Friday, June 28, 2013

Stephen Harper's Conservatives take away victims' rights by passing pro-hate speech bill

While few were looking, Stephen Harper's Conservatives have succeeded in using the weaselly option of a backbencher's private member's bill to quietly gut the Canadian Human Rights Act to remove victims' rights to fight back against hate speech in Canada.

A no-name Tory MP's private member's bill passed the Senate this week and received Royal Assent. When the bill is fully implemented within a year, Section 13 of Canadian human rights law that permitted rights complaints to the federal Human Rights Commission for “the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet” will be history.

Now victims of hate speech over the internet or over the phone will have no recourse except to wait for police forces with little or no hate crime budgets to go after hate mongers in Canada. And even then charges can't be laid until Attorneys General give approval, which usually dissuades police from seriously pursuing the criminals.

Anti-hate provisions in the Human Rights Act empowered victims to fight back for themselves against the bigots. Those guilty were frequently found guilty, unlike in the criminal courts where convictions have been much more difficult to achieve.

By taking away this option for victims under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and at the same time ignoring the demand that police themselves should be given the ability to lay hate speech charges instead of relying on Attorneys General, the Conservatives have shown their true priorities.

Conservatives are siding with the bigots.

By passing this bill, the Conservatives have taken away victims' rights and made it easier to get away with (hate) crime in Canada. Yes, you read that correctly. It's shameful.


Unknown said...

So if I call Stephen Harper a pussy-licking trans-gendered lesbian, I'm scot-free?

Matt Guerin said...

Hmmmm, not sure how to answer that one, John.

Unknown said...

Matt, does this bill have a name or a way to reference it? Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Is there a way to read it? Thanks.

Matt Guerin said...

Hi Michael - It's Bill C-304, by Tory MP Brian Storseth. The bill should be available on the Parliamentary website. I don't have the link handy.