalized. And it is taking place with the direct involvement of the federal government and third-party organizations and research centers paid for by tax dollars. This is very clearly a violation of the First Amendment but the new orthodoxy in elite circles is that the First Amendment simply does not apply to the Internet.

This issue is making its way through litigation. There was a time when the decision would not be in question. No more. Several or more Supreme Court Justices do not seem to understand even the meaning of free speech.

The Prime Minister of Australia made the new view clear in his statement in defense of fining Elon Musk. He said that social media has a “social responsibility.” In today’s parlance, this means they must obey the government, which is the only proper interpreter of the public interest. In this view, you simply cannot allow people to post and say things that are contrary to regime priorities.

If the regime cannot manage public culture, and manipulate the public mind, what’s it there for? If it cannot control the Internet, its managers believe, it will lose control of the whole of society.

The crackdown is intensifying by the day. Representative Thomas Massie shot a video after the Ukraine vote for a total foreign aid package of an astonishing $95 billion. Vast numbers of Democrats on the House floor waved Ukrainian flags, which you might suppose smacks of treason. The Sergeant-at-Arms wrote Massey directly to tell him to take down the video or get a $500 fine.

True, the rules say you cannot film in a way that “impairs decorum,” but he simply took out his phone. The decorum was disturbed by masses of lawmakers waving a foreign flag. So Massie refused. After all, the entire disgraceful scene was on C-SPAN but the presumption is that no one watches that but everyone reads X, which is probably true.

Clearly, GOP speaker Mike Johnson doesn’t want his perfidy this well-advertised. After all, it was he who shepherded the authorization of spying on the American people using Section 702 of FISA, which 99 percent of GOP voters opposed. Just who do these people think they are there to represent?

It’s actually astonishing to do a conjectural history in which Elon did not buy Twitter. The regime monopoly on social media today would be 99.5 percent. Then the handful of alternative venues could be shut down one by one, just as with Parler a few years ago. Under this scenario, closing the social end of the Internet would not be that difficult. The domains are another matter but those could be banned gradually over time.

But with X rising in a meteoric way since Elon’s takeover, that is now far more difficult. He has made it his mission to remind the world of core principles. This is why he told the boycotting advertisers to jump in a lake and why he refused to comply with every dictate by the despotic head of the Brazilian Supreme Court. Daily he is showing what it means to stand up for principle in extremely hard times.

Glenn Beck puts it well: “What Elon Musk is doing in both Brazil and Australia is this: He is simply standing where the Free world used to stand. They have moved, not him. They are the radicals not him. HAVE THE COURAGE to remain standing, unmovable in the truth that can never change and you will be targeted and eventually change the world.”

Censorship is not an end unto itself. The purpose is control of the people. That is also the purpose of surveillance. It is not, rather obviously, to protect the public. It is to protect the state and its industrial partners against the people. Of course, just as in every dystopian film, they always pretend otherwise.

Somehow – call me naive – I just didn’t expect the New York Times to be all-in on the immediate establishment of the surveillance state and universal censorship by the “awesome” Deep State. But think of this. If the NYT can be fully captured by this ideology, and probably captured by the money that goes with it, so can any other institution. You have probably noticed a similar editorial line being pushed by WiredMother JonesRolling StoneSalonSlate, and other venues, including the entire suite of publications owned by Conde Nast including Vogue and GQ magazine.

“Don’t bother me with your crazed conspiracy theory, Tucker.”

I get the point. What is your explanation?

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  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Scotland’s crazy anti-hate law may be sign of things to come here

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Brian Giesbrecht

Scotland had 8,000 complaints in the first week. Is it likely that a similar avalanche of claims will result in Canada if C-63 becomes law?

Actually, there will probably be a lot more here.

For one thing, our population is many times the size of Scotland’s.

Some argue that Scotland’s new hate speech law is more draconian than Canada’s yet-to-be-enacted equivalent, Bill C-63. Others say this is not so — that portions of ’63’ are even greater threats to free speech than Scotland’s extreme new law.

Regardless of who wins in this radical experiment in mass censorship, one thing we can predict with certainty: Both laws will be a goldmine for the legal profession and a nightmare for anyone who has ever dared to write, say or broadcast anything controversial.

How? Well, in the first week that Scotland’s new hate legislation has been in force there has been an avalanche of new claims launched — 8,000, and counting. Every one of those claims will have to be defended by a person who believed that they were exercising their right of free speech.

Now, 8,000 of those people will be caught up in expensive, time consuming, and emotionally draining litigation. Their cases will mostly be heard by officials and judges who were appointed specifically because they shared the same views as the government that appointed them — the same government that felt the need to prosecute these 8,000 people.

That 8,000 surpassed the total number of hate crime allegations in Scotland for all of 2023. A projection is that there will be an estimated 416,000 cases for 2024 if this rate keeps up. The complaints have completely overwhelmed Scotland’s police.

The Scottish Police Federation’s David Threadgold said this about how the new law was being used by angry citizens with an axe to grind: “…the law was being “weaponised” by the public in order to settle personal grudges against fellow citizens or to wage political feuds, while suggesting that the government encouraging the public to report instances of ‘hate’ has clearly blown up in their face.”

We have already seen this Scottish law in action when J.K. Rowling, who is famous not only for her wonderful Harry Potter books, but more recently for stating what we knew as fact for the first few hundred thousand years or so of human history — namely that men are men, and women are women — famously reposted that claim and dared the Scottish police to charge her.

The police announced that she wouldn’t be charged — at least that particular police officer wouldn’t charge her at this particular time.

The other person who has been the subject of many of those 8,000 complaints is First Minister Humza Yousaf — the very man responsible for this monstrosity of a law. Yousaf is himself quite famous for complaining that Scotland has too many white people. Who knew?

That odd observation resulted in a world famous spat with none other than Elon Musk. The online slugfest basically took the form of each man accusing the other of being a racist. At times it looked more like a schoolyard fight.

That a national leader seriously feels that the sledgehammer of the criminal law must be used to sort out such cat fights between citizens is rather alarming.

But, in this regard, Yousaf and Trudeau are birds of a feather. Both are convinced that only “acceptable views” — namely the views they agree with — will be allowed, while “unacceptable views,” namely, those they don’t like, must be disappeared by the machinery of the state.

It should be explained at this point that Scotland’s new law, unlike our C-63, requires police to determine whether or not the person under complaint has “stirred up hatred.”

Bill C-63 has those “hate” complaints heard by the Human Rights Tribunal.

In both cases however, one person’s opinion will judge another person’s opinion. However, one person will be paid to perform this function, while the other person might become a criminal if their opinion fails a completely subjective test.

Scotland had 8,000 complaints in the first week. Is it likely that a similar avalanche of claims will result in Canada if C-63 becomes law?

Actually, there will probably be a lot more here.

For one thing, our population is many times the size of Scotland’s.

For another, C-63 allows people to make complaints anonymously if the tribunal says so. It also promises up to $50,000 per complaint. That’s a powerful motivator. That $50,000 doesn’t come from some magic bank, by the way. If you are the person complained about, it comes from you. And you might be required to fork over an additional $20,000 to the tribunal for their troubles.

I’m not sure if they will expect a tip.. 

Much has been written about C-63. Many knowledgeable Canadians have discussed in detail the hundreds of objections they can see with this Bill. Senior Canadian voices, such former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and world famous author Margaret Atwood, have warned Canadians about this seriously flawed legislation.

But what no one has done — except for Trudeau apparatchiks — is to give any good reasons why Canada needs this legislation.

If Scotland’s projected number of complaints for 2024 is 416,000 and they have a population of less than six million, the projection for Canada would be into the millions of complaints. Even setting aside the obvious impossibility of paying for thousands of new tribunal adjudicators, staff, and the thousands of new lawyers required to help the million-plus people who are thrust into this hate complaint boondoggle, why would any serious government even wish such a thing on their citizens?

Do we not have a rather large bag of serious problems we must contend with?

We have a generation of young people, for example, who might never in their lives be able to afford a home of their own. How do we expect these young people to raise a future generation of Canadians without a home in which to raise them? Isn’t that a bigger problem than someone’s hurt feelings?

Another example… Trudeau has just noticed that we don’t seem to have an army anymore. Isn’t that a bigger problem than whether or not someone feels that they have been misgendered, or called nasty names?

There is a list, as long as the longest arm, of very real problems that need urgent attention. Why are we wasting time and money on the brainchild (yes, I use that term loosely) of a desperate prime minister and his few remaining fellow ideologues?

This legislation is totally unnecessary, and an appallingly disrespectful way to treat Canadians. We already have hate laws. We already have laws to protect children. C-63 is as useless as the tired apparatchiks pushing it.

We should definitely pay attention to what is happening in Scotland. It will be our fate if this perfectly awful Bill C-63 is not defeated.

Brian Giesbrecht, retired judge, is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

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