JCCF hands 55,000 signatures against Online Harms Act to PMO 
JCCF sends a message to the PMO from 55,000 Canadians opposed to the Liberals’ latest attempt to expand the definition of hate speech and increase penalties against those who commit it.

Mike Campbell

April 10, 2024

The non-profit Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) handed off over 55,000 signatures to the PMO on Wednesday in opposition to the Trudeau Liberals’ proposed Online Harms Act, which seeks to expand the definition of hate speech and legalize punishment for crimes individuals might commit.

JCCF hands 55,000 signatures against Online Harms Act to PMO 

Speaking in front of the PMO before handing them off, JCCF’s President and lawyer John Carpay denounced the act known as Bill C-63, stating that if passed, it would give the Canadian Human Rights Commission the power to prosecute Canadians for non-criminal hate speech.

“Anything that bureaucrats or their subjective opinion deemed to be hateful,” he said.

The Trudeau Government has stated that Bill C-63 was created to combat online hate, and protect children from viewing adult content online. Trudeau has said it’s “very specifically focused on protecting kids and not on censoring the internet.” 

But beyond the protections for children against pornography, the bill also contains provisions that expand the definition of hate and increase the penalties for those who commit it. As per the bill, if an individual expresses hate speech, they could face penalties up to $20,000 and even “pay a penalty of not more than $50,000 to the Receiver General, if the member or panel considers it appropriate…” 

Carpay said the Liberal Justice Minister Arif Virani and Prime Minister Trudeau are “dressing it up as an effort to protect children.”

“They’re legally ignoring the fact that it is already a criminal code offense to post revenge porn to post non consensual, intimate images online,” Carpay said.

Carpay further noted another part of the bill that calls for life imprisonment on anyone found guilty of “inciting genocide.” 

“Bear in mind that the maximum penalty for sexually assaulting a minor is 14 years maximum penalty,” he said.

Minority Report 

The text of the Trudeau Government’s bill allows for hate speech complaints to be filed anonymously to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Another part of the bill reflects the 2002 movie Minority Report, calling for citizens to be placed under house arrest if “a person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit an offense.”

In other words, individuals can be punished for crimes they haven’t committed. 

Atwood calls bill dystopian 

Canadian author Margaret Atwood said she believes Bill C-63 is so concerning that she even compared it to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. 

Liberal Justice Minister Arif Virani – who proposed the bill – said that she’s misinterpreting it. 

“It includes expressions of detestation and vilification. It does not include insults, offensive comments, or jokes that are not very polite,” he said. 

Under the Liberals’ proposed bill one of the Human Rights Tribunal members who would oversee hate speech complaints, once filed a hate speech complaint against MacLean’s Magazine — and lost. 

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