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Censorship Industrial Complex

Margaret Atwood compares Trudeau’s proposed Online Harms Act to Orwell’s ‘1984’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

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

Liberal Attorney General and Justice Minister Arif Virani defended the Online Harms bill after Canadian author Margaret Atwood compared it to George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

On March 12, Virani claimed Atwood, famous for writing The Handmaid’s Tale, misunderstood the Online Harms Act, after the left-leaning author warned it would punish Canadians for “thoughtcrime,” comparing the legislation to laws introduced by totalitarian regimes such as the corrupt French aristocracy and the Soviet Union.

“If this account of the bill is true, it’s Lettres de Cachet all over again,” Atwood wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, referring to secret letters sent by the King of France authorizing citizens to be imprisoned without a trial.

“The possibilities for revenge false accusations + thoughtcrime stuff are sooo inviting!” she added sarcastically. “Trudeau’s Orwellian online harms bill.”

Atwood’s comment came in response to an article by The Spectator which warned the bill could lead to “thought police” regulating Canadians similar to those in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The often-referenced book is a cautionary novel about a totalitarian socialist society which punished its citizens if they disagreed their government’s agenda even in their thoughts.

While Atwood is known to be left-leaning, this is not the first time she called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for restricting freedom of speech. In April 2023, Atwood cautioned against Trudeau’s internet censorship legislation Bill C-11, comparing it to censorship in the Soviet Union.

“It includes expressions of detestation and vilification. It does not include insults, offensive comments, or jokes that are not very polite,” said Virani at a press conference in Toronto.

“The idea that someone on their smartphone on an afternoon while they’re watching a football game, if they insult anyone … could be condemned in a court or caught by a peace bond is ridiculous, in my opinion,” he added.

However, Virani conveniently neglected to say what would be considered “hate speech,” especially considering the bill regulates “posting hate speech online” that is deemed “discriminatory” against a wide range of “protected” categories, notably gender, race and sexuality.

Bill C-63, introduced last week, 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 claim will target certain cases of internet content removal, notably those involving child sexual abuse and pornography.

However, the bill also seeks to punish “hate speech” and increase punishments for existing hate propaganda offenses in a substantial manner.

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 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.

Atwood is not alone in her concerns over the legislation. Increasingly, prominent Canadians and even Americans have begun commenting on Trudeau’s authoritarian rule over Canada, particularly his restricting of internet speech.

Earlier this week, tech mogul Elon Musk called the proposed legislation “insane” as the new law would “allow judges to hand down life sentences for ‘speech crimes.’”

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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Censorship Industrial Complex

New federal legislation should remind Canadians of Orwell’s 1984

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From the Fraser Institute

By Jake Fuss and Alex Whalen

The legislation seeks to punish citizens not just for what the governments deems as “hate speech” but also grants the state power to bring Canadians before tribunals on suspicion that they might say something hateful in the future.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 (and it’s been 40 years since the actual year 1984). In the novel, Orwell explains the dangers of totalitarianism by exploring what happens when government exercises extreme levels of control over citizens including censoring and controlling language. While Canada is a relatively free country in 2024, there are aspects of Orwell’s world reflected in government policy today.

The Human Freedom Index, published annually by the Fraser Institute and Cato Institute, defines freedom as a social concept that recognizes the dignity of individuals by the absence of coercive constraint. In a free society, citizens are free to do, say or think almost anything they want, provided it does not infringe on the right of others to do the same.

Canada currently fares relatively well compared to other countries on the Human Freedom Index, placing 13th out of 165 countries. However, our score has dropped six spots on the index since 2008 when Canada recorded its highest ever rank.

This is not surprising given the Trudeau government’s recent efforts to control and manage the free exchange of ideas. The recent Online Streaming Act imposes various content rules on major streaming services such as Netflix, and requirements to extract funds to be redirected toward favoured groups. The Act seemingly seeks to bring the entire Internet under the regulation of a government body.

In another piece of recent legislation, the Online News Act, the government attempted to force certain social media platforms to pay other legacy news outlets for carrying content. In response, the social media platforms chose simply not to allow content from those news providers on their platforms, resulting in a dramatic reduction of Canadians’ access to news.

Now, a new piece of federal legislation—Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act—seeks to control language and grant government power to punish citizens for what the government deems to be unfavourable speech.

The government has sold Bill C-63 as a way to promote the online safety of Canadians, reduce harms, and ensure the operators of social media services are held accountable. In reality, however, the bill is Orwell’s Big Brother concept brought to life, where government controls information and limits free exchange. The legislation seeks to punish citizens not just for what the governments deems as “hate speech” but also grants the state power to bring Canadians before tribunals on suspicion that they might say something hateful in the future. Not surprisingly, many have raised concerns about the constitutionality of the Bill, which will surely be tested in court.

Put differently, the Bill dictates that citizens may not only be punished for speech crimes, but also punished when another person or group of individuals believes they are likely to commit such a crime. The legislation outlines punishment mechanisms at the government’s disposal, including electronic monitoring devices, house arrest or jail time. Frighteningly, if the government doesn’t like what you say or even suspects they won’t like what you might say, then you could face serious repercussions.

That sounds eerily similar to Orwell’s concept of the Thought Police. In 1984, a secret police force investigates and punishes “thoughtcrimes,” which are personal and political thoughts unapproved by the state. The Thought Police monitor citizens and arrest anyone who engages in such crimes, to prevent personal autonomy and freedom of thought, thus providing the state with immense power and control over the populace.

The big government approach inherent in the Online Harms Act and others is antithetical to the idea of personal freedom. Famed English philosopher J.S. Mill was particularly observant in recognizing the perils of controlling and punishing speech government officials deem “dangerous.” In his book On Liberty, Mill stated “If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of the truth; and since the general of prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.”

Orwell’s famous novel provides a guidebook for what governments should avoid doing at all costs. Unfortunately, hints of 1984 have seeped into government policy in Canada today. The erosion of personal freedom is not something we should take for granted anymore.

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Censorship Industrial Complex

‘We are in the most dangerous anti-free speech period in our history’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Tom Olohan

“It’s hard to get a free people to give up freedom, you have to make them afraid, you have to make them very afraid. And that’s why you hear this echo chamber that its free speech that’s endangering us”

Jonathan Turley, a Fox News contributor and George Washington University law professor, issued some stark warnings on the future of free speech.

During the July 12 episode of MRC UnCensored, MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider spoke with Turley about his new book, The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage, and his observations about free speech and the media from a long and successful career.

Turley warned that journalism schools have abandoned long-held standards and young Americans have been indoctrinated against free speech. He made clear that a dangerous public-private partnership between powerful institutions threatened the future of the First Amendment.

“We are now in what the book refers to as the most dangerous anti-free speech period in our history, and the reason is indeed this alliance that has never formed before, of the government, corporations, academia [and] the media, all aligned against free speech,” he said.

 

Turley followed with a description of this alliance’s twisted rationale. “You now have on college campuses and in many media outlets, the unrelenting mantra that free speech is dangerous, that it is threatening us, threatening jobs, even threatening lives,” Turley said. “And the idea here is very simple, it’s hard to get a free people to give up freedom, you have to make them afraid, you have to make them very afraid. And that’s why you hear this echo chamber that its free speech that’s endangering us and if you just give the government more power over your speech you’ll be happy and safer.”

When Turley warned that the “wave” of censorship arriving in America “began in Europe,” Schneider lamented that American free speech had once inspired advocates of freedom in Europe and the world, such as Lech Wałęsa and Václav Havel. “And something has changed again, in Europe, in here, where people now see free speech as a threat to democracy, as a pose to the most important central element of democracy.”

Turley dug deep from his experience and observations to explain this state of affairs. He mentioned that he had poured 30 years of work into his book and observed the media make a massive turn for the worse during that period.

The Fox News contributor also noted that journalism schools have officially abandoned objectivity and neutrality. Turley made the point that the media had abandoned its principles in part because new graduates had been taught to abandon them: “J-schools now teach that, that objectivity and neutrality get in the way of social and political agendas. That’s what we’re producing from J-schools and its having an impact.”

Reprinted with permission from NewsBusters.

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